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Old 11-10-2005, 08:50 PM
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Flat tappet VS. Roller cam

Im about to go threw my engine(SBC 388) and want to make some up grades while doing it. Question is : Is a retro fit hydraulic roller cam worth the extra money over a flat tappet, how much power gain could be expected? I priced a couple kits that includes everything to install it, cam, lifters, springs etc. Including installing the springs, tax and shipping, im looking at around 800.00 or $900.00. Are they worth it? Would anyone think a solid roller is a bad idea for a street car? its about 160.00 less. Thanks guys
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:38 PM
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This is a loaded question, as many things enter into the decision making process.

From a pure 'Dollar and Cents' point of view, personally, I'd go with a Flat-tappet.
Yes, roller camshaft profiles can and will produce smoother torque profiles, and slighty higher overall HP, but on a street / strip car, I'm not really convinced that it's worth all of the extra coin.
One draw back to solid-roller-cam-profiles on street engines, is there is a tendency of roller-lifter failure.
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Old 11-11-2005, 06:52 AM
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I run a solid roller in my so called "street car". I do check rollers very often as well as valve springs. It can get $$$$ as you can't cheap out on parts.

I can share more if you are really interested.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:05 AM
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I don`t run flat tappet cams anymore, I`ve never had a break in issue with flat tappets, I like a roller since they do everything better, but I also start out with blocks that came with roller cams from the factory so it doesn`t cost as much as retro fitting does.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:18 AM
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I just started running roller cams last year, I'll never go back to flat tappets.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:22 AM
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How are you making that 388?
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Old 11-11-2005, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainsboy
I just started running roller cams last year, I'll never go back to flat tappets.
same here, but i run a .620 soild roller in my street car, use a good set of stud gridles and it nevers moves, in my opioin yes it's worth the cost , but i like the power they make, and it make the motor rev faster and harders which makes the car faster, but they do cost lots of money
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Old 11-11-2005, 04:44 PM
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Hey there (67 Deuce 4 Me) All i can tell you is im glad i invested in my Retro-Fit Comp roller set up for my 76 350sbc, because there was no problems with letting the motor just idle after its first start up. The one i went with is the EX270HR, and a set of beehive springs to go on top of a set of S/R torquer heads. And the nice thing about a roller set up is, the motor can sit a week or two or three, with out worry of the whare on the lobes when you start it back up again.
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Old 11-11-2005, 05:19 PM
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Without quoting all the fellas above, let me just say I too have gone retro-roller and will never go back. Unlike DV, I have had a few problems. While it may have been my fault, I don't know and will never know. Regardless, like Streetmaster said, it is gives you a sense of calm firing up a new engine for the first time and just let it idle, taking your time to set timing, etc.

Remember, if you wipe a cam, you should have the block disassembled, throughly cleaned, and rebuilt with new bearings, etc. That fact alone and having to replace the cam makes the initial investment minor (if you have a problem).

If you go retro-roller, stick with hydraulic and invest in a good timing chain cover like Comps P/N 210. It is like $220 at Summit and Jegs. However, CVR makes one that is a knock-off and it costs $180 at Doug Herbert Performance. Here is a link to the catalog page (but no picture)





It makes setting endplay a breeze and the cover will not flex as the button contacts the cover. I like Comp's nylon button in lieu of a roller button, P/N 202 for $8. You set end play by sanding the wider end.

Good luck, Ed www.edgesz28.com
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:33 PM
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"How are you making that 388?"....... stroked 350 .060 over bore (like a 383).............Thanks for the input guys! Sounds like roller is the way to go. Was thinking of using a set up from Doug Herbert few $ cheaper, Any thoughts on this?
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67 Deuce 4 Me
Sounds like roller is the way to go. Was thinking of using a set up from Doug Herbert few $ cheaper, Any thoughts on this?
I have heard good things about Doug Herbert cams and valvetrain equipment, but do not have any personal experience. Be sure to check out http://www.howardscams.com/

For my 385 (.040 over), I run Edelbrock's #2201 Performer RPM retro-hyd roller cam. I use Howards lifters and Trick Flow #21407300 5/16 in., 7.300 in. length chromemoly pushrods. You can see my entire setup here: http://www.edgesz28.com/edgesz28/engine.htm

Howards Cams is cost effective and I have heard good things about them from some "old timers" on a few other boards. The lifters were like $300 when I got them about 1 1/2 years ago. The cam is only $220 (see it here) It does not need a special distributor gear.

That is a very good cam, especially in a 383. It idles great and makes good power. Check out my home page (www.edgesz28.com) and watch the videos for some sounds. Howards has a retro hyd roller very similar to the RPM both in size and price.

Good luck, Ed
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:25 PM
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I wiped out a flat tappet cam. After 20 miles on the new engine, I detonated two cylinders. Turned two rod bearings. Scored the crank. All toll, $2000.00 damage. A roller cam costs half that. I no longer use flat tappet cams.
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Old 11-12-2005, 05:32 AM
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Roller cam= faster valve open/close cause it can handle much sharper side slopes on the cam = more precise timing = "some" more HP/TQ

yeah, better than flat tappet definitely but still alot more bucks for 5-10 (?) more HP/TQ!

spend the $900 on a good set of heads
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Old 11-12-2005, 11:18 AM
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I have been researching the use of retrofit roller cams on the street, and the many failures (from people that I know of) of them. Initially, it was thought that it was due to the extreme spring pressures and aggressive ramp profiles/lift. I read in Engine Masters that, the actual reason for the failure was due to the lack of oil on the cam/lifters at low rpm. This would cause excessive heat on the roller and needle bearings, causing their failure. Comp Cams figured that out, and their newer EndureX solid roller lifters have the groove cut in the body to allow oil down on the roller. THey also have a tool, that will cut a groove in the lifter bore, to do the same thing, in the event you don't want to go with their rollers. It makes sense. ??? Does stock roller blocks have this oiling capability or these issues? I have only experience with flat tappets, and will be going through my engine in Jan., considering going roller on this new build.

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Old 11-12-2005, 01:07 PM
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I honestly think of the flat tappet cams I`ve broken in and not had a problem, I will say the last one that I`m still running I think I was just lucky.
When I was breaking it in I had to shut it down 3 times, and start over, I was reusing lifters that I`d resurfaced also, at the time money was tight and I had to save a buck anywhere I could. I`m not putting down flat tappet cams any, there`s no doubt they work, I just perfer the benefits of a roller, lower resistance and etc. I dunno when or if ever I`ll use a flat tappet again, but I`ve got plenty of flat tappet blocks, maybe I`ll find a stock usage for them one day.
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