SillyImportRacer Reader
8/18/10 8:39 a.m.

So, I've been wanting to build a $20XX Challenge car for quite a while. I've actually bought 2 cars for this purpose, A 93 Civic that went over budget (and is now a driver) and a 86 Camaro that I discovered to be a huge turd after i got it home. (Collision damage to the trans tunnel, rust holes in ft foot wells, and questionable repair to subframe) My most recent idea for the Challenge is an S-10 pick-up with the SBC from the Camaro swapped in.

The Camaro has a 305 with an Eddlebrock Performer RMP intake and a Q-Jet. If needed it has a 700R4 transmission. I could sell the T-Tops, tail lights, and mirrors then the body as scrap to recover some cost. I've got $500 in the Camaro.

I've done a CL search and found a few sub $600 S-10's in Atlanta and a few closer, some of which run.

As far as my skills to complete this project go, well, it'd be a learning experience. But, I'm not tearing up something i depend on for transportation.

So, I have a few questions for the enlightened ones:

While i don't expect a V8 S-10 to be the car to beat, would it be a reasonable competitor? I'd really prefer not to be laughed at for its retched performance.

How much would the body be worth as scrap?

If I find an S-10 with a 4 or 5-speed, would it be safe to mate to the 305?

I'm sure I'll come up with more. Please feel free to offer any input. I've found a couple of S-10 forms, one is V8 specific. So, I'm sure I can get some good info there.

Thanks, David

pres589 HalfDork
8/18/10 9:11 a.m.

I think you would be best using the trans that comes with the Camaro, because an S-10's is going to have a really deep first gear. It might also make life a bit easier on the diff if you're using a 700R4 (sure it's not a 200-4R?) since torque multiplication would be slightly reduced.

I'm wondering if there are useful parts on the Camaro like sway bars, wheels, etc also there for the swap.

Ranger50 New Reader
8/18/10 9:14 a.m.

As dogged as trucks get, a S10 can be a reasonable competitor. Reasons being, it's a GM, so a LOT of other GM parts fit without modification, you could kick the dirt outside your home and find parts to fix/modify it.

Scrap, last time I heard, was $75/ton.

You would have to lower it, for about $300, then add some weight to the back to get the %'s right. You can swap the, UGH, 305 in for about 200. If you started with a 4.3, way more money than the headache of starting with a 4cyl, the NV3500 will take SOME power for a BIT, before you would have to replace it with something decent. Most of the time the whole front suspension is shot and needs to be replaced.

Some additional links:

HTH, Brian

Junkyard_Dog HalfDork
8/18/10 9:16 a.m.

+1 on getting the JTR book. Its money well spent.

SillyImportRacer Reader
8/18/10 9:20 a.m.

I was told the trans is a 700R4. I'll have to check when I get it out to be sure.

The Camaro came with 3 ea, 15" Z-28 wheels and 4 ea, 16" IROC wheels. I'm planning on cleaning up the 16's and using them.

I'm not sure what else would interchange.

Ranger50 New Reader
8/18/10 9:30 a.m.

JTR uses the camaro manifolds in their swaps, but personally any tight tucking rear exit header will fit. I just would run it towards the front to eliminate other potential problems.

Front suspension is a cross between a first gen camaro and a metric G-body, ie-78-up Malibus, Elcaminos, and Monte Carlos. So don't overlook the circle track guys for parts.

700's are a square pan, 200-4r's are like an arrowhead with two "seperate" sumps.


SillyImportRacer Reader
8/18/10 9:43 a.m.

Thanks for the input guys. I'm gettin some learnin already.

Cotton HalfDork
8/18/10 10:15 a.m.
Ranger50 wrote: Scrap, last time I heard, was $75/ton.

currently hovering around $150/ton here in middle TN. Also shop around....some scrappers pay more.

itsatrap New Reader
8/18/10 10:32 a.m.

On the question about the 5-speed from an S10 mating to the 305, from my understanding the T-5 behind the V6 wouldn't have the right spline count to mate with the 305. My brother had an S10 that had a 305/700R4 swap in it. He also did the lowering with some Belltech spindles and lowering blocks in the rear it handled pretty decent after that, along with some poly bushings. It was all cheap enough. Good luck!

Ranger50 New Reader
8/18/10 10:50 a.m.

T5's were only behind 4cyl's and the 2.8's, IIRC. 4.3's had the NV3500, retrofitted from the full size. Besides it's just a clutch disc difference, if you wanted to use a T5.

I personally would use lowering springs in back over blocks. Given you already are axle over spring, you don't have a lot of clearance between the axle and frame before you have to install a notch. If you use a 3" block, the U-bolts can't control the motion when turning. I have a 2" block on my 95 Dakota right now and I feel the rear end trying to slide around when turning. So I can imagine what a 3" block is like, not fun in my book.


SillyImportRacer Reader
8/18/10 11:33 a.m.

In reply to Ranger50:

I'll have to take a look. Which trans is better?

I've got 6" blocks on the rear of my K10. but with that much lift & 35" tires, I haven't considered driving it near the limit. I'll look into springs.


914Driver GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/18/10 12:03 p.m.

The SBC rests between frame rails, right? I've had a few mildly tweaked trucks over the years and found that even in stock form, they can't hook up.

