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Older S-10's

tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
edited March 6 in Chevrolet
Hi everyone! I hope this discussion takes off and becomes a good source of info on older S-10 trucks and a source of comraderie for owners of them.

A bought a white, 2 WD, 1989 S-10 with the Tahoe Package on July 16, 2001. The truck had 134,502 miles on it at the time of my purchase. My truck has the 2.8 V6 and a five speed transmission. It also has air conditioning, which works very well.

This truck was a "rebuild," having been bought from an insurance pool by the dealer from whom I bought it. This is my first experience with a salvaged vechicle, and it has certainly been a pleasant one so far!

I suppose older vehicles are commonly totalled by insurance companies for very little actual damage. This was apparently the case with my truck. The dealer told me that it had sustained only a couple smashed fenders and nothing more than just cosmetic damage.

I was able to buy this truck for $2450.00 with tax and license included! It looks almost like a brand new truck. Even the interior is in great shape, except for splits in the vinyl seat on the drivers side. I am having the bench part of the seat re-covered next week.

I'll bet I would have had to pay $1000 more for this truck, had it not been a salvage.

I have put almost 2000 miles on the truck, and the oil level is still exactly on the full mark on the dip stick! I plan on changing oil every 3000 miles, so I already know that I won't have to add oil between changes.

The gas mileage has been anywhere from 23.2 for a low to 24.1 for a high with my normal mix of driving, and it was 25.6 on a tank of gas that included one longer trip than my normal commute.

I totally love this little truck, and I consider it a steal for the price I paid.

I have had the U joints changed, which took care of a vibration that I had noticed. I have also had a chip on the windshield repaired so that it wouldn't spread.

I am very proud of that little truck, and it looks like it will make a great daily driver.

Let's hear about YOUR old S-10.

tom
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Comments

  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    I am having a lot of fun fixing small things on that S-10. I am no mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, so I just take care of the simple things.

    I went back to the dealer where I bought it the other day and asked if he had a better beauty ring than the worst one that I had on my truck. He let me search through a pile of wheel covers and beauty rings, and I found one that was in real good shape. He let me exchange mine for that one and did not charge me anything.

    I had the U joints changed at a little shop down at the end of my road, and I hung around and watched them do the work. I really enjoyed watching them do that and talking to them.

    I went to a junkyard to look for a seat, but they only had a cloth one in the right color (burgundy) and I want to stay with vinyl.

    I have bought some nice looking floor mats for it.

    I just like to do stuff like that.

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Don't everyone post all at once now. This thing is going over like a lead balloon, huh?

    Oh well, I guess I can always post messages to myself here.

    Bought a new CD player for the S-10 today. It had a factory am/fm with cassett, and the radio kept going to static for long periods and then would come back.

    I got a Pioneer Premier DEH-230 receiver/cd palyer and had them install a powered subwoofer also, a Clarion PSW160. I still need to upgrade the dash speakers for some better high frequency sound. I think I can change those out myself, so I might just get them mail order or something.

    I ended up with a pretty decent sound system after spending $539.98. It isn't world class or anything, but it sounds pretty good.

    Filled the truck up today and got 24.4 MPG with just my regular driving mix on that tank.

    Still lovin' that little truck!

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Any stereo experts wanna recommend a good 4 x 6 repalcement speaker for my dash? That's the next thing I wil do to upgrade my sound system (and hopefully, the last).

    All I have now is the two factory speakers in the dash and the powered subwoofer mentioned in the previous post.

    The guy at the sound shop said that upgrading those dash speakers would be the best step to take for an improvement. You experts agree with that?

    I've got all the bass that I want now, but I can tell that there is room for improvement in the mid and high range, especially the high range.

    thanks

    tom
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    127,000 miles on our '90 S10 Blazer. Still going strong! 4.3L V6, everything works!
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Thanks for the post. I thought no one was ever gonna post in here.

    Glad to hear that you are having such good luck with that Blazer. I had a 92 Jimmy 2 door 4 x 4 that I dearly loved, but I totalled it back in 1995. It was medium gray metallic, and I thought it was beautiful. It had the throttle body 4.3 L.

