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Racing a 602 GM Crate Engine


The 602 crate engine has been around for quite a few years now and has truly impacted the racing world. The idea of the crate engine was to give racers another option that was cheap, competitive, and easy to tech. I feel this was accomplished for the most part. Some will argue they are an expensive option, but I would argue that they don’t have to be.

When you buy a new GM 602 crate engine it will require a few parts to make it a race ready engine. This engine will require an Oil Filter Adapter and Fuel Pump Push Rod. You will also need a Fuel Pump Mounting Plate because this engine comes with a fuel pump block off plate that could be used if you are utilizing a belt driven fuel pump. The only other items you will need to get your engine ready to drop in the car are an oil filter, spark plugs, and spark plug wires.

We have found over the years that there are a few different items that can produce more horsepower in the 602 crate engine. One thing that can add power is the Brisk NGK Spark Plugs, they give you a hot spark with less tendency to misfire. Plug wires will also be needed for your new 602 crate engine. Speedway Motors has many options here and I would recommend running a standard MSD Plug Wire. There are also a few other quality options available through Moroso, Scott, Taylor, and Accel.

When it comes to the crate motors headers are a big part of the performance since they play a large role in the amount of torque they put out. The 602 crate motor likes small primaries at 1 5/8” with a collector size of no larger than 3 inches. Long tube headers are also recommended as they will increase the backpressure and ultimately the torque of the engine. Some racers will even install reducers or mufflers to their long tube headers to take this effect even further.

If you are a first time buyer of the crate engine you’re probably wondering what different parts you will need. Going from a standard 350 Chevy claimer engine headers in most cases will be the same. The main difference is the rear crank hub. The 602 crate engine has a one piece rear main seal with a smaller crank hub of 2” and would utilize Flex Plate. This is because the block is one of the newer externally balanced engines that were built 86-up. Not only will the flex plate need to be different, but the same goes for your clutch button flywheel or your flywheel depending on your application.

Speedway Motors offers multiple different part numbers for the GM 602 crate engine. We have the GM Sealed 602 Crate Engine that will only have the GM seal bolts. This engine would be a good option for those that race in unsanctioned events where additional seals are not required. Then there is the Dyno Tested GM 602 Crate Engine, which is the same engine as the previous, except it has to be dyno tested and broken in.

For IMCA racing application we offer the IMCA Sealed 602 Engine, which has both the GM seal bolts and IMCA cable seals. The next part number that we offer is the dyno tested IMCA Sealed 602 Crate Engine, this is another option for IMCA racers. The final part number that we offer is going to be the Dressed IMCA Sealed GM 602 Crate Engine. It includes GM seals, IMCA seals, Moroso Ultra 40 racing plug wires, and Brisk premium spark plugs.

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