Solid Roller Cams - Rollin' Hard
You may remember our Oct. '07 budget build, "Budget Stomper," in which this 454ci big-block made 550 hp on the motor and 700 hp on the giggle gas. Well, this is the mill we're fixin' to drop into our El Camino, only we have a few more things planned for it before that happens. Don't get us wrong; it's not because we were unhappy with its output. In all reality, we were quite pleased with its performance.
The second time around, we wanted to swap out the flat-tappet cam and lifters for a roller design with new valvesprings in an effort to allow the big-block to breathe a bit more and to wing the rpm a little higher. With the help of a new solid cam, roller lifters, and a heavier set of springs from Crower Cams, we should be able to grab this big-block's true upper-rpm potential.
QMP Racing's Mike Consolo (Chatsworth, California), suggested a solid cam with lift close to 0.600 inch on the intake and exhaust side. Digging through Crower's Web site, our search came close to Consolo's suggestion with one featuring 0.580 inch lift on the intake and 0.573 on the exhaust. It's got 242/250 degrees duration at 0.050 inch and a 112-degree LSA. We also grabbed a set of Crower's solid roller, high-pressure oil lifters and valvesprings to complement the build.
Even though the motor has a few dyno pulls on it, it's more or less fresh. It almost felt like a sin to crack open the motor and begin swapping out its innards. "But," says Consolo, "that's part of engine building. It's a never-ending process where you start with a base, evaluate, and continually reevaluate."
While most cam swaps can be done in the engine bay, this 454 hasn't been placed in the car yet, so the engine stand is where our swap began. Tear-down is a cinch and follows the same guidelines as always. But we will hit on the key elements again just to be clear
THE GRAB BAGCROWER8620 steel billet cam01475349Roller lifters66201H-16471Valvesprings68363-162203/8-inch oil seals86071-1625Thrust plug86086510-degree 3/8-inch locks86111-1639Retainers87064-1657Intake pushrods (8.800-inch)71880R-890Exhaust pushrods (9.800-inch)71980R-890FEL-PROIntake gasket125128Oil pan gasket189324Head gasket1057 (2)43 Timing cover gasket4527227 TOTAL$1,468
Checkin' Install Heights
Place the install-height tool over the valve with the retainer and locks. Twist the tool until it expands and the locks snap around the top stem of the valve. Tighten until the tool will no longer turn. This is your new install height. The exhaust valve's install height sat at 2.090 inches. Subtract the 1.900 spring height from this value. This new total will be the amount of shims added. Basically, the goal is to get the height to most closely match the 1.900 height of the new spring. While you could get away with just checking one intake and one exhaust valve, you're better off taking the time to check each one. Yes, it'll take some time, but you'll be better off in the long run.

Example: 2.090 - 1.900 = 0.190 (new shim height)

Photo Gallery: Solid Roller Cams - Rollin' Hard

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