We learned the hard way that not all Four-O's are created equal. Our engine was destined for a 2000 Wrangler. The low-mileage original engine was being saved for another purpose, so a used engine from the early '90s was procured. We learned the hard way that there are significant external differences between the '00-and-later engines ('99-and-later for the WJ) and the earlier ones. Eye exams for all were ordered. It was as obvious as a garish Aloha shirt at a funeral. Water pumps, accessory mounting, engine mounts, induction systems, and more-all changed. Installing an older engine into a newer rig, or vice versa, involves adaptation-doable but adding to the financial burden. The best advice is to start with your original engine or a similar year range.
The biggest problems faced by 4.0L strokers is pinging (aka spark-knock or detonation) and it can be deadly to the engine. Stroker conversions end up with a higher compression ratio (CR) than stock, sometimes higher than can be supported on pump fuel. It pays to take heed of your particular combination of camshaft, pistons, head gasket, and deck height.
The static compression ratio (SCR) is simply the ratio of cylinder volume versus combustion chamber volume. Our 4.0L stroker has a total cylinder volume of 855.12 cc (52.16ci) and at top dead center (TDC, with the piston at the top), that air-fuel mixture has been squeezed into 90.59cc (5.5ci). Ergo: 855.14 90.59 = 9.44:1 compression ratio.
6. After boring 0.030 inch, the cylinder walls were tested with a Dakota Instruments ultra
7. The 258 crankshaft bolts into the 4.0L block with no trouble. We used the latest 258 cr
8. You can buy crankshaft kits from many sources if you can't find a used one to reconditi
The dynamic compression ratio (DCR) is a more useful way to think about this. It factors the cam profile-more precisely, the intake valve closing point-with the SCR to get an operating, or "effective," CR. On virtually all engines, the intake valve stays open after the point where the piston starts up on the compression stroke. Until the intake valve actually closes, compression is not occurring and the true compression stroke does not start until it does. Because the cylinder volume is reduced, so is the dynamic compression ratio. The later valve closing takes advantage of air velocity at higher engine speeds to help fill the cylinder. At low speeds, yes, that reduces the effective compression ratio, but at higher speeds the increased volume of air more than makes up for it.
The big question now is, "Why does this matter?" The bottom line is that the DCR is a major factor in whether you can run on regular, midgrade, premium, or race fuel, and not ping. Also, if the DCR is too low, you will lose bottom-end torque. The generally acknowledged safe "sweet spot" is an 8.0:1 DCR for an EFI engine, and it offers good low end and a decent high end, usually on 87-octane regular. Going below 7:1 usually costs too much low-end power. With fuel injection and a good quench dimension (read on) you can sometimes reap the benefits of going higher, perhaps up to an 8.7:1 DCR on regular or midgrade. Dynamic CR above 8.7:1 almost always requires 90- or 92-octane premium. Above 9.0:1 DCR, it's almost always ping city for pump fuel. For reference, the stock 4.0L has an 8.7:1 static ratio and a calculated 8.45:1 dynamic ratio. You can download a DCR calculator from the Internet, but the Keith Black Silvolite Piston site has a good one to play with (see sources).
The formula for getting the right combination of SCR and cam profile starts with selecting the cam. First, pick the maximum rpm range you need. If it's over 5,000 rpm, decide how much low-end torque you are willing to sacrifice. Seldom do 'wheelers need more than 5,000 rpm, and here's a clue: The short-rod stroker is happier below that. The cam manufacturer will usually list a maximum SCR at which the cam works best. You can double-check them by using a DCR calculator. The next step is for you to determine what parts will give you the right SCR to match. If you can't find the right mix of parts for the job, the easiest route is usually a longer-duration cam.
The elements that make the SCR on a stroker 4.0L are the cylinder-head combustion chamber, deck height, piston dish volume, and head gasket compressed height (see page 76). All of these are changeable, with varying degrees of difficulty, to build an SCR compatible with the cam profile and desired DCR.
You can grind out material from each combustion chamber to increase the head volume but you must be able to measure that volume via the procedure called "cc-ing" and make each combustion chamber the same volume. Ditto for the piston dish, which varies by aftermarket manufacturer, but which can be ground out slightly to increase its volume. See the sidebar below for some common piston dish specifications.