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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to decide which motor to go with, but not in the usual sense.

My goal is a truck that will tow and haul, git up and GO rather well, get decent fuel economy when I'm not git-up-and-going, and be a very good nasty weather daily driver. I already have the cheap 4 cylinder gas car(30+ mpg) which will probably still handle the vast majority of my driving, but I'd like the truck to be fun enough to drive to make me want to drive it when I don't need 4wd or hauling capacity.

I was wanting to swap a 4bt into a Chevy S10. I've started pricing things out, and find that now I'm not so sure.

$2,500 - S10 to start with
$1,500 - 4bt after scrapping the step van it came in
$200 - Dana 60/70 from a dually(hopefully narrow enough)
$1,500 - Dana 60 front(what in the world is going to have something narrow enough for an S10?)
$600 - Gears for axles
$1,500 - NV4500
$200 - NP205
$500 - wheels/tires
$3000 - Drive shafts/adapters/clutch/flywheel/air filter/intake/exhaust/fluids/seals/filters/etc.

$11,500 and I've still got an S10. That same money would buy a very decent used Dodge truck with the 6bt and the drive train to handle it, and save me a seriously large amount of blood, sweat, and tears. The 4bt powered S10 would be much lighter and have a smaller engine, and therefor get better fuel economy. I don't know how much more grin factor(git-up-and-go) the 4bt/S10 would have over the 6bt/Dodge, as I won't be leaving either motor stock, but I think the power : weight ratio would still favor the S10. On the other hand, I don't haul often but when I do I tend to haul a LOT, which points to the Dodge/Cummins.

Y'all have done this kind of thing before. Thoughts or opinions? Ways to cut costs on the S10 while still having something I can romp on and not be worried I'm going to break something? Will a Dana 44 front axle handle the weight and torque from a turned up 4bt with ~35" tires when I'm dragging a load of firewood out of the woods? If so, that'd save a lot of money both in initial cost and I'd be a lot more likely to find one that didn't need to be narrowed. It'll be a flatbed so rear axle width won't be nearly so picky. I won't be abusing it off road but I will be working it. It will get romped on when on the street, for sure. I plan to keep whatever I wind up with for many many years and I learned long ago that if you can't afford to do something right, you can't afford to do it AGAIN. I don't want to build something I have to worry about.

Thanks everyone, I look forward to hearing your opinions, even if it's just "you're a moron".
 

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$11,500 and I've still got an S10. That same money would buy a very decent used Dodge truck with the 6bt and the drive train to handle it, and save me a seriously large amount of blood, sweat, and tears.
Follow the path of least resistance. If what you've scoped out isn't practical, don't do it. Big axles & a HD drivetrain in a small vehicle are more useful for toying around than practical useage. Do you really need 1 ton axles in something that wont see heavy mud or off-road usage?

At a minimum, unless you're dead set on a mini-truck I'd go with a half-ton chassis/cab or as you suggested to yourself, get a 6BT Truck/manual tranny that already has everything you mentioned. Drive that one till the body falls off then slap something new on the 3/4 ton chassis:dustin:
 

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alternate math

cost of 4bt with turbo 400 after junking van body $500.
Chevy full size 4wd with high mile/bad motor Less than $2000
Cost of hoses, vacuum pump, and various parts for motor $300
scrap steel for motor mounts $20
things forgotten $1000
Robs oversimplification mistake $1000

Based on this math you could have a full size chevy 4x4 with a 4bt and turbo 400 for less than $5K. This math assumes you can do all your own work and fabrication. If you really want the S10 you have alot more work and issues with clearances. If you plan on converting a 2wd S10 to a 4wd solid axle S10 even more issues. For 11K I could buy alot better ready made dodge truck with 6bt than you can build with a 4BT. But if you want a s10 with a 4BT you must build. If you want tire burning power You will be happier with a 6Bt. There are people on this forum claiming 30MPG with a 4BT I don't know how they do it. I get 22 If I had a straight drive I would expect it to go to 24mpg. With a modern Aerodynamic vehicle maybe 26. A lightweight modern aerodynamic vehicle with 5speed and optimized tuning? Maybe 30 is possible, but not easy.
 

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If I never had to tow my '03 Ram 2500 would average 20.x EASY. Of course I drive a lot like my Grandpaw did so your mileage WOULD vary.

I think one of those jelly bean F150s (97 - ?) would make a killer 4BT mileage truck.
 

