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I agree. There’s too much guessing and hoping involved with a used swap. If you plan to love the truck forever I would also suggest a new engine. I went that route and it’s awesome to have the new-car confidence.
May not be worth it to you tho
 

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I had a long fight with my '89 over a lack of power, trying everything from better plugs and wires, better exhaust and intake, better newer fuel injectors, even a high performance cam and new timing set, but all of it did absolute diddly squat. My compression numbers were very similar to yours, and despite it running perfectly smoothly, not burning oil, and passing CA smog like a champ, it was just beyond gutless. It really is about the compression, and a drop like that from stock (about 150-160psi for the 8.3:1) results in a huge loss of power, and cannot be overcome by anything short of a rebuild. 85-90psi is actually the lower limit at which the engine will actually properly combust fuel and run, so despite not showing the obvious signs, what you have is an extremely tired motor. Buying one with 120K may not be a good idea either, as it entirely depends on how it was cared for. Yours lasted 250K which is fantastic. Mine, which I bought with 140K, was nearly as tired (despite being in very nice shape), so your 120K engine might not have all that much life left in it. Despite the high expense, a fresh motor is really the way to go if you want to keep the truck.
A problem with a lack of compression in your motor is using the wrong head gasket. The early 3.9's were designed to operate with a steel head gasket, which is 30 thou thinner than the composite gaskets. However, people use composite gaskets and it drops compression ratio by about 15% and makes them lose a lot of power. If you are going to use composite gaskets on the older motors you need to make sure your heads are the correct thickness for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I appreciate the reply.
I ended up buying that engine.
I am going to try to clean it up and do everything I can to it with it out. Also do a compression test with it out before I waste all that time and energy.

I almost purposely drove it off the cliff yesterday (if I could have gotten it there).
I have an EFI light on recently. Now when I start her up she has very very low idle for the first 4-5 seconds and then seems to be fine.
Went to the store and then tried to leave and had an extremely hard time starting and then put into gear, it would die. Took me about 30 minutes to get 1 mile but I did not need to go get my hauler.
Seems like a lack of fuel, but I don't think that is what will trigger an EFI light
 

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I have received EFI warnings due to low power conditions in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Think you were right not to buy a used engine. Hopefully I am wrong, but stuck in a predicament. I got it home and put on a stand.
Removed plugs and tried to look in each hole. Couldn't see much.
Didn't want to try to turn a motor by hand if it had been sitting a while, so I oiled the cylinders. Put in a decent amount, but not crazy.
Few days later, went to turn engine by hand and it was easy and smooth. Then heard a big splash. It was in cylinder #s 1 and 3 or 3 and 5. To be honest, it was a few days ago.
Seems like fluid (water or coolant mixed with oil) was getting into the cylinder and shooting out the spark plug hole. Was this old water in the heads?
The oil in other cylinders had already moved down and was no issue.
Predicament is what to do now.
How can I tell if liners are slipped "IF" I remove heads and go that route?
Could it just be head gasket?
Did I purchase a really cool anchor for my boat?
 

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oh man what a drag. It could be anything, everything, or nothing... the only way to find out is with money and/or time /-:
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Its my fault for trusting what someone says and not getting proof that it is was he said it was.
Now I have 3 rover V8s in my shop haha
1 4.0 in the Rover, and 2 3.9s in the shop. (all poor condition)
Ive got time. Money is a different story. I have money to do the job, however is it worth putting in?
 
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