Go Anywhere Camper: 1995 GMC Rally Wagon

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

GMC built the G-Series Van from 1964 up till 1996, with only minor changes from ’71 until the end of production. They created some interesting option packages in an attempt to keep the design relevant right up to the end. Take this example, visually it looks much like the early third generation vans, but it’s actually a 1995 Rally Wagon STX Conversion. It’s been turned into one heck of a go anywhere camper van, the only problem is that the 6.5 liter diesel engine is bad and will need to be replaced. If you happen to have a spare GMC diesel sitting around and don’t mind doing the swap, this could be a cool rig to travel the country in. Find it here on eBay in Santa Barbara, California with a current bid of $2k.

The interior has been custom built, but actually looks to be pretty nice. It features a full-sized bed, solar powered refrigerator, 18 gallon solar heated shower and a built in sink. It’s had a fair amount of recent maintenance, so it’s a bit surprising that the diesel engine would give out at just 134k miles. The seller doesn’t say exactly what’s wrong with it, just that two mechanics have looked it over and both concluded that it just needs to be replaced. Anyone with experience with the 6.5 liter diesel care to weigh in here on common problems with these engines?

The body looks straight, but I’m curious about the bed liner along the bottom. It could someone wanted to protect the body from rock chips and scraps or it could be that there to hide rust repairs. Given how nice the rest of the body looks, I’m going to guess it was more a preventative measure than anything, but it would be worth a closer look.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to hit the open road in a camper van. One like this could go just about anywhere and with a working diesel, you would get decent fuel mileage. You wouldn’t get anywhere in a hurry, but that isn’t the point of a road trip anyways. How fun would it be to tow a small sports car behind it, with each destination being a different race track? That would truly be the journey of a lifetime!

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  1. dr. peter

    6.5 diesels had a stanadyne elecctric fuel pump mounted between the valve covers where the carburetor would be . They all would cook and fail around 80,000 miles . gm would not figure it out for years. I had to put a recess sending unit on the wheel well ( after market ) to try to help . gm gave up on the 6.5 and went to the izuzu diesel later on. could be that

    • ACZ

      Maybe I missed something here but what does that have to do with needing a replacement engine?
      As far as the injection pump, the only problem with them was the early models with the pelthane ring on the weight retainer. Use an 85 or later weight retainer that has a metal spring. I did that fix on my 81 5.7 diesel at about 140K and it was still going strong at 280K when I sold it. Uses the Roosamaster pump also.

  2. ROTAG999

    Surfs Up but my 6.5 is broken down must be a song in there somewhere…..lol

  3. boxdin

    It is fun to hit the road in a camper van. I have two 1990 ford vans, a swb 150 and a 23ft Chinook/Ford camper. I use the short one for me alone and the large camper when the wife goes along. Parts are cheap and the OBD 1 is easy to work with.

  4. rando

    My uncle would love this. He’s a diesel mechanic/engineer. Part of his job is designing yacht diesels from paper to finished project.

    He’d find a diesel that fit the bay with the proper performance specs and make that work. He has done it in the past for other projects that turned out really nice.

  5. Mitch Ross

    The year range for these vans was ’71-96, prior to that they were the forward control style.

    The ’94 and up 6.5 had an electronic injection pump which was problematic. The ’93 had a mechanical pump that was pretty trouble free. i had a ’93 Sierra 3500 Dually that I pulled a 3 car trailer with. went through 3 transmissions and an engine before switching to a 7.3 Ford.


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