The roller cam thrust button on a flat tappet is something I haven't heard of before. It certainly couldn't hurt. Also, I've heard talk of "hard faced" flat tappet lifters but never seen any specified as such. I've wondered if the lifters I've seen with a different material around the foot of lifter were "hard faced". If I knew they would make a difference and which ones to buy, I might just stay with the flat tappet for simplicity and to not sink more into this particular engine. I've been using the Lunati "micro trol" lifters because they had the snap ring retaining the plunger and I've had issues with the cheap wire ring style lifters coming apart. The remainder of the current valve train on the engine consists of the the valves and springs, etc that came with the Performer RPM heads. Rocker arm studs are the stock 3/8" ers that Edelbrock installed along with the Edelbrock guide plates. Comp Magnum pushrods and Comp roller tip cast rockers(I know, not ideal).What is the valve train? High lift cams need a better that average supporting cast that includes for flat tappet cams the use of hard face lifters, sturdy pushrods, 7/16th studs with for aluminum head’s must have a 3/4 inch long bottom thread to grab as much of the head threads as possible when they project into the port the length is correct, probably even 7/16th studs need a girdle. Getting into these high lift flat tappet cams with fast lobes using a roller can thrust bumper is a damn good idea it greatly relieves the lifter interface from having to also manage the thrust moments that high lifts and high spring pressures engender. This thrust problem is also enhanced by running roller or gear driven timing sets. These remove a flex absorption point that a link belt style timing chain provides at the cost of a short life but the crankshaft has its vibratory modes as does the cam unlike a turbine which at least in theory has a smooth rotation the piston engine is introducing discontinuous rotation moments on the crankshaft and does a similar thing on the camshaft albeit for differing reasons but the result is a shaky motion on both shafts that meet at the timing set. If the timing set pretty rigid as dictated by the need to keep the timing in a tight circle of error probability but the downside is a whole lot of shaking goin-on between these shafts. This tends to tear up lifters and lobes pretty fast. This might grab you where you’re not expecting it but street driving is much more severe than racing in this regard because at lower RPM the forces are present over longer time periods. But transferring this to high levels of competition builds over the years you see top top end competition builders try to deal with this by the use of thrust buttons on flat tappet cams often using silent link chain drives with frequent replacement or belt drives and the really radical flat tappet guys go to Chrysler (.904) or Ford larger (.875) diameter lifters which wear better than the Chevy .842 and a matching contour cam lobe. Another thing is keeping track of the lifter bore diameter and clearance. The lifter bore wears in an egg shape and clearance between lifter and bore should be .0015 to .0021 inch. The question here is how many guys actually measure these things? The lifter’s motion is much more complicated that just up and down abs round and round in its bore, there are substantial lateral loads that push the lifter pretty hard against its bore wall in a motion that would like to bind it across to bore diameter.
So the message I’m trying to put through is on the Chevy and GM engines in particular that use the .842 dia lifter are subject to motions that want to restrict vertical motion, that the lifter has a lot to do in order to maintain lateral thrust control of the vibrating and rotating cam. The Chevrolet in particular snd GM in general is one of few if not the only company that doesn’t use a thrust plate on flat tappet engines. And Chevrolet SBC’s in particular suffer abnormal cam and lifter wear some of that can be directed at the smallish root diameter of the cam as well, but that rather than an excuse is another reason to beef up the thrust control efforts on these engines even with flat tappets. Now there’s a thought for the aftermarket to make a flat tappet cam for Gen1 roller blocks using the thrust plate and the OEM roller cam timing set. This would be pretty simple mod to standard flat tappet blanks by just machining the thrust step on the nose and drilling the roller timing set bolt holes.
I realize a bunch of that will have to change for the roller. I planned on the appropriate springs(I have the tool to check installed height now) along with Scorpian roller rockers and the appropriate length pushrods, cam button, better timing cover, etc.