My 2.3 4-cyl Ranger is a nightmare in the rain, I can spin the tires up hill on right hand corners like nobody's business, and that's with no power.

What say we take your motor mounts and mount them between the frame rails behind the driver? Good hook up, better fore-aft balance for Auto-X; sleeper. Cover it with a black plastic tonneau, Viola' First in Class.


aussiesmg SuperDork
8/18/10 4:28 p.m.

Jeez this many posts and nobody mentioned my $2009 S10 350 with T5. The truck handles well with the drop spindles, upgraded springs and a lot of tweaks to the rear end, Last year I had a 300hp 350, with T5 and 10 bolt, but it broke the frame then the engine.

This year it has a lot more but I am in budget troubles finding a decent trans due to the output of the engine.

I am still trying to get it there with a very poor and lumpy T5 for $2010


Ranger50 New Reader
8/18/10 6:52 p.m.

No Mustang T5's to be had?

itsatrap New Reader
8/18/10 7:07 p.m.

I would have doubts about putting even a WC- T5 trans behind something with more than 300lbs ft of torque. GM didn't put a T-5 behind the Z28 for a reason. Thats my take. Also isn't the mustang T-5 case turned more to the side than the Chevy version?

Ranger50 New Reader
8/18/10 7:19 p.m.

IIRC, the 87-93's had 300 ft-lbs stock.

No, the Camaro has the oddball laid over trans, to the tune of 20 degrees. GM would rather build autoslut cars anyways.


novaderrik Reader
8/18/10 7:29 p.m.

the Camaro T5 case is twisted about 15 degrees for some silly reason or another. i think it has something to do with exhaust clearance or something like that.

no Camaro ever had the 200-4r transmission- the only F body to get that trans was the '89 turbo Trans Am with the GN engine and trans. unless someone swapped in a 3 speed trans from an '82, it will have the 700r4 overdrive.

front suspension wise, the S10 is the same as a G body only narrower- and the Camaro uses the G body/S truck lower control arms and brakes. Camaro sway bars are wider than an S truck, and the S truck has stiffer springs since it's a truck. if the Camaro has the big (34mm??) hollow sway bar, pull that off and sell it to me for $5 so i can put it on my T Type. it should also have the good tight ratio steering box if it has the big sway bar. this box bolts right into an S10.

as far as dropping a 305/700r4 in an S10- there is no need for silly conversion kits or a book. if you start off with a 4.3 powered truck, it's really easy- just bolt the 305 to the 4.3 transmission and put the front mounts where they need to be or make some adapter plates to use the 4.3 mounts on the 305 .

which 305 is it? the gutless turd LG4 or the slightly less gutless L69?

if you want to get really crazy, take the whole rear suspension out of the Camaro and stick it under the truck. a torque arm and a panhard bar has got to be better than leaf springs..

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/19/10 10:19 a.m.
itsatrap wrote: I would have doubts about putting even a WC- T5 trans behind something with more than 300lbs ft of torque. GM didn't put a T-5 behind the Z28 for a reason. Thats my take. Also isn't the mustang T-5 case turned more to the side than the Chevy version?

The WC T5s from the Mustangs can hold up to some torque, their reputation as fragile is really not well-deserved. I've had two mildly modified 5.0L fox-body Mustangs with stock T5s, and never had any problems with either. One was a former FHP car with 160K on the clock, and the transmission had zero problems. Tell me that car wasn't driven hard in its life

With the WC T5, I'd recommend an aftermarket shifter with stops (the stock shifter doesn't have any internal stops).

SillyImportRacer Reader
8/19/10 11:31 a.m.

Cool, Thanks for the info. I guess I just need to buy a couple of books and find the right recipient.

sachilles HalfDork
8/19/10 11:57 a.m.

We have a local competitor that runs an s-10 blazer with a small block. It's well modified. It's a hell of a hillclimber. It also does well at autocrosses that are on the larger side, but isn't as well suited for ultra tight small course autocrosses. I think it could do quite well for the challenge.

JMcD New Reader
8/19/10 11:59 a.m.

You are going to need some huge, and I mean, HUGE tires in the rear of that thing to get it to hook. Also, I expect wheel hop to be a pretty big issue with the leaf springs. Some traction bars would help in that regard.

You can mate the 305 to a v6 transmission, but you need the correct clutch and pressure plate. I used a 168 tooth flywheel (90 chevy pickup) with an 11" clutch that would accept a 1" 14 spline shaft from a v6 T5. The clutch and pressure plate were from an ~87 chevy astro van that had a 4.3L v6 and t5 trans. It worked great with manual trans bell housing. 3rd gear is the weak link on the T5. Don't do anything stupid and a v6 trans should last behind the 305.

In your scenario, I would much rather go with the camaro platform. It might be a little heavier, but it will launch better and handle much better (lower cg, wider, better weight distribution) than the s-10. I'd recommend finding a v6 or 4-cyl camaro to swap your drivetrain into it.

SillyImportRacer Reader
8/19/10 12:27 p.m.

In reply to JMcD:

Good info, thanks.

If you'd seem my Camaro, you want to do something different too. but, if you want to buy it...

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