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Early 90's small Pickups; Who made good ones and who made junk


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#26 RallyKeith

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:26 AM

I just talked to yet another person this weekend. 98 Chevy S-10. 240k on the original 4.3 V6 and automatic trans. Sorry, I would love to own my very own toy-boat-a, but the evidence seems to weight heavily towards an S-10.

#27 Turbone

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:40 AM

I don't think he is looking for something from the 60's ;)


I had a 92 Mazda 2600i 4x4 ext cab. It was all import, no Ford in it.
And it was the most reliable rig I've ever owned.
I bought it with around 112k on it and had to replace the OEM clutch at around 160k. I had a CV go bad on the drivers side front axle (its a 2 piece job), but other than that, it was a great runner.
It even made a couple of trips up to Evans Crk with the HP and had no problems on the hard stuff.
I traded it when it was about to hit 200k, straight across, for my Hatch.
I still miss that truck :-\

#28 MysteriousXTC

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 09:55 PM

From personally experience I would suggest an early 90's ranger. If you don't have much mountainous terrain or highway driving you can get away with a 2wd 4cly and be golden... Used mine to tow cars on dollies no problem and 20ft trailers filled with all kinds of junk... Even better towards the end of its life I beat the hell out of it, ran it low on oil nearly no coolant and it just kept going and going, sold it to my friend and he actually drove it only with water in the cooling system and would drive it a half hour to work with the water frozen in the bottom radiator hose in the winter...

I've never known anyone to be disappointed by a early 90's 4cly ranger, I will most certainly have another one day for small hauling purposes...

#29 Bserk

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 06:36 PM

Wish I had found this thread earlier, it seems pretty burned out at the moment. Frankly, Im amazed that especially on a SUBARU board, that most of you seem to be bragging up the American branded small trucks. I'll admit Im biased, I have been a Nissan tech for 30- some years.. and since the original poster was interested in early to mid 90's trucks, please bare in mind that my comments are directed to roughly those years.

Short and to the point- Ive had friends with Rangers in those model years, and they were garbage, plain and simple.(Please know that I was brought up a Ford man and I take no pride in saying that)





I know less about S 10s, but they both do have the advantage of lots of spare parts and lots of aftermarket stuff available. But you have to ask yourself...is there a reason for that? (other than they were sold in larger numbers)


Another point to consider is where you live.. Toyota to a large degree, and Nissan to some degree, had big problems with frame rot in the mid 90's. Not a problem if you live in Arizona, but something to look real close at in my neck of the woods. Im not saying Fords and Chevys dont rust, but its one area, in those years, where I would give the American trucks the advantage.



My opinion is you can not go wrong with a mid-90s Nissan Hardbody, rust issues withheld. The VG30 V6 is indestructable, if the timing belt is done on time, I havent seen many tranny issues (the 4 cyl truck's standard trans had some bearing issues, but we are sticking with the 6s, right?), and everything else holds up too. This truck was pretty much unchanged from 86.5 thru 97, there is LOTS of parts interchange and many available..


My personal truck is a 1995 Hardbody, SE-V6, king cab 4X4. I imported it from Petaluma, CA.... it has NEVER seen a salty road, and never will as long as I own it! haha (thats what my Subarus are for!) Its a automatic, and I'd prefer a stick, but other than that its perfect for me. It tows my 4 wheeler, it brings home all the typical Home Depot stuff, and it keeps up with traffic just fine. (underpowered my A**! It will eat a V6 Ranger for lunch!)

#30 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 11:50 PM

All I have to say is TOY-ota, and Missin' Nissin. :lol:
There's a reason all of those trucks are jacked up and offroaded.
Its cuz they can't handle real work.

