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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys, I am looking at building or buying a new engine. I am going to use some form of EFI (not decided which yet). I feel that a factory roller cam block/engine would be the way to go. I am not a big fan of roller conversions. I currently have a 4 bolt "010" block and forged crank in my garage. I really can't decide if I should use this or look for a roller block.

Is a roller block really worth finding or should I use what I have? Looking at about the 350-400 HP range. Thanks.
 

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If it was me, and money was an issue,(and it is!) I'd use the block and crank that you already have. The two things you need to make sure of with a roller cam are that the lifters can't spin in their bores and that the cam can't come out of the front of the block. While the factory GM method for ensuring these two things is clever, I don't think it's any more clever or effective than what the aftermarket has come up with.

The main bebefit of a roller cam that I see in a mild street engine like what you're talking about is reduced friction. You also greatly reduce the chance of wiping the cam on break-in.
 

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I agree with above. I'd worry about using a roller cam if you want to turn some high RPM's or are in the 500HP range.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I really like the GM method for cam and lifter retension. Just seen too many lifter tie bars fail. I would hate to lose an engine because of that. Still trying to figure out what I am going to do. Maybe scaling back on the engine build up to make sure I can do the Tremec TKO, Baer brakes and related chassis items. Thanks again.
 

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for 350-400hp you would be waisting your money for a roller setup in my opinion. You could easily make that amount of power with a hydraulic or solid flat tappet and save some cash for your Tremec, Baer, etc...
 

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I went solid roller in my 302. I love it. I will never run anything else. VERY noticable change from the offroad cam. Of course I did add AFR heads, crossram (offy), Mallory cd ignition, etc. Revs much much faster. But it is expensive. --Bryan
 

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But remember, a roller needs BIG valvesprings! The reduction in friction from the lifters is somewhat countered by the friction caused by valvesprings.
 

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if you want to save some bucks up front, but keep the roller option open for the future, find a factory roller 350 block, and just put a flat tappet cam in it.
i have the HOT cam in the 87 roller block in my Nova-and love it- but i probably could have gotten similar power from a regular hydraulic for $400 less. then again, would the car idle as well as it does with the roller (like a stocker at 800rpm) and get 17 mpg with 3.70 gears? probably not.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. I think I am going to hunt down a roller block. Since I have to buy everything, doing it right the first time sounds like the way to go.
 

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My .02, nothing's stronger than the 010 smallblocks, after 1980 small blocks went on a diet, and the result was a weaker block, drilling 6 additional 7/16 holes to accomodate 4 bolt maincaps aggrivated this and I find more cracked 4 bolt cores than 2 bolts in those years. The smallblock went on another diet in 1986, making this even worse. I'd stick with your block, and if you need a roller cam, i'd go with quality aftermarket...
 
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