I recently sold my '90 454 SS pickup. It was my daily transportation and the terrible gas mileage was burning a hole in my wallet. I would still like a high-performance pickup, but I'd like something a little less thirsty.
I was thinking about getting an S-10 shortbed pickup and dropping a V-8 in it. In particular, I was thinking about using an engine and transmission from a Corvette. My best friend drives a late-model Corvette and he actually gets quite good fuel economy (mid 20s on average).
I have several questions regarding this swap. First, I favor the '94-and-newer body style, but most of the V-8 S-10 pickups that I've seen have been the early body style. Is there a difference in how hard or easy the swap is depending on body style? Is a Corvette engine viable, or should I look into another GM V-8? I'd like a manual transmission, but again, the trucks I've seen have all had automatic transmissions. Is there a problem with using a manual transmission? What would I have to do as far as wiring?
Finally, I live in California. I'm concerned that there might be problems with the state as far as emissions legality. Where can I find out about rules related to engine swaps?
Thanks for your help.
Dropping a small-block V-8 in an S-10 is one of the most popular engine swaps around. There is a lot of information available on the Internet. We suggest that you do a thorough search to see what's available parts-wise and how different sources feel about various drivetrain combinations.
A great place to start your S-10 V-8 education is at www.jagsthatrun.com. Even though the name refers to Jaguar/Chevy V-8 swaps, the long-established company is a leader in engine swaps, including S-10 V-8 swaps. It offers extensive instruction manuals and sells all of the parts needed for the swap. Advance Adapters (www.advanceadapters.com) is another longtime engine-swap components company. Hedman Performance Group also offers mounts, headers, and oil pans for this swap. A general community site is www.s10v8.com. This site can put you in touch with other enthusiasts who've installed V-8s in their S-10s. A custom wiring-harness company that deals in harnesses for this swap is Current Performance (www.currentperformance.com).
You can do the swap on either a first-generation S-10 or a '94-or-newer truck. More swaps have been done on the early trucks and they're less complicated electronically. The newer the truck, the more sophisticated the computer controls are.
There are many similarities between the chassis of the two series. The newer chassis are stiffer, which is better. A new shifter linkage and a new steering column offer more engine-compartment room for a V-8.
A Corvette engine can be used, but it's not the best choice. The problem is the unique accessories that need to be changed to Camaro versions. You're better off starting with a Camaro engine.
Manual transmissions can be used, but automatics are favored for their simpler linkage components. If you bought a wrecked '93-'97 Camaro/Firebird you could use the T56 six-speed that comes in those cars. Another possibility is the five-speed that came with '90-and-newer 4.3L V-6 S-10s.
For wiring harnesses, check with a company such as the aforementioned Current Performance. These late-model Chevy V-8 engines are extremely popular with street rodders, so finding a custom wiring harness shouldn't be a problem.
The big thing about California emissions regulations is that all of the emission components that came with the truck and the engine need to be fully operational. You can swap engines, but the engine must be the same year of manufacture as the truck or newer. You can't put an older, carbureted engine in a fuel-injected S-10. The engine-year law can affect whether you choose a first-generation or second-generation S-10. The Jags That Run site has lots of information about California emissions laws since the company is located in California. The website suggests buying a copy of the "California Smog Check Inspection Manual." You should be able to get this book from a local Bureau of Automotive Repair office.
An S-10 V-8 swap is a job for more advanced mechanics, but it can be done at home. It's a relatively involved swap, but the many kits make it as easy as possible. The results should give you a very strong performer with considerably better fuel economy than your old 454 SS.
I purchased a copy of the Aug. '08 issue of your magazine at Wal-Mart in Yorktown, Virginia. When I went to read it today, the whole magazine looked off-print and is missing some of the text. It looks as if it was not cut properly. I just wanted to let you know that I was extremely disappointed about this. It was not possible for me to return it to Wal-Mart.
A new copy is in the mail, William. Sorry for the hassle, but the printer sometimes screws up just like the rest of us.
All this panic about rising fuel prices has me thinking that this would be a good time to stock up on big-block trucks. What do you think?
We agree with you. In any market downturn, whether it be stocks, houses, or automobiles/trucks, there are always excellent opportunities for savvy buyers. The time to buy is when prices are down. The trick is to time the bottom of the cycle and buy just before the turnaround.
We think big-block pickups and SUVs still have a ways to drop. The trucks to buy are the best of the bunch-the best-equipped, best colors, and lowest mileage. People aren't going to quit towing or engaging in recreational pursuits, so if the marketplace turns to gutless but economical mini-trucks there could be a strong future market for good ol' muscle trucks.
Thanks For The Info
I just picked up my first issue of Sport Truck, and I found a letter printed in it about replica Suburbans ("Sub Sub," Sep. '08). I did a search and found the site of the guys who make them. It's in Japanese, but after browsing around a little bit I found they have some nice stuff and figured I would drop you a link: www.blow-net.co.jp.
I'm interested in buying an early-'90s GMC all-wheel-drive truck-either a Syclone or a Typhoon. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion as to which is a better truck and which one has better long-term investment potential.
They're both little rockets. Anyone who thinks V-6 engines are wimpy hasn't strapped themselves into one of these turbocharged terrors. The lighter-weight Syclone is capable of quarter-mile times in the low 13-second range. GMC claimed 0-to-60 times of less than five seconds. That's quick.
We've driven both trucks and we prefer the Typhoon. Even though it weighs a little more it's better balanced with more weight over the rear wheels. It's also more practical since it can carry additional passengers. The Syclone has very limited cargo capacity, so unless you need to haul lots of bicycles, the Typhoon is just as practical.
The '91-'92 Syclone was produced in greater quantities than the '92-'93 Typhoon. Rarity is always good for collectibility. A knock against the Syclone is that some of them were really hammered hard. Stay away from any examples that show signs of being drag-raced.
These were premium-priced trucks when new, and the finest examples haven't dropped much in price. Beat-up ones are much lower, but beware of a bargain Syclone/Typhoon that may need a new turbocharger. If you can afford it, buy the best possible example you can find.
In The Mag And On The Web
I have a question about the Homegrown Haulers section. If I were to send a pic of my truck, would it be published in the magazine or just on the website?
Homegrown Haulers submissions can be sent to email@example.com, and if the photos are nice they might end up in the magazine. If you'd like to see your truck on our website, please visit www.sporttruck.com and click on the "Community" link at the top of the page. That will take you to a bitchin spot where you can show off all of your hard work and chat with other sport truck owners. Or, click here to go directly: Readers' Rides Community Page
I Wanna Be A Pinup!
My name is Mandy and I am a pinup model out of Las Vegas, Nevada. I am very interested in entering my photo for the pinup of the month. Thank you.
All you hot models out there should send your sub-missions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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