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Old 10-23-2009, 08:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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87 i would think would be fuel injected,i agree with everyone very dependable,cheap to work on and descent on gas.
i see your point on money though, i keep thinking a 50cc scooter would be nice find one for 5-$600 no insurance or plates needed
but for a few bucks more a real motorcycle i could go faster and father on but then comes plates, insurance ,title ect.

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Old 10-23-2009, 09:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I was looking for a 1984ish 1.9L 4 speed before I got putt-putt. My first S-10 got me 33 mpg at 65 mph by advancing the distributor and NO hypermiling. My second S-10 was an 87 2.8L V6 4 speed that got mid 20's.

Not sure about the bigger 2.5L though. My best guess would be upper 20's and better. It would be a fun truck to play with and cheap to fix.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by elhigh View Post
Back in the day, we had a 1980 Chevy Citation with the Iron Duke and 4spd manny. Say what you will about Citations, I liked that car. Aside from the fact that the engine ATE a stack o' water pumps, and the whole broken shifter cable fiasco (15 miles in second gear only), it was a pretty good car and aside from the water pump, the engine was great.

The Duke is no power monster. Forget big power. It isn't even big on torque but it'll get out of its own way. A lightweight chassis like the S10 is a good place for it. But not even trying to get decent mileage, our 1980 Citation was delivering low 30s mpg with Dad really wanting to get to Minnesota in decent time. That's pretty good economy, for a car with four aboard and the trunk completely full.

And we had no air conditioning. So all the windows were completely down. We finally got rid of ours, not because of the engine but everything else, mostly the tranny. The Duke held tough. And that tranny issue won't be a problem for you either, since I think it has the same bolt pattern as the SBC, so if you can make it fit between the frame rails of the truck, you can have whatever tranny you want, if you can find one that will fit a SBC. Since that's the most popular repower choice out there, no problem.

I'd jump at it. Make a cheapskate aerocap, cover those rear wheelwells, fair in the rockers, open up the exhaust a bit, I bet it'd break 40mpg, easy.

If you ever want to get nuts with a big four, check out the Super Duty Four. It looks just like a Duke, fits in the same space, makes more than twice the power. Stroker versions push 3.0 liters, make gobs of big power all day long, sound like an angry tractor under the hood. Awesome stuff.
I've always equated it to a cammed up 2300 in a Mustang Pro-Stock chassis running on alcohol. I've only ever heard one of the SD Dukes, though, and I'm not sure what displacement, etc.

Re: The transmissions - Ok, so lets nit pick the one thing that was out of place there... Obviously, the 4 speed tranny isn't the same. What I meant there was that swapping between 5 speed 4cyl and 5 speed 6 cyl will do nothing for you. You don't even get better internals. It's remained that way all the way up through the end of the S10 production run, that I can tell. Of course, I haven't looked at every single transmission out there in the early cases or in the later NV cases, so there may have been some with different gears. I do know that swapping in a small block is as simple as changing the bell housing and making new mounts.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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S10 winter driver

I had a 91 Sonoma (GMC version S-10) for 10 years. It was a club cab 4.3 V-6 with 4 speed auto. I still managed to get high 20s mpg with it and I drove it hard. Under half throttle acceleration it would rip off a 3-5 second "chirp" and if floored it would smoke whichever tire had the least weight on it when it went for second. My driving style is a little different now.

The tire spin was because it was light in the rear. If you are gonna drive it in the snow you will need to put weight in the bed. That was my main complaint about mine, helpless in snow. Of course I never ran anything except the original 70 series "all season radials". All those burnouts didn't help the tread depth either.

Got rid of it in 01 because the wife hated the peeling blue paint and it needed valve guides so it smoked when first started. Plus she wanted me to get a 4x4.

You won't have the power I did but it should be a good winter truck for you. If it's not too rotted out with rust.

As far as eccomodding it, it is pretty square and mine got pretty squirrely over 95 or so but I doubt you will be doing anything like that. But pushing a brick through the air takes it's toll. For the price, if it gets you through the winter, who cares about your FE rep.

I feel for ya about the insurance and license cost as I used to live in Eastampton. Then I moved to Arizona and the costs went up 150%. So Joisy aint so bad.

Looking at the photos, except for the grille and cab length, it brings back fond memories of the ol Sonoma. Even the color is about the same as the dark blue looked at one point. No matter what I did the paint just died.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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A later 5 spd is a direct replacement for the 4spd,
GM went cheap on the carb 4cyl S10 it was a fleet rig in their plan.

