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Old 11-05-2012, 07:26 PM
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Can I use a roller cam???

Ok guys I am wondering if I can use a roller cam in my sbc350. It is not a roller block(3930010). Can I use roller lifters. I have never messed with roller applications before. Only Flat tappet.

Thanks guys

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Old 11-05-2012, 07:37 PM
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as long as you set it up properly there should be no issue.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:41 PM
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You need:
  • retro roller cam
  • correct springs for the cam
  • retro roller lifters (linked bars, different than OEM rollers)
  • (shorter) pushrods (hardened)
  • distributor gear
  • hardened fuel pump rod
  • thrust button
  • correct timing cover for use with thrust button or reinforce the old timing cover

You are looking to spend around $1,500. You are better off getting a factory roller block. The cool thing about roller blocks is that the cam snout has a stepped nose on the front that mates to a retaining plate to keep the cam from moving forward. This is a lot easier and straight forward to deal with than a cam button (which is an aftermarket doo-dad). Also the OEM roller tappets are much cheaper.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:47 PM
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Yep. I just put a solid roller in my sbc355 (non roller block) All you need is to get the right lifters. They will have a tie bar between them to keep them from spinning in the bore. You will also need a cam button. This keeps the cam from walking forward. You will also need a reinforced timing cover. You can buy a fancy one that allows you to set end play if you want. I just used a stock cover "bent" it until i had the right clearance and the made a bracket that bolted to the back of the water pump and rested agaisnt the cover like a stop.

Hope this helps
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allansmith859 View Post
Ok guys I am wondering if I can use a roller cam in my sbc350. It is not a roller block(3930010). Can I use roller lifters. I have never messed with roller applications before. Only Flat tappet.

Thanks guys
There are actually two ways you can go about running a roller cam & lifters in that block.

The first way is to set it up with what is called a 'retro' roller lifters. These lifters are expensive. This uses lifters that are linked together so they cannot rotate and tear up the cam lobes. The camshaft itself is held in position using a cam button on the front. A factory or aftermarket retro hydraulic roller cam can be used w/retro lifters.

The second way is to fit the older style block you have w/the newer ('86-up) hydraulic roller cam, lifters, spider and dogbones (shown below). The factory hydraulic cam uses a cut down thrust/retainer plate originally used on the factory roller block as a spacer, along w/a cam button to set the end play. The spider is retained by drilling and tapping the lifter oil gallery for the retainer bolts and taller factory hydraulic roller lifters from a GM 2.2L, 3.1L or 3.4L are used along w/pushrods about 7.5" long as a starting point to set the geometry.

There have been kits sold on eBay that include the parts and instructions on doing this, as well as info on this on the web- including this forum. One example: Retrofit Roller Lifters.

Factory hydraulic roller lifters are cheap, but heavy. In cases where a radical cam is being used, these lifters leave a lot to be desired.


Last edited by cobalt327; 11-05-2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:10 PM
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Sound like alot of work and money to me. Can I just use roller lifters and rockers with a Hydraulic flat tappet cam
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allansmith859 View Post
Sound like alot of work and money to me. Can I just use roller lifters and rockers with a Hydraulic flat tappet cam
NO way!
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allansmith859 View Post
Sound like alot of work and money to me. Can I just use roller lifters and rockers with a Hydraulic flat tappet cam
Roller rockers, yes. Roller lifters on a flat tappet cam? Now what do YOU think?
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:48 AM
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I dont know thats why Im asking. I just told you all I have never messed with roller applications. Thats why I started this thread so I could learn. Also whats up with Hydraulic rollers, mechanical roller. Isnt there just a roller cam and a Flat Tappet cam.

Thanks guys

Last edited by allansmith859; 11-06-2012 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:38 AM
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Yeah with the OEM set-up I wouldn't go beyond 5,500 and 5,000 is a safer bet.Comp Cams used to have a note with their cam listings and a part number for a fix for the limits of the stock lifters/dogbones.But even then it was only a gain of 500 RPM to 6,000. Retro fits can run from $350 to $650 depending on what you get.Crower has some really nice stuff for that.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:39 AM
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block ID# 14093638.

Is this a roller block thats in my 94 c1500

Last edited by allansmith859; 11-06-2012 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allansmith859 View Post
Why cant you use roller lifters on a flat tappet cam
yeah
i dont know either.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:47 AM
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Aflat tappet cam is ground different. In other words, the lobe ramp is different. Mainly the ramp is ground at an angle so the lifters rotate in the bore. A roller cam is ground flat, and also a steeper ramp to open the valve faster. Each is designed different. Also there are hydraulic and solid rollers as well as hydraulic and solid flat tappet lifters. Dont try and reengineer things, get the proper set up for what you want to do.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:53 AM
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Roller camshafts are designed with more aggressive cam lobe profiles because it takes a roller lifter to follow those type cam lobes, however, roller camshafts require higher valve spring loads due to the aggressive lobes and extra weight of the roller lifters. . If the valve springs are stock and are too light, valve float will become distressingly apparent, even below 4,000 RPM. If the valve spring is too weak, the roller lifter will "loft" when leaving the nose of an aggressive cam lobe, then the lifter fills with air and holds the valve open with loss of compression and power.

Roller lifter and spring loads for high performance street engines:

Max. .480" valve lift.....110 lb. seat / 300 lb. open, GM-17120090 (ACDelco HL-120) or Comp Cams 850 lifters, 4,000 RPM, roller tip rocker arms.

Max. .525" valve lift.....145 lb. seat / 360 lb. open, GM 12499225, Comp Cams 875 or 15850 short travel lifters*, 6,000 RPM, full roller rocker arms, chromemoly push rods.

Max. 560" valve lift.....160 lb. seat / 400 lb. open, Comp Cams 875 or 15850 short travel lifters*, 8,000 RPM, full roller rocker arms, chromemoly push rods.

*Short travel lifters can be used on any roller camshaft but may not be necessary. Short travel lifters set at .004" pre load. Those lifters cannot pump up and float the valves at excessive RPM because the push rod seat has nowhere to pump up to. You can easily over rev the engine and kick a rod out with short travel lifters. OE or aftermarket stock lifters with .060" pre load act as a rev-limiter.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:00 AM
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Flat tappet cams are ok. Still biggest power cams are from flat not roller applications. Thank NASCAR for that one. They use solid flat tappet.

Roller retrofit is the only way to go and its costly. Also need new springs and maybe head machine work for larger cams. No point to go roller for low lift cam.

Roller cams are hardened steel, hyd. cams are cast iron. Rollers on a cast cam will trash the cam in minutes.

The other idea of drilling your oil gallies for the factory dog bones. Is not a soultion. Looks good on the net but when the blocks are setting next to each other it does not look likes its going to work. I would not worry about the rpm limits thats mostly BS anyway to help sell lifters you dont need to buy. I have recently had the blocks setting next to each other and it was for my car figured why not go roller. But i was not going to drill the oil galley and loose a bolt into the rods and loose oil pressure at the same time if it fell out. Which it surely will if you run the engine for any length of time. Since its only going to be a few threads holding it in place. i thought about welding a threaded stand off to the lifter valley. But welding cast iron that has been soaking in oil for 20 years is not that simple either. So gave up and went flat tappet. I have a roller block I am building for a big roller cam. Also have not seen solid lifters for factory style dogbones. So it will probably get tie bar retrofit lifters anyway.
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