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Hey Everyone! Happy to be here, hoping you can weigh in and help me make a decision.

Friend of mine recently picked up a 1968 Dodge split window van with a 318. Took it to the shop for an overall inspection and the shop is recommending he rebuild the engine. I'm not so sure it's completely necessary.

Shop did a compression test and results were 135-140psi on 6 of the cylinders, but two were only building up to about 30psi. Guys are also saying it has low oil pressure. Total rebuild is going to cost about 3k but I'm almost thinking it's worth just going for a valve job and trying to determine where the low oil pressure is coming from. Could save 1,500+ on the project and do the trick. What are your thoughts?
 

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Without a wet/dry compression test (or a leak down test) you can't be sure the valve job would help. I would not spend any money without more info. But I'd not be surprised if the engine needs rebuilt.
 

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There are a lot of variables that aren't known, such as miles on the engine, prior maintenance done or not done, sitting around long periods, things like that, has there been some kind of contamination done to the inside to wear things out. Two dead cylinders is never good, could be valves, might not be, low oil pressure could be worn bearings, but it could also be worn oil pump and/or scored crank (imagine a dead or almost worn out cam and timing chain/gears, too). The number of quick fixes I have done in the past can be counted on one hand, and about five hands where they didn't work and adding the quick fix price to the cost of a proper and full fix to it was needed. These days, and given you have two major problems (low oil pressure and two dead cylinders), I would suggest one of two things. Locate a good 318 that you can verify and hear run prior to yanking out the old engine as a replacement, which would cut into the rebuild cost, and use the accessories and brackets attached to the van engine to it, which should save you about a grand, but prevent the quick fix not working and then rebuilding turn it into a $4500 repair.
 

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KOG
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If it's really going to be driven much consider a swap to a later injected engine. But driving a solid front axle van much could be considered a form of torture these days. It would also need a front disc swap. Probably more money to put it in usable condition than it's worth.
 
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