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Yeah, stuffing the 4BT in a little truck is probably more cost and work than it's worth. Buy a 1987-97 F-150 with a 5 speed/300 six with something wrong with it for $500 and bolt a 4BT in for $2000. VOILA! Instant 30 MPG, tough and dirt cheap. If you need a 4x4 then get a 4x4 for about the same price. The swap is exactly the same, no cutting, no fabbing, no hacking. If you don't like the TTB front axle then buy a 66 to 79 F-150 D44 with radius arms and bolt it under. A 6" lift, 35" BFG's or equivelent and you'll get 25 freeway with the right gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey folks, thanks for the responses. My main reason for a mini truck was the light weight, for a better power : weight ratio. Better acceleration for the same HP. I want something I can play around with, make some tire smoke, and surprise some people. The fuel economy when I'm not playing around would have been a bonus. The overkill drivetrain was so that I could (ab)use that power without worrying about breaking anything. I don't have much experience with the strength of various axles and don't know what will stand up to what, and I really don't want to have to worry about breaking anything. If I thought a 6bt would fit in an S10 without moving the firewall back by a foot, I'd be all over it. Considering what it'll take to put solid axles and a fullsize drivetrain in an S10, cutting out and rebuilding the firewall would probably be a trivial thing. I won't be running in deep mud or rock crawling if I can help it, but it will definitely be going offroad. If I was being completely practical, I'd keep driving my cheap car and buy a 4wd 1/2 ton gas truck and just leave it parked 99% of the time, but what fun would that be? I'll be doing all the fabrication myself if I wind up going with the S10; I have the skills and tools already.

The practical side of me is leaning towards the Dodge. I see first gen stick shift Cummins powered 3/4 ton 4x4 Dodges on craigslist for ~$7k fairly often. The fun side says that Cummins powered Dodges are common and a Cummins powered S10 isn't. I don't know which would be faster, as I know turning up the 6bt is just as easy as the 4bt.

Thanks again folks.
 

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don't get a 1st gen Dodge... get a 96-98 12v. If you want to haul the mail, that's the only way to fly.

with injectors a 62mm (small, very streetable) turbo, and a clutch, I did 535rwhp/1196ftlbs to the wheels with my last 98 truck. My current 98, I'm hoping to do 550-575 w/ a 66mm and some bigger injectors.

you've already got the 30mpg daily... I get 16-19mpg, but I drive pretty agressively. average 80-85mph on the highway usually.

you've got the daily, but you'll want to drive the truck most of the time ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just an update, folks. Bought a '98 Ram 3500 with all the goodies a couple months ago. 24 valve Cummins(of course), 4x4, DRW, extra cab w/ suicide doors, power windows and locks, cold AC. Only 198k miles; came with every single service reciept since the truck was bought new in '97. The one and only previous owner swapped the NV4500 for an NV5600, too :) . Only cost $10,500.

The S10 would have been a mistake. With a gooseneck trailer this thing hauls 5+ cords of firewood out of the woods without breaking a sweat. Took me two trips to get firewood this year, instead of the usual five; the S10 would have carried no more than my previous truck. Seating for six comes in handy occasionally, but mostly I like the extra cab for being able to lock stuff up. And no fab work required!

Thanks again for the advice, folks. Much appreciated.
 

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Wow, this thread is not too confidence inspiring.....For practical reasons a Dodge that already has a Cummins would make since.....But I am in too deep! Quick, someone tell me that a OBS F-350 Cummins would be awesome, boost me up from this reality check thread! :eek:

LOL
 

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F350JOHN, don't worry about that guy - he's crazy!!! you're doing the right thing. cummins don't belong in dodges, they belong in ferds. you just keep on keepin' on. :beer:








pssst, DieselDude; don't tell John, but that sounds like a totally kick-ace find!!! sounds like you can't go wrong w/ that set-up!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Most of the cost and sweat involved in putting a 4bt in an S10 was in modding the S10 so it wouldn't break something every time I touched the go-pedal. An F350 - designed from the beginning to handle such torque - would be MUCH cheaper and easier to repower with a Cummins.

Still grinning about my choice. Took myself, my wife, my sister, and my nieces to a drive-in movie last night. Seating for six is going to come in more handy than I thought. I'll be building a flatbed and stacks for it and then working on some power increases.
 

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I haven't topped my '03 off now in a couple weeks. But the last mpg entry in my book is 20.001

I can't see doing ANYTHING to this motor but keep clean oil and filters!
 
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