If you have been reading the magazine for any amount of time, you've seen the first-generation S-10 I have been rebuilding. The truck has been transformed from a clapped-out POS into a mildly custom daily driver. The first story I did on the truck was tuning up the 4.3L V-6. All that work was kind of a band-aid fix to a much bigger problem, which is a worn-out engine. The tired V-6 has 170,000 miles on it and not only is it down on power, it burns a quart of oil for every 10 gallons of gas it consumes and fouls the number four plug every 500 miles or so. As you can tell, it was well past needing to be fixed or replaced. Instead of downing the truck for who knows how long and waiting for a machine shop to refurbish the original stuff, I decided to pick up a remanufactured powerplant.

To make sure this story can help all of you readers, I used what little magazine clout I have to find the company that builds motors for most retailers like AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts. The company I turned to is called ATK VEGE, and it has been around since 1936. ATK is ISO 14001: TS 16949 certified, which means it is not only certified to build engines, the company has high enough quality to build them for the OEMs. Your local machine shop can't claim that. It should be noted that ATK does not sell direct to the public, you have to pick one up from a retailer. With over 10,000 engines in stock and a 2-day delivery time, you can rest assured that your engine will get there quickly. The engines come with a solid 3-year unlimited mileage warranty that covers both parts and labor. That's right, if something happens to the engine that is deemed a factory defect, it will not only replace the engine but it will pay the labor costs to do it.

ATK VEGE can offer a warranty like that because every engine remanufactured is reverse engineered to ensure that any original factory defects are removed. Once assembled, each engine is "hot run" tested for pressure, leaks, and overall operating condition to ensure that the engine is to spec.

Not only does the company build stock replacements, the crew there also operates a high-performance business. This side of the company does sell direct to you and has been featured on TV shows like Trucks TV and Street Customs. ATK High Performance Engines can build you a 325hp 350ci small-block all the way up to an 800-plus horsepower 598ci big block. You can get Mopar, Ford, Pontiac, and Toyota performance engines from them as well.

This story will cover how to get the original engine out of the hole without breaking anything. There are tips on how to keep track of everything and a list of specific tools needed for the job. I have even tossed in a few tips for restoring the compartment before the new unit goes back in. Come back next month and check out how I installed the new engine and the process of firing it up and getting all the settings right.