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Solid vrs roller cam on a street motor

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Solid vrs roller cam on a street motor

Postby crazycuda » Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:36 am

Im not trying to start a debate on which is better but I am trying to understand a little better when it comes to parts wearout.
I have noticed on most solid roller cams (BBC and ford) alot of locals are changing out the lifters on a yearly basis because the roller pinions are wearing out. Yet the hyd rollers last many miles. I know lift and valve spring pressures play a big part, but is a solid roller on the street really worth the extra power over a reg solid lifter cam? (pending the cam and motor are matched) I understand the quality of the roller lifter plays a part on its longevity. In all reality though how many co's make solid roller lifters?
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Postby blykins » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:45 am

There will be differing opinions, but I would use a solid roller for a weekend toy and no more. Like you mentioned, people are having to change the lifters yearly. The introduction of pressure fed lifters has increased the lifter life here in the past few years but it is still recommended that they be checked once a year or so.

Comp Cams has their Endure-X line of pressure fed lifters. I think Isky and Crower make some high quality solid roller lifters as well.

I think the reason that hydraulic rollers last so long is that they are not continually hammered against the cam like a solid roller lifter is.

If I were forced to use a solid cam, I would choose a roller cam just for ease of break-in. I've also heard the friction loss is good for some extra ponies as well.
Last edited by blykins on Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby F1Fever » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:47 am

I agree. I also wonder why somebody hasn't make a tight lash (and I mean tight!, like .006") solid roller for the street?
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Postby cstraub » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:48 am

The pressure fed lifters like Morel, Isky, and Crower will "cushion" the needles durning low rpm idle time in a street engine. The lack of oil splash at this rpm is the killer to lifters..
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Postby Tod74 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:22 am

F1Fever wrote:I agree. I also wonder why somebody hasn't make a tight lash (and I mean tight!, like .006") solid roller for the street?



I had a lifter fail in a BBC and broke the block. It was a comp cams roller and the recomended lash was .028 and .030 so that is what I ran..I thought that was too loose but figured the cam company knows more than me ..well now I am paranoid .My new engine has a Crane grind and the cam card said .026 and .028..but to be safe I set them at .017. My question is...will this hurt anything? I used to think that the recomended lash was just whatever made the best power on the dyno...but since reading this board the last few months,I gather from the posts here,that the lobes on the cam are designed for a certain lash....that it isn't just a tuning thing.So, what effect(other than making the engine think it has more cam) will running a considerable amount less lash than recomended have?
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Postby cstraub » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:24 am

Tod74,
In your case I would call GS Products. Glenn Steyers was a 22 yr veteran of Crane and can tell you what you can and can not do with the Crane lobes you have. His number is 717 838 4767. Tell him Chris Straub referred you.
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Postby blykins » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:25 am

I don't necessarily think that the lifter failure was due to your lash setting. What part on the lifter broke? The body or the bearing end?
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Postby CamKing » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:39 am

Tod74 wrote: I had a lifter fail in a BBC and broke the block. It was a comp cams roller and the recomended lash was .028 and .030 so that is what I ran..I thought that was too loose but figured the cam company knows more than me ..well now I am paranoid .My new engine has a Crane grind and the cam card said .026 and .028..but to be safe I set them at .017. My question is...will this hurt anything? I used to think that the recomended lash was just whatever made the best power on the dyno...but since reading this board the last few months,I gather from the posts here,that the lobes on the cam are designed for a certain lash....that it isn't just a tuning thing.So, what effect(other than making the engine think it has more cam) will running a considerable amount less lash than recomended have?

It depends on how the clearence ramp was designed. It'll either have no effect on valvetrain stability, or it'll help. It won't hurt anything but performance.

It's not the tightness of the lash, it's the velocity of the cam at that point that dictates how hard the lifter hits the cam. You can have a cam designed for a looser lash that has less velocity at the lash point then a cam designed for a tight lash.
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Re: Solid vrs roller cam on a street motor

Postby CamKing » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:58 am

crazycuda wrote: I have noticed on most solid roller cams (BBC and ford) alot of locals are changing out the lifters on a yearly basis because the roller pinions are wearing out.

