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eastsideTim PowerDork
11/16/21 12:38 p.m.

New filter arrived during my lunch break.  Slight difference in size.


eastsideTim PowerDork
11/20/21 5:31 p.m.

Work continued today.  I wanted to start working on the exhaust, so the first thing was to get the shifter mounted permanently before access became more difficult.  Crimped up some wires for the Park/Neutral and Reverse switches, threw some grommets on holes in my mounting bracket, fed the wires through them and bolted up the shifter.

With an assist from eastsideWife in the cab, I crawled under the truck and bolted up the assembly to the floorboards.  Front ones were a little difficult to get to, but not impossible.  For a little space to let the wires run out front under the bracket, I added 3 nuts to the bolts between the bracket and the floor.  The wiring is pressed into the carpet somewhat, but it isn't pinched.  Tested it out really quickly, and it seems pretty secure.  I do still need to tighten up the allen head bolts that hold the shifter into the plastic body, but my mounting plate seems good to go.

Had to take a break to clear gutters and rake the yard while it is dry, and that took a bit longer than planned.  I did get under the truck to bolt the extensions to the headers, and orient them in a way that should work for the O2 sensors.  The curse of the driver's header reared its head again, and it looks like I will have to run the exhaust a little low on that side initially to clear the lower control arm mount.  The passenger side also has a problem - one of the bolts is damn near inaccessible.  I had to loosen the others, and rotate the tube to get it started.  That won't work with any bends welded to it, so I may have to clamp the exhaust all the way up there.  Hopefully, it will be non-leaky.  I was losing daylight at this point, so decided to hold off.  May need to punt, and wait until spring to finish this part.  If it didn't require lifting the engine, I'd consider picking up some long tube headers.  Since the Beetle needs to go in the garage soon, I spent the last bit of daylight trying to get it running.  Looks like moisture got into the distributor cap, and corroded a bunch.  May need to do a parts order really soon to resolve that problem.




eastsideTim PowerDork
11/26/21 6:04 p.m.

Successes and failures today.

Success - Assembled my first AN hose

Did not pick up any AN wrenches, so I marred the finish up a bit when making it, and a bunch when installing it, but there would have been issues getting the wrenches into position anyway.  If I decide to use more of the hose in the future, I'll pick some up.  I now see why people use these, beyond looking cool.  It was a lot easier to assemble than I thought it would be.

Failure - Was going to install the driveshaft, and decided to replace the transmission output seal first.  Bought the wrong size, and didn't discover it until I had already pulled the old seal out. 


In addition to needing a new seal, since the e-brake cables I bought do not fit perfectly, I am still trying to figure out the correct combination.  I need to order a few extensions, since they are very cheap, and if I can't build a working system from that, I'll at least have a better idea what changes I need to make.


eastsideTim PowerDork
11/27/21 5:24 p.m.

Picked up the right seal locally and the driveshaft is now in.  Between that and the shifter, I'm a bit less concerned about the non-functioning parking brake, at least for now.

eastsideTim PowerDork
11/28/21 8:28 p.m.

Running out of acceptable weather, and about to lose garage space to the Beetle, I decided to concentrate on the brake booster, since welding was going to be necessary.

First, recapping the plan - to get a little more space in the engine compartment, I am replacing the stock vacuum brake booster with a hydroboost from a 1992 Astro.  It's not an uncommon swap among the S10 lowrider scene, as it allows for lower drops and larger wheels.  In my case, I want more space for the rear coil pack.  There are different hydroboost units based on year/model, and it seems like it is most commonly done on 2nd gen S10s, probably because there are more of them left at this point, so I couldn't find an exact step-by-step set of instructions for my truck.  It's not a bolt in job, but it looks like it shouldn't be too difficult. 


One significant difference is the pushrod length and end size.



The hydroboost pushrod needs to be lengthened to the same size as one from the vacuum booster, and the end needs to be swapped out.  Time to start cutting.  The diameter of the hydroboost rod is just a smidge over 3/8", so after cutting it, I also ground it down to clean up the metal, and a bit more for better fitment.

