Worth keeping or swap?
I have a '79 CJ7 with the original 258 engine (~125k miles), and as far as I know, no serious work done on it. I was fine with the 258 and am working on getting it running good, but I planned to swap in a 304 or 360 if it ever died. Now I am beginning to wonder if it is worth it to work on the 258. The engine bay looks like a small war was fought there, there are random disconnected parts all over the place, 60% of the tubes lead nowhere and all sorts of engine bay horror stories. You have to run 20W50 oil to keep the pressure high enough to register on the gauge and only runs on a straight carb (no air filter.) Often the engine will idle ok, but if you load it at all, like to inch forward, it will instantly die. I have already put the works in motion to put a MC2100 on there, but testing it a little I noticed a few more things. There is a tapping under the valve cover, probably a lifter. Also, it seems like at least 2 cylinders arn't firing or are missing under load. The weirdest part will be the random changes in the performance. After I was working on the PS system, I got it running and it sounded and idled ok (didn't try to move it), then I tried a few days later (changing nothing) and it was like crap (barely started, sounded sporatic, had to keep RPMs up for it not to die). I am just imagining all the money and work I will have to put into this engine I don't know the history of to get it running "right" and hope it doesn't blow up in a month or something. The only way a swap would be feasible is if it was < $1000, which I know is a BIG stretch on any account. If I can't get this engine working or a new one, this Jeep will have to be a lawn ornament for the next couple years. Thanks for any input!