I was raised a chevy guy (and damn proud of it!) and I say go for the S-10
with the vortec 4.3
Insane quantities of power and they can handle a days worth of work.
Not to mention, if you ever get the inkling, you can put a 350 in there! :eek:
:burnout:
:burnout:

Twitch

#31 Bserk

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 08:32 PM

Mine aint jacked, mine aint off-roaded (although bring it on, I'll do just fine on my Titan 17 inch rims) I spose I could fit a Infiniti V8 in there just as easily as you can a 350 in your S**T 10, but why? You've really missed the point of the original poster's question. As far as a day's work, are you serious? Jesus dude, you gotta be a Subaru fan or you wouldnt be here.....you dont think a Jap truck can work for a living? Dont mean to start a 'brand war', I was just putting in my 2 cents... I guess all of us now own a piece of GM (government motors) so I better HOPE they get their S**T together and build a truck better than my Nissan. Peace...

#32 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:00 PM

Well, lets see you put half a ton of stuff and a 1 1/2 ton trailer behind your
little nissan and see how well it hauls.
For what the OP was looking for, was a truck that could handle that sort of
thing, and we all gave him the answer we would personally use ourselves.
I would put a heavier more powerful small truck in front of that, rather than
a lighter, more economy minded truck.
I'm not trying to start a fight, I'm just explaining my reason for
recommending what I did.

Twitch

#33 Bserk

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:17 PM

"you cant have a battle of wits with a unarmed person" I wish I knew who said that first. A wise person, to say the least.

A TWO ton load, behind your Chevy, or my Nissan, is too much. That is NOT what the OP was asking for. With that, I leave you to whatever ramblings you care to add. But my Nissan will beat your Chevy....nah nah na nah nah LMAO! Peace and out, Im back to getting cool advice for my Subaru. Sorry I stirred up the rednecks.

#34 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:42 PM

"you cant have a battle of wits with a unarmed person" I wish I knew who said that first. A wise person, to say the least.


Well, sir, why then, are you trying to start a battle without a weapon?
:Flame:

Twitch

#35 The Dude Abides

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:49 PM

I would half to lean to american small trucks just on the rust issue alone. I had an isuzu and a mitsubishi mighty max. Both good runners but the frames rotted out before the bodys did. It was horrable, i couldnt even sell my isuzu because if someone hit a bump hard enough offroading it it would of broke in half. Thats terrible. Ill give you credit on some of the lousy products american car companys have put out. But theres an s10 someone drives where i work. i could crawl into the bed from the side if it where a huge 2ft hole is. But the frame is solid. I guess take it what it is.

#36 bratman18

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:53 PM

I would half to lean to American small trucks just on the rust issue alone. I had an Isuzu and a Mitsubishi mighty max. Both good runners but the frames rotted out before the body's did. It was horrible, i couldn't even sell my Isuzu because if someone hit a bump hard enough off-roading it it would of broke in half. That's terrible. Ill give you credit on some of the lousy products American car company's have put out. But there's an s10 someone drives where i work. i could crawl into the bed from the side if it where a huge 2ft hole is. But the frame is solid. I guess take it what it is.


Little older American trucks rust just as bad. I've seen both, but the only that I've seen that will take a beating everyday and be worked HARD everyday, is Toyota and Nissan. My friend does have a very nice 86 S-10 but even he says it will never live as long as a nice Toyota, and the Toyota has every bit of the hauling and carrying ability as the S-10. And anyone that is hauling 2 tons in one of these small trucks is just asking for trouble

#37 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:16 PM

Wow, you guys must be really wimpy about your trucks.
My grandpa used to put half a ton of hay in the back of his 88 ranger, and
then tow 1500 lbs of horses and trailer.
That truck still ran and drove good when he sold it.

My dad used to pull 2000 lb chemical trailers around with various S-10's
that his boss owned.
He even used a LUV on occasion.
And this was through soft dirt farm fields, gravel roads and on pavement.

Twitch

#38 bratman18

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:08 PM

I never said it couldn't be done, but it SHOULDN'T be done!! It's just not safe. I have seen way too many trucks that have jack knifed and/or gone off the road for hauling too much. I had a friend who hooked onto a double axle car trailer with his 86 EA82 GL D/R wagon and then loaded a Brat on the trailer, and then towed it about 20 miles. So things like that can be done, but it's just not a good idea

#39 The Dude Abides

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 12:31 AM

Man we had a s10 shop truck that we beat on all the time. Delivering boiler parts and pipe all over the state. Things like shifting without the clutch. Putting 750lb tanks in the back. That thing was a trooper. I only wish i would of bought it when he traded it in. Was a good truck with 200thousand miles on it. And it only had the 2.8

#40 mudduck

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 08:50 PM

Toyota. They are bulletproof. I have had 3300 lbs in the back of the 88 4x4 shortbed I used to own many times. It was no rocket, but even with the 22re, it did just fine.

