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Chevy S10/GMC S15-Sonoma: Problems & Solutions



  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    I recommend a Humvee for a young teenager. I am a grandfather that tried to help a grandson, twice, with a vehicle. He did major damage to both vehicles. The last being a 97 S10 that I have just restored.

    I have another grandson with an old 91 S10 with 136000 miles on it and going strong in spite of severe abuse. The S10 obviously is one tough truck. But young people play games as though in a demolition derby.

    Your solution may be tough love.

    I don't get the connection of ladies or elder men. A vehicle should be driven in a safe and reasonable manner regardless of the driver. Is it I'm young and I can rip and tear.
  • Greetings all - a little freaked to read all the problems in the S-10's, but I'll just trust my gut and have my forever loyalty in Chevy's. :) Anyway, just purchased a used 2000 S-10 V6 TODAY and it's in great condition, runs really well and nothing seems to have broken off yet!

    To the point: When we started it on the lot, it had the little whiney sound coming from sort of behind the ext. cab. You can't hear the noise at all when you're in the cab. I gave the dealer a funny look when I heard it and his reply was "It's the fuel pump, they all sound like that now". Knowing the pump was in that general location, we went with it. He said it would go away after it warmed up - however I noticed after I drove it the 80 miles home, left it running and got out - it was still doing it. Am I hallucinating? Is this guy full of it or do they all do that now? It's the strangest little sound that does just seem like something electrical is running. Quite an odd feature to try and sell cars with though.

    I had a 93 4-banger that I loved and managed to drive to it's near death (it still does a great grocery run). I kept trying to buy a "car" - but couldn't force myself to do it. Anyway... just curious about the whine!

    Also, anyone have a clue what this deep brown-purple metallic color is I have purchased? Just curious to find a real color name.

    Thanks! - Alicia *8-)
  • I was buying an air filter the other day and the Fram book said that there is a pcv valve for my 98 S-10 2.2l. I looked and was unable to find it. Could someone help me locate it, please?

  • zr2randozr2rando Posts: 391
    they are noisy...and aftermarket ones can be even noisier.....only good thing about them is you can really tell when its running....and when its not.
  • I am, unfortunately, learning a little about S-10 repair, and perhaps can help answer a few questions I see here. If the fuel pump is making noise, as the truck idles, the noise will seem to speed up occasionally, or seem like it is turning on and off. Some fuel is bled back to the tank to control pressure and cool the components. Speaking of which, don't run the tank low on fuel. That can shorten the pump's life, and the cost of a new pump is astonishing. The pcv valve should be on the end of that rubber hose on top of the valve cover. And to find the name of your paint color, go here -The problems with head gaskets? I have been reading warnings about things that cause this problem. 1) NEW headbolts should be used when reinstalling the head. Plain and simple, NEW BOLTS. Guys keep telling me they never use new head bolts. I never have either, but I'm going to this time. It's less than twenty bucks, anyway. I read that on my 97, at least, the bolts are dry thread, not extending into the water jacket, and no sealer or lock tite should be put on them. Just multi-grade oil. I prefer anti-seize, and am trying to check this out. The holes must be tapped to clean any debris or thread abnormalities. This is all to ensure accurate torque readings. The mate surfaces, head and block must be clean. You must use only plastic scrapers to clean the aluminum surface of the head. Wire brushes, abrasive pads etc. are not to be used. Proper torque sequence and stepping with a quality wrench must be followed. The recommendations for head gasket sealant, application, and time frame must be followed. If the block or head are warped, you will keep blowing the gasket, and the only way to tell is with a true straight edge and a feeler gauge. (Yeah, we're out of luck on that). Also, young men's first few vehicles always seem to suffer serious reliability problems, but by an amazing coincidence, the one's they buy with their own money, or work to fix themselves, seem to be much more reliable vehicles.
  • I am a women and have no idea why I get a ping sound when I idle for gas. I have tried better gas and fuel injector. I need help. I have only 13,000 miles. Truck was used at summer home. I changed spark plugs and 2 were not even getting spark. That helped the jumping.I know this truck as alot of sensors. Can anyone help.
  • I found the little rubber hose on the valve cover. I also found my manual and it says that there's not a replacement part for the PCV valve. I looked on the engine and sure enough, the valve seems to be a permanent fixture (as in built into the cover). I thank you anyway for your assistance.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,619
    There is no PCV valve on the 98 S-10 2.2
    Which would explain why you couldn't find it.
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    The pcv valve is located in the front left hand side of the valve cover, facing from front, just below the throttle cable and plastic cover.

