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I need help making a decision, so I figured you guys could help that have been here. In my car right now I have a 302 that was rebuilt around 5k miles ago. My plans were to modify that. However, I meet a guy who will sell me a roller cam 302 with 80k miles on it for $200. It's fuel injected, and is missing the computer and the pulleys I believe. I kind of wanted to get a roller engine anyway, and 200 is a good deal. So my questions are: should I buy the 302 from him and rebuild it and modify it so I can eventually swap it in, or should I just modify the engine I have? Is the roller cam worth it? If I do buy it from him, should I get the computer and go fuel injected, or go carburated? Keep in mind this is my daily driver. I'm saving for a T5 swap right now, but I will go ahead and buy this for later if I decide to do it.
 

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I need help making a decision, so I figured you guys could help that have been here. In my car right now I have a 302 that was rebuilt around 5k miles ago. My plans were to modify that. However, I meet a guy who will sell me a roller cam 302 with 80k miles on it for $200. It's fuel injected, and is missing the computer and the pulleys I believe. I kind of wanted to get a roller engine anyway, and 200 is a good deal. So my questions are: should I buy the 302 from him and rebuild it and modify it so I can eventually swap it in, or should I just modify the engine I have? Is the roller cam worth it? If I do buy it from him, should I get the computer and go fuel injected, or go carburated? Keep in mind this is my daily driver. I'm saving for a T5 swap right now, but I will go ahead and buy this for later if I decide to do it.
A roller is nice but there is really nothing that a roller can provide for street use that you can't get out of a flat tappet......$200 is very, very cheap and makes me wonder what condition the engine is actually in...ie how much $ you gonna have to spend on the unknown versus you know what you have....insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A roller is nice but there is really nothing that a roller can provide for street use that you can't get out of a flat tappet......$200 is very, very cheap and makes me wonder what condition the engine is actually in...ie how much $ you gonna have to spend on the unknown versus you know what you have....insurance.
that's a good point, but after been to his house (very nice) two beautifully restored cars they did themselves (67 gt500 and a 65) I don't think they're trying to sell me a piece of garbage. I mean the computer is missing, and that will be over $100. I think they just want to get rid of it. So you don't think it's worth it for the EFI? you think the gas mileage would be much better? Oh and he said it's an automatic, idk if that's important
 

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hello;

if that eng is a good core with stock bore, $200.00 is cheap WITHOUT the efi.

you have a rebuilt eng, you can easily add a roller cam to that so i see no benefit in buying another eng you need too rebuild.

you ask about mileage but want a better performing engine.

well on a stock to moderate build the fuel will get you slightly better mileage than a carb car, if you add computer ignition control, it will get you even more.

most efis are not made for high perf engines so you need to buy a new intake top and larger inlet if you want high perf.

$100.00 is dirt cheap for a computer.

i don't like efis on old cars.

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Discussion Starter #5
hello;

if that eng is a good core with stock bore, $200.00 is cheap WITHOUT the efi.

you have a rebuilt eng, you can easily add a roller cam to that so i see no benefit in buying another eng you need too rebuild.

you ask about mileage but want a better performing engine.

well on a stock to moderate build the fuel will get you slightly better mileage than a carb car, if you add computer ignition control, it will get you even more.

most efis are not made for high perf engines so you need to buy a new intake top and larger inlet if you want high perf.

$100.00 is dirt cheap for a computer.

i don't like efis on old cars.

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Yeah maybe if I get it I'll just go with a carb because I do like the classic look of carb. I can just keep the efi incase I ever want to use it. But as far as converting to a roller cam, isn't that really expensive?
 

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When the stock cam in my 289 wiped a lobe I replaced it with a stock size roller cam from Comp Cams. I felt a seat of the pants improvement. As for EFI, I would go carb or TBI to maintain a period correct look.
 

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If you are set on switching to roller you could buy it for $200 and sell the EFI parts for some of that as a return. The roller cam will have less friction but you could get half of that benefit on your flat tappet with roller rockers added. The MPG isn't a huge jump from what i've read unless your carb/timing isn't tuned it would be just as bad as an EFI with a bad sensor that runs rich. I've only seen a 1-2mpg increase for EFI from posts I've read, not worth the cost or headache for me and I lilke the look/sound/mechanical ease of work of my carb. I'm not ready to learn the electronics and sensors of EFI on my classic. If you manage to up the HP of your engine you can always step up to the next cc carb, with EFI you need to change injectors, air flow meter, computer, etc. EFI will need fuel return lines, pressure regulator, electric FP, etc. so be sure you research all costs before thinking you just need a computer.

