SBC is one of the most popular V8 engines for racers, truck drivers, and performance seekers. All thanks to their incredible performance as well as their small and lightweight nature.
These engines generate good torque. Thus enabling drivers to take off quickly from a standstill.
Chevrolet first produced the Small Block Chevy engine in 1955 as a 4.3 liter (256 cubic inch) engine.
Today, SBC engines are available in various sizes ranging from 265 – 400 cubic inches. Most Chevy trucks and cars you see out there run on 305’s and 350’s models.
The original design of the SBC had some drawbacks though! Many flat surfaces meet with other flat surfaces. Thus resulting in unnecessary friction in the valve train and decreased horsepower. The best roller rockers for SBC will help you solve this issue.
Roller rockers move the pushrods downwards and redirect the lifter’s motion. On top of that, they enable the valve spring to shut the valve.
These actions add horsepower, enhance engine performance and decrease friction in the valvetrain
But with so many varieties of roller rockers out there, which is the best set to buy? This article will help you with that. Here are some of the best roller rockers for SBC in the market at the moment!
7 Best Roller Rockers for SBC
1. Comp Roller Rockers sbc (Cams 17002)
On top of the list is this COMP high-energy roller rocker review! The set is extremely durable and guarantees exceptional.
So, if you want to upgrade your SBC engine for moderate or street race use, this is the ideal option for you.
One thing you need to note about these roller rockers is that they’re a little pricey. However, this unit is worth the price considering the features it comes with.
In total, this set comes with 16 rocker arms, 16 pivot balls, and 16 self-locking nuts. Let’s check out their incredible features!
For starters, each rocker arm has a specially designed roller tip and fulcrum. For this, they create less friction as compared to the sliding factory models.
For this reason, the engine experiences lower oil temperatures and increased horsepower. With this set, you can increase your SBC’s horsepower by about 10 -15 HP.
You’ll also love the unique appearance and construction of these pieces. This is because they’re crafted from aluminum. Thus giving the set good strength and increasing its durability.
Besides, aluminum has less overall weight. So, regardless of the rocker arms having a larger-than-stock body, they’re easy to carry around.
Another notable feature of this system is that it includes snap rings. These rings hold and lock the bearings and trunion in place.
As for computability, this set works with most SBC engines out there. To be precise, it’s ideal for use in 1955-1986 262 to 400 small body Chevy engines.
This outstanding set is generally intended for racing purposes. It’s designed to be more durable, and stiffer. Moreover, it can give your Chevy an added valve lift.
Not to forget that it allows it to withstand the challenges of a performance application.
- Exceptional strength to weight ratio
- Stiffer & long-lasting design
- Ideal for use with up to 550lbs of open spring pressure
- Universal fit
- SBC 1.6 Roller rockers with 3/8” stud diameter
2. Assault Racing Products ARA35016716SA Self Align Rocker Arms
Assault Racing Products is a leading brand in the performance car parts industry. More importantly, they produce the latest accessories and parts in the market. And their ARA35016716SA roller rocket set is not an exception!
Made up of 6061-T6 high-strength aluminum extrusions, these roller arms are very durable. As if that’s not enough, each piece is precision milled by a CNC machine. Then finished by hand, ensuring you get the best SBC roller rockers for the money.
Moreover, these rockers are machined to accommodate retainers with bearings and larger springs. This increases their longevity and reduces friction.
Still, on construction, the shafts and nose rollers are crafted from Cr40 steel. More notably, this material is heat-treated and hardened. Thus minimizing the naturally occurring wear between the valve stem and the roller tip. Also, this gives the set a durable performance by reducing the operating temperature.
The other notable feature of this set is that it has a self-aligning design. Simply put, the tip is designed in a manner that allows it to hold the valve stem. Thus preventing it from turning sideways. So, you don’t need guide plates/pushrods to provide directional support for your rockers.
Moving on, these roller rockers feature an internal oiling system. This guarantees an even more durable performance. Also, like with other products from Assault Racing, you’ll get poly locks for free once you buy this set.
But are these roller rockers compatible with your SBC? If the size of your SBC is between 262 and 400 cubic inches, there is a good chance this set will work.
- Self-aligning design
- Internal oiling system
- Anodized superior finish
- High-strength 6061-T6 aluminum construction
- Heat-treated CR40 shafts & roller tips
3. Assault Racing Products 3501538 SBC Rocker Arms
Another set of rockers from Assault Racing worth installing in your SBC is the 3501538 model. It’s considered to be one of the best options for a large cross-section of SBC engines.
You can use it for the performance requirements of various applications or street rebuild. Some of these applications include; drag racing, off-road, or circle track.
But, what’s so great about this set?
First, this set comes with 16 rocker arms, pivot balls, lock nuts, and poly locks. With each piece featuring a longer pivot slot to ensure higher lift camshafts. More importantly, each rocker arm is crafted from high-strength 4340 Chromoly steel.
For that reason, they’re much stronger than stamped steel or die-cast aluminum. All these factors help the unit to minimize rocker arm flex.
