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petercscherer

S10 Blazer Build

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I stumbled across someone else's project for sale in one of those infamous Craigslist deals: "You gotta get here with cash before the next guy does". Anyways, happened to be free that moment and the price was really sweet. 

 

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It's a 1990 Chevrolet S10 Blazer 2 Door 2 Wheel Drive. Has the stock 4.3 TBI V6 with the 4L60E 4-speed auto. Had lived a pretty ragged life in the DFW area before migrating out here to west Texas. 

 

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That whole Passenger rear quarter is bondo-sculpted. I guess according to Carfax it got side-swiped in 2013 which prompted the Maaco-style respray. I'll live with it for now, but just might redo the bodywork down the road. 

 

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Interior isn't bad, no weird smells, just worn out. I have plans for recovered seats, door panels, carpet, headliner, etc...

 

 

The bad news: Pretty severe rod-knock. That, coupled with non-existent oil pressure is what's prompting an engine swap. 

 

 

But guess what? I'm not doing what you'd expect! I'm going to be getting a rebuilt 4.3 from Summit Racing, and just swapping it back in to replace the trashed one! 

I figure there's enough V8 S10s out there, and I really don't want to deal with the hassle of a V8 swap and try to get that reliable when this truck just needs a new long block and some TLC. 

 

 

Of course, I'll lower it, change wheels, replace broken bits, and clean up the look. Just want a daily driver with 4 seats, A/C, decent ride, and some hauling capacity for roadtrips.

 

~Peter

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Nice man! 4.3s really arn't that bad, now if you had a 2.8 the you would have to V8 swap to make it move under it's own power.

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I don’t remember if 1990 is a vortech year, if not, a head swap will get a nice boost in power. That square body was about as good as the s10 got in my book, looks wise.

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1990 just has the intake mounted TBI. A pretty foolproof design, and easy to problem solve. I'll probably just run a CAI, Electric fan, and better exhaust. Should be plenty of power for me.

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Owned a few over the years. Easy to work on, all kinds of parts out there. Should be real easy to replace the dented parts. Overall in good shape for age.

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I drove a 4.3 powered AWD Astro Van all through high school and part of college. Plenty of power, even towed with it small trailers and such. Been wanting a 1st Gen blazer for awhile, so it's nice to accomplish an item from the bucket list.

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New Engine gets installed July 4th Weekend. Got a local mechanic coming over to help speed up the swap. Life got in the way for the past 2 months, but everything kinda fell in place recently and this project is GO! I'm excited to share with y'all the transformation!

 

If you're on Instagram, give me a follow @caprockfabshop  I'll post behind the scene photos and vids there before I update this thread.



~Peter

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First big update!

Spent yesterday cleaning the truck up, first outside getting the majority of the Lubbock dirt off:

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Saw that the paint, while piss-poor quality, actually was a decent Charcoal Grey Metallic! 
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Then I pulled it in the shop and gave it a top to bottom wash and vacuumed it all out!

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Interior is tired, but not too bad. Needs front seats, carpet and headliner. Probably replace the dash cap and door panels too at some point.

 

You probably noticed the new wheels! 17x7 Ridler 695 rims with Rikon Raptor 255/50ZR17 tires. Good quality wheels, I picked them up from SD Wheels on eBay, I've used their company before for the Hardbody rims, and was very impressed with the service and pricing!

Anyways, as life goes, the truck sits too high (duh!), so I had already ordered a complete Belltech Lowering kit. Drop Spindles, Drop Leafs, Drop Shocks, and Front/Rear Sway Bars!

Today I spend 8hrs on the front end, sucks working alone...

 

Old brakes were crusty:
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Driver's side piston was froze up, surprising since it still stopped pretty straight and cleanly. So I figured, I'd just throw money at a problem...

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New Calipers, hoses, rotors, bearings, seals, etc... This in addition to the drop spindles, shocks and Front Sway Bar I installed!

