Honestly guys, I will probably never really take this thing offroad. It will be a tarmac only vehicle. I just want a little better acceleration, I'm not worried about top speed.
The emissions label under the hood says that it's a 5.2L and yes, it's a 4x4. It's running 31" tires and really old aftermarket wheels. Really, I will probably take the top end apart and clean everything, paint it, and put new gaskets on everything just to play it safe. It is running well, but it has a really hard time starting unless I pour some gas in the carb first, even with the manual choke cable that I installed. To install it, I had to remove the small arm for the diaphragm that sits under the carb on the passenger side of the engine.
To be perfectly honest with you guys, I was just looking for some small performance mods that I can add to this engine to make it perform better. Airflow is what I am looking for. I plan to add some headers, dual 2.5" exhaust pipes, a cam, a high flow air filter, and that's about it. Maybe, if I decide to replace the head gaskets, a very light port and polish. Would there be any benefits of shaving the heads at all to increase the compression ratio? I honestly don't know shit about these Dodge motors, that's why I'm asking. Every other car that I've ever asked about cheap performance mods I get told that I need to port and polish everything, replace the throttle body, change ECUs, swap heads to a different engine model, and things like that. But from what you're telling me, these engines are pretty stout from the get.
Taking what you guys have told me so far, I plan to keep the TQ and the stock intake manifold and just swap to headers and put a different cam in it. Any recommendations for cam? Like I said, you guys are helping me out considerably. I'm just looking for advice.