Similar to the Assault Racing rocker arms we’ve looked at above, these pieces are CNC machined. This enables them to accommodate retainers as well as larger valve springs. The finishing, however, is done by hand.
One thing you need to note about these rocker arms though is that they don’t have a self-align system. Therefore, you’ll need pushrod guide plates to support the rockers. You can use it in Chevrolet 262 to 400 engine models designed in 1955 – 1986 and 1987-2000.
Putting that aside, the roller tips are made up of heat-treated Cr40 steel. These tips minimize scrubbing and reduce friction. This providing additional horsepower to the stock rockers. On top of that, the unit has an internal oiling system to ensure durable performance.
Overall, these roller arms will meet the needs of most high lift camshafts. Thanks to the elongated pivot slot.
- 1.5 ratios 3.8” stud mount
- Includes lock nuts
- Works with up to 350 lbs. of open spring pressure
- 4340 steel rocker arm bodies
- Heat treated pivot balls
4. JEGS Stamped Steel SBC Rocker Arms
If you want an affordable option to upgrade or replace worn-out stock rocker arms, try this set from JEGS. Apart from being affordable, this set is packed with many incredible features.
As the name suggests, these rocker arms are made up of superior stamped steel. This gives the pieces additional strength and increases their durability.
The most unique thing about stamped rockers is that they don’t operate like roller rockers. That’s because they have a slot that allows the stud to protrude to find the rocker.
However, the centerline of the rocker is constantly changing. Thus limiting the rocker tip’s movement across the face of the valve tip. Moreover, stamped rockers provide a wide tip contact area.
Another unique about these rocker arms is that they’ve got a longer pivot slot. For this reason, you can install a camshaft of up to 0.55 valve lift.
The roller tips are designed to reduce wear and friction in the valve stem and valve train. This reduction in friction increases the horsepower by about 10 to 15 HP.
By buying this set, you’ll get 16 pieces of pivot balls, self-locking nuts, and rocker arms. Each rocker arm has a 1.5 ratio and a 3/8” stud diameter. This allows them to fit most SBC engines, especially 262 to 400 models.
While the pivot balls prevent galling and promote oiling. On the other hand, the locking nuts ensure that the rockers don’t loosen out of adjustment.
- Crafted from high-quality stamped steel
- Includes anti-gall grooved pivot ball and nuts
- Available in a set of 16
- Compatible with most SBC engines
- Provides an additional 10-15 horsepower
5. COMP Cams 1416 Magnum Roller Rocker Arm Set
Like its predecessors, COMP Cams 1416 roller rocker set offers incredible working efficiency. More importantly, it’s specifically designed for use in Small Block Chevy engines. So, if you’re a street racing enthusiast, this is the ultimate option for you!
Why are we saying this?
As you know, street and racing applications demand tools that guarantee maximum life. And that’s exactly what these rocker arms offer. They feature chrome steel construction, ensuring higher stiffness than most units out there.
That’s because chrome steel materials are both sturdy and durable. Although the material is extremely thin, its strength density is high.
Best of all, the 8620 chrome-moly steel gives maximum lift and doesn’t flex.
With such an incredible construction, these rocker arms can withstand harsh conditions. Besides, this means that you’ll find them suitable for use in various applications.
Construction isn’t the only good thing about these pieces though! For instance, you’ll be glad to know that assembling and installing this set is quite simple. You don’t even need to be an expert to do it. So, if you’re a beginner, this easily installable set is our ultimate recommendation.
In terms of performance, this set is ideal for applications of up to 350 lbs. open spring pressure. Its roller tips reduce friction, increasing the engine output by 15 to 30 horsepower. Moreover, the ratio accuracy ensures that the valve lift is more effective.
On the downside, this set is a little expensive. Also, you’ll need guide plates to center the roller tip over the valve for some SBC models. Apart from that, it will enhance your SBC engine’s output to a great extent.
- 8620 chrome-moly steel construction
- Ideal for performance applications with less than 350 pounds of open spring pressure
- Designed in the USA
- High ratio accuracy & stiff design
6. Elgin SSR-840SPRS Stainless Steel Rocker Arms
Investing in tools made with inferior materials usually results in poor performance. Not to forget that you’ll need to replace them from time to time.
To avoid that, we recommend that you always buy a tool made up of high-quality materials. And this set of rocker arms from Elgin meets those standards!
Check out this Elgin stainless steel roller rockers review to learn more!
As you can tell from the name, these rocker arms feature a stainless steel body. This is a clear indication that the pieces are sturdy and durable. Better still, this enables them to resist rust and harsh environmental conditions.
In addition to that, these pieces can withstand a pressure of up to 700 lbs. But what we love most about this set is the included chrome-moly pushrods.
This system has extra-large needle bearings, which are better than conventional ball bearings. The bearings regulate friction and provide full support to the system.
Thus resulting in lower oil temperature and increased horsepower. This improves your engine’s performance rating, especially in rocky and rough terrains.
Talking of performance, each piece has a 1.6:1 ratio accuracy and a 3/8” stud diameter. Also, it’s lightweight and works on various car engines, including SBC engines.
