Pros and cons of a solid roller cam?

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by 88 Fox GT, May 23, 2004.


  1. 88 Fox GT

    88 Fox GT New Member

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    If I were to put a some-what mild solid roller cam in a beefed (450-500hp) 347, tell me the pros and cons. I would want to drive in on the street. Basically just on nice days and want it to be reliable enough to drive where ever. I also want to know about solid roller lifters, pros and cons. I've heard that solid lifters need reset often, is this true? Thanks.
  2. Ronstang

    Ronstang New Member

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    Solid roller cams are not for the street in my opinion. I have had a lot of experience with them and I would never have one in a car I wanted to drive and enjoy. The biggest drawback is the necessity for the bronze distributor gear. These things are not cheap but that isn't the big problem, they only last about 500-1000 miles on the street. In a drag car that could be 1 or 2 seasons but on the street it is a constant nightmare. If someone has solved this problem then the streetability is definitely better.

    The real issue is just how much performance are you going to need and can a hydraulic roller meet those needs because if so I strongly suggest that route. Solid roller cams also use much stiffer valvesprings and consume more power to make more power and also put a great deal more stress on all the other components. If you can avoid a solid roller on the street them I would suggest doing so but if not then your experiences might be different and I'm sure there are some here that will tell you that there is no problem runnning them on the street.
  3. brianj5600

    brianj5600 Active Member

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    Get a custom hr cam. Lift and duration are a small part of the picture. Valve timing is very important as well. There are some good guys on hardcore50.com. Try there.
  4. 88 Fox GT

    88 Fox GT New Member

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    So a hydraulic roller cam would be more suited for a hot street application?

    How about the lifters?

    Thanks for the link brianj5600.
  5. Ronstang

    Ronstang New Member

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    Hydraulic roller cams and lifters for them have come leaps and bound in the last 10 years and you should be able to find a good setup to meet your needs or you can have a custom grind made by any of the manufacturers. We run a custom Lunati in a 351 in a 93 coupe that runs low 11s NA with nothing fancy but a set of Victor heads and EFI.
  6. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Founding Member

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    you dont need a bronze gear with a solid roller... you can use a steel gear too
    same as what you need with a hyd. roller..

    you just cant use a cast iron gear, with either cam

    ran a .640 lift solid roller in my 289 for years with no prob, going with one in the 557 too

    a hyd roller will be fine for you, unless you plan on spinning it 7k
  7. 88 Fox GT

    88 Fox GT New Member

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    Can anyone explain to me exactly what is different from a solid and hydraulic cam? I mean what, in a hydraulic cam, is actually hydraulic?
  8. 2nd Mustang

    2nd Mustang Founding Member

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    Hdraulic lifters, are well.......hydraulic, (oil inside) and solids, are well........solid? This reminds me of the old VW flat four cylinder motors that had solid lifters. I think I remember the manual saying adjustment of the valve lash was recommended every 1500 miles of so, boy was that fun adjusting valves under the car!
  9. Edbert

    Edbert Founding Member

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    The biggest reason not to use solid cam/lifters in my opinion is the need to manually adjust the lash. This is not just solid rollers but any solid. You pretty much need to do it with the engine running which means hot oil splashing around the compartment, messy and painfull. Modern flat tappet hyraulics have come a long way since the '60s. You can get a flat tappet hydraulic cam/lifters that are much more agressive than the old solid in the "K". Once you add on rollers to your hydraulic lifters then you can get all crazy and stuff. Solids these days are pretty much for racing only applications, but that is just my opinion.
  10. dolfan87

    dolfan87 Founding Member

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    This thread cracks me up. I have run a solid camshaft in every engine I have ever built. You only need to adjust the valve lash once every 6 months or so, and even then it might not need it. The only real downside (if you want to call it that) is having to listen to the ticking. I don't mind it at all.

    The plus side is, EVERY hydraulic lifter will bleed down at high RPM's (above 5000) this includes the rollers.

    So if you aren't concerned with maximum power above 5 grand, and if you don't want to listen to ticking, go hydraulic. If you want the most power out of your engine, and don't mind setting the valves every 6 months or so, go solid.

    Solids are just as streetable as hydraulics.

    87
  11. 88 Fox GT

    88 Fox GT New Member

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    No, I'm talking about camshafts. What's the difference between a hydraulic and solid camshaft? I know all about the lifters.
  12. Edbert

    Edbert Founding Member

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    camshafts and lifters are always matched, it has to do with the shape but more importantly the materials. A roller cam will chew up flat tappets and roller lifters will destroy a non roller cam for example. IIRC roller cams are steel and standard ones are cast iron.
  13. 10secgoal

    10secgoal Active Member

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  14. brianj5600

    brianj5600 Active Member

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    The difference in a solid/hyd cam are the speed that the valve can be opened or closed. The lobes are more aggressive on a solid cam. Roller cams have even faster opening and closing rates. The faster the valves move the heavier the spring, which makes the entire valvetrain work harder. I too have had a solid on the street, and never had problems. Lash hardly ever moved, but it wasn't real radical, 255/265 and .572/.596.
  15. gp001

    gp001 Founding Member

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    Hydraulic cams are called that because they use lifters that are hydraulic. A plunger inside the lifter allows oil pressure to keep the pushrod and rocker arm against the valve (but not open it). This is also why you do not need to adjust hydraulic cams (self adjusting). As the cam lobe pushes the lifter the oil is trapped inside and this enables the lifter to push the pushrod and open the valve.

