Well, no answers here or anywhere else. I tried 2 dealerships and they both said the same thing... you need to bring it in, that's not a job for a driveway mechanic. Well, that's just a line of bull crap. It's complicated, but not impossible, you just need to use a manual, take notes and take pictures.
So I decided to use my torque wrench set to 150 lbs and try to loosen the crankshart pully nut. Fortunately, I tried the standard counterclock wise direction for loosening nuts and it turned out to be the ticket. I had a Honda a few years ago that was threaded opposite and broke it using a power bar that put too much pressure on the thing. I didn't want a repeat of that mistake.
So now I have the engine torn down and the heads out at the shop being pressure tested and planed back to true. If everything goes well, then next weekend, I'll start putting it all back together again. The cylinders look to be in amazingly good condition considering the milage.
The truck has 259,000 miles on it and is a 2000 4WD Crew Cab with the 3.3 liter engine. I blew a head gasket at around a 130,000 miles and that repair cost me almost $2000. I don't think putting that kind of money into a truck with this much milage is a good bet. Doing it myself will cost me around $700 in parts and labor, that I can justify. I could've probably gotten by cheaper by skipping the reconditioning of the head, but that's foolish in my opinion and I'm also replacing the water pump, timing belt and tensioner while I've got it torn down. That adds another $100 or so. Again, I don't want to be tearing this thing down again to do the water pump. I'm here so I think it's good money invested to just get it done. Other than the head gasket, the truck is in pretty good shape, I'll just retire it from daily driving duties. I do need it for hauling kayaks and wood pellets though.
If anyone wants any more updates on this repair as it progresses, let me know and I'll fill you in on the nitty gritty. There are a couple of surprises along the way, but nothing too crazy. This job is doable by someone who isn't intimadated by what you find under the hood of modern cars. You just take it one step at a time, I put in maybe an hour a night after work and one 6 or 7 hour session on a Saturday so far. I'd say I have about 14 hours into the tear down, but I've been going slow and steady labeling electrical connectors and vacuum/water hoses. I expect the rebuild to go faster.