Mailbag: Swapping a V8 into a 1984 Chevy S-10 Pickup

Q: A couple of questions.

First, I have a 1984 Chevy S-10 pickup with a 2.8L V6 and a 5-speed manual transmission, and I want to change things up a bit. What would I have to change to convert my truck to a V8, and can you recommend any particular products to use?

Also, I have an old engine block that a friend gave to me. He said it was a 305, but he wasn’t sure what year it was produced. Is there any way to figure out when this block was made?

A: Putting a V8 into is S-10 is a popular mod and there are a variety of parts available to make the swap easier.

Since you didn’t mention whether the truck is 2WD or 4WD, it’s difficul to make specific recommendations, but to get started, you’ll need new engine mounts and a larger radiator. You will also have to change the crossmember and the transmission.

Hooker makes engine swap headers and motor mounts for 2WD trucks that work together to minimize fitment issues, so that’s an excellent way to go if your S-10 is 2WD.

To date your 305 block, you’ll need the casting number, which you can find on the front of the block near the water pump. Once you have the number, you can look it up in reference books or online, like this casting numbers list from Rod Authority.

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  1. Gene Berkheimer says:

    I have built two V-8 S-10 swaps. One word of caution…it’s way harder than you think. Especially the earlier models. From JGR publishing,you can get their S 10 conversion manual. P.O. box 66, Livermore,Can,94551. And READ IT first. Expect to invest $5000/8000. You are going to have to replace rearend, driveshaft,trans,and a reliable engine because you only want to do this ONCE. This swap is expensive and time consuming and tax all of your mechanical ability.
    Without this book, you are in for quite the expensive journey. If you have questions and want real answers,reply. Oh by the way, Sanderson makes the Correct headers for this swap. The otherbrands don’t allow the access to the spark plugs like this brand does. Use All parts that JGR suggest, otherwise you’ll buy stuff ( like radiator) that will Not cool your engine. Gene.

  2. Harold Lovett says:

    Thanks for the info Gene, I have a set of headers that I got from Summit scratch and dent sale and there is no way to install a spark plug and forget a plug wires.

  3. Gene Berkheimer says:

    Yes I know, Sanderson conversion headers are the only ones that fit.The book is SO helpful. For $30 it explains what you are getting into and makes sensible suggestions. Use their radiator, mounts,axel set back kit with pinion shims. The bid aluminum radiators do not allow for proper air flow thru them. They recommend a 1 row mid 90’s Corvette unit. ( Their price $165) it’s the only one that will keep your V-8 cool. Trust me. Buy the book,it’s fully illustrated with lots of photos.

  4. The CASTING NUMBER is on the rear of the engine, near the bell housing…it’s pretty general.
    The ENGINE I.D. CODE NUMBER is located on the front of the engine, near the water pump, on a pad located in front of the head on the passenger side…it’s really specific and tell you what engine displacement is stock.

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