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The old front sway bar was 1.29" thick, this one is 1.54"! This thing is solid steel and way stiffer than stock! I can't wait to get the rest of this installed and take it for a drive!

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I then re-installed the front wheels to see where the body sits now that it has the 2" drop spindles on it:
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Well, tire-fender clearance is now 4", was at 6" stock. So a true 2" drop. Don't worry though, I saw where it was sitting and IMMEDIATELY ordered a set of 2" drop coils... They should be here Friday. 

 

Rear is still at stock height, I'll lower that tomorrow with the 3" drop Springs. 

 

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Mmmm, red calipers. That reminds me, I need to order a rear caliper conversion kit for this thing. Gonna look silly with tiny rear drums...

 

Stay tuned for more updates, motor swap begins tomorrow night!

~Peter

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Good Job cleaning that up!

 

I used to have one of these and loved every minute of it.

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Almost wrapped up the engine replacement, but I'll highlight it for you here:

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Before photo, tired old 171,000 mile 4.3l V6. Severe Rod Knock, opted to do a motor transplant, rather than rebuild this one.

 

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Removed old engine

 

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Back in the crate ready to go back as a core.

 

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Rebuilt V6 from ATK Engines, I purchased it through Jeg's. Installed all the original components back on it after cleaning and painting.

 

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Stabbed it back into the truck, now was time to install all the accessories.

 

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Almost there, still need to run new vacuum lines, radiator, etc... Should be doing start-up tomorrow evening!
 

Also took a moment and installed the 3" Belltech Drop leafs and shocks in the rear:
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Yes! That's lowered 3" from stock... Might be needing more there. Definitely lowering the front another 2" this coming week with some Belltech Drop Coils.

 

~Peter

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Love these, looks like you're doing right by this one. :)

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Ya' know for being west Texas, that paint is in darn good shape. The ones I owned the clear coat was starting to come off, and in the case of the red one faded.

I might have went with headers for a little better mpg. Those big V6's in a brick body get crap mpg.

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7 hours ago, 125 CSL said:

Ya' know for being west Texas, that paint is in darn good shape. The ones I owned the clear coat was starting to come off, and in the case of the red one faded.

I might have went with headers for a little better mpg. Those big V6's in a brick body get crap mpg.

 

Paint is a Maaco respray from a couple years ago, hasn't even been cut-polished since then. 

Regarding the headers, at the time, I was wanting to keep the exhuast stock, but ran into some clearance issues yesterday. I guess now I'm doing duals... 

 

MPG doesn't really matter too much, I'm used to <14mpg with older rigs...


~Peter

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Video of before/after swapping the engine out.

 

https://youtu.be/VeY40Kktw1o

 

 

Started the engine up yesterday,  waiting to break it in fully until my rear disc kit arrives tomorrow. Should have a significant update on Saturday with outside pics and vids.

~Peter

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Yup! 

 

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Runs and drives! Back on the road after 10 days in the shop.

 

Drove it around most of the day yesterday. Today I got the hood on and changed out the side mouldings for new replacements. I'll get some more pics later this week. 

 

On the to do list still:
Exhaust (tomorrow)

Alignment

Transmission shift adjustment

Working Oil/Temp/Volt gauges (Summit Racing)

Smaller front tires (These ones rub the inner fenders)

Re-do Window tint

Replace odds and ends under the hood (a lot of wiring and connection issues still)

Interior freshening

 

 

Otherwise, I'm pretty satisfied with the truck, definitely a big project still. Interior is rougher and rattles like a tin can. Suspension needs some fine tuning, as does the engine performance. But it'll be a fun project over the next few months. 

 

But, I have to take a break from personal projects and get back to some client's stuff. Have a gas pump restoration to finalize, and need to get a gameplan for remodeling the shop with more workstations! I'll probably start a thread about the shop upgrades, since I'm thinking a lot of members here might be in need of inspiration and/or ideas! 😄

~Peter

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