Hydraulic cam vs. Roller cam

Hydraulic cam Vs Roller cam – Which is Better?

Hydraulic cam is the most popular street camshaft, commonly used in mild street performance to mild race. It has a flat appearing base that rotates slowly and rides on the cam lobe face within the lifter bore to promote proper oiling.

On the other hand, roller cam is a powerful cam with lightning-fast ramp speeds and an excellent lobe profile that can minimize friction to provide more and more power Hydraulic cam.   

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Hydraulic Cam

Hydraulic cam, known as a street camshaft, has minimal maintenance to ensure proper valve lash. It also has little or no economic cost and valve train noise. It can rotate and ride on the cam lobe face to promote proper oiling with a flat appearing base. 

These cams have an internal cavity that fills with a piston and oil and is depressed by the valve spring (pushrod). The hydraulic cam also provides a cushion of fluid that creates room for expansion and softens the valve train’s impact as the engine reaches operating temperature.

It delivers quiet operation in the mild racing engine on the street. This system works too well to equip most OEM engines with simple and non-adjustable valve trains. 

Hydraulic Cam

The travel of this cam’s internal plunger provides a wide target for tolerance. Its components are bolted together in that range of travel and become a reliable, functional, and quiet valve train as a result. But this hydraulic cam would not be perfect for a hot street.

This cam has not enough faster rams (lobes). Though the rpm range of these hydraulic cams is limited, it runs well over 7000 RPM in 11 and 12-second streetcar.                                  


  • It has lower maintenance.
  • Do not spend much time to preload outside of the initial installation.         
  • Little or no economic cost.                             
  • Having little or no valve train noise.       
  • Can promote proper oiling.                              
  • Can reduce friction.                                                                                      


  • Its rpm is limited.        
  • Its lobe profile is limited.                             
  • Not suitable for the hot street.                                                                                

Roller Cam

Roller cam is one of the most aggressive, accelerate, and powerful cam than any other cams. It has fast lightning ramp speeds and an excellent lobe profile. The valves slam shut and snap open much faster than any other cams. It means to make much more flow, and its valves stay open extensively for a long time.

The roller cam does not need to start closing the valve sooner because it can hold its valve wide open and flow air and fuel until the very last second. This cam is also suitable for a race engine and hot street. 

Roller Cam

These cams do not need to be broken as other cams do. Besides, roller cam can be re-used again. It has a better throttle response and a more manifold vacuum.

For controlling the valve train motion, roller cams typically necessary higher spring loads with a more aggressive ramp rate. Another advantage of this cam is its increased durability.

Moreover, these cams minimize friction to provide more power. Along with fast ramp (lobe) speed, this aggressive profile roller cam also has drawbacks. Its cost is quite a bit more, and its faster ramp speed and higher lift need stiffer valve spring; else, it will end up with valve float, which is not satisfied.


  • Having fast lightened ramp speed.
  • Having an excellent lobe profile.    
  • Make much more flow.
  • Can minimize friction. 
  • Provide more and more power. 
  • Increased more and more durability. 
  • Snap open and slam shut too much faster than any other cams. 
  • Suitable for a race engine and hot street. 
  • Need not to be broken in as others cam’s do. 
  • Having a more manifold vacuum.


  • Cost quite a bit more. 
  • Needs stiffer valve spring.

What is a good cam for a Ford 302 Truck?

In 1985, a new ford 302 engine block was released, which was a roller engine with a roller camshaft. In 1988, the F series 302 engines were put together in the Cleveland engine plant, and the Mustang’s 5.0 H. O. used the same roller block. However, the F series 302 engine was equipped with the flat-tapped non-roller type through 1991. 

After one year later (1992), the F series trucks switched over to the roller cam blocks, and after 7- years, they introduce it first. With more civilized street manners, the roller camshaft provides a more aggressive and more accelerated profile.

Besides, these cams are made of billet steel, where other cams are cast iron. Moreover, roller cam reduces internal friction to provide more power. There is no doubt that the roller cam is a good cam for a ford 302 truck.

Difference Between a Hydraulic cam and a Roller cam

Roller cam is a more powerful cam than hydraulic cam. Roller cam has lightning-fast ramp speeds, whereas the hydraulic cam is not as fast as roller cam. In hydraulic cam, the valves snap open and slam shut very fast.

But, Roller cam need not start closing the valve sooner because it can hold its valve extensively open and can flow air ( or exhaust ) and fuel till the very last second, but hydraulic cam can’t do it like that. 

Roller cam is very suitable for hot street or race engine; on the other hand, the hydraulic cam is not ideal for these. Hydraulic cam needs a stouter spring but not as stiff as a roller cam. Besides, roller cam has an excellent lobe profile than hydraulic cam.

Moreover, Roller cam has a more manifold vacuum then hydraulic cam. Roller cam provides more and more power and increased durability more and more. But hydraulic cam can’t do like that.

Besides, the RPM range of this hydraulic cam is not as much as roller cam. Roller cam can minimize more friction than a hydraulic cam, and this cam needs not to be broken-in like a hydraulic cam yet. 

On the contrary, the hydraulic cam has a little economical cost, and its maintenance is low, but the roller cams cost is quite a bit more. Last of all, roller cam is a good cam for a ford 302 trucks, but the hydraulic cam is not as good as roller cam.

Is Roller cam worth it?

Without any doubt, the answer is yes. Roller cam is mostly capable of cam than any other cams. Though it cost quite a bit more in the end, you will gain in reliability and performance.

Roller cam designs have individual advantages over other cams design. Roller cams profile can be more accelerate and aggressive than any other cams profile. Besides, roller cam can be re-used where other cams can’t.

Again, this roller cam’s big advantage is that it reduces more friction to provide more energy. Its ramp speed is breakneck than any other cams, and its lobe profile is excellent as well. Besides, this cam has a manifold vacuum and better throttle response. That’s why it is worth it.


However, both hydraulic cam and roller cam are popular and having their aggressive performance profile. Though having much difference between them, they are crucial for engines.

In comparison, roller cams are more powerful and can reduce friction. So if you are looking for a reliable and durable cam, you can go for a roller cam yet.  

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