Part of the reason I'm looking for another Toyota now. I need somthing that can haul a bit more of a load than my wagon, and somthing to get me where the wagon won,t quite get to.

#41 3eyedwagon

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:55 AM

" But my Nissan will beat your Chevy....nah nah na nah nah LMAO!


I'll take that bet. It must've taken all of those 30 years to become brainwashed enough to even attempt comparing a VG30 to the 4.3 V6. Or to even compare a VG30 to Fords 4.0 or even its 3.0. I'm not saying the VG30 is a horrible motor, but, I've worked on a few in my old 1988 200sx, and a 4.3 Chevy they are not. The S10 is simply better in every possible way. The only thing you have to brag about is mileage, and stupid extended cab windows, and with a little knowledge the S10 can beat you in the mileage. All that for on the cheap. The aftermarket is plentiful because they, and most people who actually USE their trucks have been intelligent enough to spot an amazing truck. The S10 is simply the best truck available in this niche if for no other reason than the 4.3 litre Chevrolet V6. Even if the rest of the truck lacked in any way (which it doesn't) the 4.3 V6 would still be good enough to haul the S10s to the top of this heap. EASILY.

Edited by 3eyedwagon, 09 June 2009 - 12:59 AM.


#42 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:02 AM

[quote name='3eyedwagon'][quote name='Bserk']" But my Nissan will beat your Chevy....nah nah na nah nah LMAO! quote]

I'll take that bet. It must've taken all of those 30 years to become brainwashed enough to even attempt comparing a VG30 to the 4.3 V6. Or to even compare a VG30 to Fords 4.0 or even its 3.0. I'm not saying the VG30 is a horrible motor, but, I've worked on a few in my old 1988 200sx, and a 4.3 Chevy they are not. The S10 is simply better in every possible way. The only thing you have to brag about is mileage, and stupid extended cab windows, and with a little knowledge the S10 can beat you in the mileage. All that for on the cheap. The aftermarket is plentiful because they, and most people who actually USE their trucks have been intelligent enough to spot an amazing truck. The S10 is simply the best truck available in this niche if for no other reason than the 4.3 litre Chevrolet V6. Even if the rest of the truck lacked in any way (which it doesn't) the 4.3 V6 would still be good enough to haul the S10s to the top of this heap. EASILY.[/QUOTE]

:banana: Is it creepy to say I love you?
That is exactly what I thought when he thought his little Nissan could out
work an S-10 with a vortec 4.3
I have no qualms with Nissan, they build a decent car and a decent truck,
and one #3!! of a sports car.
But their trucks can't match up to Chevy for working capability.

Twitch

#43 3eyedwagon

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 01:32 AM

^
Yeah. The S10 is pretty tough to beat. I've had (4) 2nd gens (1) with an Iron Duke (a nickname like that is no coincidence, and Volvo/Penta doesn't buy technology because it isn't reliable), and (3) with 4.3 V6s. Everything about them is superior in build quality. From rear ends to transmissions. I've worked the tail off a couple, and built my favorite into a pretty sweet little muscle truck. That Z Code 4.3 started seeing 80-100 HP wet shots of NOS at 120,000 miles. It's finally getting really close to rolling over 200,000, and I'm about due to adjust my roller rockers. Not many motors would live up to how I have driven that truck, and it is still plenty fast enough to kill me. :lol: It's a shame that Chevrolet ever pulled the plug on that platform, and probably a HUGE mistake. Now we are stuck with a Colorado with an inline-5. WTF???!??? At least the 4.3 lives on in vans, the w/t base pickup series, governement service vehicles, motorhomes, and a NUMBER of other things. :banana::grin:

