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Can someone please explain the term "roller block" when applied to a 302? What makes a roller block? I have a block that did not come with a roller cam, out of a truck around '87, with flat tappet followers. Is this considered a non-roller block? What does it take to make a non-roller a roller? Are there physical differences in the castings? I was planning to turn this into a 331 stroker, and will need roller cam, rockers and followers. Does this make sense with this block?
 

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A "roller block" has lifter bores that are deep enough to accomodate roller-tappet lifters, which are taller than flat-tappet lifters, AND the lifter valley has holes for bolting down a lifter retainer, aka "spider". The lifter valley holes may or may not already be threaded, and if they are not they can be tapped.

Not all roller blocks also had roller cams/lifters. They were "roller ready" but still had a flat-tappet cam/lifters.
 

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You can run a roller cam in a non-roller block in one of two ways. You can use a reduced base circle cam, also known as a retro-fit cam and have the block drilled and tapped for the spider. You'll also have to buy a spider and dog bone set.

Or the better way, in my opinion is to use link bar lifters, which allow the use of a standard base circle cam and don't need any modification to the block. These lifters are expensive though.

There's no reason you couldn't use the block with a roller cam using one of these two set-ups.

Or, as mentioned above, if you're really lucky maybe the block is roller ready and only needs the spider and dog bone set. I don't know what years were that way, and the only way to know for sure would be to measure the height of the lifter bores.
 

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You have those two ways of putting a roller cam in there. Those tie bar lifters are great, but like he said, they're expensive. But you'd replace the cost with the cost of machining the block for the lifter spider.
 

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I've got an 89 truck block that was roller ready, but I don't know if the 87's were or not. Check the valley and see if there's two holes in there. That'll tell you.
 

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yeah i was always under the impression that a roller motor was the lifters. either roller or hydrolic lifters
 
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