Engine question for 1986 Dodge Mini Ram van (Caravan panel cargo)

Hello, I have a semi uncommon panel cargo van, an ’ 86 Dodge Mini Ram van. It is original and clean with 105k miles on it. Very recently, the original Mitsubishi 2.6 engine started making a loud timing chain style noise while running. I quit driving it at that time. It’s seen less than 10-15 miles, when I drove it home. I took it to a very local shop that is very reputable. They checked it over and claimed that the timing chain guides were very worn and was causing metal shavings to run through the engine. This might be true, as these engines were common for these types of problems. They said I should replace the engine. When I checked for reman long blocks online, I saw a really cheap deal on Rock Auto for a closeout deal on a FWD style 2.6 with jet valves and hydraulic rocker arms. It says it’s compatible with my year and application. I remember these vans when they were new at the Dodge dealer, they had stickers on the valve cover that said “MCA” and others said “MCA Jet” From my understanding, the non jet engines were mainly for trucks, like my cargo van, it uses a truck plate and had less emissions equipment due to not having the 3rd air valve. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. Most engine exchange places I’ve seen with the non jet engines want something like $1500-$1700 for a reman. Rock Auto’s last one they have is a huge amount less than that, but is a jet valve engine. If my original engine isn’t a jet-valve, would there be any problems with swapping this one in? Also, by any chance is my old engine still good? By installing a new updated timing chain and an oil pump, then really flush out any metal shavings would I really be ahead with a 105k engine? I’m anxious to hear some responses.

Thanks in advance, John in PA

@e86mopar I would install a new timing set, as well as chain guides.

A few months ago the distributor drive gear broke apart in one of our fleet’s vans. The cam gear was fine, however. I replaced the distributor and changed the oil several times. There were fine metal shavings and particles in the oil. But several months later, all is well.

I wouldn’t replace the engine until I had too.

The metal can’t damage anything but the oil pump because the oil gets pumped to the filter. There may be some shavings stuck to the pickup screen but that’s all. Change the engine because it is old or for some other reason. So, don’t worry about metal particles at all; just forget them.