No going back to this vacuum booster after this:

I cut it a little long, then ground and measured until the combination was as close as I thought I could get it to length of the original pushrod.

I have no trust in my ability to weld a strong enough butt joint, so I cheated, and used a 3/8" ID spacer to fit them together.  It snugly fit on the hydroboost pushrod, but the vacuum booster pushrod was a little loose.

When I welded everything up, I tried to hold the vacuum pushrod centered during initial tacking, and it appears to be straight enough to be unlikely to cause any problems.  Lengthwise, I overshot by about 1/16" of an inch or so, so the brake pedal will be slightly higher than it was stock.  I suspect I won't even notice it, a replacement pedal pad will probably make a bigger difference.

When I was taking measurements, I did find one problem - the master cylinder will not fit.  Not sure if a 2nd gen S10 one will work fine, but I am not going that route, as I still had the Astro one stashed away.  The outlets are in the same position compared to the one in my truck, so I will pick up one to replace it when I make another parts order.  Not really wanting to rush into that, as I'm not fond of bench bleeding a master, and swapping it in.  Might also delete the rear wheel ABS computer at the same time, but if I do, wae and I will need to go through the wiring, as I think we just used it as a pass through for the brake signals.  I'll also look into replacing/removing the proportioning valve.  I've read that when switching to 4 wheel disc brakes, it might be fine to ditch it, as the master will not provide enough pressure to lock up the rear wheels before locking the fronts, but I want to to a little more research.  May even just go with an adjustable valve for the rear brakes.  This might also be a good time to install a line lock.

Another consideration is whether or not to rebuild the hydroboost unit before I install it.  I had planned on at least doing a partial rebuild, but this one is dry where power steering fluid usually leaks when it fails, so I doubt it needs it.  If I were to do a full rebuild, I'd need to build or buy some specialty tools.  It'll go in as-is. 

Finally, the lines.  I'll experiment with the Astro lines I bought, but if they don't fit, I found out there are high pressure AN-style lines I can build for this application, and I found a site that shows the necessary fittings.  Or failing that, I can mock them up with welding wire, and take them to a hydraulics shop to get lines custom made.



eastsideTim PowerDork
12/13/21 3:03 p.m.

Did a little bit of work this weekend on the parking brakes.  It took about 45 minutes to remove a single old parking brake cable from the left rear wheel's bracket,  so I have ordered a tool that should make the job go a lot faster in the future, since there are still multiple similar brackets on the car.  I still need to figure out the combination of parts that will work, and I may have to custom make an intermediate cable, but if so, that'll just be one more new skill to learn.  I might luck into finding the right size.  First, I need to install the new cables I have on hand, and take some measurements.  May also need to run out to a junkyard and see about grabbing a bracket off a newer model blazer to secure the cables to the frame.


Also, started a thread about repairing door cards for when I tackle that job.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/17/21 9:23 p.m.


machined some new rotors into hubs so Tim can swap to ls1 camaro front brakes in the future

eastsideTim PowerDork
12/18/21 7:11 p.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

Thank you again for making those!  I ran up today to pick them up, and some brackets and calipers for the brake conversion.  Also grabbed some front end brackets/pulleys for a future upgrade to the truck if I need more room in front of the engine.  It was really nice to catch up with a fellow GRMer in person.  Been cooped up way too long. 

eastsideTim PowerDork
12/19/21 5:16 p.m.

Hydroboost is in place.  So much extra room under the hood!

Still need to tighten some bolts up, and attach it to the brake pedal.  Also, have to get an Astro master cylinder at some point.  At least it is off my workbench.  There is a small gap in the firewall that will need to be filled, but I'll hold off on that until I am certain I don't need to run any more wiring into the cab, since that looks like a very convenient spot.

Also pulled spark plugs and squirted a little oil into 7 of the cylinders.  The oil dipstick tube and the headers made it pretty much impossible to remove the plug from cylinder 4, so I need to resolve that at some point.  I think bending the tube and a couple of shallow headed header bolts will allow access to at least put a spark plug wire on it, but may still not be enough to remove the plug.


eastsideTim PowerDork
12/26/21 6:15 p.m.

