How to tell if engine is roller ready?

Fireball5657

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Hey all, I've looked all over trying to find a definitive way to tell if my block has the roller provisions, but I can't seem to get a clear cut answer. Everything I'm finding is contradictory, people mixing up years and engines, so I'd like to check my engine for myself. It's an LO5 TBI 350 that is original to my 1994 K1500. From what I can gather, it has a flat tappet from the factory (like all truck TBI's) but some of the TBI blocks came with provisions for roller cams and lifters as cars like the Roadmaster and the police Caprices had roller TBI motors. I remember someone telling me a while ago that they stopped doing the roller provisions in mid-1993, but then there's people online saying that their 1994 or 1995 blocks have it. I'd like to check for myself, but I honestly have no idea what I'm looking for. I've only ever rebuilt one engine in my life and it was an AMC 343, so I don't think anything from that would apply to a TBI SBC haha. Anything helps, and if anyone has any pictures of what to look for, that would be perfect. Thanks.
 

someotherguy

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Hey all, I've looked all over trying to find a definitive way to tell if my block has the roller provisions, but I can't seem to get a clear cut answer. Everything I'm finding is contradictory, people mixing up years and engines, so I'd like to check my engine for myself. It's an LO5 TBI 350 that is original to my 1994 K1500. From what I can gather, it has a flat tappet from the factory (like all truck TBI's) but some of the TBI blocks came with provisions for roller cams and lifters as cars like the Roadmaster and the police Caprices had roller TBI motors. I remember someone telling me a while ago that they stopped doing the roller provisions in mid-1993, but then there's people online saying that their 1994 or 1995 blocks have it. I'd like to check for myself, but I honestly have no idea what I'm looking for. I've only ever rebuilt one engine in my life and it was an AMC 343, so I don't think anything from that would apply to a TBI SBC haha. Anything helps, and if anyone has any pictures of what to look for, that would be perfect. Thanks.
You're looking for the three drilled and tapped bosses down the middle of the lifter valley. This is where the keeper for the roller lifters bolts on. Some engines will have the bosses but not drilled and tapped. This example is from the original 350 TBI in my old 1994 C2500LD; can't speak for all of them.

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Richard
 

Fireball5657

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You're looking for the three drilled and tapped bosses down the middle of the lifter valley. This is where the keeper for the roller lifters bolts on. Some engines will have the bosses but not drilled and tapped. This example is from the original 350 TBI in my old 1994 C2500LD; can't speak for all of them.

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Richard
Perfect, that is exactly what I'm looking for! I'll do the valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, and rebuild the TBI soon; so I'll check it out then. Thank you!
 

Erik the Awful

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If you don't have the bosses you can drill and tap those three holes, loctite some all thread in place, put a nut on it, set the spider on top of that, and you can run the roller cam setup. I personally haven't done that, but if I can't find a cheap four bolt main roller block soon, I'll probably go that route.
 

Fireball5657

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If you don't have the bosses you can drill and tap those three holes, loctite some all thread in place, put a nut on it, set the spider on top of that, and you can run the roller cam setup. I personally haven't done that, but if I can't find a cheap four bolt main roller block soon, I'll probably go that route.
Good to know. When this engine comes out, I'd like to rebuild it and make it quite the runner, that's why I'm trying to go with a roller setup. I'd also like to keep the original block if I can, so it's nice to know that I should be able to convert it to a roller block pretty easily.
And you want to look for the cam retainer plate bosses/holes. IDK but, I'd guess if you have the bosses for the spider, the cam bosses will be there too.
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Also some great information, thank you! I'll keep an eye out when I eventually pull this motor. If I don't have these bosses, could these be tapped in like the ones in the intake valley?
 

Erik the Awful

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No, I don't think the bosses are there, but you can run a cam button instead.
 

Schurkey

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The small-blocks (and V6???) had two different bolt spacings for the cam retainer plates.

The "First Design" had wide spacing. The "Second Design" had the same spacing, and can use the same retainer plate as the Big-blocks dating back to '65. I have no idea why they invented the wide-spacing system when they already had the Big-Block stuff in stock, with part numbers attached. Someone didn't know up from down at GM Engineering, I guess.

GM sells a timing-set "kit" for small-blocks that includes upper and lower sprockets, the timing chain, the two thrust plates (wide and narrow) and the hardware to put it together.
www.summitracing.com/parts/nal-12371043/make/chevrolet


There is a thread about putting a cam thrust plate on blocks that don't have the bosses for the bolt holes on www.chevelles.com . I have not done this, just read the thread.

www.chevelles.com/threads/sbc-stepped-nose-cam-in-early-block.903098/





When it was me, I just got everything I needed from a "core" Vortec block.
 
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