    Solid cams use "solid" lifters. They are just what they sound like; solid cylinders. This is why lash adjustments are important. They do not have the self adjusting capabilities of hyd, so the relationship between valve/rocker/pushrod/lifter is more critical.

    If you are looking to make high RPM power, and don't mind the noise and adjustments, go with solid. Also, keep in mind that lash settings are critical on solids. Slight changes in lash can change lift, duration, and overall cam timing. Make sure you understand these relationships and settings before you decide

    If you are looking at 400 - 500 hp for mainly a street 347 I would say go with a hydraulic roller. My 347, with out of the box Trick Flow TW heads, out of the box carb (adjusted, but not modified), and a WIMPY hyd roller cam made 340 rwhp @ 5900 (probably would have made more if taken past 6000). My cam specs are: .493/.510 279/289
  16. dolfan87

    dolfan87 Founding Member

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    Ok, first things first here. What makes a car streetable or not depends on the lift and duration.

    You can have a solid lift cam with .480 lift, and 210 duration at .050. It would be a very mild street cam, and I highly doubt you would break anything.

    Where solids get their reputation of race only, is because most racers run crazy lift and duration figures, and most of these guys spin these engines 7-8 grand. Hydraulics don't perform at these RPM's, so solid cams are almost exclusive to the race track.

    However, Ford saw fit to put a solid cam in the hi-po 289, and the boss 351C. You can't put a non-reliable camshaft in a factory vehicle!

    I am living proof that solid cams can live very happily in a street engine. I have had a 302, with a 280 Ad. duration, .525 lift, a 351C, with a 305 ad. duration, and .610 lift, and finally a 393 stroker Windsor with a solid roller checking in at 248@.050 duration, and .585 lift.

    Never broke a spring, bent a pushrod, and I only adjusted the valves when I felt like messing with tuning. I ran two of those engines very hard, (the 393 is still on the stand awaiting drop in).

    You won't break stuff unless you have improper parts mixed and matched up. Now if you run crazy duration and lift, of course things can fail, but MOST street engine builders don't go that nuts.

    Hydraulics are great for the street, you never have to mess with em, and they are quiet.

    I just like the fact that I can dial down the power a tad by adjusting lash, or tighten it up a bit and increase power. Plus if I am going to spin an engine above 5000, why not get all the horsepower you can?

    87
  17. fastcoupe68

    fastcoupe68 Member

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    I also run solid rollers exclusively in every motor I have put in one of my cars never had a problem. I like working on my cars so the adjusting thing does not bother me a bit and I rarely had to adjust more than once or twice a year and most of the time it was just one or two valves and thats it. The solids also make better power. If your a Ronco guy that likes to set it and forget it then hydraulics are for you but I just love hearing the valvetrain sing to me!!!!! Go Solids!!!!!!!
  18. mdjay

    mdjay Premium Sponsor

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    Count me in on the solids as well...
  19. blkfrd

    blkfrd Member

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    I chime in on solid cams too. Once I went solid, i'll never go back. They don't require frequent adjustment UNLESS there is something wrong with the engine. Their not that loud especially if you run a tighter lash ( I run .019 on a cam recommended to be set to .022...very common thing to grow th cam a little without damage but making it too tight and damage will occur as th elifter digs into the cam lobe), the engine will produce power at higher rpms and the power will be greater than an equivalent hydraulic.

    If you don't have a roller block and are thinking of a roller conversion, save your money and get a flat solid lifter cam such as a Comp 294S or 306S which will save you money and a little less stress on parts and it will flat out scream! You'll reach your HP goals too with good heads and intake/headers.

    I've got a 282S in a 331 and it screams all the way to 6600 (that's as high as i'll take it). If I get bored someday, i'll put 1.7 rockers on the intake valves, a single plane intake, 3500 stall converter, and 3.89s which will take the HP up from 410 to around 450.
  20. billy

    billy Founding Member

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    I also vote for the solid rollor.... Solid cams and lifters do not need constant maintance.... Maybe once every 6 months if that....

    Here is a link to 2 of the most repitible custom cam guys out there.... I personally only use Ed Curtis at Flow tech induction....

    http://www.flowtechinduction.com/

    He does alot of the NMCA guys.... Ed is a very busy guy... Usually best way to get a hold of him is on the phone and then contact between e-mail... He gets like a 100 e-mails a day.... He will then look for your e-mails to make contact with you after your phone conversation.... Ed really knows his ****.... He is a bit cocky, but he will tell you how it is... He does not sugar coat anything... He does not want his customers to be dissatisfied with his product.... He can be difficult to get a hold of at times but well worth the wait.....

    There is also Buddy Rawls... He is very well known for custom cams... His site has excellent reading and info on camshafts e.t.c.....

    http://wighat.com/fcr3/

    You can usually contact Buddy through e-mail.... I have never used him but know a few people that have and said he was great....

    Good Luck.... I suggest giving Ed Curtis a call... :hail2: :hail2: Ed Curtis :hail2: :hail2:

    Billy

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