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build threadish/engine overhaul tips and help


batonveck
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hey all long time lurker, newly registered because i need some help/advice. 
now this is a doozy so ill get the back story out of the way.

back in 2016 me and my uncle started our gambler 500 race truck build the plan was to race in 2017. we stumbled upon my neighbors wrecked pathfinder. a clean title 1999 pathfinder with a fresh trans, brand new tires and was slammed in the front and the rear. well he wanted 1000, we felt 300 was a better deal. he was a shrewd negotiator.
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so we settled right in the middle at 300 bucks. (and that is a 2011 ford f150 fender)
we tore the bumpers off, new battery, fixed the heated leather seats, fixed the heater, new fuel pump, added a shopping cart for a roof rack and welded some bumpers on. then raced. we made it onto dirt every days gambler 500 episode as the first thing you see in the episode. and she has since made every gambler 500 race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDJOP6MvSV8
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now i sold it to my co pilot when i acquired my lifted fj55 land cruiser for $56 as that is what i am racing in 2019. 
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here is the fun part. 

i am always on the look out for more cars and trucks. and down the way i saw a black Nissan pathfinder. 1996 with the swing out tire carrier and i wanted it so bad. but the old guy did not want to sell. so i forgot about it. 2 years later my dad comes in and tells me the old guy wants to give me the pathfinder. we swing down and tow er back. clean title, windows roll up ad down, doors lock, and the factory stereo works. whats not to love? so i begin by replacing the fuel filter and the fuel pump. i  followed some of the tutorials. obd2 threw the iac valve code so i tore the intake off and cleaned everything up. slapped the intake back on, cleaned all the sensors and changed all the fluids. and she coughed to life.
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and started pissing coolant out the exhaust pipe.
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so here is my dilemma and my plan
i was able to get the gambler 500 pathfinder back its a vg33
the new black pathfinder is a vg33
so i want to swap the engine and part the gambler out to recoup the 400 bucks its cost me so far in the 2 trucks. 
is straight forward and easy. 
but i want to know from people who have done any engine swaps or head work what parts SHOULD be replaced while i have access to the entire engine? what WOULD you replace if you where given the chance? any tips or tricks? what upgrade would you do given the chance while the engines out? WITHIN reason

my current plan is take it out, new valve cover gaskets, new intake gaskets, plugs, timing belt, water pump, and seeing about a freeze plug style block heater

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59 minutes ago, Cuong Nguyen said:

If youre confident in your skills, port and polish the heads and throw in the stock cams from the vg30s.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
 

i will see if i can get a set of cams, the nice part is if my heads on the black pathfinder are not cracked then i can port and polish

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Make sure you do all the seals/hoses when you do the timing belt. I skipped the crank seal the first time I did mine and the SOB started leaking as soon as I had it back together. Might be worth doing the rear main while you can get to it; a friend and I skipped that when we swapped the engine in his Blazer and the engine bay looks like the La Brea tar pits now. Also probably a good idea to check the condition of your engine mounts so you can have replacements on hand if you need them. The mounts on that Blazer were completely shot, and we didn't know until it was too late to get parts. I don't know what kind of baling wire the wrecking yard tied to the replacement engine to the pallet with, but I will say that it did a surprisingly good job of holding the one separated mount together until we got around to redoing those.

 

I like the shopping cart roof rack. Cool that it made the DED video!

 

Make a partout thread when you start cutting up the old gambler truck, there are a few bits I'd be interested in.

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