I like the fact that when my car goes to a show or cruise in it is one of fewer and fewer with original engine (although stroked), has a carb, small distributor, etc. still looks pretty stock with 2x stock hp.
Jon
 

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OKay, here's my 2 cts. It probably won't help much on your decision. The efi engine with roller cam, the efi reduces the cylinder wash which means less wear on the cylinder walls, the roller cam reduces friction and does not require the additives for the cam lobes that a flat tappet requires(some of the newer flat tappet cams may not still need the additives)I'm still running my 289 271hp mechanical cam I put in 1974, 100,000+ miles, and I have stiffer than stock valve train, plus a lot of other parts, so it can spin to 7500 rpms. The efi will need more components and mods to make it work than a conventional carb type setup. So it basically boils down to what you want, what you want to spend, and how much time you have. There are several sites on the net for putting a efi in an old mustang, google or yahoo it and check them out. If you decide to stick with the carb setup, if you are going to be running a 4b carb, get a vacuum secondary carb no larger than 600 cfm, if running the stock cam a 450-470 cfm carb is sufficient. Good Luck.
 

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as far as converting to a roller cam, isn't that really expensive?
nope, you need a cam and lifters for the roller when you rebuild it.

you can a cam and lifters and a $35.00 adapter for the conversion on a non roller block. the retrofit cams are slightly more expensive so it is around a total of $100.00 more to convert a non roller to a roller than it is to use an original roller.

it is basically impossible to "feel" the difference in performance between a roller cam and a non roller cam using the same cam profile.

roller cams still need to be broken in but they are a lot more forgiving. i always use oil that has high levels of zddp just like the "old" oil used to have. even though it is less important for a roller cam, your engine still has lots of other parts in it that can wear. zddp is not just for cam protection. mobil 1 synthetic even has zddp in it.
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From Edelbrock:

Camshaft/Lifter run-in
1. No break-in is required with roller lifters.

http://www.edelbrock.com/automotive/misc/tech-center/install/3000/3722.pdf

However, I agree, you should not be able to feel a seat of the pants difference due only to roller lifters vs. flat tappet, all other things equal. The engine runs smoother, the lower friction robs a little less power, but otherwise it's not actually modifying anything else for engine performance to elicit such a difference; it's like placebo effect.
 

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Hello Brad V8Muscle;


Here's some additional info regarding the break in of roller cams i mentioned in my previous post.


Some suppliers like, Edelbrock do not make the lifters or cam that they sell. Also, since breaking in a roller cam can not possibly do any damage, imo, it seems like it would be a wise thing to do, especially since it only takes 20 to 30 minutes because it seems to me that it is better to err on the side of caution and be safe instead of possibly sorry. An engine can be a very costly investment, and i prefer not to risk that investment buy possibly not breaking them in properly.

Also, even if it was truly not beneficial to break in a roller cam, if it is in a new engine there are other parts that need breaking in like the piston rings etc..

Being an engine builder, I break in every roller cam because i don't want a customer coming back saying my engine broke only to find out it was the cam that failed.


From Brian Reese at Comp Cams which is the largest aftermarket cam mfg. in the world.

"The more aggressive the valve train, the more critical these details become. “It is hard to fall off the bottom of the mountain,” said Brian Reese from COMP Cams. “The more aggressive the valve train is in terms of lift, duration and spring pressure, the less margin of error you have. The little details become critical.”

“We are seeing a trend away from flat tappet engines to avoid the oil issues related to flat tappet cams, but just because you have a roller cam does not mean that it does not have to be broken in properly,” commented Reese. Brian Reese summarized it the best. “If you get the break-in wrong with a flat tappet cam, it dies right in front of your face. If you get the break-in wrong with a roller cam, it may not die until several thousand miles down the road, but the problem began at break-in.”


From Mark Cronquist, chief engine builder at Joe Gibbs Racing.

“The most critical time for any engine is during break-in. It really pays off in durability to spend the extra time on the details during the break-in period. In the long run, that extra investment on the front end really pays dividends down the road.”

“NASCAR-level engine programs like Joe Gibbs Racing are still doing a 30 minute break-in on their roller cam engines because they have learned the hard way what happens when they don’t.”

Roller Cams Need Break-In Too | Driven Racing Oil
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in my opinion the late model efi engine has one big advantage no one has mentioned yet and that is the one piece rear main seal. I am a pretty big fan of that. if you are going to rebuild an engine anyway the 200.00 bucks would net you a block that I would guess would be in pretty good shape. I was amazed when I tore down the 89 5.0 I rebuilt for my daughters car. it had essentially no visible wear inside. so unless there is a known problem with that engine I would say it is well worth the 200.00 even if you just resell it for profit later. btw I used a carb on my daughters car but I am considering going to a throttle body style fuel injection system that will still fit under her air breather.
 

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Hello Brad V8Muscle;


Here's some additional info regarding the break in of roller cams i mentioned in my previous post.


