Super rare, but a lot of condition issues. Namely, 200k worth of New England winters. Needs a lot of rust repair. You could build a rust free clone of this for around $4k.
Finally a listing with good, clear, honest photos. It looks like the black spray paint on the bottom 10% is covering up something even uglier. I can't imagine that there would be much value in repairing this truck. I think it's one of those "use it 'til it falls apart" trucks. But probably would have another 100-200K left in it.
The 6.5 diesel is...uh, slow. It's not notably fragile, once you relocate the injector driver module off the engine. But it's also nowhere near as muscular as what came later. He's right, these things ARE rare, I know of lots of 6.5 trucks and even a decent number of Suburbans (almost bought one once) - most were 2500s, they apparently built a few 1500s - but I don't think I've EVER, EVER seen a diesel Tahoe in the wild. From the California perspective you'd pretty much have to build this one as-is, a '96 diesel is smog-test-free but you don't want to deal with trying to swap the diesel into a truck with a gasoline VIN.
Admittedly clueless here but how would you go about building a clone for around $4k? And how dependable would on old 6.5td be?
Get a rust-free gasoline shell for $1000-2000 or so from somewhere in the desert (30 sec of craigslist searching found a 4x4 2dr '99 tahoe in San Diego with engine wiring issues). Buy a wrecked complete GM thing (truck, SUV, van, whatever) w/6.5l diesel and complete harness, spend a few months ironing out the details. I didn't see any on the desert-based Craigslists but locally in flyover land there are a few complete 6.5l trucks that were crushed in the last tornado that would be adequate donors. I didn't say it'd be quick but if you search for long enough you can have your cake and eat it too... just not in CA where mrkwong indicated... you don't want to try swapping an oil burner into a vehicle with a gas-VIN.Worth it? probably not. The 6.5l pre-duramax diesels aren't exactly known for their robustness as compared to the competition.Would I do it? hell no. I'd buy a CUCV.
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