Power handling of LS/VTEC stock rods

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I have an LS/VTEC engine with stock LS rods, rod bolts and PR3 pistons.
I would like to rev to about 9000 rpm and build in excess of 185 HP.

I am planning on upgrading to ARP rod bolts and ARP Head studs.

I am contemplating upgrading to Eagle rods as well, but funds are scarce so I won't do it unless I have to.

I was wondering at what point would it be advisable to upgrade the rods (RPM and HP levels being used as my reference) ???



Aftermarket cams like Crower or Skunk2 Stage 2s, new retainers & springs will be needed. I'd just go completely aftermarket rods and pistons. To get the most out of a 9000 rpm ls/vtec build go ahead and bump your compression up to 12-13:1.
Which pistons would get me you recommend ?
I currently have about 11.5:1 compression ratio. Isn't that adequate ?

Funds a little depleted right now !



Since you're on a budget, stick to the pistons and rods you have right now. If you're able to open up the block again, have your rods shot-peened at a machine shop, then get some ARP bolts pressed into your rods. That will help you handle the higher revs a little better. Get a set of nice aftermarket cams that will work well with your 11.5:1 compression. The cams in the previous post are good choices, but you can go even more aggressive if you really want to.

Don't worry about taking your compression up any more unless you really want to spend the money. You can make your power goal very easily at 11.5:1, and you can always run more aggressive timing to make up for some of the power you're not getting from the bigger aftermarket pistons. One advantage that you WILL miss out on is pistons with significantly less mass compared to OEM, but it won't be a problem for your goals.

By the way, there's no need to rev to 9000 to get to your desired power- just tune everything well, and I'll bet you'll cap it at 8500 or so.