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Discussion Starter #1
I was a member of the forums almost 10 years ago. My account has been dorment since. Many things change in life but my desire to build a first gen hasnt never left. I had a early 90s truck that I was supposed to build but due to parking issues, decided to sell. Now I find myself with space and some time/money to blow on a project. So naturally, the S10 came to mind.

I want to build a V8 5 speed toy.

Now, based on what I know about S10'sI think a 82-85 would be ideal. I prefer the more classic retro interior and I believe the older ones came with T5 transmissions (2.8 V6) vs. the nv3500 on the newer models.

Also thinking to build a long bed vs. shortboxes which are much more common. Is there any reason why I should look for the 86-93 ones vs. the older? My understanding is that overall their werent many changes and given that im swapping the motor, improvements in the motor dont mean much.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have also heard that longbeds handle a bit better which is another bonus.
 

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Handle better in what way?

The longer wheelbase will be less snappy and transition more smoothly, but that's about the only real advantage I can think of and it all depends on what you prefer to feel.

Heavier, more frame flex are the two big downsides to a long bed.

As far as the years it's more of a preference in the small styling differences.
 

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the new guy
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and the t5 came all the way till the 2.8 left so its all the way till the end of the first gen. I know my son's 92 has a t5 behind his 2.8.

I thought the t5 was not good for a v8 swap though. I thought it was not a strong transmission for that conversion? if I am wrong, let me know because I want to do a v8 swap in the future and want a stick, also, so I will be happy to keep this t5
 

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Well my understanding was that the nv3500 gear ratio wasnt snappy enough to be quick. They are more truck like first gear is super low. I may be wrong and that's why i have posted on the forums.
 

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What V8 you planning to use? I only ask because I finished an 85 at the first of the year and now starting on a 93
I noticed the frame is a little different between the 2, the 93 frame has a little more clearance for the Headers.
I am working with Gen 3 engines (LS1 type) and long tube headers. The 85 worked but I had to cut and plate
for the long tubes, the 93 I didn't have to cut for the headers, I did notch the crossmember for more oil pan
clearance though.
 

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Been there Done it
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Well my understanding was that the nv3500 gear ratio wasnt snappy enough to be quick. They are more truck like first gear is super low. I may be wrong and that's why i have posted on the forums.
If you use an S10 NV3500 low is OK. It's the full sized that had a granny gear low. Otherwise same trans.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
An LS motor would be ideal but honestly if I can find a decent 350 smallblock built with good internals at a reasonable price I would consider it. At the end of the day, it will be another toy not a show truck.
 

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the new guy
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I just want to put a regular old sbc in mine. I will take a 283, 305, 327, 350, or small 400. I am not particular and price will drive what I end up with so it will probably be a 305 or 350 since they are the most common.
 

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Boozebag
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Welcome back!

It depends on how technically advanced you want to go. Fuel injection? Carb?
A small block is probably the least expensive and easiest of the swaps. Everyone goes LS nowadays, but it is up to the individual.
I would not recommend long tube headers unless you are going racing. I have not seen a set that fits well. (as stated earlier - cutting the chassis) You can buy 3/4" primary headers with a 3" collectors (shortys) which are good for a pretty stout small block. The basic swap headers work well for most street applications and are inexpensive.
Many speed supply stores sell a complete "kit in a box" for the small block swap. Usually about $500 - $600 and they include a custom oil pan. Everything is included, I think they also include a radiator.
The T5 in all first gens is made out of paper. A few good launches and pop goes the weasel...
If you can afford it, a Doug Nash 5 speed is the ticket, or a Mustang Tremech tranny is another option. The Mustang trans requires a different bell housing, available on line.
The NV 3500 will hold up to most small blocks, but they are made out of cardboard - a little stronger than paper.
Remember, the rear end ratio will be the biggest consideration for your application. Highway? Around town?
You can source a lot of good upgrades from a 1998 to 2005 Blazer/Jimmy for suspension and brake improvements. (bigger front disc brakes, disc brake rear, sway bars, spring mount plates, Bilstein shocks) The Blazers had heavier duty components that are all direct bolt ins to an S10.
I have an 82 long bed that has all of these mods, and I added a custom trans crossmember to accommodate true double exhaust, and re located the fuel tank to the back frame rails for better weight distribution and exhaust pipe clearance.
I also have an 8.5" rear end from an S10 (Extreme) 4.3 5 speed. They are rare, but also have the G80 (posi) option. They can handle torque fairly well.

I guess what I'm trying to say... you can build a great street toy from GM "off the shelf" parts - fairly inexpensively.

Some day , when I am not working (Ha ha) I will post a complete list of parts with pictures to do the "Performance GM upgrades" to an S10.
 
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