Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

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Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by JF74chevelle on Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:59 pm

Planning my engine build and so far I am wanting to go with the Brodix 180IKs most likely a 357 short block that I'll build with an EPS intake and Holley 650 double pumper. But I don't know if I should go flat tappet because it's way cheaper or if I should bankrupt myself and go hydraulic roller. Also can you guys help me pick a cam To match those heads? Thanks guys
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by REVINKEVIN on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:46 pm

Hey. What transmission and torque converter do you have? What is your rear gear ratio? That displacement, heads, carb, and intake would like to start around the Comp Cam XE274 range. Go take a look at this: http://www.camquest.com/ Our cars are heavy so you want to make as much torque as you can.

Roller cams are more expensive but you get more lift and better performance due to the fact the roller lifter can follow the cam lobe in a more precise manner. A lot of the cost is the retro-fit roller lifters. You will more than likely have to have a new gear on your distributor to work with the gear on the roller cam. Another expense. Plus side is very little break in at start up. Ready to rock almost as soon as you install it. Just follow the instructions from cam manufacture. The hydraulic roller lifters will start to loose some control around 6000rpm or so. If you go past that much more you might want a rev kit.

Flat tappet cams need a special break in to get the cam and lifters "acquainted" with each other. You need to use the break in oil that the manufacture suggest, I/E, sales, to keep your warranty. If you are not building a race car and drive your car on the street all the time, a flat tappet will be a good choice. Countless billions of miles have been driven with flat tappet cams.

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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by JF74chevelle on Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:26 pm

REVINKEVIN wrote:Hey.  What transmission and torque converter do you have?  What is your rear gear ratio?  That displacement, heads, carb, and intake would like to start around the Comp Cam XE274 range.  Go take a look at this:  http://www.camquest.com/  Our cars are heavy so you want to make as much torque as you can.  

Roller cams are more expensive but you get more lift and better performance due to the fact the roller lifter can follow the cam lobe in a more precise manner.  A lot of the cost is the retro-fit roller lifters.  You will more than likely have to have a new gear on your distributor to work with the gear on the roller cam.  Another expense.  Plus side is very little break in at start up.  Ready to rock almost as soon as you install it.  Just follow the instructions from cam manufacture.   The hydraulic roller lifters will start to loose some control around 6000rpm or so.  If you go past that much more you might want a rev kit.  

Flat tappet cams need a special break in to get the cam and lifters "acquainted" with each other.  You need to use the break in oil that the manufacture suggest, I/E, sales, to keep your warranty.  If you are not building a race car and drive your car on the street all the time, a flat tappet will be a good choice.  Countless billions of miles have been driven with flat tappet cams.

I have a Muncie 4-speed and I'm planning 3.42s with a trutrac
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by fasrnur on Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:48 pm

Depending on what year block you have, you might have to buy a lot of parts to make a roller work for you. Like revinKevin said, rollers are nice to have indeed. I personally always call comp cams help line and tell them every thing I have and let them make the recommendations.

Good luck to you sir.
Jeff....
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:11 pm

Jeff, I'd go with a flat tappet.  And go with the cam manufacturers recommendations as to how to break it in. You want to keep your warranty in effect with your new parts.

I was just doing this research yesterday concerning my flat tappet cam and what oils I would be using.  I will be running a flat tappet in my chevelle.  I've been researching oils for a couple months now.  Just reading everything I can find.  I did find that there is a consensus that Valvoline VR1 silver bottle is good stuff.  VR1 does not come in a 5w30.  I'm looking to run 5w30 since my motor will have tight clearances.  And I want a oil that flows easy all the time.  To me, the more oil I can get to a bearing surface quickly,  the better.  And another benefit is cooling.  More oil across the surface, the more cooling that can occur.  Oil cools directly and our cars antifreeze cools indirectly.  

I really hate to bring this up because of the difference of opinions but I will anyway.  My last 2 motor builds did not use any break-in oil.  Just an oil with  high shear strength numbers.  And I will be doing the same with my motor in my chevelle.  I dont agree with "no break-in" procedure, I still do that.  But I dont use break-in oil.  

This blog, which is very long, has lots of good info and takes lots of time to read and absorb.  The blog also includes test results, how they were compiled, and what instruments were used for the tests.  

https://540ratblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/motor-oil-wear-test-ranking/

About 3/4 of the way down on the page is a ranking of motor oils.  The list is extensive.  AND UPDATED FREQUENTLY.
Also included on the list is oils WITH ZDDP added for so called wear protection.  According to the results, adding an additive actually lowers protection numbers due to incompatibility.  Which most major manufacturers agree on.  

He even does tests on break-in oils and rates them.  

I have really thought about all the car manufacturers that put in synthetic oil right from the factory.  No break in nothing.

Just FYI, after lots of thought, for my flat tappet, I will be running Chevron Supreme conventional 5w30 oil for break in.  It has good numbers all around.  Then I'll be switching out to Mobil 1 synthetic 5w30.

