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Old 04-27-2006, 06:36 PM
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replacement pickup truck - your advice please

Hi, Can i ask you all for shopping advice?
i really hope you all can lend your advice on a replacement pickup truck.

I currently have a 85 black, chevy s-10 v6 2.8L 4x4, rochester 2se carb....with orig engine/tranny nearing 275k miles.

- I keep good care of it, regular oil changes. Leaks a lil bit, but amazing lastign power for an orig 85.
- recently cleaned the rochester 2se carb and replaced necessary/rebuild parts.
- new coil, wires, plugs, air filter
- replaced all bad vac lines
- spent $ not long ago shoring up all exhaust problems (air system driver side, new muffler and pipe).
- transmission fluids changed, new filter, new pan gasket (but still getting some small leakage).
- needs new ball joints and shoring up on steering column
- could use a new paint job of course (but again, looks gr8 for an 85).

- it's got some oil leaks, aand a lil leak at the tranny (i think the pan - even though a new gasket was just put on). Could be rear seal at worst I guess, but it's not "pouring" out fluid...just a small leaking on the y-pipe that will cause soem smoking).
- Of course being a 2.8l v6, it's not the fastest thing, tough to keep up at the freeway speeds (65+).
basically it's been a real wonder truck (lasting...still lasting actually) but an 85 carb'd s-10 4x4 that's getting on in years so i'm thinking - maybe - it's time to look into new pickup truck options. I would like your advice.
- It takes about 3-4 tries each morning to start - but once it starts it operates well.
- last checked gets about 17mpg city, lil more highway
- also: it needs a new rear brake light switch I think and new license plate lights).
- when 4x4 is used, it shifts in out ok and seems to operate fine...but you can sure "hear it" when it's in say 4hi...REALLY HEAR it when in 4lo. not sure if this is normal or a poss problem coming as it's always been this way.
- No a/c (black truck...gets hot in there in pac northwest summers)

I mean this is a tough decision. The truck is working and i've always loved it, I drive it near daily, it hauls what I need to haul sometimes...and hey...IT'S PAID FOR Runs ok, idles ok.
but the transmission is scaring me a bit. It's acting alright...(seemgly no drive/movement issues) except for a vibration - you can feel a bit - that kicks in at 45 or so mph when i put it in OVERDRIVE.
Is this a sign the tranny will go soon? Or could it be another issue or engine sign?

Plus the fact the 2.8L v6, as long as it's amazingly LASTING (runs great when started and ez to maintain), it is known as a "dog" engine with poor design - espec the carbd models (which I have).

So, I'm just doing research now on any solid, USED pickup models (preferably 4x4) that will offer best bang for the buck (good power vs fuel economy).

Can any of you suggest some years/makes/models I might want to focus on for a daily driver / hauling pickup truck (hauling yardwaste, etc)?

I want to be able to maintain most of it myself (oil/tuneups/etc). havn't really set a pricepoint yet...not even sure if it's really time to bag this 85 s-10.
But all i know is this chevy s-10 and wondering if I shoudl stay chevy s-10 or other I'd love your advice.

Or, what kind of cost would I be lookin at with dropping in a better engine and rebuilt tranny ya think? How can one shop for the best price on to rebuild this 85 s-10 4x4? Any parts suggestions or best route to take ...or tips along these lines?

With gas going the way it is...I know i will still want/needneed a pickup truck...but one with at least "decent" fuel economy 9this one isn't bad believe it or not at 17mpg city for a carbd model 4x4).
my searches on either point to a 2whl mazda b series or this truck (as far as fuel econ).

I'm NOT looking for a road burner, racing, speedster type - just a solid pickup truck / daily driver that gets decent mpg.
Not sure what models/years to be looking for when considering parts avail, recalls, or past known issues. hope you can help.

thank you so much...this is a toughie for me.

Not sure what forum this should go in...but i see 3 that it fits in. sorry for dbl posts.

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Old 04-27-2006, 06:46 PM
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Hmmmm.....What has this got to do with Hot Rods?
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Old 04-27-2006, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry Highrise
Hmmmm.....What has this got to do with Hot Rods?
Yeah, i'm sorry. I read that wrong i guess.
Maybe it belongs in engine only?

