Work is finally being done.
So the news is: looks like my pistons are bad. Cam and rods look OK, pistons look bad. What I was told was that, one of the pistons looked like it had been replaced, the others were in bad shape. I will take a look tomorrow when I bring the parts, they are cleaning the engine today.
So here’s the kicker: I may need to get pistons, possibly with my block bored out. I still think this should be within my budget, as it has expanded somewhat considering I have been saving money much faster than I had expected to. This brings into question aftermarket pistons to boost my compression. That only leaves one option for the 403: Keith Black pistons.
These are hypereutectic pistons, and according to their website, I am left with two options, an 83 and a 96cc piston for 9.5:1 and 8.5:1 CR respectively. This is compared to a stock 7.9:1. Price comparison (not including rings) is about 350$ for stock cast pistons(Sealed Power) , 450$ for the performance KB. KB also looks to make some of their own “silv-o-lite” cast pistons that I guess are aluminum? 400$
Still going to be running the stock smog heads, but adding a mild cam. I really wonder if I am going to be putting lipstick on a pig here. May still make that pig shine.