How to Troubleshoot Problems on a Chevrolet S-10 2.2 Liter Engine

by Richard Ristow

If a Chevrolet S10 is experiencing engine problems, you will likely notice immediately. Symptoms can range for engine noises to how the light truck handles while being driven. Yet, for every symptom, there are a variety of likely causes. Some parts of the engine are relatively easy to access, while other areas may be in remote, hard to access areas. Before opening the hood and looking in, have some guidance can help. The On-Board Diagnostic system can be that help. How to use the system depends on when the S10 was manufactured.

1996 to Present

Locate the diagnostic outlet under the S10's dashboard. You will find it in the vicinity of the steering column.

Connect the S10's diagnostic outlet to an OBD-II scanner. Your scanner comes with a cable for this purpose.

Press the power button on the scanner. If your specific brand of scanner is preprogrammed to self activate, it will do so once it senses a data stream coming from the diagnostic system.

Insert your key into the S10's ignition, and turn to "On." This is start the truck's electrical system. If your scanner requires the engine running, turn the key to start and crank the engine.

Enter a "read" command. Some scanner's do this without you telling it. Look up the codes in your scanner's handbook, once the codes have been retrieved and displayed on the scanner's screen. The scanner's handbook may have a list of generic codes and descriptions. If it does not, then you will need to find both the generic OBD-II codes online, along with General Motor's specific codes. The S10's manual will not have them.

Order the list in the following way. At the top, place all the trouble codes. Below that, list all the codes labelled as "pending." You should pay closer attention to the trouble codes first. Those malfunctions have occurred frequently and recently. Codes labeled as "pending" have occurred with less frequency, but they could be trending towards a "trouble" classification.

Turn the S10 off. Turn the scanner off and disconnect it from the diagnostic outlet. Open the engine compartment for further investigation and trouble shooting. Consult your list of trouble and pending codes and cross them off one by one, until you've located the problem.

Chevy S10s Before 1996

Locate the Assembly Line Diagnostic Link. This outlet will be beneath the steering wheel.

Look at the outlet and locate two slots. The both will be on the top row, and far to the right, at the end of the row. They will be right next to each other. Connect them with a jumper wire.

Turn the S10's electrical system to "On." Watch the service engine soon light. It will start flashing code at you. Chevrolet's pre-OBD-II diagnostic code consists of two numbers. In service engine light code, the first number will be relayed on long flashes. The second number will be shorter flashes. There will be a pause between trouble codes. For example, code 15 will be one long flash and five shorter ones. Write all the codes down on a piece of paper.

Turn the S10 off, remove the jumper wire from the ALDL and sit behind a computer. You will have to find Chevrolet's flash codes and their meanings online. Add the code meanings to your list of numbers.

Return to your S10 and open the engine compartment. Using your list codes meanings, begin a more focused investigation of the engine and its components.

Items you will need

About the Author

Richard Ristow has written for journals, newspapers and websites since 2002. His work has appeared in "2009 Nebula Showcase" and elsewhere. He is a winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award and he edits poetry for Belfire Press. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has managed an automotive department at WalMart.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera red truck engine image by Christopher Nolan from Fotolia.com