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Summary
  • A stroker refers to a type of engine modification where a professional increases your piston’s stroke length, resulting in increased engine displacement.
  • Stroker kits contain specially engineered engine parts like custom-ground pistons to push the engine.
  • The horsepower increase from a stroker kit can be dependent on various factors like the engine’s original displacement, the specific components used in the stroker kit, and the quality of the build.

Modifying your engine is one of the many ways to level up your ride’s performance. And when talking about engine modification, you might have already encountered the term “stroker engine.”

Let’s find out what stroker engines are, how they work, and the pros and cons of doing this type of modification.

What Is a Stroker?

In the automotive context, a stroker refers to a type of engine modification where a professional increases your piston’s stroke length. When you increase the stroke, the piston travels further into the cylinder bore, resulting in increased engine displacement.

stroke length of the piston correlates directly with this crankshaft measurement
While compression can be modified by changing the shape of the piston crown and the design of the cylinder head, the stroke length of the piston correlates directly with this crankshaft measurement (see illustration). | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Engine displacement refers to the total volume of the cylinders swept by pistons during a stroke. It’s usually measured in cubic centimeters, cubic inches, or liters. If you could capture all the air that passes through all the cylinders on an engine during two full crankshaft revolutions, this volume of air would be equal to the engine’s displacement.

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An increase in engine displacement allows the combustion of a larger volume of air and fuel mixture, resulting in more power output. It also allows the engine to produce more torque.

, What Is a Stroker Engine?

Pro Tips are nuggets of information direct from ASE-certified automobile technicians working with CarParts.com, which may include unique, personal insights based on their years of experience working in the automotive industry. These can help you make more informed decisions about your car.

Pro Tip: There are caveats, like the length of the stroke versus the size of the bore that affect torque. A long stroke increases torque. A short stroke engine will rev up faster but will have less torque.

You can read our comprehensive short course on automobile engines to get a deeper understanding of how an engine works.

Different Ways to Stroke an Engine

There are different ways to stroke an engine. Let’s look at each way in detail:

Off-set Grinding the Crankshaft Rod Journals

In this process, a professional adds length at the top of the rod journal before regrinding it again. This adds a stroke of about 0.020 inches.

Use a Larger Crankshaft

Another method involves using a larger crankshaft that can be machined to fit a smaller engine block. For example, a 351W crankshaft can be customized to fit a 289/302 engine block. This can result in increased displacement.

Increase Connecting Rod Length

You can also stroke your engine by adding length to your connecting rod. This forces the pistons to move further into the cylinder, increasing engine displacement.

What Is a Stroker Kit?

If you’re planning to explore this type of engine modification, you might want to check out stroker kits. These kits contain specially engineered engine parts that you can use to stroke your engine.

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Stroker kits usually come with a new crankshaft, I-beam or H-beam connecting rods, pistons, piston pins and rings, main bearings, and rod bearings.

These kits are usually used on naturally aspirated engines that rely solely on atmospheric pressure to draw air into the combustion chamber.

If you have a turbocharged engine, the recommended way to get more engine power is to increase boost or fit larger turbos.

How Much Does a Stroker Kit Cost?

The price of a stroker kit can vary depending on the brand and the parts included in the package. But usually, it doesn’t come cheap. You can get a high-performance stroker kit for around $1000 to $3000.

How Much Horsepower Does a Stroker Kit Add?

There’s no specific horsepower increase promised when you use a stroker engine. The horsepower increase from a stroker kit can be dependent on various factors like the engine’s original displacement, the specific components used in the stroker kit, and the quality of the build.

Drawbacks of Stroking Your Engine

Increasing engine displacement can have many advantages when it comes to engine power and torque. However, it also has its disadvantages. Here are some drawbacks you should consider before trying this engine modification:

Hindered Ability to Reach High Revs

Since there’s an increased travel in the piston’s movement, there can be a possibility that your engine will not be as swiftly responsive as before. This can impede your engine’s ability to reach high revs. A longer stroke produces more torque but reduces the engine’s ability to rev as quickly.

Increased Stress on Components

Stroker engines give out higher levels of torque and horsepower. This can put stress on engine components like the crankshaft, connecting rods, and bearings. It’s all about inertia. So expect these parts to wear out faster if you’re driving a car with a stroker engine.

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High Fuel Consumption

Stroker engines can be heavier than traditional engines. They can add more weight to your vehicle, increasing fuel consumption. You may also consume more fuel while carrying heavy loads or if you’re driving aggressively.

Difficult to Maintain

Stroker engines are complex, making them difficult to maintain. It can be challenging to replace components once they become faulty.

Risk of Incorrect Installation

It’s not easy to get compatible parts for a stroker engine. If you try to put parts that aren’t compatible, you might end up damaging your engine.

They’re Too Expensive

Stroker engines can be expensive. Aside from the stroker kit itself, you’ll have to consider the cost of supporting modifications and tuning. If you’re not willing to shell out a large amount of money, it’s best to explore other ways to make the most of your engine’s power.

Is a Stroker Engine Worth It?

This type of engine modification can be pricey. There are also other ways to boost your engine’s performance like upgrading your air intake or exhaust systems.

So, is it worth it? It really depends on your priorities and how you want to use your vehicle. You should also consider factors like compatibility, cost, resale value, and more.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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