March 20, 2018

Disgarding debris one word at a time.

2002 Chevy s10 Crew Cab Pickup.
Beater Plow truck

There was a time when my trailer was not worth hauling stuff (and has since been replaced). Sometimes there came a need to haul stuff in a truck and not in an SUV or want to get the SUV interior ruffled up. So I searched Craigslist for an S10. I like the crew cabs, 4 doors, small bed with a tonneau cover. I found one with 80k miles for sale right up in Hilton , NY that was at a house right across from the R/C racetrack I raced at for a summer (The bakery race track, dirt oval). Body was not bad for a 2002, guy was asking for 2500 and it had a SES/code light on for the evap system and those can be a pain to troubleshoot. But I got him down a little in price and bought it (Dec 2015). A few days later I borrowed a tow dolly, grabbed a friend and we picked it up (dropped the driveshaft and dollied it because the transfer case has no true neutral on that type of transfer case). The PO (previous owner) did a lot of work himself, but he overlooked a few things. The code came on after he did a new fuel pump, and on the quad cab s10’s you cant pull the bed to get to the pump, you have to drop the tank. he got fed up and sold it. It has newer brakes on it, he must have replaced the alternator, sensor here and there. Overall I liked it a lot. I love the s10’s for some reason.

-So begins my road of S10 wisdom-

The truck would run great for about 5 minutes, then sputter and die. It would start right up, run for another 5 minutes then die… I put my scanner on it and every time it sputtered and died the truck was pulling fuel like crazy on the short term fuel trims and it would kick off an evap code. The usual culprits for this code was a bad gas cap or some sensor on top of the gas tank, UGH I gotta pull the tank! before I did that I wanted to make sure. started tearing the top end off, and the intake ports were wet but it was holding fuel pressure, dirty poppet maybe?,  replaced it with the new style, start truck after 5 minutes it dies… wtf. I start checking connections plugging, unplugging. then I started the truck and it ran for 10 minutes… then 15 minutes.. then 20 minutes, YES! I fixed the fluke! but then I heard a hissing sound and looked at the scanner and it was running lean and it was adding fuel… found the hissing sound, it was the purge valve connection to the intake, hooked that up hissing went away then the truck ran rough and stalled. wtf! Removed the purge line and saw drips of gas… there should be no gas in this line, its for fuel vapor only, not a liquid. Then the lightbulb went off that the PO just changed the fuel pump, could he… nah, I doubt it… get under the truck, use a flashlight and a mirror… YEP! he did, he swapped the evap and the return fuel line on the pump, so when the purge solenoid valve turned on at the intake it was sucking up raw fuel versus vapor. The o2 sensors saw it as running rich and was commanding to pull fuel… So very luckily I was able to drop the tank a little to get my hand up there and swap the evap and return lines. While my hand was up there I found a nice pair of side cutters too!

Next I replaced the noisy fan with one from RockAuto. Then I found out it got locked into 4 wheel drive because of the vacuum switch on the transfer case was stuck, replaced that and got vacuum to the front actuator, but then it was still hit or miss. replaced the front actuator with a new one, and replaced the actuator cable with a new one as well. However, the new cable I guess the QC guy was on vacation then because the clip grooves were non existent. Break out the dremel and make some slots! 4wd is working great! picked up a plow for it and got it all wired and its great. First big snow storm its running great, then I loose 4wd on my street luckily… make it home and diagnose and my NEW front vacuum actuator has a rip in it, luckily I kept the old one and got back on the road in quick time. Sent it back for a replacement and now have a new one on the shelf.

I even came across some s10 extreme blazer rims with a more offset wheel, and larger aggressive tires. they look ok but I had to raise the front torsion preload a lot to make it work, and with the plow on they rub  crap… I guess those will be my summer tires and I’ll get actual winter tires for the original wheels.

The drivers door sagged a little bit from worn hinges and would whistle a lot, and water came in at the car wash, I put a new hinge kit on the drivers door, good as new!

A few weeks ago I took it out on a hot day to goto home depot and tried the air conditioning… and it WORKS! The interior is in good shape, PO was the only owner and was a non-smoker.

Rust is showing up, but this is a beater truck that is reliable. I did notice that the heater core has a smell when the heat is used. To replace that the whole dash has to get pulled out. That should be fun. It needs a bumper too because its all rusted away under the license plate area…

While this was a fun truck to have, I sold it less than a year of having it. I got off track in my car thinking of quality > quantity. I would rather modify/upgrade them, than fix them. And the heater core was not something I wanted to tackle and pull the whole dash out. I don’t really have the time. and the body panel rust was just starting to get real bad. I ended up selling the truck/plow and spare parts and breaking even. I’m not a fan of rust, and unfortunately I know squat about fixing it… good luck Bolt! you were a great truck for that one HUGE snowstorm in early 2016!

The End.