SEMA 2021: Isky Racing Cams Drops New Solid Roller Bushing Lifters

The SEMA Show is an event we look forward to every year. Last year was the first-ever virtual version, and it was a welcome distraction from all the craziness of 2020. Still, we were more than excited to make our way back to the Las Vegas Convention Center and return to our regularly scheduled programming – where the entirety of the automotive aftermarket convenes to showcase its wares and the world-class builds it produces alike.

This year, we caught up with a number of manufacturers, but one that really stood out to us was Isky Racing. As always, the brand’s booth did not disappoint. We caught up with Nolan Jamora of Isky Racing and got the low-down on everything new from the house of chop that is Isky Racing Cams.

The use of a bushing instead of needle bearings is a big deal for anyone serious about making safe power!

We asked Nolan what they have for the street guys and girls at home. “So, the newest thing that we for the street guys is a new hydraulic roller lifter. Johnson does the internals and we produce a bushing on them. They’re great for anything with turbos, a supercharger, boost, or anything like that. They enable you to run a lot more spring pressure. Also, they don’t wear down and they last about four-times longer. There are no needle bearings in here, because that’s what fails in the factory lifters. It’s just an extra protection. If you’re running any kind of power-adder, these are a must-have. There’s just too much pressure on the lifter…”

This cross-section of Isky’s new bushed lifter shows just how much more advanced they are compared to the original needle-bearing type lifters.

Thankfully for us, Nolan elaborated on just what he meant by all of that. “For example, when people are building boost and creating spring pressure while on the two-step, every component of the engine is subjected to a hellacious amount of vibrational energy. As such, the harmonics can force oil out of cheaper lifters. What happens is, the oil escapes through side passages which can be a result of a rushed machining process – waves and ripples machined into the side of the lifter. During testing at the factory, those waves will catch the plunger, but as it wears down, those high spots won’t catch it anymore and if you have a higher spring pressure to begin with, it wears down much quicker.”


But, what’s so bad about needle bearings? Well, when the needle bearings come apart, they go all through the entire motor – the oil galley, the pistons, everywhere. “Basically, this option amounts to only a couple hundred dollars, so it’s a no-brainer upgrade. They’ll really limit the damage an engine takes in the event of a catastrophic component failure. Let’s say you break a spring or a valve tip, it will start bouncing in and there’s no way it won’t, but this upgrade will limit the damage to the lifter and the lobe. So, you can just replace that one broken component, and not have to tear down the whole engine to replace the lifters, rods, and pistons.

This close-up of the bushing type lifters compared to the close up of the needle bearing really shows the superiority and comparative ruggedness of the upgrade.

These new bushed lifters mean more than just cheap insurance though, you can expect added performance as well. A needle gets oblong and only rides on one or two needles at any one time as it’s rolling, but this bushing rides on hydraulic fluid, so you have 350-percent more load capacity, and that’s whty the valvetrain is more stable. So, going up the ramp you can be more aggressive as well as when you’re coming down. It makes a huge difference. Ours came out about four or five years before everyone else in the market, and everyone else has copied it.

The are available for SBC, BBC, all the retrofits (LS,LT,), SBF, BBF, SBC, and BBC and Gen-III Hemi. So, if you’re in the market for a simple upgrade that will save you thousands in potential engine repair, check out

Article Sources

About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
Read My Articles