    Keep posting!

    tom
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    I bought an S15 in '88. First year with the 4.3, and only available with an auto. Wish I still had it as it was a blast to drive. Added the front stabilizer bar, but the real trick for handling was in the frame to bed mount. I had the short bed regular cab. The bed was mounted at the four corners to the frame, but there was another cross brace in the middle of the bed that was not bolted to the frame. Really no need to. But if you did bolt it to the frame, and the holes were in the frame to do so, it reduce the flex in the frame quite a bit. I had Goodyear Eagle GT's, stabilizer bar, bed mount mod, the 4.3, and when all was said and done, a good handling little rocket!

    Jim
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    image

    Mines the big one on the right (00 Silverado)

    The one on the left is my dads 92 S-10. Red cab 4.3 V-6. Is about to turn 100K real quick. Runs great. About 2 more yrs left (until he retires) then it goes to my lil bro (15 now) and he will finish the thing off hehe

    Great truck i drove it for awhile but had to step up to a fullsize.

    Ryan
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Thanks for your posts, guys. Maybe this discussion will take off after all. Hope so.

    That looks like a nice little S-10, ryanbab. Any other pics of it that show more of the truck? (Nice Silverado, by the way!)

    tom
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    sorry i cant post pics directly in here because picturetrail wont let me


    Check out


    http://www.picturetrail.com/ryanbab


    there are pics of it in there

  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    I tried that link, and picturetrail has a message that the part of their site that I am trying to get to is under repair.

    I'll try later.

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Well, people, I just couldn't stand having those new goodies and not getting the most out of them, so I had a pair of Rockford Fosgate HPC1246's installed to replace the factory speakers in the dash.

    I paid $120.00 with tax and installation, and the MSRP listed on RF's web site is $130.00. I guess I got a decent deal.

    They did make a nice difference in the sound quality. I had great bass, but very weak mid and high range with just those factory speakers. Now I'm in good shape over all.

    These speakers have a built-in dome tweeter and are deeper than the factory speakers. This meant that the speaker covers would not go back on exactly flush with the dash board. They have a little hump in the middle, which doesn't bother me much, since they have made such a difference in the sound quality.

    I have ended up spending $660 on the stereo equipment all together. Hope I got the most "bang for the buck," but I am a total novice as far as this stuff is concerned.

    I know that you can spend a fortune on that stuff, but I couldn't go that route. I just wanted something decent, and that's what I have now. I was wanting at least the equivavlent of a real good factory system, and I have that and then some.

    Let's have some posting!

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Would like to have an owners manual for my S-10, since it did not have one when I bought it.

    I called the GM dealer, and they said I would have to order one from Helm, Inc.

    I checked on it, and they want $20 plus $6.50 shipping. I guess that's not too bad, but I don't know if I want one that bad or not. I am going to check a junkyard today to see if I can find one.

    If anyone is interested, you can go to www.helminc.com and order an owners manual.

    tom
  • S10 long bed with 4.3, 160 hp engine and 4:11 gears and auto, no AC. It had 70,000 mi. scratch and ding free body, dark blue metallic paint. We tuned it up, went through entire vehicle, changed all fluids, filters, lubed entire chassis and buffed out the paint. Of course he
    proceeded to lower the truck and add a few upgrades. This truck was very quick due to the axel ratio. It was a work truck owned by a construction co. We paid $3500 for it in 1992. My son put 200,000 miles on this engine. Only repairs were alternator and starter. He sold and bought a used '94 lowered reg cab with 45,000 mi, 4.3 and 180 hp engine. This truck was far slower due to 3:08 gears. It was also trouble free to 200,000 miles again until he bought a new '99 Xtreme with 4.3 and 180 HP engine. Again that vehicle seemed slower than his '88. The Xtreme was upgraded with 17 in wheels and tires, lowered 2 more inches from factory lower. Additions of K and N, exhaust, chip upgrade to disable limiter. Vehicle was fast, but lacked tru punch. Again trouble free. He has since upgraded to leased 2001 Xtreme Blazer 2 dr.

