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4.3 Upgrades?

Stevekidd777

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So for being a young cat on the street lemme drop some keep it simple stupid info. My 89s10 was giving problems so swapped the motor with an early 90s mercruiser 4.3. Had vortec valve cover on but doesn't always mean the heads were vortec... 1st issue the timing. Looked everywhere on Chevy forums and all said time at 0 degrees tds.... Nope 8 degrees before tds is key. Spent a weeks trying to figure out why it won't start and found on boat forum 8 degrees makes all the difference... 2nd over heating issues... B. S. Using dexcool 50/50 even with external transmission cooler nothing but problems. Changer to 80/20 universal and trucks never been cooler with the thermostat installed and transmission lines in the radiator. 3rd throttle body... Risers, resonators, everything they say about using, taking off. Great idea. What I did on my tbi is took a grinder and dremel and shaped the lips down around the ports and recurve them. A wall is a wall and aerodynamics stay anything moving fast don't like walls. Not gonna feel the difference but a wall taken down is a wall taken down. Don't have ac if I wanted an old truck like that to have ac then I might as well modernize the whole damn thing. If it has it right on if not a waste of time and money I think. But put a bypass on the ac took ac components out and put a 454 air cleaner on with k&n filter with a plate welded at the bottom of the tube got the bolts that mount the air filter cap and good... Thinking about cutting the wall and keeping it open but idk. Egr gone with blocking plate don't need it helps with cooling but honestly I don't think enough for me to care. Exhaust is OK the older s10 came with exhaust designed for 350 back then... But bigger mean a bigger exit mean better for the integraty of the truck as a whole... Ignition is weak haven't got that far but if anyone knows of cap, rotor, plugs, coil recommendation let me know. The distributer Chevy discontinued the original so aftermarkets always made my old 4.3 back fire but with the mercruiser 4.3... Perfect... Upgrade starting and charging cables if you are playing music at night on the freeway with cruiser control on your truck will be on the verge of not starting after you stop to fill up... And for tires plastics, rubber, of any kind regardless of being inside or outside of the car. Buy a bottle of turtle wax protectant and hit everything!!!! Everything that is plastic or rubber. It's worth it. And I personally love the chrome trim and some things don't need changing aluminum foil and water
 

Barncrawler

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D68F4470-7A5B-42E0-82B8-4D4789E62716.jpegD68F4470-7A5B-42E0-82B8-4D4789E62716.jpeg
So Grampa left us this 98 1500 truck, 4.3, 2wd, only 60k miles. It sat in a field, unused for about 10 years. Something built a nest in the muffler which caught on fore the night we drove it home.
This truck had chrome around the wheel wells, black rubber side trim with chrome strips. Rain guards, bug guards, running boards, dash mat, seat covers, various hooks. rings and hard points mounted along the bed rails. Like a rolling JCWhitney catalogue.
We removed all of it, welded over the holes, looks SO much cleaner. Bedlinered over bed and rails, lowering spindles in front, shackles and de-arced springs in back resulting in 4” drop.
now the problems: check eng light. 4l60 showing p-785 code, trans shift solenoid. First a and b. Then 2-3 shift solenoid, then, just to rule it out, trans wire harness. Truck never drops into 1st gear. Not even using the lever. Starts in 2, shifts normally into 3. Then back, but not into 1st,
People with better readers than mine assure me it’s in the trans, not electronics.
When we started trans fluid dark, solenoids full of goo.
After having it open THREE TIMES, with new filter and atf each time, it looked clean and nice, even slid a valve or 2 out of valve body, all looks clean....
Ideas? Opinions? It has been suggested that the autozone house brand solenoids might be crap, a and b were purchased there.
Junkyard trans swap? 4l80 conversion? Try replacing a and b again?
Monster performance trans? Bench rebuild?
 

Will L.

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Welcome, Nice lookin cruiser. I like those rims on there.

I would try putting it up in the air, engine off, and pull shifter into 1st. Then slide under and undo the linkage. Then try moving the actual trans into 1st to see if it is actually pulling into position. Probably is, but verify.

IF the trans is really clean and no other issues- the following applies, but if trans is really dirty inside or smells rough- it might be time.

When you swapped the solenoid, did you clean the pin and spring behind it ? If it was full of metal shavings the trans is probably toast. A little sludge is normal to clean and could be the issue. I cant remember the ohms reading but it’s best to check it and make sure proper. New parts can be bad.
Check for continuity between the to wires feeding it. If they have continuity the trans and truck harness are good. No continuity means bad wiring either trans harness or where it connects through the truck harness.


With that engine, I don’t know if I would swap to 4l80e. I LOVE the 4l80, but iirc the 60 has better gearing for the smaller engines and normally lasts a long life.

there are way better trans people than me on here- wait for their reply.
 

Barncrawler

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Welcome, Nice lookin cruiser. I like those rims on there.

