Has anybody done a 289 roller lifter conversion?


New Member
Mar 31, 2005
Columbia, SC
I have searched and Googled and still really don't know what is really necessary.

I am about to pull down a freshley re-built 289 that may have wiped a cam lobe.

It was broken in properly.

I re-built it because it wiped a lobe at about 24K miles after a cam change. I have the money and would like to eleiminate the need for special oil or additives over the long haul. Sooo...

Can I:

Install the Comp Cams ladder bar roller lifters w/o pulling heads?

I know I'll have to get diferent push rods and dist. gear.

Starting with a roller block would have been an intelligent and cost efficient option if I were startng the re-build over. I am wary of putting another flat tappet in.

BTW, Comp Cams are very responsive and are working with me and the XE268H with 9:1 compression, RPM heads and Intake, MSD ignition, 500 CFM performer carb, is a blast to drive.

Now if I can just make it quiet...
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New Member
Mar 31, 2005
Columbia, SC
It seems to break down like this.

500 for the cam and lifters
40 for the pushrods
40 for the distributor gear
another 50 for gaskets and such

not having to use 11 dollor a quart oil or regular oil with additive and not having to changes cams again in a couple of weeks.

I drive mine daily and have to have some reliabilty. I will eventually buy a rollor block and do another build but need to go today.


Founding Member
Mar 2, 2001
Hagerstown, MD
I ran a google search on "roller short block" and there are a bunch of hits. THere is a 5.0 roller short block for $200. Strokers, 351 roller short blocks, etc. CHeck out the Craigslist hits, you may find one near you. I know this is not what you want, but the cost is extream for wht you want to do, and when you go to a roller block later on, you will never get you rmoney back out of that 289...


10 Year Member
Jan 16, 2007
Hicksville, NY
Well, if you have the money, then put another flat tappet back in, and buy a roller for when you have time to swap it out....
Best of both works, and you should be able to make up some of the cost selling the 289....

Tony R

New Member
May 29, 2008
Vancouver Wa
the machine shop that has my block suggested that we do a roller sut up. He said there is a kit that goes in a stock 289 block that doesnt require machine work. This route would be alot cheaper for me than him machining the block.


SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
while i havent put it together yet, i have a retrofit roller cam from comp cams that allow the use of a roller cam in an early block, while using the stock ford roller lifters. you do need the retrofit roller kit as well that includes a modified spider, and a few other items that allow you to install everything without machine work.


New Member
Mar 31, 2005
Columbia, SC
Looks like fixing mine will just involve replacing one lifter so I will start looking for a roller block to rebuild for the future.

Thanks for the input!
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