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Roller Cam in a DD/Mild Wheeler

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Swanson52, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. Swanson52

    Swanson52 1/2 ton status

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    I am getting ready to rebuild the engine for my daily driver, and here is what the rest of the truck will look like; 700R4, 208, 12b and d44 with 4.56 gears, 35" BFG mAll Terrains. The engine I am rebuilding is a 1992 350 out of a GMC pickup. I have gotten rid of the TBI in favor of a Camaro TPI setup. I will drive this rig roughly 40-50 miles per day, some in town, mostly highway. It will be a mild weekend wheeler (have some 33" SX's for the weekend /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif ) consisting of mud and minimal crawling. Now the question; will I realize enough performance and economy from a roller valvetrain to justify the expense? Longevity and reliability is a key, yet efficency and some power are desireable. Roller valvetrains are not cheap, I am aware, thus the predicament of wether to go roller for a rig this mild or not?
     
  2. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Does the '92 engine already have a factory roller cam? If so, then all you need is a new cam, and possibly a set of matching valve springs. There's no need to replace the roller lifters. They don't get a wear pattern on them like a standard lifter. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    But if you don't already have a factory roller setup, then I don't think it's worth $800 or so to convert a daily driver. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif
     
  3. bowtiepower00

    bowtiepower00 1/2 ton status

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    I am wondering the same thing myself. The trucks used flat tappet cams, and not all of the truck blocks are roller blocks. You might be able to piece together a system using a stock LT1 cam or other GM cam, they are quite a bit cheaper than the others. I've been pricing comp cams K-kits, and to go roller usually bumps the price from $300 to $600 on a roller ready block. To retrofit adds another $100 or so. Supposedly roller cams last longer and give pretty good torque and economy gains over flat tappet setups, but I don't have any real world experience to back that up.
     
  4. Swanson52

    Swanson52 1/2 ton status

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    I was wondering when GM went to the roller valvetrain. I have yet to tear the motor down; I am unsre at this point whether or not it is factory roller. Guess I should start there. /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
     
  5. hardcore71

    hardcore71 Registered Member

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    i run a gm performance parts zz4 crate motor roller in a 355 in my k5. this is a fairly large cam 275/280 duration and 474/501 lift and it makes unreal bottom end power. it will idle at 500 in gear and you can't even hear that it has a cam in it. it also pulls like crazy up top to about 5500 or so. my 6000 lb (guess) truck on 38 sx's and only 4.10's actually feels fast. i will never go back to flat tappet. by the way gm first used roller in small block trucks in 96 but many/most 86 up blocks are roller ready. just look for three bosses cast between the lifter bores
     
  6. hardcore71

    hardcore71 Registered Member

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    also, remember you can reuse roller lifters so used parts are an option. i bought a 98 350 vortec core with a bad bottom end from a dealer for $100 and got lifters, guides, hold downs and ooooohhhhh yeah-----heads. by the way these parts are installed and running so this is not just a theory it is fact!!!! really i'm not trying to be a smart a$$ just want to help all you out /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  7. bigbluek20

    bigbluek20 1/2 ton status

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    For trucks, yes, the roller cams started in 96 with the vortec.

    Not sure it buys you much at lower rpms. That said, I just replaced the cam and lifters on a 98 350 and a 96 454, both because the lifters were out (performance cams mandatory when replacing lifters ).

    Cams were $240-260 each from comp cams. Lifters were $9-10 each from NAPA (x16 = $$$). Gaskets and miscellaneous took the job to about $450-500 each. Not cheap.

    I inquired about roller rockers for my 454. The guy at NAPA (who would have been glad to sell them to me) advised against them for reliability. Said there were issues with the needle bearings and they just weren't good for a DD.

    That saved me $200 /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     

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