I'm not only looking for good wear protection, I'm also looking for "readily available" and wont break the bank.  MY oil choices, for the reasons above, would be numbers  9,  15, 43, 45, 61, 63,  64, 66  in that order.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by JF74chevelle on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:17 pm

Thank you very much Joe. I'll read into that blog
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by bracketchev1221 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:29 pm

I would go hydraulic roller.   It's not worth the risk to me anymore to use a flat tappet.  The machine shop I worked at was down to 20% builds with flat tappets.  The issue was the cams would not fail at break in like they used to.  It was getting to 1-2000 miles and they failed.  You just never knew if you were ever safe with the cam like it used to be.  One flat cam damage to an engine WAY covers the savings over buying a hydraulic roller up front. My nova had a .535/.550 231/239 @.050 lunati roller with my afr 195 heads.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by pila on Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:37 pm

The flat tappet break-in procedure is extremely important if when going that way.  The thing I always stress to guys with flat tappets is....DON"T LET IT IDLE at startup. It hammers the the new parts which aren't familiar with each other yet.  Pre-oiling the engine just before start is what I have been doing for a long time, so that it's got lube right at the start.   I have a hand pump that's made for that purpose, and it works good...

I've used a number of different oils for the first hour of runs, and in the old days I even used 30 weight aircraft non-detergent oil for break in with good results.  Lots of snake oil around these days Very Happy
My Malibu has VR1 in it, but my Elco/Caddy engine has Rotella in it since break in was done...Rotella T6 is full synthetic by the way..


Losing a cam & lifters during a bad break in is really bad.  All the metal particles scattered all through the block, heads, oil passages, etc, has to be cleaned out, which means dis-assembling the whole dam engine  Sad !  Power washer worked good when I lost  one...


Last edited by pila on Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:36 am

Also, plug the oil bypass. That way all the oil has to go through the filter. Very easy a d quick thing to do. Also, with a flat tappet, before you put your manifold on, put a tiny mark on each lifter and rotate the engine. Make sure each lifter is rotating in its bore. Very important. Prime the engine, rotate the engine a quarter turn, prime again, rotate a quarter, prime. Do that for 3 or 4 revolutions. And only use the black moly paste on the cam. The red stuff just drops off. Howard's lifter have a hole on the botto for extra oil to the cam. Crower lifters which I'm going with have a 5 thousandths cut on their side for extra oil. I've seen tests that show both of those brands have good hardness ratings on the nose of their lifters.
If I ever do another cam I'll be going with Howard's brand.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:39 am

Regardless of what lube is on the cam, I like to start the engine within 2 or 3 weeks. I don't like to let it sit around and all the lube drop off. Just what I like to do.




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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:48 am

I was just going over my earlier post and would like to make a correction. I stated I do not use a break in oil. I would like to correct that to state I do not use a break-in oil ADDITIVE. I have no problem with a break in oil itself. I just don't like to use an additive to my oil because of compatibility issues.

There some good break in oils out there if you choose to use them.
Thanks guys.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by JF74chevelle on Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:54 pm

Joe73 wrote:Also, plug the oil bypass.  That way all the oil has to go through the filter.  Very easy a d quick thing to do.  Also, with a flat tappet, before you put your manifold on, put a tiny mark on each lifter and rotate the engine.  Make sure each lifter is rotating in its bore.  Very important.  Prime the engine, rotate the engine a quarter turn, prime again, rotate a quarter, prime.  Do that for 3 or 4 revolutions.   And only use the black moly paste on the cam.  The red stuff just drops off.  Howard's lifter have a hole on the botto for extra oil to the cam.  Crower lifters which I'm going with have a 5 thousandths cut on their side for extra oil.  I've seen tests that show both of those brands have good hardness ratings on the nose of their lifters.
If I ever do another cam I'll be going with Howard's brand.
some good advice here looks like I will most likely be going with a Hydraulic Flat tappet
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by clanceman427 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:55 pm

pila wrote:... my Elco/Caddy engine has Rotella in it since break in was done...

Quick question- do you just buy the brand Rotella in the viscosity you want at the store? Or do you have to look for a specific Rotella? I was looking at Rotella at Pep Boys to see if it had ZDDP in it for our old engines, but I couldn't find it.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by bracketchev1221 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:05 pm

The reports are that the regulations are getting more stringent for over the road engines and even in Rotella the ZDDP is getting reduced. The old rating was CJ-4 but it has just been changed recently to a different spec CK-4 that lowers those elements in the oil. I have been using standard 15/40 Rotella in the engines and 5/40 Rotella in the Race engine. But these reports have me rethinking whether or not to continue using it.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by pila on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:45 pm

More good advice items from Joe, about the lifters etc, and about letting an engine sit for very long before cam break in.

Hard to keep up with what is going on with oil these days.  Since most all mfgrs are using roller lifters these day, they can fool with the oil properties any way they wish without any issues with cams & lifters....

