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Discussion Starter #1
OK here is the whole story how I got my Commander.

Well My Son picked up this Overland about 6 months ago and drove it into the Yard, bragging about how cool it was and how good of a 4x4 they were yada yada uh huh ok sure but its blowing White smoke intermittently he tells me.... With out much thought I tell him ya BS on it being such a great 4x4 that my 69 Dodge Power wagon was a Better truck. And He had a Blown head gasket or a cracked head and didnt think much about it since I have a Full plate restoring other cars and fixing my own BS.

6-8 months goes by and I get into a deal with him to buy this thing from him for $2K plus all the Parts hes already collected for it, I told him repeatedly just to fix it and drive but no hes been collecting parts to soup it up while it just sat without being trouble shot.
So I gave him the $2K and yesterday put a Battery charger on it started it and pulled it into my shop, It indeed blows White smoke and runs a little ruff with my Qristal ball and my Xray vision I am gonna say it's most likely a Blown head gasket or a cracked head the dam qristal ball has been a little foggy as of latly and I am half blind anymore so my Xray eyes no work so good anymore either so its a Half ass educated guess!!!! I will be pulling the Plugs and doing a Cooling system leak check today.

And while generally a blown head gasket isnt the end end of the world I hear these heads have a History of dropping Valve seats hmmm now I am asking the kid questions about the freshly overhauled 2011 Mopar Eagle heads removed from an X Hiway patrol Dodge charger hes got for this thing sitting down at the machine shop waiting to be picked up, and the Cam from a 2016 SRT8 6.4 and about that Aluminum Intake I been tripping over in the shop removed from 392 scat pack for the last 3-4 months. hmmm

Now generally as a 50 + year old Aircraft mechanic generally I don't like to modify anything! I like STOCK! but now knowing this thing has 194k miles and the heads are ready and the stock heads have a History ok I will go with the newer heads. now knowing pulling the heads in the Truck is gonna be a Major pain and it does have 194k miles on it Putting fresh heads on a wore out bottom end aint such a great idea either from my prior experience so I am leaning on just rebuilding the whole thing as I wanna drive this thing reliably.

My experience also tells me putting a fresh engine in front of an Automatic transmission with 200K miles aint such a great idea either so I am looking at overhauling the Transmission at the same time just for the piece of mind again I want to drive this silly thing reliably.

So I ask anyone with any experience with engine and Transmission overhaul experiences please chime in it would greatly be appreciated.
I will be doing most all of the work on this project myself and will be including Picks of all the work in this thread for others to follow along on my little journey. .
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Now I could go a couple different ways with this beast,
1. I could just fix it and sell it off and sell all the parts separately .
2. Slap the new heads on it and sell it off.
3. Overhaul the beast and build a Truck that my wife and I can enjoy for many years to come, we both enjoy getting out fishing and Metal detecting having a comfortable Truck at our age would be a Big plus. But we already have several 4x4s including a Built CJ7 and my Power wagon BUT this thing aint gonna be cheap to fix or build its not a cheap truck and if I look around I am sure I could find one that runs with less miles than this one is gonna cost to fix. hmmmm
 

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That definitely has potential to be a very large under-taking and probably quite costly.

I would go ahead and do your initial trouble shooting and see what results you come up with.

From there you can probably make a more informed decision.

I'll also throw out there that those performance parts your son accumulated are not just going to bolt right on.....you'll almost certainly have some considerable modifications to make, for those components to work.

If you already have a couple of good reliable 4x4's - you may want to cut your losses if your Hemi winds up needing a complete overhaul......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Never say never
Well pressurized the cooling system to 15psi it dropped to 10psi withing a few minuts, (Not good) Pulled one plug out of each cylinder #2 was washed a Little #8 had collant on it and was totally washed clean. :( Theirs the one.
So I went about pulling the intake just got it off, Taking a little break more to follow.