I just know I DON'T want to talk to SALES people about these things, but rather various users who deal with these things daily (drive and maintain). So I came here.
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Old 04-27-2006, 07:07 PM
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Anything built before 1973 is what I'd look for. Big block ford f250 camper special is my first choice. Lotsa power, smooth ride with 1 or 2 tons of scrap iron in the back, ( you could carry the s10 with you, it would be like a pet) Good gas mileage if you keep your cool.

well, you asked

hope this helps, mikey
my signature lines...not really directed at anyone in particular..

BE different....ACT normal.

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Old 04-28-2006, 06:06 AM
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For a daily driver you might be better off with a newer model S-10. Anything with port EFI preferably, TBI would be a second choice. Since you really like the S-10 size wise, I don't think I'd advise anything else. If you want something really new, the Colorado (S-10 replacement) would be nice. A neighbor just bought one. Is yours a king cab? That's what I'd want -- no standard cab for me! I like to have room to recline the seats or store a few things inside.

If you really like that truck so much, you might as well inquire locally about a replacement engine. I'd definitely go with at least a TBI engine for economy and better overall running/starting, even if it's another 2.8L. But you can pull a Camaro 3.4L and it will all bolt up to your drivetrain (so will a 3.1L). Just have your trans rebuilt while it's out. You're probably looking at $4K for a low mileage engine with wiring and computer, trans rebuild, refresh/check xfer case, and remove/install. But it will still be paid for. Having the 2.8L rebuilt would be about the same. If you can pull/install that will save you around $1500.

Anything other than the 2.8/3.1/3.4 and you'll have to change the complete drivetrain out -- may as well get another truck. Well, the Cadillac 4.1/4.5 V-8 will bolt up, but the drivetrain really needs upgrading. That said, the 4.3L V-6 in an S-10 is killer! That would be worth considering if you get a later model instead of rebuilding/replacing your engine. Plenty power for the mid-size truck. But the axles and all on the 2.8L model need upgrading. A larger engine driven lightly will actually get better mileage than you get now, the same in the worst case.

What has this got to do with hot rods? Well, it's a parts chaser, and engine swapping is hot rodding...
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:55 PM
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If your body is in good condition, then keep your truck. Get rid of that mouse motor and drop in a small block Chevy engine. If you use the engine mounts from JTR, the engine and trans will drop right in, and you won't have to cut your driveshaft. A lot of S-10 guys are ripping out their lawn mower engines, and putting in small block Chevy's. There is a website about doing this swap:

Here's some tips:

>Whatever trans you have now, the bell housing will not bolt up to a V8. If you want to keep the same trans, then you'll have to upgrade to the full size truck trans. Forget the TH400 trans. It's a good trans, but heavier, longer, requires electronics, and it will rob you of 17% of your horsepower. Plus you'll have to modify the trans cross member, and shorten the driveshaft.

>You'll have to move the radiator forward to the forward mounting holes. No big deal.

>Use the stock exhaust manifolds. You don't need to go to headers unless you've reworked the engine.

>BUY THE JTR ENGINE MOUNTS!!! They cost about $50. It will put your engine in the forward position to give you firewall clearance, and move it over 1" to the passenger side for steering clearance.

>The whole swap should take a couple of weekends. If you have all your parts, and a few friends, you can do it in one weekend.

What you'll end up with is an S-10 with the power of a full size truck. Sure, they say the rearend is weak. It's the same rearend that's in a Camaro, so how weak is it? Just don't try to impress anybody and it'll last.

The reason that you're having trouble keeping up with highway speeds is that you have 3:73 or 4:10 gears. Swap them out for 3:08 or 3:42 gears. You'll get better highway speeds and better fuel mileage. You can find one in an 89 or newer with a 4.3 Liter S-10. Then you can cruise at 70 MPH.

Last edited by lakota; 04-29-2006 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:18 AM
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interesting, thanks lakota (and all others).
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:52 PM
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My daily driver is a 99 Dodge dually 5.9 Cummins with a 5 sp and 4.10 gears. Gets 19-20 mpg all the time and will haul or tow anything I'll ever own as fast as I'll ever go.
150k miles and it's not even at half life yet. Rides like a truck, looks like a truck, sounds like a truck, even smells right. A real truck.

Not much of a drag racer but you better pass me before going up hills or have a gass mask haha

It has a built in weapon for those that don't follow the rules of the road. haha
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