I have Rhoads lifters in my Malibu 400 engine.  Flat tappet of course. Don't believe they ever went to rollers on those.  I like the fact that the vacuum is better for brakes etc, with those lifters, on a lumpy cam....

One other thing I do, is cut the oil filters apart with a filter cutter, made for that job. I have to do it on airplanes anyway during an inspection...  Nice to get a good look at the element media after a break in, and even with a normal oil change..

If something stuck in the filter element has a part number on it, you know you have a major problem Very Happy

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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by JF74chevelle on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:54 pm

Can someone give me a part number for those lifters that allows more oil flow? Thank you btw I'm trading my old th350 for a complete 350 intake to pan with $100 on top.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:13 pm

http://shop.whiteperformance.com/Howards-Cams-Direct-Lube-Hydraulic-Flat-Tappet-Lifters-91116.htm

and

http://www.jegs.com/p/Crower/Crower-CamSaver-Hydraulic-Flat-Tappet-Lifters/1145259/10002/-1

price them around!!!
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by 73ss on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:28 pm

Another alternative for a "budget" roller motor is a 1996~200? 5.7 vortec. The last of the old school 350's before the switch to the LS series. These have a factory roller which would save some coin over converting an older block. Here in the rust belt they are plentiful in the local pick a part. They typically have little wear inside. 4-bolt mains, one piece seals, roller cam, vortec heads, can't really go wrong. It will need a vortec only intake, or older heads will bolt right on using a conventional intake. I have seen several magazine builds where they re-use the factory lifters, just replace the cam.

There are a few drawbacks, I have seen them with and without the hole to mount the clutch linkage ball. The boss is there and the hole will need drilled & tapped. The fuel pump boss is there, but the hole is not drilled out for the push rod. electric fuel pump will solve that also. I think a machine shop should be able to add one. The vortec heads won't allow alot of lift without machining down the guides. Not a problem if using older heads. Just a thought.

As far as oil, I'm running Brad Penn 10w-40 in both of my flat tappet cars. A little pricey but I change the oil once a year. No problems as of yet. I am a little paranoid, I've got some fairly stiff valve springs and large heavy valves in my BB. My next build will be a roller set-up.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by bigredlaguna on Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:53 pm

Joe73 wrote:  This blog, which is very long, has lots of good info and takes lots of time to read and absorb.  The blog also includes test results, how they were compiled, and what instruments were used for the tests.  

https://540ratblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/motor-oil-wear-test-ranking/

This article has me convinced. I'm getting the highest rated oil I can find- even if it's Penzoil.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:36 pm

Bigred, I agree.  I took it one step further and had a buddy of mine who is a kind of "techie" with airplane motors and such go through the blog.  And he went off on a long explanation of shear strength and wear protection having to do with temps and cooling effects of lubrication and blah blah blah.  

Bottom line is, he loved the article and agreed with it.  

So after deciphering that blog. I used the info provided in my considerations about engine oils.  And no flat tappet failures yet.  But I still do the 20-30 minute breakin at over 2k rpm and never let it idle.  Then dump the oil and filter, fill it back up and drive it.

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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by pila on Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:49 am

I just bookmarked that blog so I can read it.

In my aviation tech work we don't have a large selection of oil types. Two are the most used, and one is Aeroshell 15W50, which is a semi-synthetic, and good for year around use. The standard oils are like 40W, 50W detergents etc, summer & winter types.
The other most used is Phillips 20W50, which I don't recommend to my owners, after having the analysis after oil changes, come back showing water particles, absorbing moisture etc.
Straight weight non-detergent oils are sometimes used for breakin etc...

Air cooled engine tech is different than what we use in liquid cooled auto engines of course...and 99% are flat tappet engines also..
The lifters from Crower and Howards look like the way to go on rebuilds.

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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Hawk03 on Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:27 am

Joe73 wrote:Then I'll be switching out to Mobil 1 synthetic 5w30.

I'm not only looking for good wear protection, I'm also looking for "readily available" and wont break the bank.  MY oil choices, for the reasons above, would be numbers  9,  15, 43, 45, 61, 63,  64, 66  in that order.

When I was reading about oil for my new engine, I thought I read where synthetic was not good for flat tappet. The articles I read said synthetic didn't have as much protection as SAE. I've been using VR1 10w-30 which is good but I think I'd rather use synthetic.

Not trying to bait here, I would really like more opinions as I'd rather use Mobile 1.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:11 am

I'm anning on running mobil 1 synthetic with my new flat tappet. It has the numbers Im looking g for and it's readily available. I see no issues with it.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by clanceman427 on Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:47 am

Only thing I've heard about synthetic oil in old school engines is that it can find leak paths easier. So maybe use newer style molded rubber one-piece gaskets in the engine as opposed to the old-school cork pieces.
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Re: Flat-tappet or Hydralic Roller

Post by Joe73 on Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:41 am

I think the the "leak" thing is just a myth just like you cant mix conventional with synthetic or once you go synthetic you cant go back. Just use the stuff like normal.
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