Debating to pull the heads or Pull the whole engine........ Decisions??? Do I cheat just fix it and sell it off ??? Or do I fix it right and keep forever???? either way its gonna cost me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited by Moderator)
Wife Has spoken! and made my mind up for me!
She wants to keep the Truck!
Now I have to fix it right S H _ T ! ! ! 😕😠😭😢🤪🙁🤢


Well.... Now I am thinking about Stroking the engine out and Building a Beast
I dont have to Pass emissions where I live so I can do that lol

I am still considering Just fixing this thing, as I really dont wanna spend a Lot of money on it BUT the wife wants a beast....Guess who wins?
 

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Wife Has spoken! and made my mind up for me!
She wants to keep the Truck!
Now I have to fix it right S H _ T ! ! ! 😕😠😭😢🤪🙁🤢


Well.... Now I am thinking about Stroking the engine out and Building a Beast
I dont have to Pass emissions where I live so I can do that lol

I am still considering Just fixing this thing, as I really dont wanna spend a Lot of money on it BUT the wife wants a beast....Guess who wins?
Happy wife, happy life.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Big Blue True very true
I really like your Truck, and I still want to lift this one. but its gonna be a bit b4 I get to it,
But since I am currently into doing all this engine labor at the moment and only gotten the intake manifold off yesturday b4 having to stop and Grill for the family then go to Fire works show I though maybe we can still discuss the lift?

Your Truck has the 4 inch Super lift BUT you also have the other different control arms and some other mods I am curious as to why?
I thought the SL corrects all the geometry of lifting and was a complete lift?
 

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Your Truck has the 4 inch Super lift BUT you also have the other different control arms and some other mods I am curious as to why?
I thought the SL corrects all the geometry of lifting and was a complete lift?
I can tell you why hew has the JBA control arms. JBA makes control arms for lifted and non-lifted Commanders. Since Blue has the SL he got the JBA arms for non-lifted Commanders. They are much beefier than the OEMs and the ball joints are easy to replace.

.
 

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Big Blue True very true
I really like your Truck, and I still want to lift this one. but its gonna be a bit b4 I get to it,
But since I am currently into doing all this engine labor at the moment and only gotten the intake manifold off yesturday b4 having to stop and Grill for the family then go to Fire works show I though maybe we can still discuss the lift?

Your Truck has the 4 inch Super lift BUT you also have the other different control arms and some other mods I am curious as to why?
I thought the SL corrects all the geometry of lifting and was a complete lift?
jeep5253 said:
I can tell you why hew has the JBA control arms. JBA makes control arms for lifted and non-lifted Commanders. Since Blue has the SL he got the JBA arms for non-lifted Commanders. They are much beefier than the OEMs and the ball joints are easy to replace.
I actually had the JBA control arms for lifted Commanders - I had them installed in preparation for my WAM front bumper install, thinking at the time, it might be necessary to handle the extra weight of the Smittybuilt winch & steel front bumper - prior to upgrading to the Superlift.

Looking back on it, it probably wasn't necessary. So I am actually running the JBA UCA's for lifted XK's - which JBA says you shouldn't use for the Superlift and that they are only safe for up to 23 inches of lift from the center of the front wheel hub to the bottom of the center of the front fender flare;

I just measured my center front wheel hub to the bottom of the front fender flare and it's sitting at about 23 3/8 inches, as close as I can measure; I don't think 3/8 of an inch is hurting anything and my alignment is perfect.

I replaced my factory front LCA's at the same time I had the Superlift installed;

I wound up upgrading to Moog front LCA's because that's one of the front end components that the Superlift doesn't replace and the bushings in my stock front LCA's were shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well i got the Trouble Head, LH side off it dropped a seat tore up the cylinder head pretty bad and destroyed the piston.
I have to analyze my options.
I am still Committed to getting this thing back on the street though just have to analize all my options.
.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Newer Heads My Kid had purchased for this project:
At first my Kid says I need headers to make them work (after working on this thing there is NO way I am putting headers on it NO WAY!)
By the way Does anyone make a Header for this Truck ??????

NOW he's telling me the original Manifolds can be made to work but exhaust flow will be reduced???? can they be used or NOT????

So Now I have to get the engine out because regardless its gonna need a Bore and hone pistons bla bla bla.
The head issue I will get the exhaust off these heads and see if they can be made to work on the new heads, if not I for see a Lot of welding and machine work on this set of heads to fix them.