If you go to a roller lifter with pressure oiling to the needle bearings, you triple the life of the standard rollers. Morel, Crower, Isky, and I think Comp all offer this type of lifter. We sell the Morels, which can be rebuilt for 1/2 the price of new ones.
The other thing you need to think about is, if you're going to go to a high lift, aggresive flat tappet cam to try and get the power close to that of a roller, it won't last long either. 24,000 miles is a lot for an aggressive flat tappet cam.
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Postby F1Fever » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:03 pm

Camking, how hard would it be to develop a tight lash solid roller? It seems like an initial ramp similar to a hyd roller would work with only a small decrease in performance and there would be a large demand for a cam like this. Is this practical or am I overlooking something in my line of thinking?
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Re: Solid vrs roller cam on a street motor

Postby crazycuda » Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:06 pm

CamKing wrote:
crazycuda wrote: I have noticed on most solid roller cams (BBC and ford) alot of locals are changing out the lifters on a yearly basis because the roller pinions are wearing out.

If you go to a roller lifter with pressure oiling to the needle bearings, you triple the life of the standard rollers. Morel, Crower, Isky, and I think Comp all offer this type of lifter. We sell the Morels, which can be rebuilt for 1/2 the price of new ones.
The other thing you need to think about is, if you're going to go to a high lift, aggresive flat tappet cam to try and get the power close to that of a roller, it won't last long either. 24,000 miles is a lot for an aggressive flat tappet cam.


Just adding to not arguing. Using $ as a factor the typ solid roller lifter set costs 300+ for a bbc. A solid lifter cam +lifter kit averages the same price. I think most people (on a street toy) would put 24k on a motor over a 3 year period.
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Re: Solid vrs roller cam on a street motor

Postby CamKing » Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:08 pm

crazycuda wrote: Using $ as a factor the typ solid roller lifter set costs 300+ for a bbc.

Good mechanical Roller lifters with pressure oiling will cost around $500.

Flat tappet is cheaper, but you won't make the same power.
It's all up to the user. Is 40 extra HP worth $400-600?
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Postby AdioSS » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:16 pm

cstraub wrote:The pressure fed lifters like Morel, Isky, and Crower will "cushion" the needles durning low rpm idle time in a street engine. The lack of oil splash at this rpm is the killer to lifters..

How come hundred of millions of hydraulic roller lifters that never see 4000 RPM live for years and years?

Could part of the problem be that when an engine builder builds a solid roller engine, they usually cut down oil flow to the lifters?

Is it all the oil routing inside the lifters?
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Postby blykins » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:25 pm

I'm definitely not an expert in roller lifters, but could it be that the solid roller lifters are continually hammering the cam....and that tied with decreased oil splash at low rpm kill the bearings?

The hydraulic roller lifters may not be bathed in an oil bath all the time, but they have a lot softer ride without being shocked.

Also, is some of the oil from inside the lifter routed to the bearing end? That would be fed by oil pressure through the lifter galley, right?
Last edited by blykins on Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby CamKing » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:26 pm

AdioSS wrote:
cstraub wrote:The pressure fed lifters like Morel, Isky, and Crower will "cushion" the needles durning low rpm idle time in a street engine. The lack of oil splash at this rpm is the killer to lifters..

How come hundred of millions of hydraulic roller lifters that never see 4000 RPM live for years and years?

Could part of the problem be that when an engine builder builds a solid roller engine, they usually cut down oil flow to the lifters?

Is it all the oil routing inside the lifters?

The hydraulic roller cams don't run as much spring pressure, and don't have as high of an acceleration rate.

Hydraulic rollers are starting to have problem though. In the marine industry, they're having problems with hydraulic roller lifters showing excessive wear. The problems started showing up when the oil companies started taking the zinc out of their oil. Marine engines spend a lot of time idling around with very little splash oil getting to the lifter rollers.
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