I would try putting it up in the air, engine off, and pull shifter into 1st. Then slide under and undo the linkage. Then try moving the actual trans into 1st to see if it is actually pulling into position. Probably is, but verify.

IF the trans is really clean and no other issues- the following applies, but if trans is really dirty inside or smells rough- it might be time.

When you swapped the solenoid, did you clean the pin and spring behind it ? If it was full of metal shavings the trans is probably toast. A little sludge is normal to clean and could be the issue. I cant remember the ohms reading but it’s best to check it and make sure proper. New parts can be bad.
Check for continuity between the to wires feeding it. If they have continuity the trans and truck harness are good. No continuity means bad wiring either trans harness or where it connects through the truck harness.


With that engine, I don’t know if I would swap to 4l80e. I LOVE the 4l80, but iirc the 60 has better gearing for the smaller engines and normally lasts a long life.

there are way better trans people than me on here- wait for their reply.
you lost me. It’s an automatic, how do I put it in first other than by the linkage?
 

Barncrawler

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it ohm-Ed out ok. No metal shavings anywhere. This is a 98 but very lo miles and belonged to a 90 year old guy, my wife’s grampa. I can guarantee this truck never even spun its tires.
 

Will L.

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Location
Boulder City Nv
Set parking brake and get under truck.
Looking at the transmission you will see a small shaft a bit larger diameter than a pencil coming out. A metal tab is held on by a nut and washer. That tab is moved by the linkage connection. Remove the linkage from the tab. With your hand, operating the movement of that tab you can count the ‘clicks’ as it goes through the positions. It will be in park to begin, so 1 click means you went into Reverse, next click is Neutral, etc until you know the transmission shift rod is actually going into the 1st gear position.

It is a rare situation that this will not allow you to go into 1st gear by shifter, but only takes a minute so is worth doing.
 

THEFERMANATOR

FRANKENBURBAN
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ZEPHYRHILLS FL
View attachment 64684View attachment 64684
So Grampa left us this 98 1500 truck, 4.3, 2wd, only 60k miles. It sat in a field, unused for about 10 years. Something built a nest in the muffler which caught on fore the night we drove it home.
This truck had chrome around the wheel wells, black rubber side trim with chrome strips. Rain guards, bug guards, running boards, dash mat, seat covers, various hooks. rings and hard points mounted along the bed rails. Like a rolling JCWhitney catalogue.
We removed all of it, welded over the holes, looks SO much cleaner. Bedlinered over bed and rails, lowering spindles in front, shackles and de-arced springs in back resulting in 4” drop.
now the problems: check eng light. 4l60 showing p-785 code, trans shift solenoid. First a and b. Then 2-3 shift solenoid, then, just to rule it out, trans wire harness. Truck never drops into 1st gear. Not even using the lever. Starts in 2, shifts normally into 3. Then back, but not into 1st,
People with better readers than mine assure me it’s in the trans, not electronics.
When we started trans fluid dark, solenoids full of goo.
After having it open THREE TIMES, with new filter and atf each time, it looked clean and nice, even slid a valve or 2 out of valve body, all looks clean....
Ideas? Opinions? It has been suggested that the autozone house brand solenoids might be crap, a and b were purchased there.
Junkyard trans swap? 4l80 conversion? Try replacing a and b again?
Monster performance trans? Bench rebuild?
DO NOT BUY FROM MONSTER! What all has been done to the trans? Does it have everything except 1st? Sounds to me from your description you dropped the valve body out. You could have lost a checkball, misplaced one, broke/left out a spring, or messed up putting the 1-2 accumulator back in it. If you don't have one, get a manual. Transmission work must be kept sanitary and put together in the exact order.
 

Barncrawler

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DO NOT BUY FROM MONSTER! What all has been done to the trans? Does it have everything except 1st? Sounds to me from your description you dropped the valve body out. You could have lost a checkball, misplaced one, broke/left out a spring, or messed up putting the 1-2 accumulator back in it. If you don't have one, get a manual. Transmission work must be kept sanitary and put together in the exact order.
I did solenoids and harness. Never loosened valve body. Fluid was a bit brown and thick first time we opened it to do a and b. Now that we’ve had it open 3 times, new fluid and filter each time, it looks spotless.
 

Barncrawler

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I haven’t attempted overdrive so not sure there. It currently won’t do 1st, even with the lever. Park it, turn it off, restart and it’s in first. Once it hits 2nd, seems ok, hits third, light back on, no more 1st.
 

THEFERMANATOR

FRANKENBURBAN
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Location
ZEPHYRHILLS FL
I haven’t attempted overdrive so not sure there. It currently won’t do 1st, even with the lever. Park it, turn it off, restart and it’s in first. Once it hits 2nd, seems ok, hits third, light back on, no more 1st.
So you can get 1st, just not after it codes. That's quite different than your 1st post saying no 1st at all. So far which solenoids have you done? Can you post a picture of them? The p0785 code is not for a regular shift solenoid, it is for the 3-2 downshift solenoid located in the forward portion of the valve body.
 
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