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  1. #1
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Florida Gulf Coast

    Default Should I avoid the 6.5 diesel??

    Still looking for a Suburban, 4x4. Some of the best deals Im finding have the 6.5 (2500s, 4x4).

    I know oil changes are more...a mechanic buddy of mine says "if the Turbo goes out, Im looking at $2-3000......? What are the chances...?

    We're just using it as a family hauler, maybe some fun off-road use, and we have two gas burners...Honda Accord, and Nissan Titan 2wd.

    Is the 6.5 really that more expensive to maintain, repair? And how likely is it a major component will fail (on average)? We're still looking at 94-99s in 4x4, and some 2500s...

    Any thoughts and info are greatly appreciated!
    Semper Fi :fighting0037:

    1990 1500 Suburban 6.2L Diesel 4x4

  2. #2


    I've always been a fan of the 6.5, it's never been a troublesome engine, but they dont have a reputation as a powerhouse either.
    I've owned 3 of them and never had Turbo problems even though two of them were flogged daily pulling large loads.
    Maintenance is more but the period between maintenance is longer. Diesels typically can be operated longer between rebuilds, but thats changing with modern gas engines.
    Depending on purchase price and condition I wouldnt be afraid to buy a 6.5 motivated Suburban.

  3. #3
    Sr. Apprentice ChevyTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I live in New Hampshire


    I like the 6.5, all the problems I have had with the turbos were because the trucks either sat for a long time or the turbo never got a "workout" i.e. no hwy driving just short trips and they coked up. If you drive it normally and on a regular basis you should have no problems. As far as the engine goes I like them, not the most powerful but a sturdy motor for what you will use it for, the most common failure I encountered was with the PMD (pump mounted driver) due to heat it is in a lousy location and they burn up. Hope this helped you out.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Red Wing, Minnesota, United States


    I cnat say i know anyone with real good luck with the old 6.5 but I think its real hit and miss with them
    99 K1500 Suburban LT "THE BEAST"
    Hypertech III, K&N, true dual

  5. #5


    I think the 6.5 is a great engine. I've had little issues with mine but nothin major. everyone is worried bout turbos gas or diesel. It's an expensive part but it makes the diesel worth owning. the sound from the turbo winding up is just unbeatable. The reason i have so much confidence in it is the military used that engine in the old humvees. you olny use dependable parts in the military humvees.
    Life is full of ideas that seemed brilliant and ended badly. But it was fun huh?

  6. #6


    there is a kit that moves the PDM to the fender well i just put it in mine

  7. #7
    murdog94's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
    Blog Entries


    the 6.5L turbo is a solid motor. As said not the most power. But good fuel economy. and 300K plus isnt uncommon. The turbo is just fine and if you do the work yourself then you will be nowhere near 2-3K.. you are looking at a rebuild and a reinstall.
    I was looking for one before i bought my 2500.. I couldnt find one the way that i wanted it. They are fairly easy to work on. And just fyi the 6.5L is detuned and doesnt have any emmisions in the military hummer... Yes they move the 10K pound vehicle to 65plus fairly easly, but they are not really the same..


    1997 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4X4 with 330K miles and counting (Hunting rig).

    2009 Saturn Aura XE (wifes car)

    2011 F-150 Crew 4X4

    "Hold it to the floor till you see God.... Then Brake!!!!"

  8. #8
    Jr. Mechanic In2Trux's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    North Bay, Ont


    Compared to your Honda Accord and your Toyota Titan 2wd your Suburban 4X4 is gonna require a little more attention and maintenance then your other daily drivers, whether is a gaser or diesel.
    But I guess you already expected that going into this truck hunt.

    Diesel compared to gas... I think the little added expense of having a hard working diesel is worth it over gas, just simply to listen to the turbo spool up on take offs
    Last edited by In2Trux; 04-21-2010 at 04:39 PM.
    Grandchildren: Gods lil gift for not killing your own kids

  9. #9


    Friend of mine drove the crap out of that 6.5l turbo diesel, it never gave one bad puff or anything. I would highly recommend one.
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