Intro and purchase: 1996 GMC Suburban K1500 6.5 turbo diesel $3,000

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been interested in diesels for the wider flexibility of fuel use, fuel efficiency, and towing power. I’ve look at old Mercedes, VW’s, cummins, etc… but never settled on anything as my next vehicle. I also needed something I could move materials with, go on road trips, and possibly use to tow. So a truck was obviously the better decision. One thing I’ve never liked about trucks, is most of the time, the bed is wasted space unless you are a full time contractor. The bed is always exposed to weather. Even with a rear cap, you can’t easily access the back without getting out of the truck. I have also had interest in a more dedicated BOV (bug out vehicle). Something that could be filled and used to get out of dodge. I’ve looked at the older military CUCV’s like the M1008 and M1009 and while they can be had for cheap, they are very rustic, stick out like a sore thumb. The stock 6.2, while very reliable and fully mechanical, is a bit underwhelming without a turbo. Tough and would fare great in an EMP situation:
M1009 CUCV

I also had to be able to buy the vehicle outright and not finance it. I would rather use the unaccrued interest for upgrades. That pulled a lot of Dodge and Ford offerings out. Really, only GMC/Chevy even made something that fit the bill: diesel SUV with the ability to be fully mechanical if you wished. Enter the Diesel Suburban:

Scouring my local craigslist and ebay, I finally found a K1500 (4×4) in good condition from a second owner for $3,000. Besides the torn leather driver’s seat (common) and a few dents here or there, it was very mechanically sound and had very little surface rust. I was easily looking at $8,000+ to go with a Cummings, Powerstoke, or Duramax. I’m not using this as a full time tow rig (maybe 10,000lbs or less a couple times). And I don’t need 800hp of black smoke belching obnoxious stacks (no offense but I had that phase with turbo’d cars). Even if the engine did go out on this thing, you can get used but good condition military 6.2 or 6.5 replacement engines for $1,000 – $2,000. I could put two in and still break even with any other offering.

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