I had this monster tach included in spare parts with another car, but the wiring on it is a little sketchy, and more importantly, it just seems ridiculously oversized for what I want.  Ordered a smaller, inexpensive one instead. 

Decided I did not feel like crawling around under the truck, so this weekend I spent working on the cab wiring.  Installed the new tach above the gauge cluster bolted to the surround, after testing it in a lot of other locations.  I'd rather have it be more inconspicuous, but nothing was going to work unless I was willing to cut into the clear plastic over the stock gauges.

Reinstalled the heater controls, this time properly mounting the cable that controls the temperature.  Not a fun job, and I hope to never have to pull that again.

Went ahead and got to wiring.  Loads of time spent with heat shrink and crimp connectors.  Hooked up the reverse switch in the new shifter to the back up lights, wired up the OBD2 port, wired up the oil and water gauges, ran a couple of leads for a future second 12V power port, and ran power to the auxiliary switches I added a ways back.  I didn't want to connect everything permanently, in case I change my mind on the configuration later on, so I dug out a 4 circuit power distribution block from my parts stash, and hooked most things up there.  One circuit each for ground, 12V constant, 12V ignition, and dash lighting.  Everything with power is fused, but I'll cover it with electrical tape or something.  It'll also get some velcro on the back of it to be mounted upside down under the center dash more securely, but also easily pulled to add or remove wires.

I also mounted up the water and oil gauges a bit more securely than the zip tie method I had used in the past.  The are now more permanently living in about the same location they had been before under the center dash.

Testing was a mixed bag.

  1. Light switch - Immediately blew the taillight fuse, as expected, but also, no headlights, which were working before, and no dash lights, which I cannot remember if they were working before.  I'm not sure what I need to do to diagnose the headlight situation, but I suspect for the dash lights, I can just pull the connection on the dimmer switch and feed the output wire 12V to see if the switch is the problem.  The fuse for them was not blown, so I am guessing they just are not getting power.
  2. Brake light switch is working after the hydroboost install, so that is good.
  3. Constant 12V is getting powered in the cab just fine.  It is wired directly to the positive battery cable with an inline fuse.
  4. Ignition 12V for the newly installed gauges didn't work at all.  Then I remembered, the relay that powers that circuit is not getting power yet.  Need that underhood work completed before I can test.
  5. Reverse lights are not working.  I thought they worked before, but maybe they didn't.  Turn signals work fine, and they are on the same fuse.  I checked at the bulb, and both sides are grounded.  Odd that it is not blowing the fuse like the regular taillights.  I'll need to dig deeper once I am willing to crawl under the truck and look at the outside wiring.  I doubt there are problems inside, as I looked for damaged wires a ways back, but I could have missed something.

I may temporarily install the radio again, and verify wiring for it is still working.  Would really like to button all this up, as it would make it easy to toss the driver's seat back in, and reclaim a bit more garage space, at least until it is time to tackle the ebrake hardware again. 



Edit - Feeling kind of dumb after taking this long to realize if the headlights are not working, I should diagnose that before the dimmer switch.  Chances are the interior lights need the headlights/marker lights to be functioning for the dimmer switch to get power.



eastsideTim PowerDork
12/30/21 1:39 p.m.

I'm a berkeleying idiot.  Should have traced the wires better before trying to hook up reverse lights to the shifter.  The light green wire I ended up hooking up was actually for the low beams.  At least now I know why the headlights weren't working.  To test the theory, I flipped the headlight switch on, then clicked it over to high beam and it worked just fine.

Time to undo my damage and move on to figuring out why the interior lights don't work.

eastsideTim PowerDork
12/30/21 3:22 p.m.

Headlight wiring is returned to the way it was.

Running lights and interior lights on the other hand are not so happy.

