The oil-soaked details behind our big-block 396 Redline Rebuild


Our latest Redline Rebuild is a rapid-fire restoration of a 1969 Chevrolet big-block 396, and there is more to the greasy-to-shiny story of this V-8 than the time-lapse process shows. For an engine that was freshened up just five years ago, this poor workhorse was tired and in need of some love. Fortunately, Davin Reckow was on the case to nurse it back to health.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/13/oil-soaked-details-behind-our-big-block-396-redline-rebuild

I’m sorry to have to lead off this way, but after investing an hour and a half I am left disappointed. Although I have several thoughts regarding the presentation format, my biggest disappointment was in the discussion around the ‘roller cam’ - I am still just as much in the dark as I was before my investment of time.

What is my complaint, you ask? It is this - where exactly is the needle bearing? With all those parts on display - the cam, the rockers, the lifters, you couldn’t have shown us? I get the concept - instead of ‘something’ having a flat surface, said surface has a needle roller bearing. I had to jump through visual mental hoops to try and figure where said bearing resides. So here’s my stab - the bearing is actually in the lifter. If so, then why this is called a roller cam is beyond me. If I have it wrong, then I am absolutely no closer to understanding what goes into making a ‘roller cam’.