Roller cam conversion or new engine

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open_road_toad

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Hello all,
I have a 1988 Chevy 1/2 2WD with a 5.7 and 700R4. Truck is in great shape and it is my daily driver. I’ve done a bunch of maintenance to it and I would like to continue to drive it everyday. I bought it with 64k miles and it just rolled 100k.

It is a TBI engine. No issues other than it smokes a little when you start it (valve stem seals). I also have to add coolant to it every now and then although I can’t locate a leak and it doesn’t smoke white when it’s running.

Here’s my question: I am concerned about the cam going bad sooner or later. I have looked into upgrading to a roller cam along with aluminum heads and a Holley Sniper EFI and fuel pump. My rational for this is that the truck still has the original fuel pump so it won’t hurt to replace it. Although I’ve no issues with the stock EFI I can’t tune the truck for a bigger cam. I’m not looking to build a hotrod or anything just want a good running truck that makes a bit more HP and torque.

Pricing this project out I’m close to the cost of a new engine. I’ve looked into Blueprint engines and they seem like reliable units.

A 383 with the Holley Sniper, in tank fuel pump and new harmonic balancer and flex plate would be $8k. Comes with a 3 year 5Ok warranty. I would do the install myself.

I would also install a new torque converter and drive the truck like that until the old transmission gives out at which point I would rebuild/replace the transmission.

I don’t beat on the truck, I drive it respectfully and would pull a small enclosed trailer every now and then.

Thanks in advance for your feedback. I would like to do this project this summer.

Todd
 

Drunkcanuk

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Look into a EBL Flash 2. Its essentially a tunable "stock" ECU. When you use a Holly or other aftermarket system, once they move on to their next generation, their is no replacement parts available if something goes wrong. A few guys on here have them. It's the route I'm going when it's time.
 

Erik the Awful

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If your current flat tappet cam is running fine, it's not likely to shell out just because it's a flat tappet. The cam lobes have been work-hardened and the stock cam profiles help protect them. If you rebuild the motor, then upgrade, but don't worry about upgrading until you rebuild.

If you rebuild, your heads and TBI are the limitation on your current engine. I went with a set of Vortec heads, but my next engine build will have better aftermarket heads. The Holley Sniper has some quirks and cheap parts, but runs great.

I rebuilt a 350 instead of going the Blueprint 383 route, and that saved me about $4000, but I understand that building engines isn't for everyone.

If you're not flogging the truck and only doing light towing, the factory 700R4 should work fine.
 

PlayingWithTBI

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I have looked into upgrading to a roller cam along with aluminum heads
I have the Summit Racing 162108 aluminum TBI heads, the Edelbrock Performer 3704 TBI intake bored out to 48mm, a throttle body bored to 46mm and. as @Drunkcanuk said, the EBL Flash-II. I'm currently in the process of upgrading to a roller cam in mine too. With the lift (.525") I'm going, I am installing bigger springs on those heads. With a smaller cam, running up to 5,000 RPM the Summit springs seem to work OK. My flat tappet cam, with 1.6 full roller rockers, was at .486" lift with them. I was running up to ~5300 RPM every so often. IDK what caused it to wipe out, low Zinc and Phosphorus, valve float, who knows. YMMV

Here's what I'm doing and may help you. I'm finding some small hurdles which I'm noting. Next week I'll post my spreadsheet with all the details, if we don't get it running by then, I'll pretty much know how much I'm into it. Right now I'm in it at around $2K for cam and related parts. HTH

www.gmt400.com/threads/my-flat-tappet-cam-wiped-out-so-i-decided-to-go-roller.60167/
 

open_road_toad

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I have the Summit Racing 162108 aluminum TBI heads, the Edelbrock Performer 3704 TBI intake bored out to 48mm, a throttle body bored to 46mm and. as @Drunkcanuk said, the EBL Flash-II. I'm currently in the process of upgrading to a roller cam in mine too. With the lift (.525") I'm going, I am installing bigger springs on those heads. With a smaller cam, running up to 5,000 RPM the Summit springs seem to work OK. My flat tappet cam, with 1.6 full roller rockers, was at .486" lift with them. I was running up to ~5300 RPM every so often. IDK what caused it to wipe out, low Zinc and Phosphorus, valve float, who knows. YMMV

Here's what I'm doing and may help you. I'm finding some small hurdles which I'm noting. Next week I'll post my spreadsheet with all the details, if we don't get it running by then, I'll pretty much know how much I'm into it. Right now I'm in it at around $2K for cam and related parts. HTH

www.gmt400.com/threads/my-flat-tappet-cam-wiped-out-so-i-decided-to-go-roller.60167/
Thanks for sharing that, I appreciate it.
 

open_road_toad

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If your current flat tappet cam is running fine, it's not likely to shell out just because it's a flat tappet. The cam lobes have been work-hardened and the stock cam profiles help protect them. If you rebuild the motor, then upgrade, but don't worry about upgrading until you rebuild.

