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Discussion Starter #121
Yeah, scrape the edge off a little bit and pop the piston out with a wood dowel and hammer, it will come out without too much problem. From there, assess the damage and condition of the crank journal, rod and bearing.
Got it out by the scraping method. Thanks for that tip. Saved me tool money to spend on other parts. Cylinder wall looks okay; it's hard to get a decent photo. I'm thinking that several passes with a ball hone might do. New piston, of course. Can't even find the ends of the two upper rings, they're so well obscured.
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How did the bearings look?

Of course the piston needs replaced, that's a given.

If this were my van, after finding this, I would be replacing all the rings and rod bearings. One, it gives a peace of mind that the compression is good for all the cylinders, and two, any other non-visible problem, like stuck or broken rings will be corrected. I always see it as I've gone this far, why do the job halfway, or worse yet, have to start over anyway.

Over at Rockauto you can get rod bearings and rings to include shipping for less than a hundred bucks.
 

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Over at Rockauto you can get rod bearings and rings to include shipping for less than a hundred bucks.
And here's a RockAuto discount code that should still work, courtesy of a member of PTCL:

 

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Discussion Starter #124 (Edited)
Bearing looks okay to my untrained eye, as does the journal. I'll get a pic. You people are a bad influence. I really only want to do the one cylinder, and the big ends of #1 and #2 can barely be reached because of the front crossmember. Must be resolute in not letting scope creep intrude.

One of the benefits of doing a halfass job is, in my case, being willing to do it over with a short block down the road if this does not work.

Thank you for the code. It should come in handy.
 

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Discussion Starter #125
Well, I forgot to use the code for my Rock Auto order but I got the stuff by yesterday in four separate packages from four warehouses. Everything looks good, the pricing was reasonable, good selection on nearly every one of the items, and it all got here on or ahead of schedule. I also had to buy some tools in order to proceed, including a set of 1/2" drive ratchet extensions. I have no idea where the ones would have gone that used to live in any of the several toolboxes in the garage.
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I pulled the rest of the pistons today. Really did not want to do so but the piston rings came in a full set so it would have been wasteful not to use them and by doing this I found a scuffed and beat #6 piston that I would have missed otherwise. Rod journals look good, as do the bearings. Second new piston on order so things can start going back together once the honing is done.
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Since the van is too tall to fit into the garage, I'm working outside and I'm hoping to be done with the engine work before it gets too cold. Once it's running and driving I can move to the interior and fire up an oil-filled radiator, plugged into house power, to keep me warm in my "wheeled shed."
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Can you believe the Haynes manual does not list the torque spec for the connecting rods? They show everything else, including some pretty obscure fasteners, but not what I need right now. Googled and found 45 ft-lbs. at torkspec.com so will go with that if I find supporting docs.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
I'm making slow but significant progress. Today I got the bottom end bolted back up, putting me at the place I'd have been at 17 days ago if I had not discovered a hole in that piston. Actually, putting new rings in probably puts me ahead of that point and I would not have seen the scuffing on those pistons otherwise. I did the pan gasket yesterday and wrestling with that was not much fun, working upside down and with the front crossmember in the way. I wound up applying the RTV to the bottom of the block in sections back-to-front and working the gasket into position, installing bolts finger tight and moving on to the next section, then left that to set up overnight. Made the rest easier.


Had to jack up the engine again to get the pan into position, then I had to jack the pan itself up against the resistance of the gasket to get the bolts in. It all worked, I think. Ready to reinstall the heads tomorrow, unless it turns out I forgot something.
 

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Discussion Starter #128
Installed the heads today after a few days of dawdling and doing some other chores. This is what I set out to do, replace the head gaskets. With any luck I'll get the rest of it together and it will run. I hope.
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Discussion Starter #129
Continuing to plug away at the van, a month into the job. Got the pushrods and rocker arms on today, exhaust manifolds and the intake, which I screwed up by messing up the front gasket so had to yank the manifold to re-do it. Cross-threaded one of the exhaust-to-downpipe bolts. Typical stuff that slows you down.
 