My Machinist is preaty good and I am no Dummy either if we can make the new stuff work we will
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Can any one tell me How diffrent a WK is from the XK ? as far as Frame and suspension steering goes???? I am thinking a Late model WK with a Hemi in it may be an option for the headers ???

Then there is of course the SRT Header manifold wich I hear some guys have used on the WK with some modifications ...... anyone????????.
 

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Can any one tell me How diffrent a WK is from the XK ? as far as Frame and suspension steering goes???? I am thinking a Late model WK with a Hemi in it may be an option for the headers ???

Then there is of course the SRT Header manifold wich I hear some guys have used on the WK with some modifications ...... anyone????????.
My understanding is, the frame & chassis are identical - I'm not sure about the steering.

This might help;

 

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Discussion Starter #14
I went today to pick up the heads at the machine shop and pay the remainder of the bill that was due by my son.
I took one of my Manifold Gasket with me off the LH head, My manifolds will bolt right on to these new heads.
So only reason to go with headers would be to get the HP gain.
If the Frame and Chassis are the same on both the WK and the XK I dont see why Headers for a Hemi WK wont work on a XK? If the engine is the same in both.
At least in the sense of getting the headers in and on the engine. From there a Guy can cut hack weld and do most anything he wants to get the rest of the system to work even if its a strait pipe.
 

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I went today to pick up the heads at the machine shop and pay the remainder of the bill that was due by my son.
I took one of my Manifold Gasket with me off the LH head, My manifolds will bolt right on to these new heads.
So only reason to go with headers would be to get the HP gain.
If the Frame and Chassis are the same on both the WK and the XK I dont see why Headers for a Hemi WK wont work on a XK? If the engine is the same in both.
At least in the sense of getting the headers in and on the engine. From there a Guy can cut hack weld and do most anything he wants to get the rest of the system to work even if its a strait pipe.
I'd say that's probably a fair assumption - in theory.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I got the engine out today and torn down Right head is good, #7 piston is trashed and #7 cylinder has some pretty good gouges in it but nothing that wont clean up with a light Bore and hone.
All the bearings removed look Brand new! top and bottom Rods and Mains! I have NEVER seen bearings look so good in any engine I have ever tore down let alone one with 194k miles,
I was blown away, The timing chain and Guides also look good and there is absolutely zero wear or ridge in the cylinders zero! it really is a crying shame this engine dropped that seat this engine would have ran another 200K miles easily! Maybe needing a Valve job but the internal components look new! and it was very clean who ever owned it changed the oil regularly and used good oil in it.

The MDS solenoids didn't survive removal, The Cam in the engine looks great but is not as pictured in other web sights as being an MDS cam the front bearing journal does not have any groves or oil holes in it like I have seen, this one looks like an every day roller cam to me??? The engine did have the 8 special MDS lifters with the extra Hole in the sides for oil???????
Tried to install the new MDS cam My kid bought and it would not install all the way into the block the MDS bearing journal part with the special groves and oil holes is too big and wont fit into the block.
His cam looks like other MDS cams I have seen on other web sights???? what gives with the cam removed from this engine????
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Block and Crank at machine shop new heads still not done,

Was looking at Mopar parts online looking at 6.1 Rods and piston combo anyone know the dimensions? of Rods length and Crank Pin size?
They are $122 each you get the Rod Piston pin bearings and rings for that price wich aint a bad deal?
I am thinking I may be able to just buy new set of them if the block will handle the Bore Told machinist to sonic check block and see.
 

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Block and Crank at machine shop new heads still not done,

Was looking at Mopar parts online looking at 6.1 Rods and piston combo anyone know the dimensions? of Rods length and Crank Pin size?
They are $122 each you get the Rod Piston pin bearings and rings for that price wich aint a bad deal?
I am thinking I may be able to just buy new set of them if the block will handle the Bore Told machinist to sonic check block and see.
Dennis;

The only thing I could suggest is try & reach out to @SkulhunterM42; Hopefully, he will respond.

I believe he has experience in this particular area and may be able to answer some questions for you.
 
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