#44 Bserk

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

Geeze, I was gonna let this rest, but I gotta ask 3 eyed and Twitch a couple questions... A) Did you actually read the original post, the one I was replying to? (as in a cheap, reliable small truck, capable of towing and carrying smaller loads) B) You cant recognize humor? (as in my nah nah nah comment, which was just picking fun at Twitch, who was determined to turn this into a horsepower war. OF COURSE my 3.0 isnt going to beat a 4.3...jesus, sorry for trying to lighten this up)

As far as the quality and reliability of mid-90's small trucks, my opinion stands. Im not brainwashed, 3 eyed. The favorite vehicle in my fleet is a Ford, a genuine, made in Dearborn classic, and I wouldnt part with it for anything. I also own a nice CJ Scrambler built in the AMC days (and man, have I defended THAT rig, and AMC, over the years!)


You like your Chevy? Thats awesome. (I am pulling for them to get their head out of their a** also) Still would wager that when it comes to what the OP was asking for, there are better, longer lasting options. Thats my opinion, but its on topic. With enough money, knowledge, and work, I suppose I could make any truck you wanna name out work your truck and mine. But that isnt what was asked now, was it. Peace, to both of you.

#45 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 01:11 AM

Geeze, I was gonna let this rest, but I gotta ask 3 eyed and Twitch a couple questions... A) Did you actually read the original post, the one I was replying to? (as in a cheap, reliable small truck, capable of towing and carrying smaller loads)


Yes, I read the original poster's question's and his requests,
and I can find an early 90's S-10 with a 4.3 vortec for around $2000-2500.
I can't find an early 90's nissan or toyota for less than $3000, and that's if
you're lucky.

B) You cant recognize humor? (as in my nah nah nah comment, which was just picking fun at Twitch, who was determined to turn this into a horsepower war. OF COURSE my 3.0 isnt going to beat a 4.3...jesus, sorry for trying to lighten this up)


And I wasn't trying to start a horse power war, I was just pointing out that
when it comes to towing, the more horses, the better.
And weight is also a deciding factor, the heavier the tow vehicle, the less
like it is to be pushed around by the vehicle being towed.


As far as the quality and reliability of mid-90's small trucks, my opinion stands. Im not brainwashed, 3 eyed. The favorite vehicle in my fleet is a Ford, a genuine, made in Dearborn classic, and I wouldnt part with it for anything. I also own a nice CJ Scrambler built in the AMC days (and man, have I defended THAT rig, and AMC, over the years!)


You like your Chevy? Thats awesome. (I am pulling for them to get their head out of their a** also) Still would wager that when it comes to what the OP was asking for, there are better, longer lasting options. Thats my opinion, but its on topic. With enough money, knowledge, and work, I suppose I could make any truck you wanna name out work your truck and mine. But that isnt what was asked now, was it. Peace, to both of you.


And I'm betting that Ford isn't a ranger! :rolleyes:

I myself have always been an AMC fan, so I understand your liking of your CJ.
I always wanted an Eagle 4x4 Wagon ;)

And I must kindly disagree with you and end this argument before the mods
start getting into it too.
Thank you for not attacking me personally, and I apologize for seeming like a
royal jerk.

Twitch

#46 3eyedwagon

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 02:18 PM

Geeze, I was gonna let this rest, but I gotta ask 3 eyed and Twitch a couple questions... A) Did you actually read the original post, the one I was replying to? (as in a cheap, reliable small truck, capable of towing and carrying smaller loads)


You mean the original post that I, and multiple others answered repeatedly, a majority of us with the same response. That being that the S10 is the best truck for this situation. It's cheaper, cheaper to operate, and amazingly when you can carry/tow heavier loads; light loads are really no big deal! :eek::grin: Take a look at some of the answers, and you may get the jist of the "on topic" responses.

As far as the quality and reliability of mid-90's small trucks, my opinion stands. Im not brainwashed, 3 eyed.

Still would wager that when it comes to what the OP was asking for, there are better, longer lasting options. Thats my opinion, but its on topic. With enough money, knowledge, and work, I suppose I could make any truck you wanna name out work your truck and mine. But that isnt what was asked now, was it. Peace, to both of you.


