Valve Train Breakthrough!

Isky’s needle-less roller lifters

When drag racers talk, the subject often turns to roller lifters. Everyone seems to have a story about what happened when a lifter failed or they know somebody who had catastrophic engine damage because a needle-bearing roller lifter “exploded.”

If you have a conventional roller lifter in your engine it will have small needle bearings between the roller wheel and the axle pin in the lifter body. When a lifter breaks, these hardened steel needle bearings ricochet around inside the engine doing all sorts of mischief, from sticking to piston skirts, locking up oil pumps causing bearing damage, getting between the crankshaft and the rods and tearing them up, damaging the block when the lifter split open and flared out under the lifter bore.

Nice expensive damage, all of it.

This malady seems to be more common among the big-block Chevy guys, probably because that engine is used by 90 percent of sportsman racers. The common feeling among them and engine builders is to replace lifters or at the very least pull the lifters and give them a close look at 125 to 150 runs. If they feel rough when you roll the wheel, it’s time to replace them all. Replacement is recommended every season in almost every case. That’s a hefty tag all because of the needle bearing design, right?

Get rid of the needle bearings, get rid of the problem? Isky Racing Cams has developed a breakthrough roller lifter that eliminates the weakest parts of the device, the needle bearings that support the wheel. The new EZ-Roll lifters are manufactured using a proprietary solid bearing that eliminates the traditional needle bearings. EZ-Roll lifters spread the load out evenly on the needle-free axle and wheel area, and this means a 350 percent higher load rating with virtually no chance of needle bearings being involved.

When the intake manifold is removed, the only thing you need to make sure of  is that you get the surfaces as clean as possible and don't gouge up the aluminum.