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Lifelong S-10 Owner
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I'm one of those old dirty mechanics on here too. I have professionally built the 2.8 V6 engine with bored .030, blueprint and balance job, raised compression, smoothed the inside of the block, V8 cam bearings, bigger camshaft, exhaust, gears etc and its just not worth the money or horsepower on that little engine. My built one ran about like a stock 4.3 engine that's still legal. Warm up a 3.4 V6 and swap it in to keep the smaller size block with a small gain or do an LS swap. The mileage on your engine is putting it on borrowed time. Good luck on which ever way you go.
 

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Okay guys so I took my 88 s10 tahoe for the first test drive yesterday after putting in a transmission and new front brakes and hub assemblies. And he did great other than the right calioer trying to lock up but i bought some new ones for it. My question is who knows what I can do to kind of bring him back to life with a little more power and put some pep in his step. He just seems kinda sluggish on take off. Any suggestions that aren't too crazy?
If you just put the transmission in it! I would put a new gear in there and mess around with that. A new cam is always a good option. Cold air intakes will add a few horse power. A new fuel pump can help a little. A less restrictive exhaust is another way to give it a bit more because it doesn’t have to push as hard to get rid of the gases. Possibly adjust timing if you want more power on high end or low end. That’s my best guesses. Hope it helps
 

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Okay guys so I took my 88 s10 tahoe for the first test drive yesterday after putting in a transmission and new front brakes and hub assemblies. And he did great other than the right calioer trying to lock up but i bought some new ones for it. My question is who knows what I can do to kind of bring him back to life with a little more power and put some pep in his step. He just seems kinda sluggish on take off. Any suggestions that aren't too crazy?
Not fully sure, really new to s10s. I’ve heard performance exhausts can give a small boost in power. Maybe an exhaust that’s good and not super expensive.
 

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All those little things you do properly like cold air, free flow exhaust, cam, intake etc. work together to add hp. So you might end up with a 2.8 that makes 150 hp. Do yourself a favor, find a 3.4 engine F body 93-95 160 hp rebuilt it if necessary. In the mean time you can still drive your truck and sell the 2.8 when you install the 3.4 engine.
 

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Boozebag
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I have tried the CAI business... It doesn't make any noticeable difference by itself. If you combine it with other mods, it may help a little.
One of the big issues with 2.8s is the timing chain. I bet yours is pooched. Although it won't make a huge difference, it give better overall driveability.
You can check it fairly easily.
Pull the distributor cap. Turn the engine in one direction and watch the rotor move. Once it moves, turn the engine (slowly) in the opposite direction and note how far the harmonic balancer travels to the rotor moving again. I bet it turns an 1/8th turn.
Ting chains are inexpensive and fairly simple to replace. Probably a 4 hour job.
 

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Boozebag
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Sorry for the double post... There are threads here that describe installing a larger TBI from a 4.3. This is probably the cheapest mod you can do. An early Astro 4.3 has the easiest TBI to install on a 2.8.
You can run a larger exhaust behind the stock cat. A 2.5" pipe will bolt to the cat and run it through a 2.5 turbo muff. An exhaust shop can make up the connector pipe and tailpipe. You'll get a little more power from that mod.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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Those timing chains are amazingly bad. Mine was so worn out on my 2.8 I couldn't believe that it didn't jump time or it wasn't making noise. Completely worn out.
 

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Back 23 years ago when I had my 1993 2.8 5 speed truck I felt like it was pretty strong, I mean it only had 50k miles. It did come factory with 3.42 gears. I filpped the air cleaner lid, sent a money order into summit racing for a hypertech chip, and took the muffler off. It held its own its all my buddies 4wd trucks. As mentioned above, make sure you brakes aren't dragging and make sure the tuneup is good. Other than that, don't waste your money.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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Back 23 years ago when I had my 1993 2.8 5 speed truck I felt like it was pretty strong, I mean it only had 50k miles. It did come factory with 3.42 gears. I filpped the air cleaner lid, sent a money order into summit racing for a hypertech chip, and took the muffler off. It held its own its all my buddies 4wd trucks. As mentioned above, make sure you brakes aren't dragging and make sure the tuneup is good. Other than that, don't waste your money.
I've had a lot of s10 trucks over the years. My 84 that I still have was the biggest slug on earth with the Rochester and the factory intake on the 2.8. After a fire caused by the carburetor I decided to swap to the Holley 390 and the Edelbrock intake. The difference in power was significant. It wouldn't spin the tires before in an oil slick with the factory setup, and flooring it with 4bbl carb resulted in the tires smoking pretty good till you let off the gas. Acceleration and torque were MUCH improved. Swapped a 3.42 rear in and the truck was actually pretty OK to drive then. The camshaft is another weak point. A lot of folks in the past stated that changing the cam was also significant. Headers can also improve it. Now, the main difference in the 3.4 is really in the upper RPMs. The 2.8 would start to run out of steam there, whereas the 3.4 just keeps pulling and pulling. That's the difference. You can actually make fair power with a 2.8 if you allow it to breathe properly.
 

