Hydraulic Roller Cams, Cast Steel vs Billet?

Hydraulic Roller Cams, Cast Steel vs Billet?

Joined: June 20th, 2011, 2:47 am

May 17th, 2012, 2:48 pm #1

I'm building a 408C stroker street motor and I plan to install a hydraulic roller cam. Most of the cams I've priced for a Cleveland are cast material that are heat treated. Some of my older racing/engine buddies tell me to buy a cam made from 8620 alloy steel billet. They tell me the cast varieties sometimes go bad when using rollers. I know there is a cost difference, so the billet should be better, but is it worth the extra cash? The engine I'm building will not see many miles or will it be raced every weekend, if at all. I do want it to be as trouble free as it can be. Any comments out there? I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find a good answer. Thanks.
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 4:48 pm

May 17th, 2012, 3:41 pm #2

How high you wanna spin it and how much spring pressure you'll need to work with the cam. All of my cams are steel cores, even my hydraulic rollers. I run some decent spring pressures and just go ahead and get the billet cores.

Keep in mind that if you go with a steel cam, you have to run a steel/bronze/polymer distributor gear as well.

Brent Lykins
B2 Motorsports, LLC






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Joined: February 2nd, 2003, 3:52 am

May 18th, 2012, 5:26 pm #3

How good are the polymers gears? How long do those last?
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 4:48 pm

May 18th, 2012, 8:29 pm #4

....and the engines are in "toys" that really don't see enough mileage to warrant an inspection.

I don't care for the bronze gears and the steel gears seem to be the best bang for the buck.

Brent Lykins
B2 Motorsports, LLC






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Joined: December 16th, 2003, 1:59 am

May 19th, 2012, 6:19 am #5

Randy says don't do it

http://tinyurl.com/AnotherDizzyGearThread

i was hoping regardless of cost that polymer would be the Big Go in the dizzy gear dept but i think what it is they don't take shock very well. the material just doesn't have enough staytogetherness for the forces involved vs the limited mass of the gear shape. i know that it's definately recommended that you don't 'bump drop' a polymer gear by tapping the key or solenoid


there'll be phantoms, there'll be fires on the road... and the white man dancing
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Joined: September 14th, 2007, 9:06 am

May 22nd, 2012, 12:42 pm #6

I'm building a 408C stroker street motor and I plan to install a hydraulic roller cam. Most of the cams I've priced for a Cleveland are cast material that are heat treated. Some of my older racing/engine buddies tell me to buy a cam made from 8620 alloy steel billet. They tell me the cast varieties sometimes go bad when using rollers. I know there is a cost difference, so the billet should be better, but is it worth the extra cash? The engine I'm building will not see many miles or will it be raced every weekend, if at all. I do want it to be as trouble free as it can be. Any comments out there? I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find a good answer. Thanks.
Look at the picture this is a cheap custom grind retrofit hyd roller from Howards, it was in the motor for 3 months , then I was going to do a change of intake an saw the cam lobes and the lifters roller. Motor out and clean everything and a new hyd roller cam this time a custom grind from Cam Research and Jegs linkbar lifters and it all works fine, yes I drive hard in the AC Cobra. Inspected the bras dist gear ( summit part no MAA-29431) Mallory after 3-years now it is still fine.


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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 4:48 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 2:46 pm #7



Brent Lykins
B2 Motorsports, LLC






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Joined: September 14th, 2007, 9:06 am

May 22nd, 2012, 3:30 pm #8

Look at the picture this is a cheap custom grind retrofit hyd roller from Howards, it was in the motor for 3 months , then I was going to do a change of intake an saw the cam lobes and the lifters roller. Motor out and clean everything and a new hyd roller cam this time a custom grind from Cam Research and Jegs linkbar lifters and it all works fine, yes I drive hard in the AC Cobra. Inspected the bras dist gear ( summit part no MAA-29431) Mallory after 3-years now it is still fine.


The spring pressure was 110 at 1.850 spring and ca 320 at 1,220. I was a nice performance cam for AC Cobra Boss 351 stroker 393, 4 speed.
Lift in,588 / ex.623 dur @.050 in 232, ex 240/ @ .050 in open 10* / ex close 6*/ in close 42*
/ ex opens 54* no secrets here, try it on your desktop dynos.
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Joined: February 17th, 2004, 11:02 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 4:45 pm #9

110 lbs seat pressure is way low a hydraulic roller with Cleveland valves and rocker ratio (1.73:1). I wonder if you're getting bouncing off the seats? On the mild stuff, I like to see at least 140 lbs and up to 160 lbs for more aggressive (400 lbs or so max open) hydraulic rollers and good link bar lifters like the FRPP/Crane retrofits. With beehive springs, we're running around 150 lbs on the seat (Competition Cams beehive springs p/n 26095, 150 lbs @ 2", 375 lbs @ 1.25"). My 403C hydraulic roller with the Comp BBC beehives peaks around 6400 RPM which is a bit more the Dynomation prediction for the cam and engine specs.

Dan Jones
Last edited by 74Pantera on May 22nd, 2012, 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 4:48 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 4:53 pm #10

The spring pressure was 110 at 1.850 spring and ca 320 at 1,220. I was a nice performance cam for AC Cobra Boss 351 stroker 393, 4 speed.
Lift in,588 / ex.623 dur @.050 in 232, ex 240/ @ .050 in open 10* / ex close 6*/ in close 42*
/ ex opens 54* no secrets here, try it on your desktop dynos.
That's not enough spring pressure for a hydraulic roller. That's barely enough spring pressure for a nice hydraulic flat tappet. I would guess that you had loss of valvetrain control and the lifters were skidding along the lobes.

If you're running the same springs with your new cam, I would upgrade them.

I usually run 140-150 seat with 360-370 open on my lighter valve stuff. On the heavy stuff, such as the big valve Clevelands, FE's, 385 series, etc., I'll run 160-170 seat with 370-380 open. Gotta keep control of the valvetrain with a hydraulic roller.

Brent Lykins
B2 Motorsports, LLC






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