It’s no secret that if you’re looking to make big power, GM’s LS engines are an excellent place to start. While these engines are incredibly powerful and durable, they do have a few weak points–many of them in the valvetrain. The search for power means adding bigger cylinder heads, longer duration camshafts with more lift that also demand stronger valve springs. All these improvements also increase the load on the stock LS rocker arm.
As a stock component, the LS rocker arm is a well-engineered piece. Despite its compact size, this investment cast rocker is incredibly strong and uses a roller bearing fulcrum which is a vast improvement over the high-friction ball and stud arrangement of its small-block Chevy predecessor. But with these increased spring loads, the stresses are also greatly increased on the stock fulcrum.
The good news is that several companies make an upgrade kit. Summit Racing has not only produced a kit that increases the strength of the trunnion and bearings, but has created a great little installation tool that makes the conversion very easy. Even stopping to shoot photos along the way, we had a complete set of 16 roller rockers converted in less than an hour.
Here’s how we did it: