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Mechanical lifters allow higher engine rpm (above 7,000) but require frequent valve adjustments and have a noisy clatter at idle.

Hydraulic, Solid, or Roller Lifter You'll have to choose between hydraulic, mechanical, or roller lifters. They provide quiet operation and almost never need adjustment.

However, for very-high-rpm operation, hydraulics will often bleed down and cause valve float.

Finally, Stage V focuses on an all-out 502 Rat equipped with rectangular-port cylinder heads, lots of compression, and a single-plane intake with an 850-cfm carburetor.

Next, we'll consider camshaft duration, which is critical to the amount of power the engine will produce and at what rpm range it will do so.

Stage I--Mild 305 ci Although it's only a 305, it has the same stroke dimension as a 350 (3.480 inches).

This mild combo would include a stock intake manifold with a four-barrel carburetor, 8.0:1 compression, and small stock heads.

Stage I is a daily driver--a 305 engine that we just intend to make perform better.

Stage II uses a relatively stock 350 engine that has a performance exhaust system, aftermarket intake manifold, and a four-barrel carburetor.

For the more serious street contender, enter the world of roller camshafts.

The name roller describes the small wheels installed on the bottoms of the lifters that reduce friction and allow a very aggressive camshaft profile that can directly enhance power levels.

For Stage III, we'll use a 383 with Stage II components and add headers, 3.55 gears, and a 2,500-stall converter.