We've all seen the cheaper roller rocker arms for SBF (PRW, ProComp, Proform, KMJ, Scorpion, Speedway Racing, etc), but even though they may be cheap in cost, does that always mean they don't perform? Does anyone have any real world experience with any of these or other rockers? We all know that Comp Cam, Lunati, Trick Flow, and Crane have good rockers, but there is a huge cost that also goes with them.
Also, aluminum or stainless steel rockers? What's your input???
First and foremost, one cannot determine the quality of a rocker arm strictly by price alone. Price is usually related to cost of manufacturing, and it is certainly possible for an american made product to cost more to manufacture, be priced more at the retail level as a result, but still be a pile of crap by engineering and design. This is in fact true about a few of the american-made rocker arms out there, but out of professional courtesy I am not going to publicly call them by name and refer to them as the schitt they are.
You also need to look closely at materials used, sub-assemblies used, method of manufacture, overall engineering and design, etc. This thread could end up being pages and pagers long if we were to discuss all these things, and unfortunately it would end up being mostly filled with what many of us have been led to believe rather than actually studying first hand. I admit I have my biases as well, but my influences come from a hell of a lot of experience with various brands of rocker arms, from being a rocker arm manufacturer for a few companies (including one the biggest and oldest in the world), and also being the understudy of one of the most respected valve train geometry experts in the world....and I simply cannot invest the effort of debating others on their "hear-say" when I have so much to attend to these days (off the internet).
Most people don't understand how to properly establish and set up valve train geometry. The more one understands both engineered geometry
and installed geometry
, the more apparent a poorly designed rocker arm becomes while trying to optimally set them up on an engine build. Most people simply try to "put the roller tip in the middle of the valve" which has nothing at all to do with geometry
nor will it become apparent how your valve timing events may be critically altered with poor geometry, how the rocker arm is subjected to loads far greater than is necessary with poor geometry, etc. (Getting into valve train geometry theory here and now is much too involved, sorry; I'm just making a general statement.)
If you simply want to chose a rocker arm for your small block Ford that will get the job done efficiently, then I suggest one of the following: Trick Flow, Crane, Crower, Scorpion, Lunati, or Miller. Depending on which brand you choose, your valve train geometry will slightly differ since there hasn't really been a standard to which all these manufacturers unanimously adhere. Instead, some of them design their rocker arm the way they think
is "right" and since many companies have a different idea, the resulting geometry varies all over the place from one rocker brand to another. (This is true with many companies but not all; some companies have gotten wise to the Mid-Lift patent and re-engineered their rockers once that patent expired, while others copy another's design, etc.) Naturally, I believe that the Miller SBF rockers stand high above all the others when it comes to the SBF 302-351W rocker arms.