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Boozebag
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One of the crappiest cams in production... where?
Yep - the stock 2.8.

There are several cam companies that grind a cam that has a very close profile to the GM 3.4 crate engine cam. They are not very expensive and it really wakes up a 2.8
If you run the stock TBI, you won't see a huge improvement, but add a 4.3 TBI (including opening the intake plenum ports) these 2 mods will really make a noticeable performance improvement.

I did the V6 performance routine... 3.4 from a 95 Camaro, BIG cam, Crane roller rockers, true roller timing chain, Holley 390/Eddy intake, rare Mallory distributor, headers/3" exhaust, e fan, 5 speed, 4.10 rear gear.
The truck runs mid to low 14s now. Not a giant killer, but a ton of fun to drive.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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Funny to me Max some of the insults the 2.8 gets. It's really not a bad motor. Timing chains aside, they are generally pretty reliable and can actually make decent power when allowed to breathe.

The intake/carb swap on mine when it was a 2.8 from the stock setup wasn't just a minor improvement in power. It was....incredible. I remember backing it out of the shop and stepping on it just to move forward in the yard and it lurched forward like I'd pushed it halfway to the floor with the original... I was like, what is up here?? This is different. When I drove it down the street it made me smile, because I knew it would make some difference, but not anything like that. I could ACTUALLY spin the tires! You couldn't have spun the tires on it before if your life depended on it. If you floored it and threw it into drive in an oil soaked puddle, turned to the right and going up a hill....maybe. Haha! It was so pathetic with the stock carburetor on it. Proof that the Rochester 2SE is probably the worst carburetor ever built. I had about 5 of them. I immediately sold them on ebay because that garbage was NEVER going back on that truck. Mileage initially suffered, but it wasn't good to start with using the 2se. Got about 11mpg initially after the swap. Woah. Swapping to the stiffest springs in the carb secondaries and a vac tuning brought it back up to 14. Basically where it was before the swap. I wish I'd had the opportunity to dyno it. I would have never in my wildest dreams would have believed that a carburetor and intake swap would yield that kind of a performance increase.
 

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time to get cereal
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And that's why you throw the carburetor away completely and put SFI on it, get MPGs in the 20s instead and keep the power.
 

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The path to my 3.4 swap had me hunting for all kinds of "power-enhancing" parts and tricks. Mine is an 83, fully carb'd, so it might be different for you. But I tried headers, intake, weber carb, cleaning up all vacuum lines, a t5 trans, cleaning up electrical, etc... Then when i put the 3.4 in it, cammed, roller rockers, bigger carb. I thought that was the biggest increase in performance.

Then I popped my rear diff cover and found out I had 2.73 gears. Highway gears. I found a rear end with 3.73s from a 90's s10. That was the single biggest improvement in acceleration and drive-ability. If I still had the 2.8 with those "performance" changes, I probably wouldn't have wanted to go to a 3.4L so badly.
 

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Awww..you ain't got shit!
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Agreed. My truck had 3.08 factory gears. It really was significant improvement. Worked out good cause I had a 86 Jimmy that I took the 3.42 out of. The Jimmy was a 4 spd, and at 70mph, it sounded like it was about to explode from high RPMs. So the rear was whining like a liberal in the S10 pickup anyway, so I bought another 3.08 from a 95 to go in the Jimmy, and then robbed the 3.42 out it for the truck. Great swap both ways. Now in the Jimmy I could do 75-80 at 2500rpm, and I got much better acceleration from the pickup.
 
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