Chevrolet S-10

The Chevrolet S-10 was a compact pickup truck from the Chevrolet marque of General Motors. When it was first introduced in 1982, the GMC version was known as the S-15 and later renamed the GMC Sonoma. A high-performance version was released in 1991 and given the name of GMC Syclone. The truck was also sold by Isuzu as the Hombre from 1996 through 2000. There was also an SUV version, the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer/GMC S-15 Jimmy. An electric version was leased as a fleet vehicle in 1997 and 1998. Together, these trucks are often referred to as the S-series. In 2004, the S-series was replaced by new models: the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Isuzu i-Series.

First generation

The first compact pickup truck from General Motors was the rebadged Isuzu KB sold since 1972 as the Chevrolet LUV. The 1973 Arab oil embargo forced GM to consider designing a domestically-produced compact pickup truck. As usual, parts from other GM chassis lines (primarily from the GM G-body intermediates) were incorporated. The first S-series trucks were introduced in 1982. The Chevrolet and GMC models were identical apart from the grille. An extended cab and "Insta-Trac" four wheel drive were added the next year along with two new engines.

Track width was similar to the former GM H-body subcompacts (Vega/Monza).

The sport utility S-10 Blazer and S-15 Jimmy debuted in 1983; GM was the second to introduce compact sport utilities behind Jeep but ahead of Ford. This trend occurred again where 4-door variants were introduced in March 1990 as 1991 models alongside the similar Oldsmobile Bravada.

New heavy-duty and off-road suspensions appeared in 1984 along with a hydraulic clutch, while the big news for 1985 was the discontinuing of the Cavalier's OHV I4 in favor of Pontiac's Iron Duke. The OHV-derived 2.2 L engine and Isuzu 1.9 L were both gone the next year, leaving just the Iron Duke and updated 2.8 L V6. A much-welcomed 4.3 L V6 was added for 1988, and anti-lock brakes came the next year.

The GMC S-15 became the GMC Sonoma in 1991, and the Sierra trim packages are dropped to avoid confusion with the new GMC Sierra full-size pickup. The GMC Syclone also appeared that year. The Sonoma GT bowed in 1992. Added to this was the 4.3 L V6 Vortec W code engine. This generation's last year, 1993.

The Vortec is essentially the standard Z code engine. The difference is the W code used a balance shaft, roller cam shaft, different heads, and Central Port Injection. The 1992 and 1993 engine came in either a or rating. The High Performance version came with a larger diameter Y pipe, and was only installed in some of the Blazers and S-10 Jimmies.


Years Engine Power Torque VIN code
1982–1985 1.9 L Isuzu I4, 2 barrel A
1982–1985 2.8 L 60° V6, 2 barrel Rochester B
1983–1985 2.2 L Diesel I4 S
1983–1984 2.0 L OHV I4, 2 barrel Y
1985–1989 2.5 L Iron Duke I4, Throttle-Body Injected E
1986–1993 2.8 L 60° V6, TBI R
1988–1995 4.3 L GM 262inch 4300cc V6, TBI Z
1990–1993 2.5 L Iron Duke I4, TBI A

1993 Sonoma

Some 1993 Sonomas came with a factory equipped L35 W code engine. For 1993 no specialty labeling or limited edition tags were known to be used with the W code engine. Production totals for these vehicles are unknown.

Second generation

The second-generation trucks appeared in 1994. All of the special models (the Syclone, Typhoon, and Sonoma GT) were gone, but the changes to the truck brought it in line with arch-rival Ford Ranger. The Iron Duke and 2.8 L 60° V6 engines were dropped, leaving just the 4.3 L Vortec and a new 2.2 L engine, itself a derivative of the old Cavalier OHV.

Much of the chassis components were the same as the first generation (the A-frames between the first and second generation were the same although they were originally sourced from GM's G-body vehicle lineup), along with the steering knuckle, leaf springs, and differential assembly. The second generation also offered an optional 8.5" rear differential (they were common with 4WD S-series with the ZR2 off road package, and 2000-03 2WDs including the Xtreme). Generally, for the 2WD trucks, the 8.5" rearend was only used when it came with both a manual transmission and the large V6 engine; it was standard for 4WD trucks with either transmission. This was also the year that GM introduced the ZR2 Offroad Package.

The 4.3 L engines were refreshed for 1996 and a third (rear) door was added for extended cab models. The exterior, interior, brakes, and 2.2 L engine were refreshed for 1998, and "Auto-Trac" all-wheel drive was optional starting in 1999 for the Blazers. Also the SS package was replaced by the "Xtreme" sports model package (which lasted until 2004). In 2001 a Crew Cab option was added and was available in 4WD and automatic transmission only.

Base 2WD models came with 15x7 inch wheels with directional vents, Xtreme and ZQ8 models came with 16x8" wheels while 4WD models (including the ZR2) used 15x7" wheels. The wheels used on the first generation were discontinued.

Second-generation S-series were also produced locally in Brazil; and are still in production even though the North American version of the S-series was discontinued in 2004. Brazilian S-10s have a different front grille, lamps and bumper, and are available with a 2.8 Diesel engine built by MWM.

Engine Swaps

The 2wd S-series Truck shares several front suspension components with the GM G-body platforms (I.e. Chevy Monte Carlo and Buick Regal). Along with the fact that the optional 4.3 liter V-6 shares several characteristics and dimensions of the early small block Chevy V-8 it has become a popular platform for Hot Rodders. Since the introduction of the S-series the ingenuity of its owners has made the V8 installation one of the most popular American domestic engine swaps. With relative ease the V-8 swap has seen almost every size small block Chevy displacement produced from 262 in³ to the large engine. Some owners have even been able to install the large big block GM engines such as the 396-427-454 in³ engines with minor modifications.

The LSx series powerplants (LS1, LS2 series) can also be swapped into the S-series.

The chassis is a very common swap into older trucks (especially) and cars from the mid 1930's to early 60's, giving the advantages of late model running gear and the ability to have a large choice of engines, including the GM LS1. Kits are commercially available to do this swap.


Years Engine Power Torque VIN code
1994–1995 2.2 L I4 2200 I4, MPFI 4
1996–1997 2.2 L Vortec 2200 I4, SFI 4
1998–2003 2.2 L Vortec 2200 I4, SFI 4 or 5
1994–1996 4.3 L Vortec 4300, TBI Z
1993–1995 4.3 L Vortec 4300, CPI W
1996–2004 4.3 L Vortec 4300, SEFI X

Engine Code Options-- 4- 2.2 L w/ MPFI or SFI, 5- 2.2 L w/ SFI and Flex Fuel Capable, Z- 4.3 L w/ TBI, W- 4.3 L w/ CPI, X- 4.3 L w/ SEFI,

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