1995 Z28 with clickity click sound coming from engine

Hi,
I'm new to the group and have a question about my 1995 Z28. First here are the specs.
350 engine w/aluminum heads (also called an LT-1 engine)?
auto transmission w/overdrive factory rear end (IOW not the performance rear end) 89,000 miles AFAIK every available option for this year I have. (with the exception of the performance rear end & heavy duty engine oiler cooler) I am the original owner and have faithfully followed the maintence schedule.
Here's the problem I'm experiencing,
After the car is warm I hear a weak clickity click sound coming from the engine. The sound remains at the same volume regardless of the time the engine has been running. Altho the sound does speed up as the speed of the car increases.
I've brought this car to 2 mechanics. One a chevy dealer and the other one a local garage. Both mechanics told me one or more of the pistons is starting to rot and break down. They also said that pistons can not be replaced or repaired. According to them, my only option is to replace the engine. The price for a replacement engine from chevy with labor is about $5500. The price from the local garage was a little lower which also included labor.
With what I described above is this a fair diagnosis? Its also worthy to note that the head gasket on this car blew about 4 months ago and was replaced at that time by a chevy dealer. The local garage mechanic said that this was a MAJOR factor in the piston wear.
If I didn't replace the engine could I continue driving this car around? It doesn't seem to affect speed or acceleration at all.
As a side note, a buddy of mine had an old 1980 T/A with a similar problem and he drove it for years without any problems.
Thanx for any replies,
Dr Nick
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Does the level of the sound change with the motor running in park vs in drive, otherwise underload or not?

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: : > Does the level of the sound change with the motor running in park vs : > in drive, otherwise underload or not? : : You can hear the clicking when the cars in park. The sound speeds up when : you step on the gas (in park or drive)
My kneejerk reaction is to say that it sounds like the valves from your description.
Martin '01 Formula - MTI Air Box Lid, K&N Filter, Hurst-6, SLP Cold Air Induction & Smooth Intake Bellow Corsa Catback w/Premium Tips '83 V45 Magna
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That would mean it can be fixed with a valve job. Is that the same as rebuilding the engine?
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Valves or head gaskets can make a similar noise. But, do yourself a favor and check the emission valve first. They are notorious for failing and I thought I had a blown head gasket it got so loud. Just $85 to fix, you might be lucky.
Dave

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The LS1 motor is known for piston slap. Over time it will destroy the piston. What happened the block was machined wrong on a lot of camaro LS1 motors before they found the mistake. Have your mechanic check the pistol slap to see if that is it. If it is piston slap from GM's plant you may have grounds to have the dealer repair it.

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