When it comes to the camshafts, the solid roller is at the top of the lineup, and that’s what you will find in almost all serious race engines. So does that make it the correct choice for a hot street application? For all but the most limited application, the answer has been no. Longevity of solid roller lifters in a street application has been the problem, and when a failure occurs, the results aren’t pretty. Failure usually occurs at the lifter when the lifter spits out the tiny needle bearings supporting the rollers, filling the engine with damaging debris. Even with the potential for disaster, solid rollers are more popular than ever in street engines. The reason is simple—performance. A solid roller has the ability to make more power and turn higher rpm.
With advances in cylinder head design, modern performance engines will typically make more power with more valve lift. Big-inch stroker combinations and bulletproof bottom end parts capable of serious rpm need all the flow they can get. Modern cylinder heads respond to a much higher lift than what was common in the engines of yesterday. Solid rollers are best for handling high-lift, fast-acting lobe designs, high rpm, as well as the spring loads required. Solid rollers offer the load-handling and stability required in such an environment.
Lunati’s Pressurized Solid Roller Lifters enhance durability with full-pressure oiling to
Comp’s premium solid roller lifters are the Race Elite. These supply full pressure oiling
Isky’s EZ-Roll is an optional bearing arrangement employed on the company’s successful Red
For many, running a solid roller is well worth the risk for the power gained. To hedge your bet here, regular inspection and maintenance of the lifters should be the routine. Inspect the roller wheel for free-play or rough spots while spinning the follower wheel. Any suspect lifters should be replaced or sent to the manufacturer for rebuilding. Starting with a premium set of roller lifters is a good insurance policy. Solid roller lifters are definitely not an item you’d want to cut corners on.
An aggressive solid roller is not going to provide OEM durability in a daily-driver street application. However, with routine maintenance and inspection and premium lifters, a solid roller will get the most out of your street bruiser.