A rebuild: The rebuild will cost more than the truck is worth, so one choice is to run it until it quits. Then rebuild. The motor doesn't burn oil, and the compression on all cylinders is about 150. The other choice is to just put new bearings in, some have said. I don't know how to do that, though. Do you think I might buy some time by putting in a new oil pump (higher volume) or is that a waste of time? I think I have the knowledge to do that.
Tapping sound: When I put a metal pole against the valve cover and listened, the tapping is not in the head on either side. I can see oil being pumped up to the heads. My feeling is one of the lifters is frozen below the intake manifold on the back passenger side. That is probably why I've seen the drop in performance. It has made that tapping noise once in a while and then it went away. This time it is not going away. I put in some Marvel Mystery Oil yesterday and we'll see if that helps.
I may be screwing up my data, but I think only the R code Clevelands had solid lifters, at 6 pounds, your lifters are going to be sloppy, which can cause the tapping. If your compression is that good, I'd suggest pump replacement before you have to do a bearing replacement.
Not sure what the rest of the truck looks like, but I didn't see any rust in the typical locations on the engine box, it might be worth throwing a couple of bucks at it for the long haul. It may surprise you what a 70's vintage F series with a solid body will bring these days.
If you can get the oil pan off without pulling the block, probably. But is the pressure loss is due to bearings, I'm not sure how much a higher volume pump will do for you.
Cleveland engines have a fairly high price tag, not sure what your long term plans are for the truck, but a master rebuild kit (which will include the bearings) will run you about 500 bucks. Because of the abundance, the 302 is considerably cheaper, but a reliable one will still cost you more than the rebuild, if you do it yourself. I think anyway you look at it, the fix requires pulling the block.
Low Oil Pressure: OK, I'm going to have to seriously think about a rebuild at some point. Since I don't know how to do it, it will cost thousands. Likely, I'll run the motor until it quits and stick in another motor then that I can probably pick up for a few hundred. I can replace a motor. I just don't have the skill to do a rebuild. It is a work truck that is worth about $2,000, so I have to keep the cost down.
Chipset: You think the tapping sound could be an exhaust leak? What should I do? Check the exhaust manifold? The muffler? What do you recommend I look at?
You literally have to get your head under there and check things. Put your hand up there. Don't get burned. Look for cracks and black lines. If there is an exhaust leak that makes that noise it will be on the manifold only.
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