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Keyway Roller Lifters
Since their release nearly 20 years ago, Jesel has built our Precision Roller Lifters with features that other companies are just starting to call standard. Features such as the use of exotic materials for the rollers and axles, friction reducing coatings on the bodies and precision sorted bearings that are cooled and kept free from debris by pressure fed oiling have been incorporated into every Jesel lifter ever made.
Jesel Keyway lifter bodies are fitted with a keyway pin that rides in an index slot milled in a bronze lifter bushing. This design provides precise cam/roller alignment and eliminates the added weight of tie bars or tall lifter bodies associated with Dog Bone-style lifters.
Jesel Keyway lifters are available in 1.062” and 1.095” lifter body diameters and various roller diameters. The smallest combination of body diameter and roller scales in at just 97 grams. Keyway lifters require special engine block machine work to install the Jesel bronze keyway bushings. Jesel also offers a Keyway Bushing Installer to ensure perfect bushing alignment.
Open Pocket Lifters
The Jesel Open Pocket Keyway lifter is our standard design keyway style lifter. The Open Pocket design allows for the use of larger diameter rollers and offers a wider contact path on the cam lobe. The open pocket not only reduces the weight of the lifter, but it also allows more oil to lubricate the roller. The .937” diameter lifters are available with either .785” or .850” diameter roller and the 1.062” lifters come with a choice of .785”, .850” or .940” diameter rollers. A centered, .050” or .150” offset cup is available.
The Jesel Full Body Keyway lifter features the roller surrounded by the lifter body for added strength and support in the thrust area on the lifter body. Available combinations include a .937 diameter lifter featuring a .785” diameter roller, a 1.062” lifter can be ordered with either a .785” or .850” diameter roller and our 1.095” diameter lifter includes a .940” roller. A centered, .050” or .150” offset pushrod cup is available.
Our lightest .937 lifter body
Successfully run through the 2016 NASCAR season, Jesel’s Integrated Keyway Roller Lifter is our lightest Keyway style lifter available. Currently available in a .937” diameter body with a .850” diameter roller, this lifter weighs in at a scant 96 grams – 6 grams lighter than our current TS Series Keyway.
By machining the guide key into the body, the aluminum keyway retention post is removed allowing for the use of larger diameter pushrods. Aluminum pistons feature an O-ring to prevent oil pressure bleed and a hardened steel pushrod seat available in either on-center or .150” offset location. Jesel’s Integrated Keyway lifters retain all the standard features of our TS series such as DLC coated Tool Steel bodies, oil pressurized needle bearings and they are a direct replacement to the TS series.
Jesel Keyway lifters require special engine block machine work to install the Jesel bronze keyway bushings. Jesel offers a Keyway Bushing Installation tool for sale or rent that ensures perfect keyway to bushing alignment.
We understand that you may have had bad experiences with needle roller lifters from other manufacturers, and may be more comfortable with bushed lifters going forward. Although we have always felt and continue to feel that a needle is the best option for a lifter, we now offer a bronze bushed roller option for customers that prefer them.
Now available for both Tie-Bar and Keyway Lifters, Jesel Bushed Lifters feature pressure fed oiling, and have been rigorously dyno tested and run through over one million cycles on our in-house Spintron.
Our Roller Lifter Story
Roller lifters had been around for years and were used in various applications such as radial aircraft engines, but when a few progressive engine builders started adapting them to race engines, horsepower and rpm made a huge leap forward. Cam grinders began designing cam profiles with shorter durations and higher rates of lift than a traditional solid lifter could tolerate. The result was incredible power gains especially with the typical modified O.E. style cylinder heads of the day. As valvetrain loads escalated with more lift, rocker ratio and spring pressure, the roller lifter was overtaxed and suffered frequent failures.
Reinventing the Roller Lifter
Dan Jesel realized early on that the success and demand for his high-end valvetrain components was in part dependent on huge valve lifts, unheard of spring pressures and rpm that most thought was impossible. So he started on a 10-year quest to “perfect” the roller lifter. After nearly nine years of R&D and endless testing, Dan brought the first Jesel roller lifters to market in 1998. Since that time, Jesel roller lifters have stood as the industry standard in NASCAR, NHRA’s Pro Stock, Top Fuel and Funny Car, as well as endurance racing on the world stage.
