When the first Big Block Chevy made it’s debut in 1963 at the Daytona 500, it was referred to as
the "mystery motor". Now, over 40 years later, it has been used in so many different applications
that it would be impossible to list them all. Described below are some of the most common
characteristics of the big block Chevy, in order to help you to arrive at the proper piston selection.
To determine piston compatibility most big block Chevrolet cylinder heads can be divided into two
categories; closed chamber and open chamber. The closed chamber head was originally used on
the 396 and 427 engines and has a restricted combustion chamber area. All JE flat top and
inverted dome pistons will work with most closed chamber heads. JE has a selection of closed
chamber domed pistons available as shelf stock. The open chamber style head
was introduced on the LS6 and LS7 454 engines and features an average combustion chamber
size of 118cc. All JE Big Block Chevy dome shelf pistons may be used with most open
chamber cylinder heads. Exceptions are Edelbrock cylinder head numbers #6040, #6045 and
#6055, all of which require custom pistons.
Other cylinder heads, such as those with the popular 18º valve angles, require special order
pistons unless a specific catalog piston has been designed for them. REMEMBER, always check
piston to cylinder head ...