    Note the hump on the valve cover. It's inside. I did replace mine on a 97.
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    the 98+ 2.2,it has no pcv valve just an orifice and an oil separator built into the valve cover.
  • Hello everyone. I have a 1991 s-10 extended cab pickup with 55k miles on it. After the truck has been running for awhile and you come to a stop it will set there and shake really bad. It only does this in drive, none of the other gears. Can someone please tell my what to do.
  • I have a 99 S10 2.2L with 38k miles on it. I have been having problems with the idle of my car since I changed the oil recently. However, I didn't do anything wrong with the oil change. Now the engine and car will suddenly shake when idling in park or in drive at lower RPM's. It has been getting progressively worse. My air filter is clean, new fuel filter, put fuel injector cleaner it the gas tank, checked the plugs and they are fine,(along with the wires.) I can't seem to figure out why my engine is running so ruff. Anybody have any idea what the problem is or how I can fix it? Tx
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    a 99 2.2 and there is a 7 yr 70,000 mile warranty on the plug wires.If its the plug wires GM will replace for free.
  • As the title says, I own a 99 S-10 which I purchased new off the lot. It's a regular cab LS, 2.2L w/ 5-speed and has 72k miles. I maintain it religiously. Here's a current list of my problems, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Without warning, the engine will lose power and refuse to rev above 1500 RPM or so. This tends to happen only in warm to hot weather. It didn't start happening until the truck was out of warranty (about 2 years old and 40k miles) and that summer it only happened a couple of times. This past summer, it was happening at least once a week, and several times a day during a 30 mile commute on really hot days. To me it feels a lot like what happens when I hit 94 MPH and the governer kicks in, it's a total loss of power and I start to coast, pressing the gas pedal has no effect. If I stay below 1500 RPM when this happens then it runs ok, going just above that makes it cut out. Anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds after it starts, the problem goes away and I can accelerate again. This is a serious defect and has me thinking "computer problem".

    2. The fuel gauge doesn't work, it shows I have a nearly full tank all the time. Occassionally it will spike below "E" for a second or two at idle, but then go right back up to full. I have to use the odometer to keep track of my gas consumption because the guage is useless. This started at about 60k miles.

    3. I have an exhaust system leak, which I believe is before the catalytic converter. Is there a common place to check where such leaks usually occur? Could it be a cracked manifold??

    There have been a myriad of other problems that I've either decided to live with (half the radio's buttons have burnt out lights for example) or have already fixed (the cone-shaped splined shaft that the driver side wiper arm is bolted to became stripped for no apparent reason, causing the wiper to stop working during a heay downpour). This S-10 is the last of a string of GM products my wife and I purchased (we've switched to a non-North American brand) because the build quality and engineering are lacking IMHO. If I can just get 5 more years out of this truck...
  • My best guess is that the fuel filter is plugged or the fuel pump is going out. Or possibly the fuel pressure regulator.
  • tommctommc Posts: 68
    That fuel gauge problem is very common. The sending unit in the tank is shot. Dealer cost for repair is steep as they want to replace the whole pump assy. There is a kit to replace just the sending unit for about 100 dollars but it's not an easy install.
      Exhaust leak may be the expansion/vibration joint in the front pipe, or maybe tighten up the bolts at the pipe junction with the manifold.
    No help with engine shut down, may be a limp home mode, but should show a SES light.
  • I have a 2000 Sonoma 5 speed 4 cyl. Not a great truck but generally a good truck. It has been driven mostly around town and has a total of about 15000 miles on it. Normally it starts with the first turn of the key. If the temperature is below 10 degrees it won't even think about firing. Later in the day as the temperature warms up it starts fine again. Of course it won't act up for the dealer. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    I just bought a '97 x-cab, auto, 4.3 w/ 83K miles. While driving it, the engine just dies for no apparent reason, but I'm able to restart it right away. This has happened 3 times in the last 3 days. Any idea what's causing it? Faulty ECU, possibly? I do like the truck, but I don't enjoy having the engine die on me while commuting on a highway.
  • I would try a fuel filter.
  • zr2randozr2rando Posts: 391
    I have a 89 Nissan truck, a while back would not start on cold mornings but would start after the day warmed up.
    Finally found out the the electric connector to fuel pump assembly on top of fuel tank was slightly loose and in cold temps would not make connection. Bent/tightened the connectors and now it works fine.
    point is, you have to identify the problem and trace backwards.
    Fuel pumps make noise, can you here it, verify pressure?
    spark present?
    cold temps make electrical connections loose sometimes...jiggle them and you may find some problems....
    good luck.
  • tprvtprv Posts: 2
    have a 96 extcab 4.3 w/142k;gets 20mpg no matter how i drive it and doesn't burn a drop of oil; ac comp and alt went bad last summer, otherwise best vehicle ever owned; now need bigger something (kids don't fit in jumpseats anymore);would like to wait for Colorado, but hate paying for a brand new vehicle
  • bcohenbcohen Posts: 58
    I have a 1988 S-10 with the 4.3 and 120,000 miles. Lately, occasionally the engine starts ticking pretty loud and I have a loss of engine power temporarily. I assume this is a gunked up lifter. After an oil change and the weather turning warmer in Michigan it seems a little better, but still comes up occasionally. Has anyone had this experience? Has anyone tried Duralube or Slick50 or anything like that? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    The oil boards on Edmunds have ruled out additional additives to motor oil. I have been a sucker for these cure all additives for years, but none really helped except for Marvel Mystery oil added to the fuel. Has typically increased highway mileage by about 1 mpg.

