Small block Mopar rockers for the LA 360 Dodge engine Edelbrock heads. Today I’m going to do a quick review on rocker arm options for these heads for the small block LA engine. The Edelbrock part number we’re discussing is the 60779 option, for hydraulic flat tappet camshafts. Suitable for LA engines from 1968 to 1991. This includes the 318, 340 and 360 engine.
Many Mopar enthusiasts will already be well aware of what is being discussed here. If you’re new or have very little hands on experience, the following info will help guide you with forming a plan for your new engine build. You’ll also be armed with some basic knowledge so you can ask your machinist or engine builder the right questions and better understand what’s involved.
We’ll take a look at some budget friendly options from well known parts manufacturers and dealers, as well as some top quality packages from big name brands. Before we get into rocker arm options though, let’s be clear about a couple of critical facts.
Small Block Mopar Rockers Critical Factors
You can simply bolt the heads on if you are leaving everything else factory. Another words, if you intend to stick with your factory camshaft, then you can use your factory pushrods and lifters, as well as your stock rocker arms.
The best bet is to discuss your plans with a reputable machine shop or engine builder. You will need to make sure your deck height of the block is within spec. Sometimes after a rebuild deck surfaces are milled, to realign and square up the block surface.
Or if there has been any pitting on the deck surface. Usually due to the block being in long storage or simply sitting under the work bench for a period of time. Sometimes an over heated and stored engine can do this.
If the deck has been milled too much, you will need to install shorter or adjustable pushrods. Something to think about if you buy a used block or a complete used engine to start your project with.
The next critical factor is, if you’re going to use an aftermarket camshaft, you will need to use adjustable rocker arms. You’ll also need the correct lifters, push rods and valve springs. Having the correct spring pressure for your aftermarket camshaft is paramount.
If the spring pressure is too high, this will cause excessive and premature camshaft wear. Among other parts. If the spring pressure is too light, this will cause valve float at high RPM range. You’ll also want to check the installed valve spring height as well.
Although it is possible to use your factory stock stamped steel non adjustable rockers with the Edelbrock LA heads, Edelbrock does recommend using adjustable rockers with their LA heads. It is very possible to use stock stamped steel rockers with an aftermarket camshaft with a total valve lift of up to .500 or so. Many people have done this successfully. Although you should proceed with some caution and check that everything will work together as it should.
Unless you’re well versed with these things, discussing your plans and options with a dealer, as such as Comp cams for example, is a good investment of your time. Buying a complete package or piecing together a camshaft package over time is the best option. This way you can be sure that all the parts will work together.
The next thing to consider is rocker arm ratio. For most pump gas street applications, the factory 1.5 rocker arm ratio will be just fine. If you opt for a 1.6 or more rocker arm ratio, be sure to check pushrod clearance. You’ll need to turn the engine a few revolutions to be sure that the pushrod doesn’t interfere with the side of the block or head.
It is recommended to work out what the compression ratio will be with the new heads installed. This way you will be sure to know what gains you can expect. Whether your keeping your original factory bottom end, or using aftermarket pistons or a stroker kit. This is critical for tuning your engine as well. Visit the link here to learn how to work out what your compression actually is https://www.jepistons.com/blog/how-to-calculate-engine-compression-ratio-and-displacement
So as you can see, there is a lot to consider. It’s not necessary to buy a kit from one manufacturer though. If you’re doing things on a small budget, simply discussing your goals with a parts dealer will give you an idea of what to look for, as far as bargains go. Without sacrificing quality.
Best Bang For Your Buck – New Cast Rocker Arms
If you’ve bought an assembled pair of Edelbrock heads they will come with valves and springs installed. The springs are suitable for camshaft lifts of up to .575. Unfortunately, Edelbrock doesn’t make rocker arms for small block LA Mopar heads. So, we’ll start with a cast set of rockers from Mancini Racing.
If you’re familiar with the factory valve train for the small block LA engine, then you’d know that most of the rocker arms on these engines are stamped steel. You’d also know that the cast rockers were only available on the 340 T/A engine and the mighty little 273. Back in the day, cast rocker arms were the ones to have.
It’s common practise when seeking to build a performance small block LA Mopar engine on a budget, to scour the junk yards for a 273 engine’s valve train. The problem with stamped steel rockers is, although they serve their purpose fairly well and reliably, once you increase valve spring load, you could very well pierce a stamped rocker with a pushrod end.
Along with high valve lift camshafts is the need for increased valve spring pressures. Unfortunately with todays performance camshafts, the 273 cast rockers do not like high valve spring pressures either. So this brings us to the new adjustable cast rocker arm set, offered and made by Mancini Racing.
They are suitable for valve lift of up to .500-520. Which is plenty for a hot little street engine of 400 plus horsepower. If you’re looking to go this route, you’ll need to use a ball and cup type pushrod with these rockers. They sell for $274.95 as of September 18, 2020.
Multi Compatible Small Block Mopar Rockers
Next up is the multi compatible small block Mopar rocker arms from Hughes Engines. They will fit your factory ‘OE’ LA iron heads, the LA Edelbrock Mopar heads as well as the Indy LA – X heads and ProMaxx heads. These rockers are made specifically for Hughes Engines. The following features include:
- They’re CNC machined
- Larger rollers and axle shafts with reduced rolling friction
- Revised oil system for positive oil flow to pushrod cup
- Non anodized with a tumble finish
- Unique roller position and rocker design to properly position the roller onto the valve tip
- Kit includes spacers and shims
- Cryogenically treated options to increase strength and durability
- Comes with complete detailed instructions
- Compatible with hydraulic, mechanical or roller camshafts
- Will clear 1.500″ diameter valve springs
This complete kit is advertised at $787.26 and also come with grooved rocker shafts for correct oiling.
Harland Sharp offers small block Mopar rockers for the Edelbrock RPM LA heads too. Their kit also includes shaft hold downs. Some quick features include:
- Needle bearings to allow more oil to the rockers
- You may need oil restrictors with this kit to maintain correct oil pressure
- Designed for big lift camshafts up to .900 valve lift
- Heavy wall rocker shafts
- Designed to be used with factory pushrods. Push rod length to be determined after rockers are installed.
- Designed for heavy spring pressures
- Wider rocker bodies for increased rocker strength.
The price varies depending on where you buy this kit from. Summit has the kit currently listed at $901.99.
Edelbrock LA Engine Heads Rocker Arms Conclusion
All kits we’ve talked briefly about here today are made in the USA. Some kits don’t come with bolts to install the rocker arms with. You will need to check with the supplier or dealer when ordering. There is a lot to consider so as recommended discuss your options with your engine builder or machine shop. Be sure to have all parts inspected for any manufacturers defects once you receive them.
There’s still plenty of used parts to be found and good deals to be had for new or near new kits. As always a great source to find good deals online is Facebook. There are a multitude of buy sell and swap groups. There’s also other online forums as such as Moparts or Allpar as well. These three main sources are a good way to find more info and to ask questions about kits or individual pieces.
Recently I saw a set of brand new Edelbrock LA heads complete with Harland Sharp small block Mopar rockers installed for sale on Facebook for $2000. That’s a great deal! I’m sure at that price they won’t last long. It really does pay to keep a close eye out as deals like this come and go on social media.
If you have any questions or any info you would like to add, please leave a comment below. If your looking to buy a set of Edelbrock LA heads for your small block Mopar check out my review here https://quartermileaddiction.com/best-small-block-mopar-heads-on-a-budget-build-review/