An air bag will not help in a rear collision. It only works with a head on or off center collision. The 1989 S-15 does have rear ABS (anti lock brakes). Maybe you should research your truck before you criticize it.
I'm sorry to say, but you seem to be having very bad luck with your truck, I have a GMC S-15 4.3L V6 reg. cab Long Box, and never have my doors opened over 30 mph or have locked by themselves, although my driver side door handle has broken due to excesive use and with 233,649 miles on the truck I've only had to change my motor mounts map sensor and distributer rotor, as well s spark plugs, As well as your body not having any rust depending on where you live good for you, but if you live in a state with winters I guarantee if you drive it over time it will rust. the metal used on the S-10s and S-15's was not of the greatest quality so some rust is understandable. other than that I've had no major problems as your describing, so you must have purchased a lemon, and yes these trucks are very tough.
I have a 1990 GMC Sierra Extended Cab. All I do is drive it, it has 248.365 miles on it, and I got a hole in the brake line to the back brakes, and the driver's side seat belt quit retracting, (it just needed oil). Other than that, it's a great 4x4 truck, one of the toughest trucks I have ever owned.
My dad on the other hand, bought a new 91 Ford, 51,000 miles he had to replace the motor, the door started rusting from the inside out, it now has 90,000 on it and it's ready for the junk yard.
By far GMC is the best American built truck out there, they will out do any truck in their class.
I have an 89 S-15 with the 4.3. I picked it up with 200,000 miles on it for $800. I replaced the motor mounts, steering gear, front brakes, and life has been good ever since.
I have since passed it on to my brother who was rear ended by a drunk driver doing about 45 mph; all we had to do was replace the tailgate.. bullet proof lil truck for $800.
Recently the heat core has started leaking... but it's been 9 years since I bought it... I guess it's about time it gave me something to fix.
I love my 89 S15 P/U with 489,000 kilometers and it's still not smoking, doesn't leak or lose oil. The 2.5L engine is great on gas, and with a bore job isn't bad for power in 15 years old. I only needed to do 2 water pumps, a clutch and the bore job; the rest is all the 19 year old parts...
Yeah, the heater-core went all over the floor, but take out the rubber and hose the fabric out underneath it; no smell in mine now ;-) It all comes out easily if you take out the seat.
Well the 1989 GMC S15 that I have is still in great shape. It has over 150,000 miles on it and all that has gone wrong with it is the A/C. I keep it well maintained and that's pretty much all you need to do it to keep it running.
I love it!
Which seal went out on your transmission? Mine just blew last night. 362082 miles on it.
I bought a 1989 GMC S-15 from a friend of mine. He had bought the truck new and taken good care of it mechanically, but the paint was a mess. Mostly spotted primer. I had to replace the alternator, starter, and heater core. I had a professional paint job put on it. The truck looks great and is a joy to drive with the 4.3L engine.
I still have one problem I can't figure out. I know for a fact the truck has never been wrecked, but the bed is out about one inch on the driver side, and in about one inch on the passenger side. Anyone have any idea what the problem could be?
"fyi: don't try to take them muddin: I learned that the hard way last weekend"
Do you have stock tires on it? That might get you in some trouble with just about any truck. Particularly the small ones.
I ordered/received a 1990 S-15 Sierra Classic 2WD, 2.8 litre V6. I installed GM tow hooks, fender flares, and mud flaps. It was a fairly good vehicle, but had a problem with blower motors failing (one per year, I smoked back then, with window open, fan on full, fan overspeeding and burning out). After (3) GM motors, I tried an aftermarket motor, and it lasted the next two years (kind of a petty complaint). Otherwise, a well built vehicle.
Here is the bad issue, at less than (5) years, it had nearly rusted through all of the fenders above the plastic fender flares. I am central plains, not northern coastal, so this was really shocking. I am looking at another GM now, fifteen years later, and always remember the bad part. Could have just as easily been a Toyota, but it wasn't. It was a GM.
I have a 1989 GMC S15 Sierra; the California Edition. It came with body and fender mods, and a front bumper equipped with fog lights. It has the 4.3 liter Vortec V6; the automatic 4 speed with overdrive. Bucket seats, and it has the short bed. I bought it at a lean sale auction for 350 dollars 7 years ago, and it's been the best truck ever. It has 189,000 miles on it and runs great. It is quick off the line, and at 80 on the HWY, it feels like it's not even breathing hard. Great truck.