Street-stroker Mopar A-engines are a recent development, but how well they work depends upon the rest of the setup. In mild form, they're great low-end torque makers. In the Nov. '01 issue of Mopar Muscle, we did some porting mods on a set of W-2 heads and found serious airflow, so a plan was formulated to build an all-out combination to let them breathe in the real world.
Building a stock or mildly modified engine is easy. Just clean everything up, lay out the replacement parts, break out the wrenches, and put it together. However, the more you deviate from the factory plan, the more involved the buildup gets. Before we assembled our engine using one of Mopar Performance's stroker cranks, we selected a 360 block as a base. We located and bought a premium early casting from a junked '72 commercial van, which turned out to be a virgin core with little wear-the perfect foundation for a big-inch buildup. We already assumed that some custom block work would be required.
Beyond the basic stroker clearancing, we went with several mods to the block looking for greater durability, including a set of four-bolt mains. Other changes were required to work with our choice of performance components. The actual building can't start until the grinders, drills, and taps are put away, so we mocked-up where we had to fit it together and went to work. We will cover the block prep this month and begin our buildup story in the next issue of Mopar Muscle.