UPDATE: An old friend is putting his and his shop’s resources at my disposal to help me fix it. I’d dropped him a line to see how much it would cost to have him do it, but he suggested this instead. I feel much better tearing into something like this under his guidance, and with a shop’s superior tools available, than hacking away at it in my own garage. I’m much more confident that I’ll actually drive the thing out of there.
I’m feeling like I’m in over my head on this. I was OK with finishing the reassembly, swapping some body parts, and fixing some rust. But now that I’ve lost both lifters in cylinder #2, and tasks that should be simple like pulling the lower radiator hose to drain the coolant are proving difficult, we’re seriously considering moving it along to more capable hands than mine. (These additional problems popped up after we bought it, and I do NOT blame the previous owner in any way).
It’s still a great truck with a ton of potential. The usual problem areas for rust are already fixed, and I have all the interior bits it needs to be complete. But the engine work is overwhelming me, despite having already bought the parts to do it (which I’d include).