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1998 Chevy S-10 4BTA Cummins Diesel

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2012 Comment (0)
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1998 Chevy S-10 4BTA Cummins Diesel

What you’re looking at is one of the most unique Chevy S-10s you’ll probably ever see. This truck has been repowered with a Cummins 4BTA turbodiesel engine and it sports a stout drivetrain including a solid front axle. Best of all, it was built to use.

Hummel kept exterior mods to a minimum, installing only components that served a functional purpose off-highway, like the Trail-Gear Toyota-application rock sliders. The result is an all-business demeanor devoid of all frou-frou. The S-10 rolls on 37-inch-diameter Goodyear MT/R tires mounted on “cheap” 17x8 black steel wheels.

The owner/mad scientist behind the truck is Allan Hummel of Waterford, Michigan. He’s a field electrical controls engineer with an obvious knack for creating cool stuff. “This truck was built to handle anything I threw at it, anywhere it happened to be. It was not built for show, not just for rocks or mud, and this truck will not be seen on a trailer. I looked at what worked in vehicles from all over the world from small SUVs to large trucks and took from them the ideas I liked personally. For better or worse I did it all myself at home in my garage with simple tools and a big imagination. I needed a truck that was simple to work on if/when it broke and no help was available, which might be 50-75 miles, not some 2-mile-long trail or 5 miles from a town. This truck is so simple. It can start and run with no battery or alternator, the hydro lines can be bypassed in less than an hour if a fitting breaks, brakes can be turned off if a line breaks, and if a shackle breaks the spring can ride on the frame. I used as many stock parts as possible so problems could be solved by limping into town and ordering the parts. I did my best to keep it street legal in 49 states and Canada even if it looks a little stupid or compromised some off-road ability,” Hummel says.

The Cummins 4BTA four-cylinder turbodiesel engine rests on custom motor mounts. This intercooled engine has been treated to a number of mods by Toxic Diesel in St. George, Utah, including pump tuning and fuel pin. Hummel says these mods increased the engines output by approximately 60hp and 100 lb-ft of torque, which helps the 4BTA generate approximately 180hp at 2,400 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. The exhaust system includes a 3-inch “almost straight” pipe and the header and downpipe are heat tape-wrapped to help control underhood temperatures. And speaking of temperatures, the engine is cooled by the stock S-10 radiator with some “creative hose adapting.” Other underhood mods include a GM one-wire alternator, Optima YellowTop battery, and a stock oil pan with “smashed areas for clearance.”

We met Hummel in Johnson Valley, California, while he was “testing” the truck. He left his home state of Michigan with only 417 miles on the conversion. He ended up driving over 6,000 miles on his “test,” and the vast majority of that was on the trail in places like California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado. Along the way the throttle cable broke (he drove using the hand throttle), a power steering line came apart, and a front stock axleshaft broke. “None of this stopped me for more than an hour,” Hummel says.

From this angle you can see how high the Cummins 4BTA engine sits in the bay. This height forced Hummel to install a body lift. “I don’t like body lifts, but I needed to get the hood to close without a cowl hood,” he says. His solution was to get a “cheap” first-generation S-10-application 3-inch Summit Racing body lift and cut it down to 2 inches.

A conversion of this caliber required some help from friends. “Thank you to all my friends around the country. And a special thanks to those neighbors who always lent a hand when I needed it, to those who told me to keep on the path when I was straying or lost focus, to those who troubleshot over the phone, and to those who lent tools or took a part to work to get it working for me. Most of all, those caring individuals who checked to see if I was crushed under the truck when I had not been seen for a few days. Without your help I would have never been able to get this far,” Hummel says.

The Details
Owner/Hometown: Allan Hummel, Waterford, Michigan
Vehicle/Model: 1998 Chevy S-10 extended cab pickup
Estimated value: “Make offer. If on the side of trail broken, discount will be given.”
Type: 3.9L Cummins 4BTA four-cylinder diesel
Aspiration: Turbocharger, intercooler, custom 3-in-diameter exhaust Output, hp/torque (estimated): 180/400
Transmission: NV5600 6-spd manual
Transfer case: NP205
Front: Leaf springs, 1-ton Dodge-application shocks
Rear: Leaf springs, Superlift add-a-leaf, Jeep TJ 4-in-application shocks
Front: Ford Dana 44, Chevy Astro steering box, Avalanche Engineering high-steer arms/Lock-Right
Rear: Ford Dana 60/Lock-Right
Ring and pinion: 4.10:1
Wheels: 17x8 steel
Tires: 37x12.50R17LT Goodyear MT/R

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