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327 Chevy, roller rockers or stock?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrod54chevy, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,590

    from Ohio

    Alright, guys. My '54 Chevy 2 door is down with a blown head gasket. While I'm changing that, should I switch to roller rockers or leave them as they are? It's a '68 327 crate motor we put in about 9 years ago that's currently just running a quadrajet, but that too could change in the tear down :) I've driven it out of state and back once, otherwise, she mainly just does weekend car show duty, but I would like to put more miles on her, further distance shows and all that.

    So what would you guys do? All opinions and comments are appreciated! I'm still at the parts gathering stage and just wanna know what y'all think. Thanks!

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  2. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,937


    Stock rockers are just fine, less parts to fail. Gary
  3. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,865


    Stock are traditional.
  4. Roller rockers aren't going help you very much on a basically stock 327.

    With a lumpy cam, heavy spring pressures, high Revs and such they can help quite a bit. Without all of that they don't do much. Roller rockers are more of a "supporting modification"

  5. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,915


    If you do go with rollers, get the good ones. I put a set of cheapies from Speedway ($100/set) on a boat once, and one of them broke almost immediately. That being said, it's not worth the expense on a relatively stock engine.
  6. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,591

    from Diablo Ca.

    Roller tip rockers are a good compromise on a basically stock engine. I have had a set on the 327 in the Studebaker for several years, and just put a set on my 427. both are solid lifter factory cams in my case.
  7. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,094

    from Oregon

    You wont notice any difference in anything but your wallet. Stick with the stock rockers and save your money.
  8. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,228


    Hmm... everyone here seems to be saying not worth the price. Most Racers say they are cheap and easy HP. I understand they would help most with big valve springs ect. Chevy uses them in todays V-8's. They don't spend money they don't need to.
  9. onetrickpony
    Joined: Sep 21, 2010
    Posts: 536

    from Texas

    If you are building up the engine for higher RPM and lots more power, by all means go roller. But if you are just going for a few upgrades, roller rockers should be way down on the priority list, Aluminum intake, headers, better ignition are places to start. The next level would include cam, springs, port work and roller rockers.
  10. We probably should've asked what rpm range you generally run in but the assumption is that it isn't that high.
    New Chevys use a rocker with a roller trunion, not a full roller (tip).
    If you're mostly cruising around, it's not likely that you'll notice much difference.
  11. You run roller rockers if you need to, not just because the idea sounds neat. I get the feeling that you are more of a need to guy and not a want to guy because you asked instead of just screwing them on and say, "hey, I got roller rockers!!!!!"

    Sounds like you are running a putt it around car most of the time and not really beating the hell out of it when you do go for a long ride. if the stamped steel rockers were working for you before, you don't make any major internal changes then they will still work for you.
    bowie likes this.
  12. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,727


    A good compromise are roller tip rockers. Comp Cams used to make them.
  13. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,591

    from Diablo Ca.

    I read that roller rockers reduce frictional horsepower loss, to the tune of about 10-15 horsepower in some applications. On my 427, with no other changes, my idle speed went up from 800 to 1100 rpm with just the installation of full roller rockers, so there is definitely less parasitic drag. This is why the OE's went to roller cams in the first place. The roller tips alleviate some of the stress on the valve stems, and arguabley cause less wear on the valve guides although with just roller tips there is still the parasitic drag. Probably not too noticeable on a stocker, however every little bit of horsepower and efficiency count. Why are guys running them in the first place. We have all spent plenty of money to free up every bit of horsepower we can, even in the smallest increments. Why do we put them on a race motor, but not a street motor? If its all about saving a buck, We are in the wrong hobby, that's for sure.
  14. Eric,
    Yes they do reduce parasitic drag although I doubt that you will notice 10-15 HP on a stock 327. Then there is the cost/gain on a fair grounds putter and there is a reason why I am mentioning this so bear with me.

    A lot of the off shore roller rockers weigh more on the valve contact end then the more expensive roller trunnion rockers like say Harland Sharps or even stock stamped rockers. That actually puts more strain on your valve train and can actually hurt you, more then help you. A set of quality roller rockers can run in the 400-1000 dollar range these days. Not a viable addition to a stock run about motor.

    Your logic is good but by the same logic wouldn't we all be running a good set of shaft rockers on everything that we own, shaft mounted rockers are proven to be way better for valve train control than pedestal mounts.

    I run rollers on my street engines, but I just don't own a stock engine (normally). I have a set of cranes that were not offshore parts yet on my 355. they have been on there for about 150K and are due for new trunnions now. yes they made one helluva difference in the performance of that particular engine, but it makes more then 1 HP per inch and has canted valve heads. The biggest performance gain was not changing stock stamped rockers on the side of the road. The canted valve heads made them necessary.