If you rebuild, your heads and TBI are the limitation on your current engine. I went with a set of Vortec heads, but my next engine build will have better aftermarket heads. The Holley Sniper has some quirks and cheap parts, but runs great.

I rebuilt a 350 instead of going the Blueprint 383 route, and that saved me about $4000, but I understand that building engines isn't for everyone.

If you're not flogging the truck and only doing light towing, the factory 700R4 should work fine.
Thanks Erik, I’m really hoping that’s the case with my camshaft. I had Spencer at Blueprint quote me the same package but with the 350. It’s a grand less but it would be a couple grand less overall because I can use the stock torque converter. The difference in HP and Torque isn’t all that much and the Blueprint 350 certainly makes more power and torque than my stock engine.

For now I’m gonna stick with using Rotella oil as I’m told it has better wear properties for the flat tappet cam and hope for the best.

I will keep everyone posted. Thanks for the feedback it’s much appreciated!

Todd
 

Pro439

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ZDDP is an additive specifically for use with a flat tappet cam and most parts stores carry it. As far as hydraulic roller cams go for a daily driver you want to stay under.500 lift and use a bigger lsa 112 or 114 with a duration under 230 degrees @ .050. The biggest restriction is the throttle body, intake and cylinder heads. If you don’t have a set of heads a set of bare small port vortec bowtie heads would be the way to go as you normally have to put valves,springs seals etc on a used set that won’t flow as good as a stock set of bowties and they have the dual bolt pattern for either style intake. Stock vortec heads are prone to crack and have a very thin deck which makes resurfacing very hard and even more prone to cracking they are limited on cam lift and have to have a special rocker arm to keep it square to the valve. If this is something you do I ended up with a set of 1.94 swirl polished intake valves and 1.50 exhaust valves used , new springs, seals, keepers. Retainers are used. This stuff came off a set of vortecs that were redone and were cracked as I had them magna-fluxed. $350.00 plus shipping if you’re interested. I went with bigger valves on the set I bought as the carbide got the valve seat in a couple of spots and had to go bigger. But for what you’re doing you wouldn’t need to do any grinding. Let me know if you’re interested in these parts
 

KRS1

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If you are changing cams I would certainly go roller. There is a really high failure rate at break ins for flat tappets (including myself).. I used a Howard's retro fit or just re-use your old camshaft keeping all the lifters in order.. here is the Howard's camshaft https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hrs-cl110225-12 My "385 cubic inch" made 307 hp@4900 and 391 torque@3600 with the Howards cam..
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shovelbill

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Hello all,
I have a 1988 Chevy 1/2 2WD with a 5.7 and 700R4. Truck is in great shape and it is my daily driver. I’ve done a bunch of maintenance to it and I would like to continue to drive it everyday. I bought it with 64k miles and it just rolled 100k.

It is a TBI engine. No issues other than it smokes a little when you start it (valve stem seals). I also have to add coolant to it every now and then although I can’t locate a leak and it doesn’t smoke white when it’s running.

Here’s my question: I am concerned about the cam going bad sooner or later. I have looked into upgrading to a roller cam along with aluminum heads and a Holley Sniper EFI and fuel pump. My rational for this is that the truck still has the original fuel pump so it won’t hurt to replace it. Although I’ve no issues with the stock EFI I can’t tune the truck for a bigger cam. I’m not looking to build a hotrod or anything just want a good running truck that makes a bit more HP and torque.

Pricing this project out I’m close to the cost of a new engine. I’ve looked into Blueprint engines and they seem like reliable units.

A 383 with the Holley Sniper, in tank fuel pump and new harmonic balancer and flex plate would be $8k. Comes with a 3 year 5Ok warranty. I would do the install myself.

I would also install a new torque converter and drive the truck like that until the old transmission gives out at which point I would rebuild/replace the transmission.

I don’t beat on the truck, I drive it respectfully and would pull a small enclosed trailer every now and then.

Thanks in advance for your feedback. I would like to do this project this summer.

Todd
What gearing does the pumpkin possess?

...and I can't believe the cost of shyt these days. I bought a GM crate HT383E like six years ago, and now it's almost 40% more.
 
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