Any person with a passion for building an engine should learn the difference between roller rockers and stock rockers.
They are not the same but operate similarly in the vehicle. The question is, is it worth replacing the regular ones with the roller rockers?
How do we know that the engine will gain more performance than it had before? What are the restrictions? Are you ready to find out more about this in the roller rockers vs regular rockers?
This is no disco-themed party throwback; you can actually learn about that significant part of your car’s engine. First, do you want to know what happens if you do not fix these rocker arms?
Signs of Bad Rocker Arms
Knowing about the symptoms of bad rocker arms might shed some light on crucial they are. Plus, it is a lesson worth learning for the novices!
a) Engine Light
Whenever the engine faces a block or an issue, it will send a signal to the car, causing the engine light to turn on. Pretty cool, right?
But the reasons can be several. The engine is made up of a manifold of parts. How do you make sense of what is causing the light to stare intently at you?
It can be a bad O2 sensor, too, you know. However, poor rocker arms are another pivotal cause. So, next time you see the light displays on, check on the arms or the sensors. It can narrow down the hassle to a minimum.
Faulty rocker arms mean poor performance in the whole car functionality. I mean, you cannot expect a superb driving experience if the bad rocker arms are getting in the way.
This happens when the valves do not function timely, making a mess of the internal combustion. Without proper operating rocker arms, you will have to face low acceleration and even stalling during a drive.
In the end, your car will give up and not starting at all.
The moment you hear noises like a sewing machine, inspect the engine right away. Never ignore the desperate clicking sound the faulty rocker arms make when working with the valves.
Sometimes it can be due to inadequate lubrication, or sometimes it’s due to worn parts. Even if the arms appear to be doing well, do not get fooled by the view. Search deeper or call a mechanic to solve the noise problem.
Honestly, it will save a lot of trouble in the future.
This is the worst sign of all, which can eventually break the arm apart. Frankly, any deterioration on this part will soon be followed by ten other issues if not handled firsthand.
Do not forget to check under the arms (the pivoting area and the valves) since the grinding can degrade the components over the years.
Structure and Function of the Rocker Arms
Remember, rocker arms work in ratios. This ratio is based on the lift caused by the rockers. They are the source behind the lift increasing at the cam by the ratio numbers.
These rockers are made from pressed steel. It has a structure that presses the valve by sliding across the valve-end in a slight arc manner. Due to the curve of the stock rockers, the push and pull occur smoothly but half.
If you try to apply force to the engine, the arc will attempt to push the valves lower and will end up causing deterioration to the rockers.
- Stamped Steel
The pressed steel or bronze bushing are the main features of the stock rockers. However, they lack the rpm increasing to the max. It isn’t easy to modify the arms without spending a lot.
So what you will have to focus on are the quality of the engine structure and the rocker arms design. Can they handle the speed? It depends on the manufacturing of the components.
But the lack of excessive increment allows you to move past the redline, nonetheless. In short, you can easily extend the lift and duration more than it currently is.
Yet, some vehicle model owners will find it tenaciously frustrating as it means poor performance compared to the newer automobile engines.
Thankfully, most factory rocker arms offer higher lift at the cam these days to attain somewhat better ratio variability.
Therefore, the ratio here is limited. Usually, it ranges from 1.3 to 1.7, depending on the car model. Keep in mind that the ratio is inconsistent. The more the rocker arm multiplies the motion, the higher the ratio gets.
The problem with the regular rockers is that they lack increased lift at the cam.
Let me explain with a small example. Suppose your vehicle engine incorporates a 200-pound valve spring.
And the current ratio of the stock rockers is 1:1.25, which describes an old model. So, how much does the lifter get? The answer is 250 pounds. It is not much, but the outcome will slow the wearing effect on the components.
If one can adjust the ratios to a higher point, it is the roller rocker arm. But how does it work?
The roller rockers offer a completely off-the-top design that immediately changes the function of the engine. Of course, debates are happening even as we speak, but the structure works in favor of those who love a bit more power for their ride.
These types of rockers do not move back and forth like the standard rocker arms. Instead, they use the needle bearings to apply the rotary function of an axle.
It allows a quick ratio increase that turns the engine to run faster.
- Needle Bearings
These needle bearings are the reason the roller rockers have got the name. You will find them in place of the pivot. The roller tips work with the valves that are often said to minimize friction.
However, it is not the case. You see, increasing the rocker arm ratio without altering the stock engine can be problematic and financially troublesome. The aftermath of repairs will come at a cost that might not be affordable to many.
Anyway, how do roller tips work? It glides across the valve top by rounding over and over. So, one inaccurate equation and the whole bearing set may end up wearing off fast.
To understand the ratio work better, let me explain to you using the previous example in the stock rocker arm.
Say that you have replaced the stock rockers with roller rockers that offer a 1:1.5 ratio now. Hopefully, the engine is compatible as well.
What is it worth at the lifter? The 250 pounds increase will change into 300 pounds if the valve spring is still 200-pound.
Sometimes higher ratio than this point will incur more elevated lifts. It helps the lifter stay on the cam via valve spring. But it will be at the cost of faster deterioration.
Roller Rockers or Regular Rockers?
Now the comparisons will determine which is better for your vehicle. Each engine model should have the appropriate ratios to perform better.
Without batting my eyes, I can tell you that the roller rockers have the best design compared to the regular ones.
Sure, the stock rocker arms deliver consistency. But if the driving forces to increase power, you can expect some hesitancy.
The roller rockers, on the other hand, offer an aluminum design. It is not only lightweight but also fights against sudden breakage. In this case, one point sure goes to the roller rockers.
With a few gains in their pocket, the roller rockers tend to thrive in today’s automobile enthusiasts. But they should also know that such power comes with consequences.
These rockers reduce friction while implementing less lubrication. It is something a standard rocker arm can never achieve.
The bearings are an incredible idea to ensure faster push up and down motion with increased ratio. However, it will deteriorate the rocker tips badly despite the high-end motion and weight ratio.
As it continues to operate rapidly with a growing ratio by the seconds, the back and forth motion will get sharper at the angle. In the end, this upgrade can cut down the smooth geometrical function.
Eventually, the replacement will take you through a complicated path with costly repairs. Therefore, one point goes to the regular rockers due to their long-term operation.
Now you can clearly see that roller rockers lack longevity. However, this does not mean the arms will break down within weeks. Here, the short lifespan indicates a sign of bad rocker arms after 30k to 40k mileage.
In contrast, the regular/factory rockers will go on longer, as long as they are not mismanaged. Another point goes to the regular rockers! Can you sense the verdict?
If you want durability and endurance over an increased ratio, go for the regular rockers. But you should consider acquiring roller rockers for your engine if power, no matter the duration, is what you seek.
Remember that both types are excellent depending on the quality of the material. The rocker arms will wear fast and have unsteady stalls if the quality is cheap.
Hopefully, this article has cleared up some confusion. Get ready to rev high!