Roller or Flat tappet? - Chevelle Tech
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View Poll Results: Roller Cam or Flat tappet?
Roller Cam 54 70.13%
Flat tappet Cam 23 29.87%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 8:40 AM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Roller or Flat tappet?

After reading the Maxima oil thread, and the comment about "who runs a flat tappet here" compared to "who has a car with a catalytic converter". I am very curious to know that answer.

I would like to have a MJ built roller but during my restoration the budget was already stretched, so I have a flat tappet.
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 8:47 AM
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Gene
 
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

Mike, it took me a while to save for the MJ bullet, and yeah, I paid for and wanted Mark to set up the roller valvetrain.

My 427's solid cam was NEVER an issue. EVEN after I tried to run it in with .100" lash on both #1 valves. ( i kid you not, I have no idea how I screwed up) 30K , TWO break-in procedures as my engine stand rolled one day and all the lifters hit the garage floor ( F-bombed for two days on that one) had Delta regrind the faces, ran her in again and still ticking. No problemo.

So even a hapless idiot like me can run a 7500 rpm solid flat tappet cam successfully. And not a lazy L88 cam either, a really intense modern lobe cam. (same 200" durations as L88 with like 35-40 less seat!) using Isky 8005a springs, and Ti retainers. ( which are not really neccessary)


APPROVAL VOTING is a balloting technique we should use in all our single winner elections. Its really simple, vote for all acceptable choices. The math does a great job of finding a winner, in a large enough sample size.

But most polls, like our antiquated system of real voting, don't allow this.

I vote for BOTH flat tappet and roller.
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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 8:55 AM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

The Org. born with engine in my LS-5/M-22 Camino has been running Pennz Oil since new. Now for the last 15/20 years I have been using " Brad Penn racing oil."
My 70 ( FRAUD SS-454 Sta. Wgn.) driver has a 468 with 44.000 miles on the engine. All of the miles are with the Brad Penn Racing oil. Both of my 70s are flat tappet and both use Brad Penn. I have no intention of reinventing the wheel. My flat tappet B.Blocks will use Brad Penn until I no longer own them.
Bob
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 9:03 AM
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Like 427, I have one of each.

Very good article below....looks like rollers “ain’t all that” !

https://www.dragzine.com/tech-storie...raulic-roller/
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 10:49 AM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

I've read more about failed aftermarket roller cams than flat tappets over the years. There are pluses and minuses for both. I still prefer a good old fashioned flat tappet.

You're just jealous because you can't hear the voices!

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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 11:23 AM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

MOST of my engine experience over the past 55+yrs has been with flat tappet cams. And I have NEVER had an issues with any of my flat tappet engines.
Although, I will concede that a roller cammed engine, compared in every identical way to a flat tappet engine, will produce more power. PERIOD. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, does the added expense of a roller cam package (usually about $1000) justify the added gains? That is a personnel call. We recently built a roller cammed, flat top piston SB400 for my son's 73 Vette and he absolutely loves it!
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 11:42 AM
 
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

I read so many horror stories about wiped lobes due to no zinc. I know you can get additives and special oils but I was too paranoid. Can't say the rollers actually work any better or worse than the flats.
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 12:13 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
I've read more about failed aftermarket roller cams than flat tappets over the years. There are pluses and minuses for both. I still prefer a good old fashioned flat tappet.


Back in the 1980's , US Army's SF groups had a "keep it simple" motto borne from real combat experience. It has real merit. ( now they all wired up and digital).


The other thing Tom ( DZ), and I know you do all your own work, but if I am going to pay a pro like Mark Jones, 1.) I'll do what he recommends, and 2.) that may be the time to add the $1000+ extra, as I did. ( I saved some $$ by reusing my Crower steel rockers. )

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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 12:22 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

Some of my personal thoughts on the matter:

1) there are still a lot of GM/Chevy trucks on the road that came from the factory with flat tappet cams and lifters....running whatever oil you dump in them.

2) the problem that you run into TODAY is where do you buy decent flat tappet lifters?

3) I don't have the empirical data to back this up, but I have a hypothesis (not a theory) that the success rate of roller lifters in SBC motors is very high.
The second part of this theory is that BBC roller motors have significantly higher failure rates than the SBC, whether the lifter is Morel or whatever brand you like.
I opine that the inconsistency of push rod length in the BBC world is the primary cause of this.....meaning that a lot of amateurs and hobbyists are using the wrong length pushrods in their roller BBC motors and wind up paying the price.

Just my two cents..........

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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 1:34 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

For the past several years, I have gone to Walmart and bought Rotella 15-40 in 1gal jugs. That's what I've been using in all my engines----------------------- ZERO issues.
I use synthetic 5-30 from Walmart in 5gal jugs for the 04 Impala SS and 12 Tahoe. Both have over 100,000mi.

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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 1:37 PM
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 1:54 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

In my opinion you need the same good oil with a roller cam as you do with a flat tappet.
And if you have a flat tappet with the same duration and same lift as the roller which one will be better.
Neither in my book.
I like my flat tappets much more than a roller cam.
Crower cam saver lifters for my Hydraulic flat tappets and Howards EDM for my solid flat tappets.

Driven BR oil for break in.
VR1 after that or Driven or as DZAUTO stated the Rotella in some types is still decent.

I also got away from valve springs with dampers in them. Beehive Ovate springs now with small light retainers.
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 1:55 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

I haven't built a flat tappet motor in many years and when I left the machine shop 80% of our engines were roller. We had camshaft rule circle track motors we did with flat tappets so they had no choice. But I am not even sure today how much of the issue lies in oil. Granted oil is a helper but I think with the metal makeups being used the parts are failing no matter what oil you use.
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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 2:24 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

I don't remember anyone mentioning stagnant usage, or starting your engine once in 4 months or so. I doubt I'm unique in that I've got too many cars that just sit, can't drive them all and I'm a busy man. Does a roller cam make more sense in that case? I've got a few ft cams and only had one lobe go south many years back in a 355 that I just ran Shaeffer semi syn. which has descent zinc/phos numbers, but nothing like BP or VR1. I have 2 rollers here, one solid, one hydro., and they both make noise that I don't care for.
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 20, 3:22 PM
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Re: Roller or Flat tappet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheveslakr View Post
I don't remember anyone mentioning stagnant usage, or starting your engine once in 4 months or so. I doubt I'm unique in that I've got too many cars that just sit, can't drive them all and I'm a busy man. Does a roller cam make more sense in that case? I've got a few ft cams and only had one lobe go south many years back in a 355 that I just ran Shaeffer semi syn. which has descent zinc/phos numbers, but nothing like BP or VR1. I have 2 rollers here, one solid, one hydro., and they both make noise that I don't care for.
I don't know that I would start them if they are just going to sit. I think I would let them sit and only start them when its time to start using it. Its just as bad letting a roller motor sit for long times with an oil with a low cling ability. The rollers are all dry and unnecessary starting is not good. You are better priming it first, or just starting it and going. My race engines used to sit all winter, but I would change the oil in the spring and pour it down over the cam and lifters before initial start up.

Ray


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