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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I went with a stock cam(melling) Elgin lifters on mine but it’s a bone stock 307 driver. Haven’t fired it yet but put plenty assembly lube and the zinc and breaking in with Rotella 14-40 which also contains zinc and plan to continue to use it. Think I’m going to break it in the old fashion way. Fire it up, warm it up, set timing and carb and drive it and hope for the best
I tried this route on my second cam. Started clattering and backfiring during drive. Good luck though!
 

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One item often overlooked on a ft install is the lifter rotation.
My 540" Hemi is a ft app.
When I set it up, I marked the lifters and did 10 rotations on the cam.
I looked for at least 1 rotation on the lifters.
I also use the Goodsen lifter burnishing tool. It sizes the bores and leaves a slick finish.
LBB-1500 : Lifter Bore Burnishing Tool Kit : GOODSON | Goodson Tools & Supplies
I've also used the bore grooving tool to help oil the lobes.
Mine is a Goodsen.
They are also sold by Summit.
Powerhouse Products POW351026 Powerhouse Products Pro-Series Lifter Bore Grooving Tools | Summit Racing
 

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The 20-30 minute "break in" at 2000-2500 rpm has been around a long time, and is proven to work (at least relative to doing nothing).
During some (1970s) lifter development with an in house version of a Spin-Tron, we quickly learned a number of aspects related to flat tappet survival. As Rick states tracking minimum RPM was a major factor related to lifter rotation during break-in which is necessary to insure a burnishing / work hardening of total contact surfaces of both cam and lifter materials necessary for long term wear. As RPM dropped below a controlled (2000 -2500) lifter rotation began to drop off as well. If left to operate under those lower rpm, non rotation conditions the corresponding parts showed early signs of failure. There are a number of other built in reasons for cam / lifter failures that can be discussed but this as well as continued use of zinc additives are ones that as an owner you can implement to help your cause.
 

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it is most of the time related to break in procedure. I use ISKY REV LUBE on all flat tappet cams and have not had a failure. If you do not us e moly past on cam and lifters you are asking for it to happen. Back in the day all cams came with this moly lube that was a pain to get off your skin but it stuck to the cam and lifters. Better always add zinc in the oil and the proper amount also!
 

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One item regarding lifter QC is a video I watched a few years back. If you set the lifter on a piece of glass it should "rock" slightly. That convex face creates the rotation along with the same on the cam lobe. So anyways, he showed several replacement lifters were dead flat on the face. No rock on the glass. He bought a bunch from Napa or similar and it took quite a few to get all 16 that have the correct convex to them.
 

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I used the light spring method last one I did . But boy is it a pain .My friend , whom is a machinist thinks there are no American made lifters anymore , all from china, but they don't cost much !!
 

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I used the light spring method last one I did . But boy is it a pain
I did the same. Removed all of the inner valve springs and reinstalled them after break-in.
Saying that it was a pain is an understatement.
Also followed all the procedures that they recommended.
I'm hoping my cam survived, but I'm not really sure how to tell if it was damaged.:unsure:
 

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With a roller cam it will help to soak the rollers overnight in motor oil. In 78 we built a new 3 9/16 stroke 350 to race at the Knoxville Nationals. On first fire up a new lifter came apart which locked up the oil pump. I saw it lost oil pressure and killed it. But it was the only gear drive camshaft we had and an engine full of rollers. Ended up putting in a 311 inch motor,with 3/8 mile gears on a half mile track. It qualified 14 of 135 race cars. Owner wasn't afraid ti twist its tail. Telltale tach showed 8500 with stock rods. It broke a rod in hot laps 2 days later.
 

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Well after two failed cam break in the motor is coming out to be taken apart and cleaned and rebuilt again. I am done with flat tapped cams. My builder and I have decided to go with a roller cam. Should have went that route to begin with.
BB Chevys are particularly bad about wiping cam lobes and flat tappet lifters. The only way to break in is lots of Zinc/Phosphorus, and run the outer springs or light brake in valve springs. yeah, rollers are expensive, but so are multiple cams and engine disassemblies.
 

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I have run some really large cams (flat tappet solid lifter) in BB's before. Only lost a couple of them at break-in time. Once I started removing the inner springs things got more trust worthy. Some time later I ran into some low lift break-in rocker arms. Always figured I'd get me a set for my tool box. Of course they only made them for a short time though so almost un-findable now.

Anyways, if you have a cam that is any-wheres near stock lift and use the right zinc stuff there shouldn't be much problems. I tend to believe that much of the fear was started by the cam companies themselves to get the aftermarket roller sales started.

And I am still a believer in the old original zinc product.

 

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At one time every short block or complete engine we installed in a GM dealership came with EOS & if it was a warranty claim even after they no longer included EOS with the engine there had better have a can charged out on the claim or the factory rep could turn down the claim also with new camshaft & lifters replacement claims.
 

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Unpopular opinion, but flat tappets are a waste of time in 2022. The retro fits are more expensive than blocks made for rollers...up until you wipe a flat tappet and have to start over. It's better to save a little longer and go roller or adjust your budget elsewhere to afford the roller rather than use FT old tech.

I'm sure people will argue or disagree, but outside of cost, there is nowhere else a FT wins out.

I'm sorry for the extra work and cost you are currently having to work through, but you'll be happier in the end.
 

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Both the last two SBC I built started as factory roller blocks the advantage of not having to buy expensive retro rollers + the one piece rear main seal & pan rail stiffeners make a nearly leak free assembly.
Starting with a roller 4 bolt main block is definitely the way to go. These blocks are still easy to get at a reasonable cost.
 
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