You missed what I was pointing out about the S10. It doesn't take anything to get them to be great. That's what pretty much everyone who owns one knows. In fact, it takes about a $1000 less on the used market to get them to be better than their competitors. You don't need money, or knowledge, or work to get them to be superior to their rivals. You need a few more gallons of fuel, and a $95 TBI spacer will fix that. So you're still $905 dollars ahead, and you can do SO much more. As far as reliability, I'll let the THOUSANDS of them still on the road speak for that. I've gotten 198,000 out of mine while hauling everything I can imagine, jamming nitrous down its' throat, doing horribly cruel valve floating clutch sidesteps to produce dense clouds of tire smoke, and generally just making it a test mule for whatever I can think to throw at a SBC or 4.3. And it still runs like a top. In the end you may get an extra 30,000 miles over my S10, only after replacing your timing belt (seriously? Timing belts on a truck?:rolleyes:) a half a dozen times on your Nissan or head gaskets almost as much on your Toyota, all the while I'll occasionaly adjust my valves because I decided to screw with what GM produced, something that could be easily avoided by just leaving it the heck alone :rolleyes::). I'm ok with my truck not lasting quite as long, because while it was on the road it was so much better! Nah nah nah! :grin: Besides, once the engine croaks (which will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 at this rate) I'll just hop over to craigslist, and pick up one with 130k on it for $150.

#47 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 04:07 PM

Well said... But without the hint of sarcasm... :)

#48 Bserk

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 06:52 PM

damn, 3 Eyed. You make it awful tough for me to walk away from this thread. I love a good debate. My bud Dan and I have known each other most of our lives, and we can crack a few beers on a Friday night and argue about anything. And its funny, because the next day, we are still best buds and will go fishing or 4 wheeling and our opinions mean nothing (he drives a Chevy, although a full size- LOL!) I sincerely hope this thread feels that way to you, I mean no malice to anyone. But I just cant stop there....LOL!!!

1st, although I did read all the original posts, I had not kept track of the poster's names, and did not realize that you had posted much further up the line. (I was very late to this thread, which I stated in MY first post) For that, I do apologize. Im always first to admit when Im wrong, but dont expect a lot more here. heh heh...

2nd, the crack about the timing belt in a truck.. ummm...this is a Subaru board, and you have a problem with timing belts?? The new Nissan Frontiers, 05 and up, use the VQ series engine with 3 timing chains...in theory, that means no maintainance..but if they have to be replaced, it is a MAJOR pain in the a**. and it does happen. Give me an easily replaced belt every 105 K any day! I have no idea about your Chevy 4.3s, or any other S 10 engines, but in 300 K I bet some of them need timing chain service...and I bet it aint no picnic. (I have a friend at the local Chevy garage, I plan on asking him about that....Im sure I'll hear a LOAD from you if Im wrong!)

You claim I am brainwashed into believing my Nissan a superior truck. Im not going to change my mind about my truck, and neither, obviously, are you... But who is the more brainwashed here? The ONLY claim I make is that when it comes to mid- 90's small trucks (unmodified, unmolested, as they were built and intended to be used) my experience has shown me that Nissan built a bullet proof product. And some others were not (I aimed that at the Rangers, and admitted less experience around S-10s.) I havent had to to a THING to my Nissan other than normal maintainence...you seem to want to add this, change that, etc, etc. And neither I nor, I believe, the original poster, has the slightest interest in your nitrous, or how far you can do burn outs. Leads me to think that perhaps my 30 years of Nissan 'brainwashing' is longer than you have even been on the planet. And I have no problem at all with that, before you start!

The original reason I posted in this topic was because I was shocked at the number of Chevy and Ford proponents for a small truck, on a SUBARU website! Nissan and Subaru had ties way back and still share a lot of parts and similar designs. I thought my truck deserved some credit, its still a great truck. It does what it was intended to do, unmodified, unchanged, and 14 years on still is reliable as ever.


I see the good in all makes, and Ive owned about everything. And nearly all of them have built junk as well. (old enough to know about the Vega? I doubt many Chevy people want to talk about that one...)


