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Greetings All. (sorry for the essay)
2010 Ram 1500 SLT.
I love my truck and it has been pretty carefree up until now.
I've got about 157k miles on it, and its really only given me trouble with the front brakes, and the water pump.
I feel like I maintain it pretty well, but I'm sure there always room for improvement.

Any way...I use my truck daily for work as a swimming pool service tech.
The truck was running fine all day, I pulled up to my client's house...service the pool for about 20 minutes...go to start the truck and it just cranks and won't start(seemed like no spark/ fuel).

After having it towed home, I had a mechanic come out and take look. It wasn't throwing any codes BTW.
We did get it to start, but it wouldn't stay running.
He tells me that #7 is misfiring and has low compression and the fuel pressure is low. I checked #7 exhaust SP and its smashed...no gap.
I sent a borescope down into the cylinder and the piston has a nice crack in it.

So now I know the real issue...

I'm figuring it will be cheapest and easiest, or at least easiest to replace the motor completely, since its got 157k on it...it wouldn't make sense to replace pistons and wait for something else to crap out, plus the cylinder lining is probably pretty galled up as well.

Initially, I was thinking of trying to find a junkyard motor which would be affordable to a degree, but I don't really have the time to tinker with something that is supposed to be my daily driver (I have a 66 Chevelle that fills that need...sorry Mopar folks).
So now I'm shopping around for a reman crate long block solution.

I've never purchased a crate motor and I'm a little gun-shy, to be honest.
Everyone carries a different manufacturer and I have no idea who is going to be more reliable.

Jegs has ATK for $3500 w/ 3 yr warranty
RockAuto has Famous for $2900 w/ 3 yr warranty
Mopar has theirs for $5k

I don't really have unlimited funds so I would really like to see if anyone on here has gone with a crate reman motor. Are there any specific suppliers I should look into?
Also, being that all my parts have 157k on them, what else should I look to replace while the motor is out?

Finally,
On these trucks, is it easiest to pull the rad support and slide the tranny out with the motor thru the front, or pull it up and out by itself? I've done it both ways on various cars and trucks, just not on one of these...

Thanks ALL for your insights!!
 
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