88 S-10 Blazer General Info Request

Greetings,
I recently 'inherited' a 1988 S-10 Blazer, 4WD, 2.8l Automatic.
Trucks and 4WD are not my area of expertise, but I am intrigued at the possibilities. I would just like to solicit opinions in general, to decide
if this thing is worth my time and effort.
Assuming everything is mechanically sound, can a 2.8l pull much of a trailer? I own a very small, older popup that weighs 700lbs empty. Don't carry much gear, so I can get by on short trips with a 3.0 liter Taurus, but the Blazer seems underpowered to me. Haven't driven it much tho. The GVW and all the details on empty and loaded are supposed to be on the driver's door post, but them have been peeled off and I don't have an owner's manual to check the weights and capacities.
On a more advanced note, would this vehicle be a happy recipient of a small block chev? I presume they were sold with that combo, but the engine compartment looks a little tight for the bigger engine. While I am throwing out ridiculous questions, would the existing transmission be happy married up to a small block V8?
Also, am I supposed to be able to choose any of the drive options with the motor running, and in park or neutral? With the engine lit, it grinds a bit going into High 4WD, and it grinds so much trying for low 4WD, that I can't bring myself to force it, and have shut it off to get it in. I don't have much experience with 4WD, and lacking an owner's manual, I have to ask for help so I don't screw it up.
I am in process of finding an owner's manual, so hopefully some of the more obvious questions won't have to appear here :-)
Thank you for any comments or opinions.
John
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The 2.8 is a little under powered, my 2.5 5 speed s-10 truck could outrun my parents 2.8 auto. The s-10's were never offered with a small block, just the 4.3L v6 which is basically a 350 chopped off and is a very popular swap.
Search for jags that run for a how to book for swapping v8's also look at s-series.org, s10forum.com, s-seriesforum.com, s10 extremists for ideas.

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That explains the total lack of space :-) I think a 4.3L V6 would be a nice, apparently easy, upgrade tho.
Thank you for your time, and for the great web links. Looks like I can find what I need to know, once I figure out what I need to know <g>
Much obliged.
John
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If you're going to go the distance to put a 4.3 in-- don't...
it's just as much trouble as putting a 350 in, and less power.
You will need a new tranny, either way.

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For the amount of work its just as easy to swap in a 350 as it is a 4.3L. You will need to swap the transmissoin as the 350/4.3 bolt pattern is different from the 2.8. Another option is replacing the 2.8 with a 3.4 or 3.8 I forget which, but one of them is a direct replacement. Check the 2.8 section on one of the forums.

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3.4 is the direct swap. The engine was specifically developed to upgrade the 2.8 S-series trucks.

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I used a 2.8 in a 83 s-10 to move from B.C. to ontario, camper in back tewin axle trailed with 1500 lb load no problems had 430,000 KM on the motor befor there was a problem.
"burntkat IS AT comcast.net" wrote:

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inline....

not really....
I own a very small, older popup that weighs 700lbs empty. Don't

it should be able to handle a trailer that small w/o much difficulty. although trailer weight doesn't always tell the whole story. for instance at work we have a RustGo portable scaffolding system. it's setup more or less like a hay wagon, has 2 axles (fore and aft), the front axle steers w/ the trailer tongue. it only weighs about 2000lbs but it tows meaner than hell. the stupid thing sways like crazy, jumps around and is more or less completely unstable above 40MPH. I was not esp comfortable towing it with my '88 K2500 on the less than smooth roads I had to travel over.
Haven't driven it much tho. The

you should be able to pick up a manual from Helm (www.helminc.com) or on Ebay. I have the same prob w/ my truck w/ it's replacement driver's door. I have my manual though.

I don't know if happy would be the word as S-trucks w/ v-8 swaps tend to get the crap beat out of them,
I presume they were sold with that combo, but the engine

nope, biggest engine was the 90 degree 4.3 V6 (which is a sb chevy derivative). but there have been literally thousands and thousands of SBC swaps into s-trucks. you can even buy complete kits.
While I am

no, the 2.8 has the small 60 degree bellhousing, the 4.3 and chevy V8's have a "Chevy" or 90 Degree bolt pattern.

no, just 2HI and 4HI, 4Lo requires a shift into neutral.
With the engine lit, it grinds a

it shouldn't grind into 4hi at all unless your front axle is stuck locked.
and it grinds so much trying for low 4WD,
to shift into 4lo you must be stopped and in neutral, and even then there may be some gear clash, but out and out grinding shouldn't happen.
HTH, Bret
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not a bad rig, by 88 that automatic was pretty well ironed out

good.......it is refreshing to see someone who knows what he does not know and has the common sence to seek advice......

that is determined to a VERY large degree by the axle ratios
the lower numeric ratios contribute to the '2.8 gutless' syndrome, the ones with 3.73's or 4.10's would probably tow it pretty well
just stay out of overdrive when towing

the 4.3 would fit (was an option), the 5.7 would take some more work, the 5.0 is not worth the effort

nope
2.8 was a 60-degree small-bell pattern, the 4.3 and 5.7's are 90-degree 'small block' pattern
if you DO decide to do the engine swap (especially the 5.7) save yourself future grief and have the 700R4 rebuilt by a good independent (not one of the chains) shop that does a lot of truck work
and save $$ by buying a new radiator without transmission cooler, and use a large external cooler out front right behind the grille
e-mail if you want a detailed list of 'stuff that makes a 700R4 sit up and talk'

park, probably.......neutral will probably grind gears if the engine is running.........the drag of the clutch packs, even when not engaged, will spin the output shaft at a pretty good clip

shut off in 'N' works best

again, you are to be commended for asking about the 'stuff you're not sure of '

no problem

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No need to stop the engine to shift to 4Lo. Just put it in neutral, make the shift, and shift into gear.
I do it all the time, with no problems.

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Yikes!! Too many replies both here, and in pmail, to be able to say thanks to each one.
Hopefully, an all encompassing "Thank You" will be acceptable.
Learned a lot in a short amout of time, and I think this might be a fun vehicle once I get more familiar with it. Looking forward to learning enough to be able to give some back one day.

Well, I stopped knowing everything about everything a long time ago :-)
I am familiar with the usenet attitudes of all knowing sages, but this sure seems like a nice group so far.
I did not realize that the S-10 never had a V8 out of the box, so I am gonna leave the 2.8, maybe seek out a bigger V6 this winter. Plenty of camping time left to tow my trailer this fall and see how it works out. I guess the limit on the engine size will save me a few $$ on the hitch, as I sure won't need a class three, and if the hitch height is acceptable, a class one should do it.
There are a lot of places in the mts here in Utah to test out the 4WD, and having traveled most every decent road in my car or VW Van, I am looking forward to seeing what's down those other roads I haven't been able to take <g>
Much obliged to you all.
John
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be surprised how helpful these guys, and what you can learn just by reading posts. i cant thank the group enough for what i have learned just by reading topics and posts. so i to want to thank you all for the great learning you are and have given me.
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Do yourself a favor and get at least a class 2 hitch. There are more bike carriers and the like available for the class 2 and 3 hitches than the class 1.
Blazers are a lot of fun. I'm going to put a 350 in mine and do a solid front axle swap. It ought to be well able to get anywhere i want after that....

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