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Discussion Starter #1
1995 RRC with 3.9 engine w/ 180k miles


I've got my heads off to do new gaskets / valves, springs, and guides. Aside from that I'm wondering what else I should think about replacing while it's all torn apart. The pistons looks crusty but I don't know if that's something to be concerned with. I can still see the hone pattern clearly on the cylinder wall which would indicate they are not too badly work (at least thats what I assume). So what else should I be looking for?

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cam, lifters and timing chain is a good service at this mileage. if you're looking for longevity them maybe a complete overhaul, new rings, bearings, seals, gaskets.
you're halfway there. for better performance you could have the heads port matched, but now you're getting into $$$$.
 

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It looks pretty clean in there for that mileage. Must have had a good oil change regime to be in that condition. Or been rebuilt more recently.

I'd at least pull out a cam follower / lifter to inspect the wear and gauge if they are worn with a view to forming an opinion on replacement.

Also move the rockers along the shaft to see if there is any wear on the shaft that would require replacement.
 

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Have a good look at the head and block for straightness, particularly where it failed.
There's a reason it failed there.
 

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Johnno is right -Depending on how fussy the mechanics are. many will not replace the existing heads without having them checked and if necessary straightened and hardened. Though this adds several hundred dollars to the job, please consider that most of the money will be spent anyway and it hardly makes sense to omit such a critical stage to prevent highly likely gasket leaks in the near future.

I also agree with the others. Having to remove the front cover is no big deal at this stage and a new timing chain now can prevent troubles and much higher cost later
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all the tips! I definitely agree that it's better to do it right the first time - especially considering how much time I have into it just to get this far.
 

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Also have a good look at the camshaft. I don't know if it applies to the later engines, but the 3.5s were known for being hard on camshafts. The engines also run pretty smoothly despite an almost rounded off lobe.

If you do replace the cam, get new lifters and liberally use a Graphogen lube or whatever they supply with the cam. Also, use a ZDDP additive in the oil and don't bother with fancy oil for the first period, change it after run in is done.
Run in at 2000 rpm for 20 minutes to bed it in nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
cam, lifters and timing chain is a good service at this mileage. if you're looking for longevity them maybe a complete overhaul, new rings, bearings, seals, gaskets.
you're halfway there. for better performance you could have the heads port matched, but now you're getting into $$$$.
Can I remove the cam while the engine is still in the vehicle? I'm looking at it now and it looks like I might not be able to extract it without removing the radiator...
 

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Cam: The radiator, condenser, and AC cooling fans need to be removed.

Pulling the motor is easy and you could address all remaining issues.

As mentioned, I would check the heads and block for surface issues and warpage.
 

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JACK'S GRANDAD
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I personally wont build a motor unless I get the block decked too. No point in putting flat heads onto a warped block in my book.
At this point, you're best off pulling the engine out and going right through it. 10/10 grind on the crank, 20 over pistons and rings, all new plugs, new cam and followers, new oil pump.
If you're going to keep it, do it right.

Martin
 
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