Rebuild or HG only? (1 Viewer)

afa

Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
98
Location
Texas
Hi All,

I recently bought a 97 LC with over 300K miles. When I saw the listing the price was extremely low so I knew there had to be something wrong with the vehicle. Once I inspected it, I saw it had triple lockers, so I figured it was worth the risk. The previous owner was only able to run it for a few seconds since the radiator was missing the top plastic portion. PO stated that the radiator started leaking and tried to fix it but decided to just sell it (I suspected a HG issue). We both agreed on a price which I still think was a hell of a deal since this baby has absolutely no rust on it (TX truck).

Anyways, I replaced the radiator with a CSF, and low and behold, it has all the signs of a blown HG (missing coolant, bubbles in reservoir when engine is running, oil looks cloudy when I pull the dip stick after running it.) The engine runs without any knocks or strange noises which is surprising since this thing has over 300k on the odo.

I did manage to do a compression test and these were the numbers I pulled (1-171, 2-165, 3-180, 4-178, 5-169, 6-169).

Obviously budget is a concern, but I'd be willing to pay for a full rebuild if required. I plan on keeping this LC for years to come.

Would you guys recommend just a HG job and keep it running? Do these compression numbers look good for an engine with that many miles?

Thanks!
 
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
68
Location
Alaska
Those numbers are within the acceptable range per the FSM.

I’m in the same boat. My head gasket is blown. I’ve decided that since I’m in that far I’m also going to have the block checked and decked, new bearings, and new rings.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2016
Messages
697
Location
Chattanooga, TN
If it passes inspection otherwise I agree with the HG and roll option. You can inspect the cylinder bores when the heads off and change course if they show any issues. For most 80s at 300k a HG and the other "while you are in there" items will get you well past 400k + miles in great running order. At this point we don't really know an average mileage when any one of these engines is likely to need a full rebuild but many have reported great performance at much higer miles. Of course each engine is different so you have to evaluate accordingly but 300k and well cared for should have years of service left if you attend to the HG and other known service/maintenance items.

Since it's new to you just doing the HG will hopefully give you at least few years and more in your budget to sort everything else out and get to know the truck before you commit to a full rebuild. If you are really worried that if you do the HG another issue that necessitates a rebuild may come up you can consider getting a budget, running used engine and then set the current engine aside for a future full rebuild. That probably only makes sense if you have the shop/storage space and plans to keep the 80 for a long time but having 2 engines for a vehicle can be pretty nice and take a lot of the stress/annoyance out of doing a full rebuild since the truck can still be operational.
 

afa

Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
98
Location
Texas
Hi, Personally, put a head gasket on and drive it for a while.
If it passes inspection otherwise I agree with the HG and roll option. You can inspect the cylinder bores when the heads off and change course if they show any issues. For most 80s at 300k a HG and the other "while you are in there" items will get you well past 400k + miles in great running order. At this point we don't really know an average mileage when any one of these engines is likely to need a full rebuild but many have reported great performance at much higer miles. Of course each engine is different so you have to evaluate accordingly but 300k and well cared for should have years of service left if you attend to the HG and other known service/maintenance items.

Since it's new to you just doing the HG will hopefully give you at least few years and more in your budget to sort everything else out and get to know the truck before you commit to a full rebuild. If you are really worried that if you do the HG another issue that necessitates a rebuild may come up you can consider getting a budget, running used engine and then set the current engine aside for a future full rebuild. That probably only makes sense if you have the shop/storage space and plans to keep the 80 for a long time but having 2 engines for a vehicle can be pretty nice and take a lot of the stress/annoyance out of doing a full rebuild since the truck can still be operational.
Although doing a job right can feel rewarding, it's also pretty rewarding to get something running right for cheap. I'd just do the HG and slap it back together

I think you guys are right. The engine sounds pretty good when running so I think just a new HG along with all the smaller stuff in there would keep it running just fine. It'll also free up some funds for a lift, tires, etc.

Thanks!
 

afa

Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
98
Location
Texas
Do a Blackstone oil analysis. They can analyze it for abnormal metal wear.

When I bought the LC it had old oil in it. Luckily I saved a little so I'll be sending it off to them to test. I just have to order the test from their website now. Thanks!
 

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