    My first S10 was a used 1987 Chevy Tahoe 4x4, ext cab with 2.8L 60 deg 125 hp V6. 3:73 gears, transfer case, skid plates, upgrade tires to UNIROYAL ATX LT235 X 75 15'S. Vehicle had 71,000 mi. I drove it to 144,000 mi. Only trouble was a broken plastic vacuum line. About $2.00. It was trouble free. Comsumer's report rated this truck UNACCEPTABLE, due to engine, electronics and Brake problems witch i never encountered. Only thing about this truck was that it was very gutless going uphill. Offroading was fun and exciting. I liked this truck so much i replaced it was a used 1991 Tahoe Blazer 4x4 4-door mini SUV. It was 39,000 trouble free miles, a lease turn in. It was maroon, had ABS, transfer case and a 160 HP 4.3 engine,
    tow packkage, heavy duty radiator cooling. This vehicle was one of the worst vehicles i have ever owned. Problem area, brake pads every 18,000 mi, ABS system failure to the tune of $1700. I went to all auto parts stores to try and repair myself, they all said it was a dealer item, to go to dealer. This S10 also had numerous electrical problems, engine would smoke blue at start up due to defective valve guides. We finally traded this in a a leaased '99 Tracker 4x4, 4-dr 2.0L munchkin SUV. Which my wife drives exclusively. She love it. I don;t care for it much. I decided to try one more S10 purchase. A 2000 S10 Xtreme with 2.2L Vortec, 120 HP, 3:73 axel, ZQ8 suspension, 5 sp manual with short thro shifter, close ratio steering and beautiful body cladding. It was a reg cab in ONYX black. A great handling commuter vehicle with a 20 gas fule tank and erratic fuel guage that got 28-29 mpg at a steady 67 mph. I upgraded to K& N, a few mods to air box, catback exhaust. She could onloy do 93 mph, 0-60 in 12 secs but was a sweet looking vehicle. Trouble free to 20,000 mi then the Lemonaide factor set in, i mean i was at the mercy of the dealer. Severe stalling, at least 8 times, had to come to full stop before engine would start. Dealer could not find anything wrong, after 4 visists they told me to pick out another vehicle....it was the engine computer
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Great post! I am feeling about ten feet tall for having bought an older S-10 and hearing how reliable your older ones were.

    Sorry about your bad luck with the newer ones.

    I think the older body style is ten times sharper than the rounded off newer ones. What was the last year of the old body style? 94? Or was it '93?

    Thanks for the post.

    tom
  • '93 was lost of the square stying since '82. I still love those old S10's. My Son just recently informed me the Alternator of his new Xtreme Blazer went out the 2nd day. Was replaced and all is ok so far. Try s10xtreme.com or xtreme.com i think. They have a very great web site and message board. I was no 111 on xtreme owners number. They have great data and info on all S10's from '82 to present as well as this forum. I came close to going with advance adapters package for small block V8 shoe in. JTR (Jaguars that run) in Livermore, Ca has a manual that will give you step by step photo instructions for putting Chevy small block V8 into any S10. Lots of goodies are out there.

    Good luck with youyr S10. I feel if i staid with the '91 and the Xtreme i could have worked out the bugs, defects eventually. However when one is burned both financially and severe defects it hardens oneself against that product. My current 2000 3/4 ton C2500 has been trouble free for 34,990 miles as of this date and one year later. Even with heavy add-ons and mods. I still miss my Xtreme. Lots of fun while it ran trouble free for 20,000 mi.

    Have a great weekend and holiday

    Regards,

    Andy

    PS I ordered the manuals from Helm's for $180.00 for my current truck. They are awesome, can take apart vehicle bolt by bolt with vived instructions. Best out there.
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Thanks for the info, Andy. I checked out the web site for s10extremes, and it looks interesting. I will get into it more in the next few days. I didn't see much for just plain old S-10's, but I didn't spend too much time there yet. I have it bookmarked.

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Would appreciate any tips on the maintenance of my S-10. I have no experience with a vehicle with this many miles on it (currently 136,7XX).

    I have always been a fanatic about oil changes, but other people have benefited by that, since I have always traded so often. I have taken care of new vehicles as if I were going to put 200,000 miles on them, but then I would trade them off before they reached 50K (often LONG before that).

    Anyway, I was wondering if a guy needs to do something different or use a different type of oil for a high mileage vehicle.

    I have heard about Valvoline Max Life oil, which is supposed to be designed specifically for high mileage engines. That just hype, or is there any real benefit to that stuff?

    I have used Mobil 1 full synthetic in my last few vehicles, but I don't know if I should put my S-10 on that stuff. I have heard that synthetic oil does not keep the seals and gaskets as soft as regular oil does and can eventually cause leaks. Don't know if that is true or not.

    Please jump in here with your opinions. I have 2200 miles on the truck since I bought it, and I plan on changing the oil at 3K. The dealer had just changed the oil the day that I bought the truck.