    My opinion is that I would change to one of the new high mileage oils. Valvoline Max Life was the first one, but now there are other brands available.
  • bcohenbcohen Posts: 58
    I actually ended up calling my mechanic to talk it through with him this weekend. He suggested using the Max Life or at least a thicker oil. He did say, though, that it will get worse and at some point in the future it will be dead. At that point its a new engine, and I'm not doing that for a third vehicle used for towing and garbage hauling. I guess its time for a trailer. Thanks for your advice.
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    At your next oil change, run some flush in the old oil, then change the oil while the old oil is HOT (watch your fingers!)

    If the lifter has gunk in it, the flush will probably clean it out. If the lifter is wearing out, the flush won't help.

  • bcohenbcohen Posts: 58
    Thanks, Joe. I'm planning to buy a new car this summer, so the S-10 was going to be a second vehicle to tow the camper and haul junk. I am hoping it lasts that long. We'll see... I've had it for 3 years (it was babied by my aunt and uncle for 12 years before that), and the only problems I've had are a new exhaust system. So, with 120,000 I can't complain.
  • markw8markw8 Posts: 25
    Not sure but it is probably controlled by the computer. mark.
  • p100p100 Posts: 1,116
    I have been looking at new S-10 4X4 crew cab pickups and I have mixed feelings about buying one. For one thing, I am frustrated with the games GM is playing. Last year these trucks had standard sliding rear window and casette player (in addition to CD player), and a full size spare tire. For some reason all these have been deleted as standard equipment in 2003 and now the truck comes standard with a doughnut spare tire, which is quite frankly a bad joke.

    I looked at a number of these trucks and the workmanship on them appears terrible. There are evident differences in gap widths between body panels, misaligned hoods, etc. Seems like one must look at ten of these trucks before finding one that does not have any of these glaring flaws.

    After reading some of these posts, I am not very encouraged to buy this truck. I like the utility of the crew cab and I like the 4.3 V6 engine power and torque. But $ 25K is a steep price to pay for this vehicle and there are many other trucks to consider. Dodge Dakota crew cab 4X4 with a 4.7 litre v8 is only about 2K more, but a lot more of a truck for the money. However, I have a hefty GM card rebate (about $3200), plus there is additional 3000 rebate on the truck, which makes the purchase of S-10 more tempting.
    For some reason, they do not offer a tow package on the S-10. The tow package is available on the Blazer with the same powertrain and you get a trasmission oil cooler, which is important.

    I am considering holding on to my 95 Nissan SE V6 4X4 truck. I bought it new, it has about 76K miles and has been a great and reliable truck with minimal problems. It does not get great mileage (17 MPG) due to low gearing, but these trucks run over 300K miles when properly maintained. Plus mine is a 5 speed manual, which has been absolutely reliable. It can tow my 4000 lb boat/trailer without any problems. I would really hate to get rid of a good truck and buy something that could prove to be unreliable and of dubious quality.
  • wizchemwizchem Posts: 1
    I have a '02 S-10 crewcab with the zr5 package. The wind and road noise is terrible. Anyone else having the problem and if so, any solution?
  • malibu1malibu1 Posts: 52
    It's too bad the only active discussion is called "S-10 Problems" - when in reality the majority of S-10 owners have no problems whatsoever. I would call this discussion the "outspoken minority" if you really want to know what I think.
This discussion has been closed.