I think the orange wire on the headlight switch should be powered, but is not.  The brown wire on the headlight switch that should be providing power to the dimmer is grounded.  All of the wires on the dimmer switch connector (disconnected from the dimmer switch) are grounded.  The instrument lamps fuse is grounded.  The gray wire that powers the lights is grounded

What is odd, if I jumper the gray wire for the instrument lamps to battery power, I don't blow any fuses, and the instrument lights come on, along with some sort of warning chime.

Just in case, I disconnected all the new grounds I put in a ways back, and I rechecked the dimmer switch connector, instrument lamp fuse, and the gray wire, and they all are still grounded, so it does not appear to be my handiwork that is causing this.  I'm pretty much confused at this point. 

Reconnected the dimmer switch and the battery, just to see what would happen, and the marker lights and instrument lights are still not working.  Also, early on in this testing, I noticed the instrument lamp fuse was 25 amps instead of 5 amps, so maybe there had been problems a past owner was trying to mask with a bigger fuse.  I did replace it with a 5 amp fuse and it hasn't blown yet, though.

I hate wiring.



eastsideTim PowerDork
12/30/21 6:05 p.m.

Stepped back, and started looking at the engine compartment wiring, and that led to some success.  One of the loose wires on the bulkhead (C2) was a fairly heavy black wire.  I the diagram I have, it is the 12V+ ECM connection when ignition is on.  Seemed a little big for that, and a little odd to run through the engine compartment when the factory ECM was inside the cab.  Out of curiosity, I checked it, and it was grounded.  Did some more digging online, and found a different list that said it was the engine ground.  Connected it to the cab, and hooked up the battery.  With all of the auxiliary grounds I made disconnected, I got 12V with ignition off and on, so that solves the old voltage drop issue.  I guess I need to not trust every wiring diagram I find, if something about it doesn't make sense.

High off that discovery, I popped a new taillight fuse in, and hit the headlight switch.  Fuse immediately popped.  I decided it didn't make sense to keep messing with the dash lights directly, as maybe the problems were related.  I got under the truck, and traced the taillight wires to the bulkhead connecter, and checked the diagram (even though it was wrong about the above wire).  All the exterior lighting, and a few other functions were on a separate connector.  Went ahead and pulled it:

With that disconnected, I popped another fuse in (I'm starting to run very low on 20A fuses), and hit the headlight switch.  Two things of note - One, the fuse did not pop, and two, the gauge cluster lit up, at least after I flipped the dimmer switch back on.  Aftermarket gauges didn't light up, but I remembered they were hooked to one of the aux grounds.  Once it was back on, they lit up, too.

After disconnecting the battery, I checked, and all the dimmer switch connections, including the brown wire that should be powering taillights and marker lights were still grounded.

So, i am thinking two different possibilities:

  1. The wiring in the cab is boogered, but without the load from the taillights, the fuse isn't popping.  This is supported by the brown wire being grounded.  Maybe in the off position, the headlight switch is supposed to ground it.  I think I may be able to test this, by leaving the battery disconnected, switching the headlight switch on, and if the wire is still grounded, then that is likely the problem.  Does that make sense?
  2. The exterior wiring is messed up.  If I am reading the wiring diagrams right, there are two circuits the brown wire attached to.  If I pull all of the marker/turn/taillight bulbs, and the brown wire is connected to ground on only some of the light sockets, then I know which circuit is bad, and I can start chasing the wires down.  Seems like it'll be more annoying, but less difficult than figuring out the in cab wiring.  Of course, I suppose it could also be a bad socket.


Any other diagnostic suggestions?


eastsideTim PowerDork
12/31/21 12:22 p.m.

Brown wire is still grounded inside the cab with the light switch on, and with all the rear lights removed, then added back in one by one, the wiring behaved as expected.  Still need to go through the front light wiring, but I expect this is leading to a problem in the cab wiring.


For the ground point I am testing from, I have 4 Ohms resistance with the ground wire in the switch harness, and 14-15 Ohms with the brown wire.  I'm assuming this means wherever the short is, it's not going to be blatantly obvious, like two wires crimped together or anything.

eastsideTim PowerDork
12/31/21 5:52 p.m.

Spent a bunch of time playing with grounds and messing with the multimeter, which mostly led to me being more confused than before.