Regardless of having so many incredible features, this set is reasonably priced. Thus increasing its sustainability for consumers with various financial backgrounds. If you want performance-oriented, affordable rocker arms, consider buying this set!
- Stainless steel construction
- Withstand open spring pressure of up to 700 pounds
- Extra-large full needle bearings
- Durable, lightweight & compact design
7. COMP Cams 1905 Ultra-Gold Roller Rocker Arm Set
When the original Ultra-Gold roller rockers hit the market, the valvetrain design changed. Especially those intended for high-performance and racing engines.
And now, the new Ultra-Gold model has done it again! Best of all, they deliver enhanced valve train stability and increased engine power.
The most notable improvement in rocker arms is that they’ve got a contoured top and arced channel. This results in an even stiffer and stronger body without compromising weight.
For that reason, these units have an incredible strength: bodyweight ratio. The body features extra CNC contouring which enhances clearances for springs & valve covers.
Another unique feature is that these pieces have a spring oiler channel. This helps in improving the lubrication. Also, there is an ultra-durable spiral lock type clip instead of trunnion clips.
The locking nuts have been advanced as well. This increases the system’s surface area to eliminate wear and improve maintain lash.
This new modern design can withstand extremely aggressive valve lift and spring pressure. Its precision CNC-machined, allowing it to tolerate strict tolerances. This results in a lightweight design that delivers exceptional quality and ratio accuracy.
Overall, these rocker arms can meet the needs of professional engine builders. Besides, they’ve got features you may not see in other aluminum rocker arms.
But like most rocker arms on our list, this set is ideal for Chevrolet 265 to 400 applications. However, note that this set comes with a total of 8 rocker arms.
- Ideal for race and high-performance street engines
- 7/16” stud diameter & 1.6 ratio
- Precision CNC-machined trunion bearings
- Compatible with Chevrolet 265 – 400 V8 engines
- Withstands aggressive valve lift and spring pressure
Buyer’s guide for SBC Roller Rockers
The roller rocker arms serve 2 purposes in an SBC engine. One, they act as fulcrums, where they redirect the lifters’ upward motion.
They also force the pushrods to move downwards to keep the valves open.
Secondly, the rockers’ lift ratio multiplies the amount of valve lift created by the cam lobes.
Although all roller rockers perform these tasks, there are different types out there. So, how do you choosing the best small block chevy roller rockers? Well, they’re various factors you need to consider before buying a certain unit for your engine. Some of those factors include;
As you may have noticed, roller rockers are made up of different materials. The most commonly used materials are; die-cast aluminum, powdered metal, and stamped steel. These substances have great strength and can withstand various environmental damages.
Besides, these factors play an important role in increasing your unit’s longevity. Longevity is important when dealing with high lift ratios and valve spring pressures.
Still, on material, look for a stiff product. This will improve the rocker arms’ performance. You can also use heavier materials like chrome steel to increase the unit’s stiffness.
Price is another significant factor that can limit your roller rocker options. That’s because roller rocker arms come at different prices.
So, before you buy a certain unit, consider its price, especially if you’re an entry-level racer.
The same case applies if you’re a budget-conscious street customer. However, don’t let price compromise on quality. Instead, settle for a product that’s affordable, but performance efficient.
Rocker Arm ratio
Arm ratio can have a significant impact on your roller rockers’ abilities. For instance, changing the arm ratio can get more lift out of a certain cam lobe profile.
Also, increasing the total valve lift will increase volumetric efficiency.
The same case applies when you increase the speed at which the valves close and open. Simply put, choose a unit with a higher arm ratio instead of rockers with a limited ratio.
Bearings and roller tips
Lastly, look for roller rockers with large bearings and unique roller tips. These components help in friction reduction, leading to better engine performance.
Moreover, this results in lower oil; temperature, high horsepower, and enhanced vehicular response.
Frequently Answer Questions
1. How do roller rockers increase horsepower?
Rocker arms have bearings and roller tips. These components decrease friction which significantly lowers the oil temperature. Thus resulting in enhanced vehicular response and increased horsepower.
2. Do you need guide plates when installing roller rockers?
Yes, you’ll need guide plates, especially if your rockers are non-aligning.
3. What is the difference between 1.6 and 1.5 roller rockers?
1.6 rocker arms raise the valve 1.6X the cam’s lobe lift. Contrarily, 1.5 roller rockers raise the valve 1.5X the cam’s lobe lift. 1.6 rocker arms are ideal for improving the valve lift of a camshaft with low lift.
4. How do you differentiate non-aligning and self-align rockers?
Non-aligning rockers have a smooth surface at the bottom. On the other hand, self-align units have slight ridges where the bottom meets the valve stem.
5. How long can you drive with loose/ broken rocker arms?
Faulty rockers will ultimately affect the engine performance. So, avoid driving your car for more than 100 miles if the rockers are bad/ broken.
Installing the best roller rocker for SBC in your engine will benefit your car in various ways. It will increase your engine performance, decrease friction and extend its durability. You can also use these pieces to increase your engine output.
To choose the ‘best’ rocker arms for a certain performance application, check our list again. More importantly, look at their attributes until you find the best unit for your SBC engine!