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Weekend Edition – Two Vintage Suburbans with Diesel Power… Desirable or not?

Jim Brennan December 9, 2012 For Sale, Weekend Edition 20 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday Edition of the Hooniverse Weekend, and I’m continuing with the a special Diesel Weekend inspired by this posting from Kamil. The Chevrolet and GMC Surburbans were somewhat iconic throughout the decades, offering a different type of vehicle that can be used to tow trailers that the family wagon or Minivan couldn’t, while still being civilized inside with comfortable seats, adequate climate control, and optional 4WD. What we have here is a couple of older Suburbans that are somewhat loaded with factory options, along with the diesel power-plants. So which of these two Surburbans could you use for your weekend activities?

The first Suburban is this 1988 Chevrolet 2WD version located in Lakeland, FL. It is indeed loaded to the hilt from factory with power everything, A/C, two-tone paint, third row seat, and more. I will let the listing do the talking, but beware, the wording is a bit naff:

1988 chevy suburban with the very hard to find
6.2 diesel jasper engine with less then 50ks. Tow package, 3rd seat, NO RESERVE.

We challenge you to find a better example of and 88 chevy suburban with the hard to find and very rare 6.2 diesel anywhere with just 50,000 miles on the jasper engine. we bought this to have just 88000 miles from a new car store, after we flew and and drove back 800 miles we found paper work in glove box along with a lot of other recepits but the big one was and new rebuilt jasper 6.2 diesel engine installed at 136000 miles. Car This suv rides and drives like brand new infact it got 24 mpg on trip home from north carolina and I do mean that, it truly Looks, drives perfect with brand new tires and even the a/c is ice cold one small crake in dash this truck would pass for 50ooo miles its that clean and has no issiues. truck looks great hood has some fad but outside of that just and outstanding suv Please come inspect for yourself,must see and drive. Undercarriage and pictures speak for themselves. please take a good look at pic’s below and give us a call.

The only thing I would question is the mileage. As the listing stated, the truck was suppose to have 88,000 miles, then they found a receipt that stated the truck received an engine transplant at 136,000 miles, and the engine currently has 50,000 miles on it. Let’s just say they don’t know the actual mileage of the truck or engine, but this is a no reserve auction! With over five days to go, the top bid is currently $2,475, which is reasonable for what you get. Go see the listing here: 1988 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel

Here is a Suburban that is at least a decade newer. This is a 1999 GMC Suburban, and it has been lavishly equipped with leather, front and rear A/C, 4WD, and a Turbocharged version of the 6.2L Diesel. According to the listing:

1999 Gmc Suburban 6.5 turbo Diesel SLT Package 4X4. This vehicle is in a great condition and has every single option including side steps, towing package with electrical brake, roof rack with custom TUHLE Ski Rack, leather and heated seats, rear HEAT & A/C, Rear entertainment system, factory alarm. the vehicle has 188K highway miles on it for diesel motor that’s nothing. Vehicle is also equipped with snow plower system that functions perfect all you need is blade. From everything that installed recently: 2 batteries, new starter, heavy duty front stabilizer bar with bushings and links. The vehicle looks and drives great. Front tires have about 65% thread on them, rear tires are about 55%.

This is not a no reserve auction, and with over four days to go, the top bid so far is $2,025 with an unmet reserve. The Buy-It-Now price is $8,500, which really isn’t bad when you consider what you get with this beast. Take a look at the listing here: 1999 GMC Suburban SLT Turbo Diesel

  • Van_Sarockin

    Go with the older one, it's cheaper and tighter. The newer one could be scary if that plow attachment was ever used. Plus it's way undertired. Wonder what else is a little short of the mark?

  • racer139

    That 88 is nice and aside from the actual mileage beig inknown its good to go. I owned a 84 with the 6.2 up on the east coast of Canada. I bought it from its original owner with 570 000km on it. the only things done to it where a new transmission and the duel exhaust system replaced. The engine was was never touched aside from regular matenince. Yet another feature on here that I wish was closer. It would be parked in my driveway and used as my daily untill it couldnt move under its own power and then I would refresh it with a 12 valve and a five or six speed swap and continue to use it. Very nice old Burb

    • racer139

      Oh yeah at about 670 500 I had to replace the injection and lift pump and the starter. Sombody decided they wanted it more than I did and it was stolen from my brothers driveway.

  • Vavon

    Dear Jim, please fix the the "f" in the title. A very satisfied reader of your articles!

    I prefer urban living over suburban living, so the Suburbans are just too big for me.

