Purchased for $1700 with overheated engine (yes, I did this on purpose!)
Purchased junkyard 318 from 2000 Durango for $700.
Labor to install engine at local mechanic, $550.
The transmission shifts too quickly from 1st to 2nd to 3rd, but this will be remedied by a band adjustment. This is a common problem with the 42RE and 904 and 518 transmissions, and isn't a problem, we accelerate to 15mph, let off the gas a bit, let it shift into 3rd, then accelerate normally from there.
This truck was bought with many other issues; spare tire/jack/lug wrench were missing (since purchased from junkyard $45), radiator was leaking (replaced with new $220), driver's seat doesn't recline (still shopping junkyards for a matching charcoal knit cloth non-power seat), AC is weak and works but will not hold more than a 25lb charge, so it's cool but not cold.
Possibly attributed to a prior rear-end collision, the fuel filler doesn't let you fill up quickly and you have to modulate the gas pump handle just right or it will click off, and this is a rollover valve that needs replacement, but it requires dropping the tank, so we are waiting until the fuel pump fails to tackle that.
The only other repair we have made on the truck to date is someone STOLE the brake light switch off the brake pedal arm. $10 part, took me 30 seconds to install it.
The truck rides and drives BEAUTIFULLY for a ten-year-old truck with close to 200K on it. It acts like a 2003 Durango with 55K I test drove prior to getting this one. The 318 engine we pulled was probably rebuildable, and we expect to get good use out of this one since its compression tested strong, and the truck it came out of only had 124K on it.
This truck is rated by the EPA to get 13mpg city and 17mpg highway. We average anywhere from 17 to 19mpg in mixed driving. Can't complain about that and it is equal to the POS '99 Taurus this truck replaced, and also the same as my minivan. My wife LOVES this truck and wouldn't trade it for anything except another 2WD V8 Durango, 99-03.
Everything wrong with this truck can be attributed to the abuses and neglect of the previous owners, who it was repossessed from after the engine blew. It is solid, reliable, comfortable, fits our family well, and isn't a bear to park like a couple Suburbans we have previously owned.
I have heard horror stories about 4.7L Durangos and I am glad we got one of the last LA-engined models, the 318 is and has always been a mainstay of Chrysler products and I wish they had continued to produce it. In the meantime while everyone is dumping their 318/360 powered Durangos I'll keep my eye out for good deals and snatch them up as I see fit. As you can tell, I don't mind swapping out engines if need be, and if you want to blow yours up and sell it cheap, it's a deal!