I'm getting ready to do a head gasket replacement on my 2002 Dodge durango SLT.
I know for sure I need new head gaskets and to have my heads cleaned and checked for flatness but the motor has over 100,000 miles on it and i was wondering if while its tore down for the head gasket swap should i check fix change or replace anything else?
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While your down that far I would do the timing chains, water pump, lower and upper radiator hose, New T-stat (from the dealer), PCV valve, oil pump, Clean the Throttle Body and IAC, and new Champion Copper spark plugs gaped at .040.
REMEMBER!<-------Place the motor on #1 cylinder at TDC on compression stroke BEFORE tear down!
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Having just been through this on my QC (with 126K miles) I'll adjust the list provided by hydrashocker.
Your timing chains and sprockets are still good, but you should change the secondary guide and tensioner rails. You can't buy these outside of a full chain replacement kit from the dealer, but you can get them from rockauto.com. Buy your gaskets, head bolts, and seals from RockAuto - they are FelPro and *much* cheaper than the dealer prices (and every bit as good).
If you don't have an oil pressure problem there isn't a compelling need in my mind to replace the oil pump. If you do replace it you'll need to remove the primary timing chain, idler sprocket, and tensioner. If you go that far you could consider replacing the chains, tensioners, and maybe the sprockets. But with only 100K miles on them they still have lots of life left on them.
Don't need to change the water pump unless it is leaking or not spinning right (wobbling, etc.). The WP is mounted to the front cover and you can remove them both as one unit. No need to disturb it. The top three bolts hold it and the cover on to the block. The rest of its bolts hold it to the front cover.
What initially appears to be "simple" job can turn real expensive if you replace everything under the sun while you're in there. Granted it'll never be easier to replace those components, but if they are still within service specs and have plenty of miles left do you need to drive up your repair cost?
Since you will need to reinstall the cams you might look into spending the money to put in HO cams instead of the standard ones. Same effort to install, just get a bit more power from the deal.
Hoses and T-stat. They will be easy to change, but not necessary to change unless you have a problem with the current ones. I had recently replaced my t-stat (just because) so I reused everything (original hoses). Truth be told my original t-stat is probably still just fine.
Buy an FSM and study the removal and installation of all the parts. It is quite an involved process, but done according to the manual everything works. I was nothing short of ecstatic when my truck roared to life after a few seconds of cranking it over.
You will need a few special tools to install everything right. PM me for the tool you will need to put the harmonic balancer back on. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.
2002 Graphite Dakota QC SLT Plus (4.7L/NV3500, HO Cams, Dwight's 65mm TB, Superchips)
2001 Patriot Blue Durango SLT (4.7L/45RFE, Fastman 68mm TB, Superchips)
2001 White Grand Caravan Sport (all stock)