    Like I said before and I will repeat myself, they are something that you run out of need.

    There are two schools of thought in hot rodding, one is if it aint broke don't fix it and the other is if it aint broke fix it 'til it is. My thoughts on this particular question with thre information given by the OP falls into the first category.
  15. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,546


    You won't gain much from the roller tip, you will se an increase from a rocker ratio change. Stock is rated at 1.5 ratio many don't achieve that. A 1.6 ratio rocker will provide more lift making your cam act a little larger. Check circle track catalogs, I've seen stamped 1.6 ratio rockers for claimer engines at very good prices, can't remember where
  16. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


    I agree with the above, AND I swear the engine will run cooler due to less friction and I KNOW it will rev quicker---I'm on my 4th engine with roller rockers.
  17. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,728

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    The factories do it for no other reason than to raise their fuel economy to meet the government's CAFE ratings.
  18. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,305

    from USA

    go with rollers 15 hp ---y- not
    you'll sleep better at night because YOU feal better
  19. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,395


    If you have a cam with over .500 lift they keep a lot of side thrust off the valve stems.
  20. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    If you can score good ones at a good price, run them. If not, just stick with the stockers. You mentioned you want to put miles on your engine and it's a stock crate engine. The stock rockers are time-proven and reliable. One less thing to worry about on a long-distance trip.
  21. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,912

    dirty old man
    Member Emeritus

    I think a lot of this decision has to do with the condition of the current stock rockers. If they are not worn to the extent to require replacement, I would continue using them. But closely examine them after a good cleaning, as a worn valve stem pad can easily get worse in a hurry and lead to a dropped valve and all the grief that means.
    If a substancial number of rockers are worn and needing replacement, then go for the rollers.And as an aircraft machinist for a major airline before I retired, I've seen my share of bearing bores in aluminum parts that had "egged out" due to the ductility of the aluminum.
    That's why I went for the Comp Cams chrome moly steel roller rockers.
    loudbang likes this.
  22. JackdaRabbit
    Joined: Jul 15, 2008
    Posts: 498

    from WNC

    I don't remember where I read it, but the author claimed that for a roller tipped rocker to be effective the roller would need to be something like more than 2" in diameter.
  23. DAVEG2
    Joined: Feb 27, 2010
    Posts: 332


    I have Crain 1.5 on my 350 only because I took them off my racing engine,when I quit. They've been on my street car for atleast 12 years with no problems.
  24. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,419


    if you want to increase your valve action with them without going to new cam- you can get some that have a 1.6 instead of 1.5 ratio- that's a bit of a bump right there to your valve action. You'll save a little on friction, but like others said, the weight on the nose cancels out the overall reduced weight of aluminum rockers- if you have the cash and want them, i think Comp sells steel ones that aren't as light as alloy rockers, but the weight is concentrated at the fulcrum and the nose is lighter- that's what i'd buy if i were set on doing an upgrade- i definitely would NOT do aluminum rollers on your particular build/usage. I've got a hot mill with aluminum rollers in my mopar and most all honest companies will tell you that it's not IF an alloy will fail, it's WHEN it will fail due to fatigue of the aluminum. They dont build bridges out of alluminum. -rick
  25. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 9,029

    from Phoenix,AZ

  26. Joliet Jake
    Joined: Dec 6, 2007
    Posts: 513

    Joliet Jake
    from Jax, FL

    I used Harland Sharp in my 383, I was very happy with them. I recommend them if you have the extra cash.
  27. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,094

    from Oregon

    Everyone who encourages the OP to go to 1.6 has failed to also tell the OP that he'll most likely have to change pushrod length too! You can't just slap a set of 1.6 rockers on a SBC without checking the wear pattern on the valve stem, or it can end in a catastrophic failure. If the longer ratio rocker doesn't roll on the center of the valve stem it will ruin both the rocker and the end of the valve stem.
    Considering the OP is talking about a stock engine, and no other changes, it's still money wasted. I doubt a dyno test before and after would even see 5 hp gain. If it was a case of roller cam vs. flat tappet, I'd be all in favor of it, and also doing the roller rockers at the same time. But it's a completely stock engine.
  28. Heck if you gonna tear down the engine that much to install roller rockers ya might as well put that nice cam in while your at it. :)
  29. I have an acquaintance that races a BBC with Harland Sharp's that he bought in the later '60s or early '70s. They were pricey when he bought them as they are today.

    There is an upside to the price, they really stand behind their product. He had one fail in '98, I was there when he pulled the rocker cover. He called Harland Sharp and asked about buying a new trunnion and roller tip. They suggested that if one failed they probably would all fail and he asked about new trunnions for the entire set. They said, "send them to us which he did." The entire set came back rebuilt, no charge.
  30. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,671


    A cam replacement is a big step beyond roller rockers.

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