aluminum vs steel rockers


At T&D, one of the most common questions is which rocker material customers should use. Currently the two options available include Aluminum & Steel. While there are pros & cons of each, careful consideration should be given when deciding which to use based on an engine’s performance requirements and application.

Aluminum Rockers

The most common rocker arm material used is aluminum. The proprietary design of aluminum T&D rockers makes them exceptionally strong, with the benefit of being light weight constituting a reduction in reciprocating mass.

Aluminum rockers are also less expensive than steel due to both materials and a reduction in machine time. They are great for racers who are working with budgets, and constitute a substantial improvement over stud mount rocker systems in both performance and reliability. But while aluminum shaft rockers are an excellent choice for race engine applications, it is important to consider that ALL aluminum made rockers will fatigue faster than steel.

Steel Rockers

Steel Rockers are the ultimate in performance and reliability. The single biggest advantage being longevity when used in endurance applications. Steel rockers are common in high performance offshore / marine and street driven race engines that may include hours of continuous use.
The major secondary benefit of steel rockers is rigidity. Providing even less valvetrain flex than aluminum rockers, steel rockers will in some cases even produce horsepower gains by minimizing deflection that could affect valve lift. The additional strength of steel rockers also provides an additional piece of mind when used with aggressive cam profiles and high RPM / high boost engines.

Valvetrain is a critical component in reliability. T&D steel rockers are the top choice by high-end engine builders seeking the absolute best rocker on the market.

Mixed Material Sets

A common solution available at T&D for budget minded racers is the use of a steel rocker design on the exhaust side only. Because exhaust valves operate under substantially higher loads due to opening against pressurized cylinders … upgrading the exhaust to a steel arm to extend the valvetrains service window is a common and viable solution.

For more information as well as pricing, availability and manufacturing lead times – as T&D shaft rockers are built to order, please contact sales at 775-884-2292. Alternatively you may submit an order request online by completing the form at the link below.