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Nice to see you making progress, soon she'll be running again! My engine is mostly put together again as well. The intake manifold took us a while as well, with the weird mounting with angled screws and two sets of gaskets in the kit. I actually called up Fel-Pro to get some hints as to which one I should use. I decided on the oem-style aluminum one, as the other one (blue paper/rubber like style) did not really match the ports on my 318 LA. We used the engine-crane to get the 40 lbs of cast iron on easily. I can imagine this job is a bit more tedious when the engine is in the car and not fully accessible on an engine stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
The intake manifold was slightly easier for me to maneuver than the cylinder heads. Wasted day today trying to find basic stuff at the FLAPS. Hate it when you have filter numbers for certain brands but the stores sell other brands and have no filter catalogs handy for cross reference, and the internet was surprisingly uninformative. Tomorrow. Besides, I had a punkin to carve and no Trick-or-Treaters to appreciate it, as things turned out.
 

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Discussion Starter #132
It starts and runs! Doesn't want to idle but I'll figure that out. I'll do a compression check tomorrow to see the results of my efforts down in the cylinders and I'll do some more tweaks in order to get to normal running, but the most important thing is that it can now move under its own power. Took me five weeks start to finish and was complicated by the piston problem that added at least two weeks to the job. My work here is not yet done and if we keep it for the camper build-out, as we planned when we bought it, my work here has barely begun.

One slightly amusing detail: I somehow neglected to reinstall the dipstick tube and then couldn't find the port in the block for it. Google helped but I'm not sure I really wanted to know that location because I remember what I had to fit in front of it during reassembly.
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Discussion Starter #133
What luck! On my test drive yesterday the serpentine belt broke due to a frozen alternator bearing that was not evident during the several post-completion startups. In order to replace the alternator I need to do the same steps necessary to put the dipstick tube back where it belongs. Now I don't have to feel like a complete idiot for no good reason. Now I have a reason!

In case you haven't done this, all you need to do is remove two metal braces, the upper radiator hose, the radiator overflow bottle and the windshield washer reservoir, the upper half of the fan shroud, the serpentine belt, the alternator and the A/C compressor along with the alloy bracket they mount on, so that you then can see behind the water pump to locate the hole in the front of the block for the tube. If you're really lucky you haven't reconnected the A/C hoses and recharged the system.
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Discussion Starter #134
Another goof after getting it up and running again. It's idling smoothly and maintaining temperature and I could not resist a test drive down the block and back so I closed the hood and in my excitement forgot that I had disconnected the hood release cable from the latch in order to improve access to the engine compartment for that last repair. Guess I need to find a diagram of the latch to see how I can pick it from the outside.

At least I got my DMV appointment for title transfer and tags just a few days from now.
 

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Oh no. Kind of a funny one though :D makes me think of the "Repair blunder" category in the rockauto newsletters.
 

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I just replaced our 89 Ford e 150 with a b250 1995 model. The reason the Ford was done was due to head gasket failure. I determined that the efforts it would take would be too much work for too little reward.
I'm new to Dodge vans so I am happy to see that you can do the work with the engine in. Not that the new ride has a bad head gasket.
Thanks for the thread
 

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Discussion Starter #137
Welcome! I wish you many trouble-free miles. Even though I've had four Mopar minivans (three Dodge and one Plymouth) I probably would have preferred an Econoline to this one for a full-size van but it was the first really tall highroof with tall rear doors we found and figured it was worth the gamble and I got a lot of encouragement here. I still need to live with it for a bit before doing the camper build.
 

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Thank you. I forgot to mention my wife's van is a caravan. Its been super reliable for the whole time we have had it. So far we're happy with our purchase. I haven't driven it much aside from the 300 mile trip home. I had a title problem with the title. Hoping to get plates today.
. It seems the only advantage of the econoline series, at least the 80s vintage, is the complete truck frame. Otherwise the 150 was grossly under powered. Head gasket was probably shot when i got it.
 

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Discussion Starter #139
Good luck with the title.

I now have a hood release plan. Went by the local Pick 'n' Pay and found their one big Dodge with an intact latch mechanism. See that pivoting arm that's riveted to the bottom plate? The cable pulls it toward the driver's side where it moves the upright piece, thereby releasing the latch. Piece o' cake, except for access down that low once you get a blade in there. The Mopar guys saw fit to bolt a cheap little index card-sized plate on an angle so it blocks access, so I guess I'll have to custom bend an old screwdriver to reach the notch at the base of the upright by pivoting against that rivet.
 

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Discussion Starter #140
Got my plates today! Spent some time getting it inspection ready by replacing burned out bulbs, things like that. Gonna need tires. The hood latch I mentioned above is different (older model) than the one on my van so I finally removed the plate blocking my access by removing the screws from beneath. Glad they weren't in there with Loctite. Then I could pop the latch and proceed. Lots of broken plastic pieces like light assembly mounting brackets, headlight adjusters, etc. All in due time.
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