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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I'm back.

A lot has happened health-wise since I wrote the following 4 months ago.

"I found a pristine one-owner 1984 (makes it about half as old as I am lol) S15 w 59K miles. Took the hood off as it is SO much easier to work on and replaced all the vacuum lines and choke heater. Did your basic tune up and it runs quite well. Only issue rear main leaks and a PITA to fix. IMO very under powered especially with AC running. I see a V-8, manual trans, and absolutely dual exhaust in it's future."

I'm a wrench. I was born a wrench. I worked on industrial refrigeration for 40 years and did the majority of my auto repairs. I am well tooled. My body however is worn. I have looked here until I got dizzy so I respectfully ask for help pointing the way.

(1) I no longer have any plans to V-8 this truck. I do want to keep this truck as I have asthma and this little one owner has not the first cigarette burned in it. I like the little square body as it fits my little body perfectly. I do want a power upgrade. Dragging even a light trailer up Jellico out of KY is a pain. It will make regular runs Cincinnati to Port Charlotte, Fl. This is my daily driver.

(2) Therefore I want to upgrade in the cleanest manner possible. It looks like a 4.3 makes 50 or more additional HP.
That would make a world of difference! I'm looking for a donor truck so as to have all the dodads but what model year is my best bet? Would love to include a manual trans in this swap if not asking for way more major extra work. I can put the two side by side in the garage to make this as least difficult as possible and just roll the gantry back and forth as needed.

(3) I have a totaled low mileage 88 S-15, 2.8 auto with TBI I can rob for the TBI/parts/harness/ECU. Will it fit a 4.3 with larger injectors? I am OK with a carb if that make the most sense but ODB1 works a lot better in Ohio winters.

Please advise :)

Thanks in advance.
 

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B4U Task Force Admin
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I think you'll be advised to put a 3.4 from a Camaro in it...just about the same power as the 4.3 with a few tweaks.
 

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1985 Chevy S10 ext. cab pick up
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I got a 1985 S10 ext. cab with a 2.8 I'm going to pull the 3.4 out off my 1995 Camaro and put that motor in my 1985. I'm 68 and I want a nice ride. later I'm planning to put a 700r4 in my S10
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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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3,434 Posts
Hi. You have several options. I’m also the owner of a 1984 S-10. I’ve had it since 1997. Couple of simple upgrades you might want to try first. The biggest is the carburetor. Trust me on this. I went through this. It strangles any power the truck could make. You have a couple options. One, Weber. Basically bolts on. I personally have not tried this, but other folks say it’s an easy breezy swap. Two, the Edelbrock intake with the Holley 390. Now, I don’t even know f this is even available anymore. The intake anyway. But if not they are found used pretty easy. The Holley 4bbl on the Edelbrock intake and top is pretty impressive on power gains. Seriously. The first time I stepped on it? I was like. Ummm. This is different. Use the black springs with the kit for the secondaries unless you like 11mpg. The difference in power is literally astounding. Worth every penny. My truck these days has a crate 3.4. No longer available if you try to get one. I cannot say for sure, because I never had the 3.4 with the Rochester, but I cannot see how the 3.4 with the stock carb could possibly be much better than the Holley with the 2.8. As a person that had the Holley on both the 2.8 and the 3.4 I CAN say this. The 2.8 runs out of steam in higher RPMS. At that point it’s just making noise and not accelerating. The 3.4 just keeps on pulling hard. Otherwise? Performance at lower RPMS? Pretty similar. Now you can swap the camshaft too on the 2.8 to help with that. Mine was stock. Hence the runout of steam issue.

As a 3.4L owner...don’t get me wrong. The 3.4 is strong and capable. But the 2.8 can get pretty close if allowed to breathe...especially if you upgrade the camshaft. If your engine runs well otherwise? Don’t bother. Upgrade the carb and cam and be done with it.

I personally converted my truck to EFI in 2013 and it’s even stronger than with the Holley. It starts better and gets better mileage. Was it easy? Not particularly. But not particularly hard either. And I have a how to as a sticky at the top of the site if you wanna go crazy and do that. I advise spending a lot of time studying before attempting that.



Good luck man!! Happy to help any way I can too. I also have a thread about the carb conversion on here if you’re interested.
Personally for the best bang for the buck? I totally recommend the Holley swap first. It’ll also work just fine on your 3.4 should you decide later to upgrade the motor.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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3,434 Posts
I got a 1985 S10 ext. cab with a 2.8 I'm going to pull the 3.4 out off my 1995 Camaro and put that motor in my 1985. I'm 68 and I want a nice ride. later I'm planning to put a 700r4 in my S10
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I’m confused a little. An 85 S-10 should have a 700R4.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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I would strongly suggest the 3.4 out of the 93-95 F bodies, basically a bolt-in swap. Start with 160 hp, add the 4.3 tbi free flow exhaust, cam and you should have between 180-200 hp. Un-fortunately the 3.4's are getting hard to find and would probably need rebuilding, still cheaper and easier than swapping in the 4.3 which will require a new rad. trans, exhaust etc.
 

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Boozebag
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Jimmy Kicker pretty much covered it.
I have a 1990 with a pretty hefty 3.4/5 speed in it. It runs mid 14s at the 1320 which gives you an idea of what a strong 3.4 can do.
It has a pretty radical cam in it, roller rockers, the Edelbrock/Holley, a Mallory distributor, double roller timing chain, headers and a 3" single exhaust.
These are all bolt on and make a HUGE difference in power/performance. The engine was out of a 95 Camaro. It probably has close to 250K miles on it and still runs super strong.
True that a well set up TBI will run as good or better than a carb, but retro fitting a non TBI S10 can be a challenge.
Remember... the fuel tank is different (in tank fuel pump) the fuel lines are different, the wiring harness etc... It would be best to have a donor vehicle for this conversion.
If you watch Ebay, the Edelbrock intake is there once in a while. If you have deep pockets, they are also still available new.
If you are going to do this performance increase, I can fill in all of the blanks with suggestions.
Look in the 2.8 V6 section - there is a sticky for V6 performance and all of the applications.
 
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