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35k Mile: 1983 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel

Ikey Heyman found this 1983 GMC Sierra Classic pick up with just 35,000 miles for sale here on Craigslist. This truck looks to be a pristine barn find that looks practically new. The GMC truck is located in Addison, Texas which is in the Dallas, Texas area. This GMC Sierra Classic may be the cleanest square body GM I have ever seen. The seller is asking $13,900 for this beauty that is equipped with its original 6.2 diesel engine.

This truck has been parked in a shed for the last 30 years so I don’t know what that does to a diesel engine. The GM 6.2 diesel engine was not a very popular option due to its poor power output. GM rated the engine at only 130 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Many owners claim that it is a very reliable engine but a buyer could opt for a 305 cubic inch V8 engine in 1983 that was probably just as reliable and put out much more horsepower. The engine could be ordered in Chevrolet and GMC vehicles including trucks and Suburbans.

The interior of this truck looks very nice. There is some sag in the front bench seat but the door map holders are not worn out. The truck is highly optioned with power windows, power locks, tilt steering, dual tanks, and air conditioning. The 6.2-liter diesel engine is backed by an automatic transmission. The truck still retains its rally wheels and is painted in a two town brown and tan paint scheme. The owner has added a bed cover, mud flaps, and bed rails to the long-wheelbase truck. The steering wheel and dash bezel look brand new.

The seller states that the truck was rust proofed when it was purchased by the original owner. The truck looks unmodified except for the bed railings and bed cover. The ad says that the only thing that has been done to the truck is the oil and fuel filter has been changed. The GMC Sierra Classic is said to run and drive well. So if you want a low mileage original truck with a diesel motor, this may be worth considering.


  1. Howard A Member

    Hmm, so that’s what the color on my truck is supposed to look like, So many red flags here, sorry. While I enjoy the enthusiasm of the writers, this truck clearly has 135K, and it’s from Wisconsin, and that’s a N. Wis. area code too. Personally, I never cared for a diesel in a passenger vehicle, there’s good and bad stories about them. For me, a gas job is just more civilized, and provides the same power these slugs did, but that’s up to you. Nice find, sure has all the gee-gaws, you pay what you want for one. Why the recent turn around in views? It was that $40K Toyota pickup( and 4 Runner)that really shook up my soda.

    Like 4
    • Moparman Moparman Member

      @ Howard: This is also the original color scheme of my ’83 Silverado! The previous owner had it repainted all over metallic brown! :-)

      Like 1
    • Randy C Rentz

      I live in Texas and that does not look like a Texas plate I have ever seen.

      Like 0
    • Charlie

      That would be the cleanest 135k seat and truck box anyone has ever seen! Just saying,,,

      Like 0
  2. alphasud Member

    That is a strong asking price for a diesel square body. Definitely been taken care of and hopefully didn’t spend much time in the salt brine. The 6.3 wasn’t a bad engine and yes it was very underpowered compared to a modern diesel. With indirect injection and no turbo this is what you got. Owning one today I think is more challenging in today’s traffic where the 0-60 times have dropped considerably. I kept my brother and sisters Rabbit diesel alive while they went through school and that was a awesome little car delivering 50mpg.
    Diesels have gone though an evolution. Initially it was the cheap fuel and reduced operating costs that made the diesel an attractive option. Diesels became cleaner and more powerful to keep up with popular demand and to out class the competition. I think it reached a pinnacle mid 2000’s with common rail injection. Emissions were starting to tighten but trucks could still get away with EGR and a catalyst. Now I think unless you really need to tow heavy a gas is your more economical option. The added cost of the diesel option and cost of maintenance of a modern diesel doesn’t offset the fuel economy benefits.

    Like 6
  3. Fred W

    I’m no GM expert but isn’t this the converted gasoline V-8 that was infamous for head bolt issues, etc? If so, I would run in the other direction as fast as possible. Or make a much lower offer and drop in a crate 350. Nice looking truck otherwise, my ’83 El Camino had the same paint colors.

    Like 0
    • alphasud Member

      That was the 5.7 diesel that broke cranks and had all those issues. This engine was built from the get to be a diesel. Still not the stellar engine we got in the 6.5 Duramax when GM tapped the Isuzu guys to develop that engine. GM owned stake in Isuzu so a good match IMHO.

      Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      Fred, the engine you fear was developed by Oldsmobile, primarily intended for GM cars but also available in GM light trucks ’78-’81 before the 6.2 :


      I have no personal experience with it, however I’ve spoken with a couple individuals who swear by it once all issues were sorted out – both of them reported extremely long service life and decent MPG for an ancient NA diesel. I’ve driven squarebodies with most every available engine (5.7 Diesel and V6 excluded) and the 6.2 Diesel is by far the least inspiring. Yet people complain about the performance of a 250 I-6…

      Like 2
      • Chunk Plepgeat

        I drove a ’79 Olds with the 350 diesel cross country in 2014; it averaged about 25 mpg and had no trouble holding highway speeds across the Rockies.

        Like 0
  4. dlong

    If it has been parked for the last 30 years I would expect to have possible issues with the fuel injection pump.It is a rotary design and with the low sulfur diesel of today lubricity in the pump,leaky seals could be a problem.I had an 83 6.2 diesel suburban 2 wheel drive years ago.Ran pretty well and had enough weight that it would go through a lot of snow.

    Like 1
  5. Michael Member

    The truck is actually located in Wisconsin, but advertised all over the US. Nice example for sure. Had an identical one for over 20 years and put 500,000 miles on it without any troubles.

    Like 0
  6. Morley Member

    If it has a good body, jerk out that GM disater of an engine, install a 455 oldsmobile and now you have a truck. I worked at a GM garage when these things were new. The parts depart stocked everything for this engine in bulk. What a piece of junk.

    Like 3
    • jwzg

      The 6.2 was a very durable engine although the OD transmission was a turd. You did have to change the fuel filter often or you’d destroy the injection pump due to water in the fuel

      Like 2
  7. Maestro1 Member

    alphasud thank you for good information. I had a Chevy Diesel and I sold it simply because it was slow and noisy. It had a hard time in Left Coast traffic. Stay well.

    Like 0

    If it has 135,000, someone found a complete NOS interior for this thing, and installed it. Those seats back then started splitting at 40,000 miles back then.

    Like 1
  9. Mr.BZ

    I had a friend with an ’81 Olds with the 5.7 diesel, ran 200k+ highway miles with no engine issues (other components not so lucky). But the 6.2 was marketed as a truck diesel, and with those pathetic hp/torque #s it most definitely was not. Customers I knew were not happy because of the lack of real towing/hauling power. Yes, it was built as a diesel from the ground up, but like the early Ford diesel offerings it was weak. The Chevy dealer I worked for stopped stocking them in 1984, you had to special-order to get one, and by then the S.O. requests were few and far between.

    Like 0
  10. Dennis Brown

    I had a 1982 GMC looked just like this. Mine was a 3/4 ton though. I drive that truck until at 986 876 miles it finally died. I did not baby it, ran the snot out of it, 24 miles to the gallon.

    Like 3
  11. JunkersEveryDay

    This screams scam to me. As noted this thing appears to be posted all over the US but the phone number is out of Wisconsin. None of the pictures I can find are worthy of a truly stock unmolested example of this era pickup. I see plenty of wear and shadows that can easily be treated stains. Why the need for the mismatched floor carpet runner? Parked for 30 years and all they did was change the fuel and oil filter? And for the claims being made they need to show me the money. Where are the underbody shots, clear pics of speedo and vin, yank that plywood out and get the full bed, cab and rear rocker corners. That’s GM Truck 101 right there.

    Like 0
  12. Martin

    Its an easy thing to add the turbo from a later 6.5 TD and pick up enough extra power that they go quite adequately, and still get far better mileage than a comparable gas engine of the time. No one bought these to pull a toy hauler. The purpose of diesel engines in pickups has changed dramatically since this first generation came out. I would really like that truck at the price if the undercarriage was as clean as the rest of it.

    Like 0
  13. Greg Y

    I had an equally beautiful 1982 GMC Sierra 1500 Shortie. It had a 454 and automatic combo that, on a good day would squeeze 9 mpg out of that smogged down beast. Funny that GM felt a 15 gallon tank was practical for that truck as it would need to be refueled at 100 mile increments when pulling my 18′ boat. But it was gorgeous.

    Like 0
  14. Greg Y

    I wonder if aftermarket has a turbo add-on for this engine?

    Like 1

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