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I am planning to build a buggy, and use a 4.3 vortec and 700R4 for the driveline. I was initially planning to build a square tube frame for it myself. Then I got to thinking about ways to save some time, and thought about just using an S10 or other Chevy frame for it. So here's my questions:
1. What is the stock wheelbase of an S10? I plan on running a 103" Wb in the end, but am going to link the front and rear. Will an S10 frame work?
2. How strong is an S10 frame? Is it a good base to start with and build a cage off of?
3. What are the major weaknesses/ things that need addressed in the Chevy frame and driveline?
4. Are there other frame/engine combos I should be considering based on my ideas? I would be fine with a 5.3, but know that the wiring is more difficult to start from scratch with. So, if I bought it as a frame, I wouldnt have that problem.
Thanks for the help guys...
 

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I know you asked about S-10's, but having more intimate knowledge on S-10 Blazers could be helpful for your cause:

1. The wheelbase on my stock '96 S-10 Blazer was 100.5" (and I think it was the same for 2-door Blazers from '83-'05). After pushing both axles out a few inches, you'll end up right on your target 103" (mine's at 110" now)...I think even a regular cab short-bed S-10 is already 108", so you'd hafta shorten it.

2. My frame is fully-boxed from the front to all but the last 10" of the back...torsionally very stiff. It came stock with 4 crossmembers (and a 5th removeable under the tranny), but a little aftermarket beef never hurt anyone here. I think it's either 1/8" or 3/16" frame material...not breaking any records there, but not bad for stock. I don't know if the same holds true for the S-10 though.

3. The Blazer frame has a lot of bends and curves (that's prolly why it's so stiff), so it's sorta hard to find points for things like link-mounts...not at all unachievable, but an added challenge to making a square rail from scratch. The frame in its stock form under the body sits very low (but sounds as though you won't care about this part). For the rest of the driveline, the stock 4.3 to 700R4 is a pretty tough little combo, but no v8 & TH400.

4. someone else wanna chime in?....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, I was planning on going with an S10 Blazer. As for the twistyness of the frame, anyone got a pic of it without the body on it to see what you mean?
Has anyone here taken out a vortec 4.3 and put it in something else? I mean real, first hand experience? How hard was it to sort out the wiring? I just dislike wiring basically, so figured this could save some time. However, if this is just making more work than it's worth I will build a square frame myself.
j
 

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Pics of my 93



I've since boxed the frame from the cab back and added some goodies:D I will fill in the rest next time it's in the shop..

also as far as I know 2 doors are 100" WB and 4 doors 104" I've stretched mine out to 107"
and if you "dislike wiring" HAH... try breeding 3 harnesses together in the middle of winter outside of course

also if I were to build a buggy I would make my own frame....just my .02
 

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Ahha, so back before the new body style they didn't come with a boxed frame. Should be the '95+ come with boxed frames stock.

I know there's a good number of guys that have removed the 4.3 in way of a sb 350, but in general the 4.3 has a pretty nice output. I'm tempted to build a small-block in the future to replace my Vortec 262.

Redder, what gears are you running in your setup?
 

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Redder, what gears are you running in your setup?

4.56... seems to be perfect with my setup...cruises @ 2500 RPM @ 60MPH.. I can still walk on it and break the 38's loose in 2nd... I'm very happy with my 4.3 it's not for everybody, but with my doubler it's a great balance for my kind of wheelin:smokin:
 

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I noticed on a 98 i was working on the other day Blazer ZR2 the frame was factory boxed from the B pillar back..

PS my Stock WB of my 89 s-10 was 109"
 

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S10-Blazer

The frame boxing changed over the years. Typically it went from the tranny cross brace back. Newer models are boxed further.

2dr are 100.5" wheel base.
4dr are 107" wheel base.
Push the front axle out 2" to gain firewall clearance and swap in a 2wdr PS pump so it swings in front instead of in back.

Yes they are rigid, they have a solid body on top of them. The body doesn't twist and neither does the frame, much.

'93 is the first year for the 4L60E tranny, electronically controlled tranny.
4.3L V6 was first offered in '88 and it was fuel injected. TBI and CPI are both pretty easy to work on and swap.

Stay away from a '95. It has a weird OBD1.5 system.

'92 or was it '93 was the first year for the internal balance shaft.
'93 was the first year for roller rockers.

If you get a donor 4.3 from a fullsize.
'85 was a 2 piece rear main seal, avoid that year if possible. Otherwise you will have to make a custom oil pan to fit the two piece rear seal and the S10 front cross brace. Both '85 and '86 4.3 blocks have openings for mechanical fuel pumps. '86 on up hte 4.3 has a one piece rear main seal.

that ought to get you going.
 

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3. What are the major weaknesses/ things that need addressed in the Chevy frame and driveline?
4. Are there other frame/engine combos I should be considering based on my ideas? I would be fine with a 5.3, but know that the wiring is more difficult to start from scratch with. So, if I bought it as a frame, I wouldnt have that problem.
Thanks for the help guys...
The 4.3L V6 is a 90 degree engine, same as the SBC V8 engines. If you want more power, swap in a 5.7 or 6.0 L V8. It will bolt up to the tranny. Since your going tube frame allow space for the extra length of V8. The other V8 dimensions are the same as the 4.3. The 4.3 is pretty much a 350 with two pistons removed. All of the accessories on the 4.3 will bolt up to the V8. Depending on year and fuel injection system the 4.3L in the S10-Blazers is rated at 190-200hp 230-250torque. A 5.3 is pushing about 50 more of each. Plus it weighs about 100 pounds more.

If your lucky enough to find a Typhone of Cyclone GM put a turbo charger on the 4.3L from the factory. It'll get you in the same ball park for power as a 5.7 -6.0 engine. 300/350.
 
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