Building an affordable 454 into a monster 496 Stroker Rat Motor!

Most Recent addition -TRE Racing Engines comes on board! Supplying parts and engine buildup advice.

When you get a chance to have a famous engine builder such as Taylor Lastor offer advice on your home build engine build -you listen! -Quick jump to this latest section by going here!

This site will be on going project build up site that grows as each new installment of the engine build up is completed. Literally readers will watch as the stock block 454 becomes a 496 Monster Rat motor and then get to watch us try to shoe horn it into a MK4 Supra!

The ultimate goal, our intent is to build something very similar to this engine shown below from Skip White Performance... With ours being built in a home shop, with parts purchased online on a budget and with us doing as much of the assembly work as possible.

Chasing all the parts needed to do the project online while using "on sale" items or the "best bang for the buck" parts we can find. Once complete we are then going to hang a turbo on the motor and then try to put the whole package into a MK 4 NA Supra

Engine Photo Courtesy of
Like many other car guys we've watched many TV shows on doing engine build ups. Most of the major magazines have also done BBC builds, most of which we've read online.

Building a Big Block Stroker engine seems to be the most popular version going and as far as we can tell getting 600+ HP isn't all that difficult to do on a budget -cept' we want 800 HP from the motor alone and all on pump gas. actually did a huge "Double Power Adder" episode based on building our exact engine.

Their budget was much larger than ours is, but the core part choices and their requirements to get large horsepower on pump gas are very much the same as our goals are in this build up.

Following that TV shows advice, we are doing the same with our Craiglist purchased core engine. Our target HP number is in the 600-800 HP range and we'll let the turbo do the rest.

The other intended mod for this engine, swapping in a manual trans...


The intended recipient!
The intended recipient of our big block, a 94 NA Supra, a past "totalled" car that was a father and son project back in 2007.

Plans are to install the 496 in the car along with a turbo... If that proves to be impossible without major modifications, we'll install it in something else, but for right now, the bullet is planned for the Supra engine compartment!

The only rules we've set for the project, no major modifications to the Supra. We want to make sure that nothing we do to this car in order to fit the 496 engine into it, cannot be undone at a later date.

Supra's -primarily because of the Fast and Furious Movies, have become a very valuable car, and are high in demand.

We'll be saving all parts removed, just in case sometime down the road we might want to put it back stock...

So the Supra fans out there, no need to throw rocks at us for modifying the Supra with a BBC!
Actual Craigslist ad photo!
$450.00 with automatic trans...
Purchased off Craigslist, right at $450 dollars, one Gen 6 454 Big Block Chevy Fuel injected motor. Our engine has 4 bolt mains with a one piece seal version of the crank, it was a complete motor with Transmission.

Not much is known about the engine except for the fact that it came out of a truck that the owner said they'd "junked".

From what we could see, it looked like any other pull out motor, with roughly 60,000 or so on it. No evidence of any major repairs, with all the gaskets and seals appearing to be original.

No signs the heads or the oil pan having ever been off. The only item new looking was the alternator.

One huge motor! The engine literally weighs a ton in the stock configuration. Took four men to load this puppy into the back of the truck to get it back to the shop.

The first thing it's going to get, is stripped down and thoroughly inspected. The engine will be going on a diet from day one!

Click to enlarge
The Teardown begins!

Didn't take long to remove all the external parts and in short order we had the pistons and other heavy parts out. Close inspection showed little to no cylinder ridge, we were able to remove the pistons by just sliding them out.

No blown head gaskets, no spun or damaged bearings to be found. Even though we looked closely, we couldn't find any reason for this motor to have been removed.

The only questionable items we could see at least visually, was the condition of the lifters and the cam. The lobes of the cam showed allot of what we think is heavy wear. Since we can only guess if this is the case, we will have to rely on the machine shop to find if there are issues with our block.

Sending our block to the machine shop, means we need our internal parts now. Machine shops can't bore a block without the pistons or properly prep and machine or hone the mains without the crank.

Normally with an unknown condition of the block, it would be better to have it professionally checked by the machine shop before ordering of a stroker kit or any parts for that matter. That way if there was an issue with the block we wouldn't be stuck with a stroker kit we couldn't use or find us locked in to finding a new block to match ours exactly.

We are taking our chances on this one! Based on our inspection, we think we will be good on our block, but it's definitely a risk... If our block ends up being bad, we'll then be stuck finding a replacement and that would really kill our budget.

The machine shop will be tasked to not only check our block for the obvious issues, but with the amount of horsepower we plan to be making, they'll need to do a little "out of the normal" stuff for us.

Block cleaning, bead blasting, checking all the bores, and inspecting the crucial deck surfaces. For the Gen 6 block the common concern is keeping the deck as thick as possible. So if our block needs decked for any reason, we need to make sure the shop knows to keep it to a minimum.

Also of concern we want to make sure our cam bearings are installed properly and all the threads in the block "chased" and counter sunk. We'll be responsible for grinding all the edges off to clean up the casting lines and such, but by the time we would go out and purchase all the taps to chase all the threads on this block, we might as well pay them to do it for us.
Our Stroker Kit of choice!

Great price, great components and all forged top of the line items!

After extensive searching on the Internet for pricing as well as choice of parts in the kit, we settled on the kit offered by Skip White Performance out of Tennessee. Their kit Includes everything you need in a rotating assembly, with the balancer and flex plate included -all of it in one package for $1550.00 plus shipping.
We contacted the sales department by e-mail, working with a fellow there name Daniel, we just needed to have a few questions answered before we were ready to place our 1st parts order for out new Rat motor!

Since we don't have any top end of the motor parts like the cylinder heads, valve train or intake, we needed their advice on choosing the kit parts now. The decisions made now need to be based on our budget and plans for the other parts to be purchased later.

Our biggest concerns were how much total compression we'd end up with and if we could mix and match any of the kit components for other brands. We've read online about issues with some piston brands and the location of the wrist pin in relationship with the ring lands.

We felt relying on the guys at Skip White Performance would be the smart way to go since with the thousands of kits they've sold, they should be able to advise us on the smartest way to handle our needs.

We'll let you know how the purchase went on the next installment on the Stroker Rat buildup!

Next up finding the best performance machine shop -And placing our first parts order!

E-mail us at

Watch and read as we build the 496 Rat engine from start to finish and install it (hopefully) into a MK 4 Supra!!

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