454 Tall Deck LS Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

454 Tall Deck LS Engine

Adam Wik knew he was a motorhead at an early age. Auto shop was favored over playing sports and attending races ultimately led to him selling his belongings to open up Wiks Racing Engines. Off-road and endurance engines are the shop's specialty, like this 454 Tall Deck LS engine for the Baja 500. Click to find out the full details.

If you ask Adam Wik how he got into this industry, he’ll tell you that he always had a love of cars and engines – he is a motorhead, if you will. In high school, he favored auto shop over sports and got into racecars early on. The hook was already set, but after attending an off-road race he knew an engine shop would be his calling.

“At that point, I came back and sold off all my racecars and anything I had to open an engine shop,” says Wik, who owns Wiks Racing Engines in Las Vegas. “We started off with four cylinder, air-cooled VWs and Porsches and just progressed into a variety of motors from big block and small block Chevys and Fords to inline four cylinder, Ecotec stuff. We do air-cooled motors still – we’re pretty versatile and don’t do just one basic package. We do a little bit of everything, but LS engines are our biggest market right now.”

Wiks Racing Engines started in 1992 in southern California. Adam moved the shop to Las Vegas in 2001. Wiks is a full machine shop featuring honing machines, a seat and guide machine, a Super Flow dyno and chassis dyno, mills, lathes and Tig welders, and generally has three to five full-time employees depending on workload.

“Our main deal is the off-road racing applications and endurance-based engines, however, from way back I’ve always been a drag race guy and we are starting to tap into a little bit more of the drag race and big block stuff,” Wik says. “In the next couple of years that’s another market we’re going to try and hit hard and heavy.

Sticking with the shop’s off-road focus today, Wiks recently finished up a new 454 tall deck LS race motor that’s going to debut in Mexico at the 50th Baja 500 in a Class 1 car.

“This engine is a nice package,” he says. “It’s a LS motor that’s 454 cubic inches. It’s a tall deck RHS block. We chose the All Pro cylinder head package. The engine has MoTec fuel injection. This motor also has a Sonny Bryant crankshaft, a Dailey oil pan – all dry sump five stages. The compression ratio is 12.5:1.”

A unique thing about this engine, since the off-road world doesn’t require high rpms, is the engine is limited to about 7,200 rpm. Wiks also built this engine around a hydraulic roller system.

“We’ll see how it holds up,” he says. “Most guys don’t do that and we chose to go this route to begin with maintenance wise and cost effective wise in the long run. As soon as you go solid roller you start talking huge expense, so we thought we’re going to do something a little bit different and out-of-the-box, again because we really don’t rev the off-road packages much over 7,000 rpm. With the LS motor we’ve had no problems with that in a hydraulic base package.”

The block Wik used came from RHS, which the shop had to finish hone and mainline deck. The cylinder head package came from All Pro, and aside from disassembling the heads, not much other head work needed to be done.

“The cylinder head package from All Pro basically came ready to bolt on,” Wik says. “They were really good to work with because we told them what we wanted cc chamber wise and they hit it on the number, and those are close to off the shelf from them. Everything was exactly what they said it would be. We did a final clean on them, assembled them and went from there.

“We had to do a little bit of work in the front area [of the engine]. We used a RCD gear drive system on it, which is pretty standard on a tall deck application.”

The 454 LS also features Manley I-beam Pro series rods, JE flat top pistons, a Total Seal ring package, a Sonny Bryant crankshaft that’s 4.250˝ stroke by 4.125˝ bore, an Accufab throttle body, COMP Cams camshaft, Isky lifters, Cometic gaskets throughout, Calico coated bearings, ARP studs, Jesel rockers, a Manley valve train, and a MoTec M130 fuel injection system.

On the dyno, Wik says the 454 LS pumped out 760 horsepower and made about 650 lb.-ft. of torque. Now that it’s all finished up, this engine is off to Mexico for the June 2nd Baja 500, and will be run inside a JIMCO Racing Products Class 1 car for Wilson Motorsports.

This is a similar car to what will run at this year’s Baja 500.

The Engine of the Week eNewsletter is sponsored by Cometic Gasket.

If you have an engine you would like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder magazine’s managing editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Ford 2.3L Duratec Engine

Poteat’s Engine Rebuilding is a shop that doesn’t shy away from any kind of engine work – gas or diesel. When a customer asked to have a Ford 2.3L Duratec short block built, the answer was an easy yes. Check out this stout little four cylinder!

Home to many, many engine shops, our trip to Charlotte, NC earlier this year was filled with visits to all sorts of different engine building establishments. One of those unique shop visits took us to Kannapolis, NC to check out Poteat’s Engine Rebuilding.

Ford's 2.3L Duratec engine. Poteat's Engine Rebuilding built a short block for a customer.

Supercharged 4.900” Bore Space Hemi Engine

Building upon its 4.800″ bore space Hemi engine platform, Noonan Race Engineering made improvements to its 4.900″ bore space Hemi engine to the point that its now one of the engine shop’s bread and butter builds. Don’t let that fool you – this engine is packed with unique features and the performance to back it all up. Check it out.

5.3L LS Engine

Tony Paladino’s shop, Concord Engines, has been serving the Kannapolis, NC area with engine rebuilding and machining services since 2014. One engine platform they specialize in is the LS, and it is offered in three different power levels and configurations. Check it out!.

731 cid Outlaw 4.840 Bore Space Nitrous Engine

When it comes to building a 4.840″ bore space engine for drag racing, the class is limited on deck height and limited on bore space, but anything else pretty much goes. Pat Musi of Pat Musi Racing Engines recently finished development on his state-of-the-art 4.840 engine platform, and this 731 cid nitrous combo is freaking awesome!

632 cid Big Block Chevy Nitrous Engine

With a storied race history of his own, Sandy Wilkins has taken his passion for cars and engines and turned it into his life. From race teams to Roush Yates Performance to opening Wilkins Racing Engines, he knows how to build high-horsepower engines like this 632 cubic inch big block Chevy nitrous engine for No Prep drag racing. Check it out!

Other Posts

Engine Builder Magazine Announces 2023 Engine of the Year Winner

Engine Builder magazine has announced its annual Engine of the Year winner for 2023 – a Twin-Turbo 5.0L Coyote engine – built by Joe Irwin of Fast Forward Race Engines in New Port Richey, FL. Joe Irwin and his team accepted the award at Engine Builder’s PRI Party, sponsored by The ArmaKleen Company and Safety-Kleen,

Noonan’s 4.8 Bore Space Billet Hemi Engine

Known for their Hemi engine platform, Noonan Race Engineering has been perfecting its 4.8 bore space Hemi offering for quite sometime. This version, which we saw during a visit to the Spartanburg, SC-based engine and machine shop, features a water block and will have twin turbos. It’s our Engine of the Week! Related Articles –

Pat Musi 632 cid Big Block Chevy Nitrous Engine

We couldn’t only highlight one engine while visiting Pat Musi and Musi Racing Engines earlier this summer in Mooresville, NC. This is one of Musi’s tried and proven 632 nitrous combinations for drag racing applications. It’s our Engine of the Week! Related Articles – Warren Diesel Injection’s New 6.0L Powerstroke Race Engine – Is Lower

Wilkins Racing Engines’ 347 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

Stopping into Wilkins Racing Engines in Mooresville, NC was one of our favorite stops during our Charlotte trip earlier in 2023. Owner Sandy Wilkins showed us around his machine shop and gave us the details of a few engine builds like this Comp Eliminator 347 cid small block Chevy. It’s our Engine of the Week!