And seriously, I know I may have gotten a little sarcastic in the 2nd post, but I do mean to keep things 'light'.... Twitch and I found common ground in our love for AMCs... (I want a Eagle 4X4 too) peace, again, man.

#49 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:16 PM

Having owned Datsuns, Nissans, and GMC/Chevy S15/S10's, and driven the piss out of them, I guess you could say i know a bit about the longevity of these particular breeds of trucks...

I used a 90 model GMC S15 as a courier truck many years ago. I bought it with 47k on the clock. I retired it at 352k miles. Not because the truck couldn't do it anymore, but because I got out of the courier bit, and got into truck driving. In those 300k miles of ownership, the maintenance consisted of replacing motor mounts, tie rods, balls joints, and pitman arms, plus the normal routine maintenance. The motor never died on me, the auto tranny never died on me. Consistent fuel mileages. It was a tough truck, and I never replaced the timing chain. These motors, as well as the bullet proof 3.8 motors, are of the type that you dont change it, unless you have the nylon gears (only a few select years), or if it fails. Otherwise, you just dont touch it. Sold it to another courier years ago. He is still driving it today. 927k miles on the frame/body, 360k the tranny went, and again at 770k. The motor went out at 777k just after the tranny. He was tempted to junk it because he thought miles were an omen. The miles read, exactly 777166.6. he decided to keep it, and it has already paid back for the motor and tranny, plus some.

The Nissans I had befor that, well, having to replace timing belts got rather pricey. And put me out of work 1 day. Which when you do them every 8 months, because of the milage, well, that gets expensive. The fuel milage gain out of the nissan was not worth it. Plain and simple.

Toyotas, Rust prone are they. Motors are great in fuel injection models only. Stay away from the carb models. Never worked on a carbed toyota yet that didnt have carb problems. I just stay away from these trucks. They are either rode hard, and put away wet, unmaintained junk. Or, Overly maintained, well shown truck, that the owner thinks are worth their weight in gold. Which the might be, but not really...

The Datsuns, well i would take one of those older pickups over any other small truck on the road. Motors, trannys, are just completely bullet proof. One I had with 533k miles on the original motor, and 4th clutch. I retired it cause fixing the AC was to expensive. Sold it to a guy who didnt care about the AC, and he continued driving it to 890k miles befor it failed inspection for rust thru on the frame behind the cab. Junk yard bound it was, where it turned into a yard truck for 6 months befor the frame completely broke. Thats the only problem with those older Datsuns.. RUST. Everything else about these trucks suck. Motors/trannys, great! Everything else, SUCK!

Ford, the 4 cyls are great engines, timing belt, great gas milage, easy to work on, and easily upgradeable. Underpowered thou, not ideal for any towing. 3.0, underpowered, gutless, horrid fuel milage runners, but they will run, and run, if you can keep the trash ford electronics to stay working. And most of the 3.0's are FFV trucks (can run E85). Even worse for towing than the 4 cylinders thou. 4.0, well powered, assertive motors, horrid fuel milages, and the same electronic issues the 3.0 has. Great towers.

Now you might think I am biased. Being that I work for GM, and have a very impressive list of GM vehicles. And to a degree I am. Because I know what works. But I have also owned my share of cans and trucks. My favorite daily driver, which I no longer own, was a FORD (Lincoln to be exact). And also take into mind that I am really begining to hate GM. Every time that GM finally gets a vehicle 100% right. They discontinue it. Everytime they make a motor that is finally 100% indestructable, they discontinue it. And the bankruptcy filing only proves my point more.

With all that said, I would still pick a S15 GMC 90's models over any breed of truck offered in those years. If we are talking about the 80's, I would find a Datsun/Nissan.

#50 nipper

nipper

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 11:26 PM

And also take into mind that I am really begining to hate GM. Every time that GM finally gets a vehicle 100% right. They discontinue it. Everytime they make a motor that is finally 100% indestructable, they discontinue it. .


That has been GM's model for quite some time. The bean counters starve the cars, then by the time the model is mature enough for them to sneak everything the beans counters took out back in, they have to stop the model.


nipper




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