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Old 09-08-2017, 03:33 PM   #1
toolboxchev
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Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

So since I have not seen much in the way of comparisons on these I would be seeking advice from seasoned engine builders.

Now that most cam manufactures are supplying us with the new tech on these I would be looking for insight if there would be any failures from specific manufactures or better inherent designs coming from one or the other.

I would like to get more out of my next complete rebuild if I go this route. I know I can just get an update vortec block yet may be keeping the gen 1 and playing sneaky!
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:07 PM   #2
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

I'm an engines guy but have never fiddled with rollers. However, I have seen some nice dyno tests done by the guys at Hot Rod Magazine on their Engine Masters youtube show: Roller cams, head swaps, header tests and so on. Much of it on the classic small block.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:21 AM   #3
Marv D
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

$ for $ your WAY better off stepping up to a 1986+ block with factory roller (unless your getting greedy and wanting 450-500HP. The cost to do a retro-fit hydraulic roller is topping $1200+ with cam, lifters, springs, retainers, pushrods and rockers. And I think we are going to see that continue to increase as the beloved old school SBC gives way to the LS of this mellimium.

VS around $400 re-cam a factory roller block with new GM lifters. Given the better oil seal of the 1-piece crank (and plenty of availability of those in the aftermarket now) the economical hydraulic roller package,, I have a hard time not going there for any street motor.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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$ for $ your WAY better off stepping up to a 1986+ block with factory roller (unless your getting greedy and wanting 450-500HP. The cost to do a retro-fit hydraulic roller is topping $1200+ with cam, lifters, springs, retainers, pushrods and rockers. And I think we are going to see that continue to increase as the beloved old school SBC gives way to the LS of this mellimium.

VS around $400 re-cam a factory roller block with new GM lifters. Given the better oil seal of the 1-piece crank (and plenty of availability of those in the aftermarket now) the economical hydraulic roller package,, I have a hard time not going there for any street motor.
Agreed 100%. A vortec L31 engine is a cheap way to get into roller cams, 1 piece rear main seals and vortec heads (if you want those). I picked up a L31 long block with a blown head gasket for $300. New cam, lifters, intake manifold and some machine work on the heads to accommodate the additional lift will make an inexpensive and healthy engine.

Vortec L31 is still Gen 1
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Old 09-09-2017, 02:53 PM   #5
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

Bang for the buck, plus the adaptability to make it a FI later down the road is what gets me going on that L31 option.

You guys just summed up all the Youtube I did last night.

Yeah they are going the way of the dodo bird, yet I will keep that old motor for a swap on special occasions.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

In all reality dollar for dollar when it comes to roller and fuel injection an LS swap is the cheapest option. You will make more power cheaper and have a much better fuel injection system. The spider injection on the vortec engines kinda sucked. Tuneability and making power weren't strong points by any stretch. Vortec heads are lift limited and even if they are machined to accommodate a bigger cam they still don't flow enough air to justify the money spent on machining.
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Old 09-10-2017, 02:28 AM   #7
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

I looked pretty good at some threads on converting the LS to th 67-72 body style. Yeah its more power and reliability but the conversion kits and everything you have to change like the little stuff is a pita for me right now.

I like the idea of finding a good L31 core and spending some money good heads and proper cam to make a few ponies and have something reliable.

Ok with the LS swap I love my boss's 05 with a 5.3 4l60E combo, but it fell on its face stock after 5 grand in a 3/4 ton. It was great for around town.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:13 AM   #8
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

There was a really nice cheap Vortec build-up in Car Craft a couple of years ago on refreshing a junkyard motor. Even at high mileage it showed little wear and they claimed it took $500 to rebuild it (in reality more like $1000 taking into account the parts they had already lying around).

EDIT: Here's the link to the Car Craft article: http://www.hotrod.com/articles/how-t...l-block-chevy/
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:33 AM   #9
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

dupe
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

Forgot to mention - if you go the L31 route make sure your block has the fuel pump pushrod drilled and the cam you get has the eccentric. Some do some don't. Mine doesn't but I prefer electric pumps.

Cable guy, I agree the LS engine is superior. But I don't think it qualifies in the dollar for dollar comparison because so much more needs to be changed. The L31 spider injection is junk, I was suggesting to throw a carburetor on there. Besides a vortec specific intake manifold and a hardened distributor gear (which you can take off the vortec unit), all accessories, exhaust, flywheels, starters etc will swap over to the L31.

If I was starting with an i6 or had a larger swap budget the LS is an excellent option.
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:05 PM   #11
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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.....Cable guy, I agree the LS engine is superior. But I don't think it qualifies in the dollar for dollar comparison because so much more needs to be changed.
I agree, I have been looking at the swap in my Suburban. I can buy a brand new, not rebuilt GM L31 for $2,000 and it pretty much bolts in.

To do a LS swap for the same money I have to buy a used LS engine, much more work getting it installed and working right and what have I gained? While I would like an LS I would have to spend close to twice as much as to end up with a new engine and performance wise no appreciable gain.

Nothing against the LS but the gains just don't justify another $1,500 to $2,000.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:19 PM   #12
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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Originally Posted by Marv D View Post
$ for $ your WAY better off stepping up to a 1986+ block with factory roller (unless your getting greedy and wanting 450-500HP. The cost to do a retro-fit hydraulic roller is topping $1200+ with cam, lifters, springs, retainers, pushrods and rockers. And I think we are going to see that continue to increase as the beloved old school SBC gives way to the LS of this mellimium.