Some suppliers like, Edelbrock do not make the lifters or cam that they sell. Also, since breaking in a roller cam can not possibly do any damage, imo, it seems like it would be a wise thing to do, especially since it only takes 20 to 30 minutes because it seems to me that it is better to err on the side of caution and be safe instead of possibly sorry. An engine can be a very costly investment, and i prefer not to risk that investment buy possibly not breaking them in properly.

Also, even if it was truly not beneficial to break in a roller cam, if it is in a new engine there are other parts that need breaking in like the piston rings etc..

Being an engine builder, I break in every roller cam because i don't want a customer coming back saying my engine broke only to find out it was the cam that failed.


From Brian Reese at Comp Cams which is the largest aftermarket cam mfg. in the world.

"The more aggressive the valve train, the more critical these details become. “It is hard to fall off the bottom of the mountain,” said Brian Reese from COMP Cams. “The more aggressive the valve train is in terms of lift, duration and spring pressure, the less margin of error you have. The little details become critical.”

“We are seeing a trend away from flat tappet engines to avoid the oil issues related to flat tappet cams, but just because you have a roller cam does not mean that it does not have to be broken in properly,” commented Reese. Brian Reese summarized it the best. “If you get the break-in wrong with a flat tappet cam, it dies right in front of your face. If you get the break-in wrong with a roller cam, it may not die until several thousand miles down the road, but the problem began at break-in.”


From Mark Cronquist, chief engine builder at Joe Gibbs Racing.

“The most critical time for any engine is during break-in. It really pays off in durability to spend the extra time on the details during the break-in period. In the long run, that extra investment on the front end really pays dividends down the road.”

“NASCAR-level engine programs like Joe Gibbs Racing are still doing a 30 minute break-in on their roller cam engines because they have learned the hard way what happens when they don’t.”

Roller Cams Need Break-In Too | Driven Racing Oil
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I've read both of these before. Imagine that, an oil company saying it's necessary to use their product. I personally use Valvoline because if they're going to guarantee my engine to 150,000 miles if I use their product exclusively and enter in every oil change (which I do) then they must be doing something right, even if it's not what is going to be used in Joe Gibbs' race cars.

At what point does it really become too late to 'break in' a roller cam?

I cannot find a roller cam break in procedure from Comp. If they believe rollers should still be broken in, they should really make that noteworthy in their install instructions.

I'm sure the neighborhood loves those of us with open headers still running on our cars at 2000-2500 rpm for 30 min breaking them in. lawl.gif
 

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If you do not want it I am in birmingham and will gladly give your friend the 200 for the engine, so I suppose you know what my opinion is. If you want it to look 40 years old go carb. if you want it more reliable and no cold start or vapor locking and all of the fun carb "features" well there you go.
Seriously - ill buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you guys for all your opinions and information. I think I have decided to just go ahead and buy it. I'll probably go carburated and sell the fuel injection stuff. I'm going to build it very slow over time, but first I am doing other things like the t5. I might even stroke it to a 331. who knows, maybe I'll end up selling it in a year or two to get back what I payed for it, and find a 351 (I tend to change my mind a lot). Anyways thanks again for the help, and as of right now I'm going to go ahead and buy it.
 

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Thank you guys for all your opinions and information. I think I have decided to just go ahead and buy it. I'll probably go carburated and sell the fuel injection stuff. I'm going to build it very slow over time, but first I am doing other things like the t5. I might even stroke it to a 331. who knows, maybe I'll end up selling it in a year or two to get back what I payed for it, and find a 351 (I tend to change my mind a lot). Anyways thanks again for the help, and as of right now I'm going to go ahead and buy it.
ok cool.

as far as the t5 goes. i would run a std orig type pressure plate from mcleod with 1650 pressure for a mild build or 1850 for a pretty strong one of maybe 300 hp or more.

i would not use a diaphragm pressure plate.
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Discussion Starter #17
ok cool.

as far as the t5 goes. i would run a std orig type pressure plate from mcleod with 1650 pressure for a mild build or 1850 for a pretty strong one of maybe 300 hp or more.

i would not use a diaphragm pressure plate.
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Thanks for the heads up, However I don't really understand what any of that is huh.gif This is where I'm getting the kit Modern Driveline - Classic Mustang Small Block T5 conversion parts kit 1965-1973
I was just going to get all the parts that it recommends. My guess is that the most I'll ever make in this car is 350 to the wheels. If I ever make more then I guess I can just upgrade parts, but that will be a while from now.
 

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hello . there are two different typpes of pressure plates ths is the thing that puts pressure on the disc . the one in the kit is designed for later cars . . it will work but in many cases it will not work as well . .you should remove your uppper pedal return spring with that plate also ior it will throw your knee intoi the steering wheel when reeasing the pedal .
 
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