Like most of Dan’s innovative designs the Jesel roller lifter bore little semblance to traditional roller lifters. Most notable was the lack of a link (tie-bar) connecting the intake and exhaust lifter pair to maintain alignment with the camshaft lobes. Instead Dan bushed the lifter bore with a special bronze alloy bushing featuring a “keyway” groove cut for a special hardened pin on the lifter body. The pin rode up and down in the keyway groove, keeping the lifter aligned with the cam. This allows the tie-bar to be removed, the lifter body to be shorter, saving significant weight.
Another aspect of Dan’s new lifters was that everything was bigger - a .937” diameter body with a .785” roller, a larger axle and needle bearings and an internal axle locking pin eliminating snap rings, all resulted in a stronger and lighter lifter. The combination of the smallest .937” diameter lifter body and roller scale in at just 97 grams.
Making the roller lifters larger in diameter allowed Dan to offer them with centered and offset pushrod cups to reduce pushrod angularity. The keyway lifters are available with a .000”, .050” or .150” offset pushrod cups. Another one of Dan’s little tricks with the pushrod cups was to lower them as much as possible in the lifter to reduce side loads and friction. The larger diameter lifter bodies also accommodated larger diameter rollers that not only rotate slower per given rpm, they spread the load better on the cam. In virtually all of Jesel’s lifter styles there is a choice of body and wheel diameter to fit most popular applications.
Although a good deal of durability was gained through the upgraded size of the lifter components, the real story behind Jesel’s reputation for reliability lies in its choice of materials like the tool steel for the lifter bodies and its incredibly precise machining tolerances (±.0002”). Combine that with the special surface finishes and coatings that have been developed over years of testing and research, and you have incredible durability and wear resistance.
The Evolving Line-up
After a successful entry into the roller lifter market with its Keyway and Tie-Bar design, Jesel has produced several other styles. Chronologically they are the Dogbone Lifter that derives its name from the dogbone-shaped steel retainer that bolts to the block and maintains lifter alignment, the Nitro-Alcohol Lifter – a beefed up tie-bar design for Nitro and Alcohol engines and the tie-bar Solid Body Lifter for sportsman applications. Jesel’s Dogbone roller lifters are an alternative to Keyway Lifters because they do not require special lifter bushings to be installed in the block. Dogbone retainers can be easily installed with a simple drill jig available from Jesel. They have the standard features found in all Jesel lifters − an ultra-light design, pressurized roller oil circuits, hard-coated steel bodies, aluminum pistons, hardened-steel pushrod seats and internal axle locking pins.
A recent addition to the Jesel roller lifter lineup is its Solid Body roller lifter. It was designed as a cost effective alternative to its renown TS Series Tie-Bar lifters. They are a perfect fit for sportsman and professional racers alike for all forms of racing including drag, circle track, road racing, marine and street performance. The Jesel Solid Body Roller Lifters feature a one-piece DLC coated solid steel designed body with the pushrod seat machined directly into the lifter body. They are available in various pushrod offsets for port clearance and use the same rollers, precision-sorted needle bearings and axles found in Jesel’s TS Series.
Just when it seemed that roller lifter innovation had hit a wall, Dan Jesel introduced his latest concept, the Jesel Cartridge roller lifter. It is a stand-alone roller lifter pair that contains the lifters and bronze bushings and can be installed or removed in an aftermarket block with a single retaining bolt or stud. It is limited in application to those aftermarket and billet blocks that can accept the assemblies’ 1.312” O.D. Jesel’s Cartridge lifter is big – the lifter body is a full inch in diameter and the wheel measures 1.220”. Channels machined into the lifter bushing guide the wheel and maintain alignment with the camshaft lobe.
Jesel’s Cartridge roller lifters offer several advantages. The huge 1.220” wheel turns slower than a lifter with a smaller wheel. Also, the larger wheel reduces the pressure angle against the lifter. It is also easier to properly clean a block and any debris that might get trapped between the lifter bushings and the lifter bores. The most obvious advantage doesn’t come into play much, but in the remote chance that there is a problem with a lifter or cam lobe, the lifter assembly can be easily changed at the track by removing a single bolt or nut (if studded in place) and replacing the cartridge.
Dan has made a huge commitment to building roller lifters that actually enhance the durability of a racing engine. His designs have been proven under the most extreme conditions and Jesel has sourced the dedicated CNC machining centers and specialized assembly tools to produce the finest lifters possible.