VS around $400 re-cam a factory roller block with new GM lifters. Given the better oil seal of the 1-piece crank (and plenty of availability of those in the aftermarket now) the economical hydraulic roller package,, I have a hard time not going there for any street motor.
FWIW Marv, I know that its apples and bananas but when I built the '97 7.4, Chris Straub sent Morell hydraulic retrofit rollers with the cam. Not a crazy big cam IMO but I was expecting to reuse the "dog bones" that keep the lifters aligned. I did think it was a little weird being that it's a roller block to begin with but hey, what do I know about cams? A lot less than the guy who ground mine for sure. I ended up spending just about 1200 for my set up. I like it but yes, like you said.. its pricey!
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:02 PM   #13
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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Originally Posted by Marv D View Post
$ for $ your WAY better off stepping up to a 1986+ block with factory roller (unless your getting greedy and wanting 450-500HP. The cost to do a retro-fit hydraulic roller is topping $1200+ with cam, lifters, springs, retainers, pushrods and rockers. And I think we are going to see that continue to increase as the beloved old school SBC gives way to the LS of this mellimium.

VS around $400 re-cam a factory roller block with new GM lifters. Given the better oil seal of the 1-piece crank (and plenty of availability of those in the aftermarket now) the economical hydraulic roller package,, I have a hard time not going there for any street motor.
Yes, I would have to agree after reading a ton of media today. Power Greed would kill a street engine with me in the long run, I want to get the most out of it without overkill.

Now over-built, and durability with the most on pump gas is leading me into full bore engine thermodynamics, and design. Which could not be a bad thing cause I always over think things out.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:27 PM   #14
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

Just make sure you get good ones, I ended up getting Isky ones made by Johnson. I had Lunati ones (most likely Morels) sounded like a sewing machine in my engine.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:45 PM   #15
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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Just make sure you get good ones, I ended up getting Isky ones made by Johnson. I had Lunati ones (most likely Morels) sounded like a sewing machine in my engine.
Interesting. You're saying the Isky rollers are quieter?
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:37 AM   #16
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

I have the L31 in my 66 and it is not as cheap as you may think. If I had to do it over the LS swap would have been less money for a better motor. I bought the new L31 with tax it was $2200, the intake was $328, carb $420, distributor $330, flexplate $55, cam $280 then ad another couple of hundred for plugs wires coil ect and its now over $3800. Not to mention what I spent to have a 700R4 built. The 5.3 sitting on the floor for the 65 was a 31000 mile take out with the 4L60 for $1750 the mount kit was $70 and the wiring kit was $750 with the base tune in the computer. Thats about $2600 and includes the trans and it is EFI. The rest like headers and exhaust is a wash between the two so that for me is 2 grand less for engine and trans for the 65 verses the 66. I will be 60 on my next birthday and love my old school stuff but the gen1 stuff has for me past its time.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:45 PM   #17
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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Just make sure you get good ones, I ended up getting Isky ones made by Johnson. I had Lunati ones (most likely Morels) sounded like a sewing machine in my engine.
When I first did a top build on my 350 70k ago the Comp Cams lifters sounded just like that. Comp Techs say they are a fast bleed lifter. I forget which manufacture they use, and of course these were the HYD flat tappets, not rollers.

Are we talking rollers here from you guys?
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Old 09-13-2017, 02:02 PM   #18
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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I have the L31 in my 66 and it is not as cheap as you may think. If I had to do it over the LS swap would have been less money for a better motor. I bought the new L31 with tax it was $2200, the intake was $328, carb $420, distributor $330, flexplate $55, cam $280 then ad another couple of hundred for plugs wires coil ect and its now over $3800. Not to mention what I spent to have a 700R4 built. The 5.3 sitting on the floor for the 65 was a 31000 mile take out with the 4L60 for $1750 the mount kit was $70 and the wiring kit was $750 with the base tune in the computer. Thats about $2600 and includes the trans and it is EFI. The rest like headers and exhaust is a wash between the two so that for me is 2 grand less for engine and trans for the 65 verses the 66. I will be 60 on my next birthday and love my old school stuff but the gen1 stuff has for me past its time.
Jimmy

I have thought about this and will be using a good amount of components from my current SB. The insight here is very point on and appreciated. Costs are what I am fighting with some performance/mileage gains.

I know if I skimp on the wrong things I will come up a failure and that is not an option.
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:39 PM   #19
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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I have thought about this and will be using a good amount of components from my current SB. .....
That is same with me. I am replacing an engine so except for the intake I have everything. GM engine comes with a 3 year/100K warranty and that is something a used LS doesn't have. Hard to put a dollar figure on that though but it worth something. Of course I will need to tune the computer.

Sure there will be some extra money spent, there always is. But no where near $1,700 in my case.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:38 PM   #20
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Re: Retro-Fit Hyd Rollers

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That is same with me. I am replacing an engine so except for the intake I have everything. GM engine comes with a 3 year/100K warranty and that is something a used LS doesn't have. Hard to put a dollar figure on that though but it worth something. Of course I will need to tune the computer.

Sure there will be some extra money spent, there always is. But no where near $1,700 in my case.
Buddy of mine has a Blazer and installed a Junk Yard motor L31 with 189K on it. He told me said and done it was well under 1000 bucks, heads were good, cylinders just re-honed, turned the crank, new rings and bearings and its was good to go!

Talk about luck!
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