It would be interesting to do a actual axle gear swap if you could find one of the 4x4 5 spds and put it in the truck, the 4x4 had a lower 1st gear in most of them... SO you can get it moving with a higher axle gear.

Oh and here is a tidbit after some googling...
Axle Gearing codes from the S10 forum!

2.73 = GU2
3.08 = GU4
3.42 = GU6
3.73 = GT4, GQ1
4.10 = GT5

If it has a motor its worth playing with.......
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I remember those. I drove a five speed van with one. What were those called anyway, chevies little van.

As christ said the engine, it is a heat keeper. the trannies absolutely hate it. Even the forward yoke could melt.

the four speed is a bit more brut internally...and the fuel, because of the heat soak, it is a perfect candidate for hypermile.
clean that engine as much as the truck. if egr'd do away with it.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A neighbor had one.He never saw over 24-mpg at the old double-nickel speed limit.
Gale Banks took the GMC variant to Bonneville and set a LSR,with one of the downwind passes at 210-mph.
They were able to get the drag coefficient down from Cd 0.47,to Cd 0.315 ( lower than the Corvette of the day ).With that 33% drag reduction they would have picked up about 16.5% better mpg at 55-mph.
If the baseline was 24 miles per gallon as was my neighbor,then the aero mods would push it to just under 28-mpg.
Gale Banks ran the California Custom kit nose/airdam,rocker panel extensions,the truck was stretched a foot(extended cab),MOON covers all around,and GM's patented 1/2-tonneau,which on that truck,works better than a full tonneau.
An aero-shell would have got the drag even lower(although you wouldn't want to drive that fast with it),as well as wheel skirts and bellypan.
Tailshaft overdrives are available today from two suppliers.With a shortened driveshaft they install in 45-minutes and allow gear splits in any gear.One of these units would give you an 8-speed transmission and allow the engine to operate close to it's maximum BSFC at all times.
HOT ROD Magazine just installed one from Gear Vendors on their Ford Ranchero and picked up a clean 2.5-mpg.
There's no reason why a truck like the S-10 couldn't get into mid to upper thirty mpg territory.It just depends how much money,time and energy you want to put into it.
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Go for it! If you're just gonna keep it for a few months those costs sound very reasonable. Plus, you sound like you are probably not gonna be driving it every single day, so it'll probably be cheaper than renting a car or taking a taxi.

Now, to answer your questions:
1. I'm with my second s-series truck and I've always liked 'em a bunch. No experience with that combo of engine and trans(mine have both been 4.3L and 4spd auto).

2. I think it is definately worth buying. The peace of mind for your family alone justifies that cost. Plus, maybe you can make a few dollars by moving sfuff for folks, which will help offset your costs. When younger I was able to get bunches of pizzas and beer, and a few dollars here and there.

3. I think it'll be a great candidate for ecomodding. Like others have stated, you should be able to pull some very respectable mpg's with just a few tweaks and mods.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Christ View Post
Of course, I haven't looked at every single transmission out there in the early cases or in the later NV cases, so there may have been some with different gears. I do know that swapping in a small block is as simple as changing the bell housing and making new mounts.
If I was going to do that with an ol' S10, I'd hog out all the junk and drop in a really tall rearend, like 2.73 if I could find it, plus a five-speed with an overdrive. An SBC in that would have mountains of torque to call on, you could make it a really long-legged, easy highway cruiser. Perfect for long trips with the mill just ticking over.

Lead or follow. Either is fine.
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Small block swaps are so common in S10s that the kits are openly available to make them bolt in, including basically plug-in wiring harnesses and adapter kits.

The NV-series transmission, you can use the 4 cylinder, V6, or V8 NV trans, and just swap the front half of the case (bell side and front half of the gearbox, 2 piece cases), which allows you to use whatever gears you want, in the event that you can even find different ratios. I think the only changes in the NV-equipped trucks was the rear gear ratio. Finding the 2.73 rear (or even lower, if you could.) would really be nicely loading the SBC, and with intelligent driving, you could easily see 30's with it.

From what I remember of my days of old, the SBC's could handle lower RPMS all day, as long as you didn't break the 1k barrier. They really didn't like to be under that, at least not in stock trim. Add in some tight long tube headers and a long-runner air-gap style intake, and you get more mid-range and low-end torque, at the expense of a choked out top end (of the rev range), which allows you to basically run 50 MPH idling in high gear without so much as a hiccup.

I've always been more about using longer gears to extract torque than using short gears to get the RPM's up there. I follow Larry Widmer's idea that RPM = Ruins People's Motors.

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