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So I'm looking at the decision to buy vs build a 383 Chevy for my motorhome. I've built motors before but they were all import engines where the most machining done was a small overbore.

I'll most likely start with either the original short block from the RV or a Vortec bottom end - 4 bolt main with a roller cam, regardless.

So that being said what are the things you need to watch out for when building a stroker small block Chevy?

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I worry that this question is too broad to produce a good answer. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 12 '11 at 4:52

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The number one red flag that comes to mind whenever people talk about building a stroker engine is the clearancing of various parts that will almost certainly be required to make the stroker crank work properly. When the larger stroker crankshaft rotates, it can hit the block of the engine, or it can hit the piston skirts, which would obviously cause an engine failure of the most catastrophic proportions. You'll have to have all the machine work done, first, then assemble the bearings, crankshaft, pistons, rings, and rods (with lots of assembly lube). I like to do one piston at a time, marking the block with a magic marker where I'll have to go back later to grind away that area. Take pictures. When you're done, you'll want 1/8" clearance between the crank and the block and between the crank and the pistons. It's time consuming and tedious, but it's absolutely necessary. Double check everything when the rotating assembly is finally assembled.

Clearancing issues aside, adding the extra displacement fundamentally changes how the engine operates, which has the potential to impact every other part of the engine internals (cam, lifters, rockers, pushrods, heads, fuel delivery, etc). It really does make a lot of sense to follow in the foot steps of someone else who has done exactly what you're proposing (with the same type of block, heads, intake, and fuel delivery method). If they had success, it might make sense to copy what they did. Designing an engine isn't rocket science, but getting even one piece of the puzzle wrong (like choosing the wrong valve spring rates, or wrong pushrod lengths) can cause an engine failure.

Good luck!

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Did you just use a die grinder to clearance the block? –  kkeilman Mar 14 '11 at 1:46
    
Exactly. I used an air powered die grinder and a bunch of fairly large and aggressive grinding bits. A dremel won't do it. You'll need something much more powerful. –  JeremyP Mar 14 '11 at 1:56
    
Yeah I had a friend try to "Port and Polish" a head many years ago with a dremel tool. I laughed at him. –  kkeilman Mar 14 '11 at 3:35
    
I would highly suggest having the rotating assembly balanced once you get done with your clearance, especially on altered stroke motor. also, I know there are tons of "stroker kits" designed for SBC's, that should have all the modifications done. –  dave thieben Mar 15 '11 at 16:44

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