Don’t get us wrong, both myself and Jim are huge fans of the 1981-1983 body style. We grew up drooling at the sight of those when there were all lined up on the dealership lot, shiny and dent-free. The stripe kits. The SR5 gauges in the lower center of the dash. the disco aftermarket, bolt on fender flares. Don’t even get us started about the Tamiya RC car kits available back in the day…..
Then why no 1981-1984 rebuilt engines you ask?
Well, it all comes down to the the cylinder heads and availability of usable engine cores.
There is not a NEW cylinder head casting available for the 1981-1984 22R/22RE. Trying to rebuild your 34+ year old aluminum cylinder head turns into a monster mess. It’s already been re-surfaced more than once in it’s day, so it’s close-to, if not already, at it’s minimum thickness specs. ALL of the threads for the exhaust studs, intake manifold bolts and spark plugs need to be drilled, tapped and held-coils installed. And that is only possible if they haven’t been “repaired” already. ALL of the seats need to be replaced AFTER the cracks in the combustion chamber have been repaired. Then there are the issues with electrolysis and corrosion of the coolant passages internally in the head. They may “look OK” and pass a pressure test, but how long will they last? A pressure test only tells you how it is RIGHT NOW. If it has electrolysis near a intake or exhaust port, it never gets any better. We can risk a pin-hole leak developing AFTER you’ve put some miles on it.
Then there is the engine block. Even though cast iron is a bit more durable, all have already been bored .020” (and most are already .040”) oversize already. There really isn’t room to bore it again and keep it pithing OUR specs. The quality of the pistons for the early engines is spotty at best too. Since they are “pop-up” pistons, there is more material and thus heavier too.
but, hey, we aren’t leaving you out in the cold
All is not doom and gloom. Our 1985-1995 long block engines will interchange.
Our long blocks you’ve seen on the site will fit into your truck. Motor mount bosses are in the same spot. It’s bolts directly to your flywheel, clutch and transmission without modifications. Your intake and exhaust manifolds bolt up directly. Your distributor and other external goods bolt right up.
If you have a/c, you’ll have to modify the upper-most bolt hole on the front of the bracket. It just needs to be ground down about 8mm.
If you have power steering and it uses the lower, Y-shaped bracket, the lower hole will have to be elongated by 8 to 10mm.
We’ll even install the early style valve cover for you so it has the correct bosses for you air filter and such.
but, what about the core charge?
Most everything internal will interchange with a late, so we can accept your early engine as a core. The crankshaft, connecting rods, camshaft, oil pan can be used for an acceptable core.
We’ll still charge the $400 core deposit when we sell you the engine, if you return your core to us and all is usable (click here for the core return requirements) as a core, we’ll refund $320. We just ding you $80 for the block that we cannot use.