    • equiped with the right bumpers, they are easy to park though 😉

      • Van_Sarockin

        Some of us park by sight. Some park by feel. And others of us park by sound. Nope, I didn't hear anything just then. Told you we'd fit in there just fine.

    • UDman

      Crap… that was indeed overlooked… fixed.

    • $kaycog

      "f" was in the title? For shame.

      I thought the rental Ford Flex I'm driving right now was big. A GMC Suburban parked next to me yesterday. The Flex didn't look so big after all.

      • Vavon

        I saw a Ford Flex yesterday, I did a double take to see if it really was one!
        Not a very nice looking car in beige metallic with a white roof…
        Definitely not a beige-mobile, well at least not in France.
        Way too big, but at least it's different.

        • $kaycog

          I don't like the boxy look, but it is a great highway car. But, like you, I think it's too big for me.

  • Dan

    Seventies and eighties Suburbans have a special place in my heart, as growing up my family had about every combination of one you could think of (4×4, 2WD, big block, small block, diesel, vertical headlights, horizontal headlights, single headlights, bench front seats, bucket front seats, two rear doors, one rear tailgate, etc.), sometimes owning two at a time. I can remember sitting in the back as a kid and watching my dad pump gas or diesel and watching the dollars "race" (at least in my mind they were racing) against the gallons on the dials. Or another time my parents had a whole horde of children they were taking to a museum, and I had fallen dead asleep in the back and my family had forgotten me back there. Or there were the road trips from Indiana to Texas or California, or some other God-awfully long way's away where we would flatten the center seat and some of us would stretch out and sleep on the floor, being lulled to sleep by the vibration and road noise. Inevitably, something inconvenient per the situation (a water pump going out in the middle of the desert, a belt slipping during a particularly hot day, etc.) would break and my dad would have to hoof it to a parts store and repair it at a relative's house or on the side of the road (he always had tools in the back), usually with my mother complaining about something. I thought it was wonderful though. I'm still searching for a clean 1991 4×4 Suburban for my own personal uses.

  • buzzboy7

    My old boss owns 4 diesel 'burbs, 3 he rents and one is his tow vehicle. They are amazing. Two of the rentals are over 250k and one is over 350k. They have held up great. I have heard many horror stories about the 6.2 and 6.5 but if you keep up with them, they're great.

    I'd go for the newer one, as the 6.5T is a better engine and that body style is known to not become one with the ground as quickly.
    This is the 350k mile beast put to use as a sand taxi after North Carolina's brush with Hurricane Sandy.
    <img src="http://www.islandfreepress.org/2012Archives/12.05.2012-EnterprisingIslandersOfferingASandTaxiForTravelersWithoutFourWheelDrive.jpg"&gt;

    • austinminiman

      That being said, if they get stuck he'll just pull them out by hand, creating a new inlet with his unnecessary degree of force. (Warning: Inside Joke)

  • Preludacris

    The older one holds a lot more appeal. It's old enough to be cool, while the newer one is just sorta meh. At least to this child of the late 80s.

    Actually, I know someone who keeps pouring money into his (96 model): both at the pump and in little repairs. At one point he actually needed the ability to seat 9(?). Now he putters around with a few woodworking tools bouncing around the cavernous cargo space. Unfortunately, it has depreciated to the point where selling it would not get him far into a more appropriate small pickup.

  • I like both of them, but I'd go with the newer one because 4WD. I used to work on 6.2 diesel Chevy trucks and Blazers when I was in the Guard, and as long as you keep the fuel filters maintained, they do just fine.

  • mrh

    That '88 is kind of a nice rig. Not one streamlined aspect to it, how amazing is that. Just a big brick with lots of stuff attached to it to increase the drag. I like it.

  • Definitely the '88. I love both body styles, but I have no need for 4WD or a 3/4-ton chassis, plus the '99 is now subject to smog checks here in CA. Remove most of the bling/fufu stuff from the exterior (scooped hood, bug deflector, fender flares/running boards, chrome rocker panel appliques, etc.), change the wheels and tires to a more modern-looking combo (or maybe Rallye wheels), put a Banks turbo kit on the engine and enjoy.

  • I used to see some of the big old 'burbans heaving themselves around near the USAF bases near me. They used to stand out like a sore thumb amongst the Mini Metros and Ford Orions of rural Suffolk in the '80s. They were all gas-burners, I should imagine. Though a diesel lump might be handy for disposing of AVTUR siphoned off from the F111 guys…

  • sprout

    I'm not morman so I would go with the last fullsize blazer diesel.

  • 3rdRowMa

    Is the 88 for sale?