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Old 10-23-2009, 12:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Might buy a 1987 Chevy S10 2.5L 4cyl 4spd manual

I local guy is selling a 1987 S10 with a carbureted 2.5L 4cyl and a 4spd manual for $400. I can probably get the truck for $300 or less. It has 137,000 miles on the motor and transmission, and has a new clutch. Its lowered a little with steel wheels all around. The body is pretty straight, apart from the dent in the front right, and the body is primer gray.







Im only looking for a vehicle for the winter because its pretty dangerous riding my Ninja 250 in the snow (the girlfriend and family are very uneasy about me doing it). Insurance is going to be about $350 for 6 months, which isn't too bad.

I was just wondering if anyone has had experience with these trucks and particularly with this engine and transmission? Is it worth buying? Is it a good candidate for my ecomodding hands?

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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S-10's are great little trucks, honestly. Being carb'd makes it easy to work on, repair, and adjust. The first things you should look into are status of the tune-up, and making sure the carb is properly tuned and adjusted. The truck, by all rights, SHOULD run a bit lean. The 2.5 "Iron Duke" doesn't like too much fuel, from what I've seen of them.

Also, that whole engine is Iron... it can "take the heat", if you know what I mean.

If you're serious about modding, don't think about transmission swaps. They're all the same. You could get a V6 rearend, though, which (IIRC) has a longer ratio.

Beyond that, if you like style, Camaro and Corvette are the only OEM wheel options for it (and the variants thereof). After those, it's aftermarket or wheel adapters.

There is a huge aftermarket available for S-10/S-15, but not much of it benefits MPG or aero, so you'll have to pick and choose for what's important to you.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Most of the S10 had a "cold air" intake base, where the air cleaner is ducted to the core suppor by the radiator. It could be adjusted to draw air from behind the radiator for a warm air intake. Drop in K&N filter?
I agree, full tune up, carb adjustment, etc would be in order.
Exhaust already has a "tubular" type exhaust manifold (mine did anyways) that is better then a log cast iron version. With 140K, I would consider a converter replacement (original may be the dreaded "pellet" style, incredibly restrictive and failure prone [expecially behind a carb]), and a lower restriction high flow muffler.
The existing lowering should help aero. A cheaper tonneau cover (soft vinyl) would be in the 225 range, if you wanted to go that way.
Roll pans are generally pretty cheap, if you wanted to ditch the weight of the rear bumper, and could be modded for aero, if you wanted it to not act like a parachute.

In general, the columns are "theft encouraged" GM so a collar might be wise.
Door hinges wear, particularly on driver's side.
Radio is INCREDIBLY easy to steal, so hide, relocate, or glovebox if you want fancy tunes.
Mine liked thicker oil, bearing tolerances got loose, and a new oil pump helped, but ultimately needed a crank kit and bearings to remain alive.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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They're not all the same trannies....

He states it's got the 4spd manual tranny. That's the predecessor to the T-5 that's in most S-10s and it has no OD.

It's certainly a cheap truck and will likely do just fine for getting you around. But, if it were me I'd spend a little more and try to find a 2nd gen with a 2.2L and a T-5 tranny. I used to have a '98 S10 with this combo and regularly got 33mpg hwy. It was a good little truck and ran like a top (w/ 262k miles).
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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for 300$ you can't go wrong. I have a friend whos gone through several of the little guys. They're great. We've hauled half a ton of gravel in them without issue.

The 2.5/Manual/2WD regular cab is the one he usually goes for. The one he has thats fuel injected seems to be burning a bit more oil than the carbed one so he's probably gonna switch it out soon.

It's an extremely simple truck, most of the technology on it is from the 50s if not earlier. We've gotten 30~35 mpg a tank when we tried. Usual city driving is more like 20. Check to make sure its not burning any oil and it shifts through the gears fine, brakes are decent, and I say go for it. Not a lot can go wrong with them and what can is usually cheap to fix.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Im not sure i can justify it...

If i got the truck for $250
Transfer of title and registration = ~ $150 in NJ
Insurance is $300-350

Just to get the truck and put it on the road will cost me $700.

That's just about 2 YEARS of gas in my Ninja 250.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yea, but can your bike ride safely in the snow? Can you haul anything larger than a backpack and saddlebags on your bike?

100MPG on a bike is great, don't get me wrong, but when one wheel slips in the snow, it's a lot more dangerous on a bike than it is in a car or truck. And, how long is your commute? I mean, once you travel over, I don't know, 10 miles or so, doesn't riding a motorcycle get really cold in the winter?

I mean, if you don't need a truck for anything, then don't get it. If you never plan on hauling anything, then just go for a Metro or something small. But trucks can definitely serve a purpose, as long as it's something more than just getting from A to B.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by McTimson View Post
Yea, but can your bike ride safely in the snow? Can you haul anything larger than a backpack and saddlebags on your bike?

100MPG on a bike is great, don't get me wrong, but when one wheel slips in the snow, it's a lot more dangerous on a bike than it is in a car or truck. And, how long is your commute? I mean, once you travel over, I don't know, 10 miles or so, doesn't riding a motorcycle get really cold in the winter?

I mean, if you don't need a truck for anything, then don't get it. If you never plan on hauling anything, then just go for a Metro or something small. But trucks can definitely serve a purpose, as long as it's something more than just getting from A to B.
I understand the dangers of riding in the snow on a motorcycle, and I'm not going to do it. I used to ride dirtbikes in the snow all the time and it was "interesting" to say the least. I'd rather leave it for having fun offroad than doing it daily on the road!

The cold doesn't bother me at all. I made a tall windshield for my bike that blocks out pretty much all the wind from hitting me in the chest. I could go down to below fre

I never really have to haul anything other than clothes and stuff. The only reason this vehicle is attractive (in a economic sense) is because the cost of just the vehicle is cheap and i could probably squeeze mid 30's mpg out of it, maybe more with heavy modding.

It just pisses me off that the price of getting it titled, registered, and insured is so much!!! Fees to register+title the vehicle shouldn't cost more than what you paid for the vehicle itself.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You're not risking much by buying it. Ask a local junkyard how much they'd give you for it as scrap. It's probably a large percentage of the purchase price.

I'd prefer a 5MT and fuel injection. I also prefer manual steering and low rolling resistance tires, but this truck is good for a $400 set of wheels, especially if you won't be driving very far this winter. Do the math on your fuel costs before you buy any car: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/compx2008f.jsp?year=1987&make=Chevrolet&model=S10% 20Pickup%202WD&hiddenField=Findacar
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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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.

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