Finally decided to do some more direct testing, and rigged a 15 amp fuse and a heavy duty switch to the battery, pulled the exterior light bulkhead connection again, and powered on each circuit individually.  All the rear lights seemed fine(except for the license plate lights, which have probably been burnt out for years).  The front parking lights tripped the fuse immediately, and damaged/burnt out some bulbs.  The front turn signals (after replacing the obviously burnt out bulbs) were illuminating the opposite side marker light in addition to their lights.  Well, we've narrowed things down.  In the category of "things that should have sent off warning bells", or warning klaxons in this case, earlier, I had noticed some electrical tape peaking out of the wiring loom near the left front turn signal/parking light bulb.  This could be a problem:

At least they wrapped each wire individually, before wrapping them together.  Pulled all the electrical tape and was completely unsurprised to see this:

Yeah, that's not good.  Cut the twisted wire off, stripped it back to some uncorroded wire, and grabbed some shrink and solder connectors.  Popped a new fuse and a light bulb in, and tested the parking lights again.  Success, though it also turned up the parking filament on the parking/turn bulbs were wiped out.  Fortunately, I had some 1157 bulbs in my hoard.  Tossed them in, and tested each circuit individually again, and they all worked.  Hooked the bulkhead connector back up, and tested with the in-cab controls, and all was well.  Based on how slow the turn signals were, I've run the battery down a bit over these last few weeks, so I pulled it and threw it on the float charger.

I hope this ends the saga of the previous owners' wiring handiwork, it just cost a bunch of time, some light bulbs and a E36 M3 ton of fuses.  At least I can get back to moving forward on the project next time I hit the garage. 

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/4/22 9:55 a.m.

Minor update.  Over the weekend, got the reverse lights working - found a third light green wire on the column and that one turned out to be the one I needed.  Also, installed the stereo and the antenna, and did a quick test.  I don't really like how it looks with the adapter kit, but it works, and that's the important part.

I'd like to get the front ebrake cable replaced so I can temporarily install the driver's seat, but having some issues with the daily driver, so that's a bit higher priority right now.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/9/22 6:27 p.m.

More good news/bad news - Bad news is it turns out the newer style front ebrake cable is not going to fit.  Good news is I realized this before removing the original one.  I think an intermediate cable, some threaded tubing, and a little welding can make everything fit.  I'll be waiting to do this until weather is warmer.  At least the front seat is loosely bolted in, and I can see all the added gauges just fine from it.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/15/22 5:13 p.m.

Today's garage session didn't start so great.  Decided since the engine had been sitting for so long, I'd go ahead and prime it with the drill pump I picked up, before messing with the hydroboost lines.  Removed the oil plug on the driver side of the block just fine, but when I installed the brass fitting to hook a hose to, I felt it start to get snug, then loose, then break, in very rapid succession.  I think I was just operating on autopilot trying to put as much torque into it as it took to remove the steel plug.  Thankfully, my largest extractor was just big enough to remove the part broken off in the block.

So, I need to order a replacement fitting.  The hydroboost lines will make access to the plug more difficult, so I'll work on them another day.  I also decided I needed to just slow down and do stuff that doesn't involve wrenches.  Started playing around with the Sierra ECM bracket, and have determined there is no practical way of making it fit where I want.  I found a flat mounting plate online that I will likely order.  Will still need to make some brackets so it can fit on the inner fender, but it should give me more room to work with.

After that, I started chasing down some wires that I was not sure about, due to conflicting diagrams/lists online.  I was able to confirm the TCC brake switch wire, so that is good.  Also, I figured out which wire went the the ECM Ignition fuse in the S10 fusebox, since my initial diagram was wrong about the location (turns out that was the ground for the harness).  One thing I have not figured out yet is the Check Engine light wire.  Its location on my original diagram was taken up by something else.  It is possible the bulkhead connector does not have one, as it would have been easier to run the wire directly from the original ECM in the cab.  I also need to figure out if the original Check Engine light uses a switched ground like the Sierra does.   If I have to, I'll either run the wire through the passenger bulkhead, just drill a small hole on the driver's side and run it through, or see if I can find a good unused terminal on the driver bulkhead.