    Anything other tips besides oil related stuff would be appreciated too.

    Thanks,

    tom
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591
    Anybody care to pass on their opinion about what I should use as a limit for my highway speed, considering the high mileage on my S-10?

    I have the 2.8 V6 with a five speed. I don't have a tach, so I don't know my RPMs at any given speed. I want the engine to last as long as possible, so I don't want to push it too hard. Right now, it doesn't use any oil, and I would like to keep it that way.

    On a level stretch of road, will I be putting too much strain on the old engine at 65 or 70 MPH? It seems to run just fine at that range of speed. If I just drive without specifically trying to hold any particular speed, it seems to just naturally settle in somewhere between 65 and 70.

    Thanks

    tom
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    You guys that are new to trucks or to Chevy trucks in particular are going to enjoy your S-10s, especially if you live in an area that is not swimming in salt about six months out of the year. Hers's a few reasons why:

    1. Trucks were first designed for, and still are aimed at commercial users and fleet managers. That means that they are designed, sold and maintained for their long service life. They typically have more parts available longer than a car, so we also enjoy the benefit. You'll be surprised to find out that even when your truck is 20-25 years old, body items like hoods, doors, fenders and bumpers will be readily available. If they were expensive or unreliable, a LOT of fleet managers would be going to Ford, Dodge (ugh!) or Toyota (ugh x 10).

    2. While you won't usually find trucks in Motor Trend or Automobile magazine because of their latest gee-whiz high tech gadgets, you also won't have to worry about finding an exotic alternator, computer or brake system that "they only used one year and with certain engines and transmissions, and they haven't made in years." Common items like alternators, radiators, fuel injectors and other items often have the bugs worked out of them early in the course of their service life, and are relatively cheap to buy, new or rebuilt. My 2000 S-10 may not have rack and pinion steering, but I can lube all of the wear items on my truck's front end rather than waiting for one of those "sealed-for-life" grease fittings to fail and then have to replace an entire steering assembly.

    As for maintenance on an older engine where you may not know its service history, here's a few tips:

    1. Clean the fuel injectors using a product called 44K made by BG products. It is not some "miracle in a can" sold on late night TV, but it IS used by thousands of new-car dealers to keep their customers happy. If you can't find it locally, go to www.bgprod.com to find a local dealer or www.cambridgeauto.com, then go to the link for ryno products. They sell and ship 44K all over the country from that web site. While you are at it, change the fuel and air filters and the PCV valve.

    2. At 100,000 miles, either remove the radiator to have it rodded out at a good radiator shop, or replace it. I know the manual doesn't mention this as a maintenance item, but it should. While it is out, replace the water pump and fan belt tensioner if they don't look as if they have ever been replaced. While you have the room to inspect it, check the harmonic balancer carefully to make sure the rubber isn't cracked.

    3. Speaking of maintenance, after 100,000 miles, several items should be checked or replaced as a matter of preventive maintenance. These items include the shocks, front wheel bearings, brake wheel cylinders or calipers, all rubber fuel lines under the truck and ALL, and I mean, ALL vacuum lines. I usually just go to the parts store, buy about three feet of the three or four most common sizes of vacuum line, and replace each vacuum line ONE AT A TIME with the new hose that comes closest to matching it.

    4. If you have turned over 100K miles, no one tells you this until they fail or your gas mileage goes down dramatically, but those spark plug wires probably saw their best days about 40,000 miles ago. While you are at it, replace the cap and rotor. Like the vacuum lines, do the spark plug wires ONE AT A TIME. As for plugs, I've heard good things about the AC Delco plugs made for older engines called RapidFire, or something like that. Otherwise, I would NOT recommend any exotic, split fire, double-gold, solid platinum/titanium, whatevers. I don't care how many of your buddies claim to get an extra 5 or 10 horsepower; the only thing most of those expensive plugs do is empty your wallet faster. Same thing about el-cheapo 89 cent specials. Just find out which AC-Delco plug came in your engine, and go with that in 90-99% of most situations.

    By now you can tell I strongly believe in PREVENTIVE maintenance. Fact is, it is cheaper and easier to replace a water pump in my driveway in the shade on a cool engine than it is to do it by the side of the road in 90+ degree heat on a hot motor while traffic races by. As a result, I've never been stranded due to a mechanical problem in well over 20 years.

    Good luck and enjoy your trucks.

    Joe
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