I finally decided to pull my engine and give it a refresh. 450,000 miles.
First I set the transmission on a jack and removed the cross member.
Next I removed the drive shafts and the exhaust.
Then I lowered the transmission slightly and removed the transfer case.
Next I placed a transmission jack under the transmission and removed it from the engine.
I then removed and inspected the flex plate which I suspected was making noise. It was cracked.
Then I disconnected all the wires and the other lines. I also removed the radiator and the fan to get a bit more room. I was not able to move the ac compressor out of the way so I had to disconnect the freon lines. But I was able to remove the engine with the hood and header still in place.
I then mounted the engine on a stand. I used two of the bellhousing bolts and some threaded rod for the upper two bolts.
I then removed the valve cover. I was surprised at the lack of sludge. I guess the castrol oil did pretty good.
Next I removed the rockers and push rods.
Then I pulled the head bolts. They were very difficult to break loose.
There is quite a wear ridge on the cylinder bores. I will measure them before I decide whether to rebore or get another block.
Next I removed the oil pan. I pulled the number one rod bearing cap to inspect. The bearing looked surprisingly good for it age.