Because I didn't feel like I had gotten much accomplished, I did a small amount of wiring at the fusebox before calling it a day.  Not as good of a job as wae would likely do, but should be good enough.


Oh yeah, and I have an idea about my passenger exhaust dilemma.  While there is little room to bolt up to the collector, there is a lot of maneuvering room in the engine compartment.  I think I may be able to weld the extension to the header, then weld a 45 degree section to the extension.  Then I could bolt or slip fit the farther back exhaust to that under the truck where there is plenty of room.  Whenever I take the passenger header off to switch to different bolts, I think I will add a 45 to the extension, and confirm I can fish the whole assembly out through the engine bay.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/16/22 8:36 p.m.

Only did a little wire chasing today.  Read some blurry diagrams, and tested a few wires under the passenger side dashboard, and found the one that triggers the CEL.  Rather than undo the heat wrap on the wiring in the engine compartment to add a new wire to the connector, I think I'll repurpose the unused auxiliary wiring to make it simpler.  Will just require a bit of rerouting, cutting the wire inside the cab, and connecting it to the CEL wire.  The switch the aux wiring is hooked to will still have 12V, the wire will just terminate inside the cab. 

Going to try to spend some time in the garage tomorrow and actually get some more wiring done.  I think I am pretty much finished looking for S10 wires, I just need to update my own diagrams for future troubleshooting.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/17/22 5:28 p.m.

Did get more wiring done today.  At the point where I pretty much need to start wiring any unfinished relays, figure out where the senders will be for oil and coolant, and dig into my driving light kit to pull the wiring out for it, and start integrating it into the wiring I've already set up.  Also, for the fan trigger wire, I need to be sure of where the ECM will be, as it is the only wire left that I am running straight from the ECM connectors.  I did a quick test of the fan today, to make sure polarity was correct, and permanently wired up the ground side for it.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/18/22 1:13 p.m.

That was fast.  Ordered a terminal crimper and it showed up this morning.  Will see if I have the motivation to hit the garage tonight.  I also realized something.  I should make sure some more connections can unplug from the fusebox to make service easier, not just the ones that run through a factory GM connector.  One of those will be the fan power and fan control.  Should make it easier to remove/replace the fan in the future.  I suspect the added resistance of one more connection should not be a big deal.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/23/22 11:44 a.m.

Got more wiring done.  The fuse block is wired, except for the fuel pump relay.  I had been planning on finishing it today, but when I went to run a 12 gauge wire for the fuel pump, I found that there was not enough room in the existing wire loom for it.  Rather than cut out the old wire to make more space, I ordered some convoluted tubing, and will run it alongside the current loom.  Probably not a bad idea anyway, since the wire will get  diverted to a kill switch somewhere along the line.

Going to make attempt number two at getting some pressurized oil into the system.

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/23/22 2:21 p.m.

Put together the priming rig with some 1/2" tubing, drill pump, fitting, electric drill and a jug of oil.  Primed the pump by pouring oil into the tubing before sticking it in the oil jug.  Got 20 psi on a mechanical gauge, then turned the crank about 180 degrees, reprimed the drill pump, and did it again.  Now, I'm not going to be as concerned about starting the engine up after having it sitting for so long.

During the re-prime, and starting to tear everything back apart, I made a huge mess.  The garage floor near the front of the truck is a minefield of kitty litter.  Going to let that soak up the oil before I do much else.  I'll finish dismantling the setup then, and I think I am going to plug my original planned location near the back of the engine, and put the oil pressure sender up front away from the exhaust.

1/4" convoluted tubing is on order, when it shows up, I'll go back to wiring when that shows up.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/23/22 4:27 p.m.

I'm excited to see this thing towing the Beetle to the first rallycross of the season in a few months. 

eastsideTim PowerDork
1/23/22 6:58 p.m.
EvanB said:

I'm excited to see this thing towing the Beetle to the first rallycross of the season in a few months. 


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