Marc Christ Associate Editor
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Staff

Roller Rockers
Roller rockers are an inexpensive and simple bolt-on, but can be intimidating if you've never installed them. Our E-Street heads came equipped with rocker studs, so we didn't have to incur the cost of studs. Factory late-model Ford SBF heads have bolt-down rockers (E7TE, GT-40, and GT-40P), so there is no adjustment-you just torque the rocker retaining bolts to spec. With studs, you have a nut (and lock nut) that retains the rocker, and it must be adjusted properly.

Also, it is necessary to replace your pushrods to the hardened type when stud-mount rockers and guideplates are used. The guideplates help keep the pushrods aligned, but factory pushrods will wear against the plates. This is solved with hardened pushrods, which we sourced from Latemodel Restoration Supply (PN M6565L302). The length of your pushrod is also important. Check to make sure the center of the roller is in the center of the valve stem.

Like any other moving part, lubrication is very important to your rocker arms. Be sure to lube both ends of the pushrods, the rollers, and the valve stems to prevent premature wear on initial startup.

When installing roller rockers on an engine equipped with hydraulic lifters, it is best to adjust the rockers with the engine warm. So adjust them initially; then run the engine to normal temperature, shut it off, and adjust them again. We had to readjust ours anyway, because our valvetrain was a bit loud on initial startup. It takes a little while to do this, but it's always a good idea. Also, we utilized the valve covers being off to re-torque our head bolts.

Finally, be sure your valve covers have enough clearance for your new rocker arms and throttle linkage. If you're not sure if they clear, mark the rocker arms with a grease pencil (or clay), install your valve covers, and turn the engine over by hand. Then remove the valve covers to see if any of the color was transferred to the cover.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery