1986 GMC Van Vandura 6.2L diesel from North America


Best vehicle to drive for the comfort, safety and fuel mileage


Last owner didn't take care of the engine, so we are rebuilding the engine.

It's getting bad mileage (16mpg at 65mph, it weighs about 5000Ibs "customized van") and seems very slow with a 3.42 rear gear.

One of my relatives own an identical customized 1984 van with the same diesel engine and is a lot faster, even though it has a lower 3.07 rear gear which should make it a lot slower than the my own, that's bad.

General Comments:

My relatives 6.2l diesel with a 3.07 gets 25MPG at 55mph.

When we are finished with our van it should get about 22MPG, not including the more free flowing K&N filter and other stuff we are going to do with it.

Performance marks

-Handles well in all weather, sharp turning radius, good traction, will pull a 6000Ib boat and trailer OK when running bad (will pull much better when engine runs great)

Reliability marks

- Even though the engine is hard to work on when it's in the van from lack of room, when it runs great it almost never needs to be worked on when doing the usual oil and filter changes.

The body and frame is very strong with also a big steel bumper on the front and back of the van.

It's also safe from being higher up off of the ground than most vehicles.

Comfort marks

-This van is big enough for 7-8 people and 1 big 120Ib dog.

The non-leathery seats are very comfortable.

Noise level is higher than most vehicles, especially since this is a "diesel van" that we are talking about (mine could be louder from running bad).

Running Costs

-diesel van insurance is very cheap and gets pretty good mileage depending on the rear gears (15-27mpg, 15 pulling the most 27 the less), tire size, 21century air filters...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2005

13th Jun 2005, 11:09

Running Costs

- Oh, and I'm not including fixing up the engine in the running costs. Any engine will run bad if you don't take good care of it.

21st Jul 2005, 23:10

Oops I'm wrong about the weight, it doesn't weigh 5000Ib. On the door it says the van weighs 6600Ib, but it's customized now, so it should weigh about 7000Ibs.

1986 GMC Van Vandura 2500 305 cubic inch V8 from North America


Tough, but comfortable


THM-350C Automatic transmission failed at 165k miles. Was my own fault, as I burned it up due to lack of fluid.

Minor electrical fire caused by Starcraft Conversion's running board lights. Was fixed, with some effort.

Engine valve guide seals worn, as are almost every GM smallblock V8 with 120,000+ miles on it. Give a little blue puff out the pipes in the morning, and otherwise doesn't even use 1/2 quart of oil between 3000 mile oil change intervals.

Driver seat worn thru, fixed by Pep-Boys "cow print" seat cover.

Overhead switch console needs some buttons replaced.

Hit a deer doing about 60, broke the plastic left trim panel, left headlight mount (fixed easily with some parts from Home Depot), and part of the plastic grille. No metal body damage.

Needs paint, has the "1980s blue GM flakes off" paint. No dents or rust.

General Comments:

This is my second GM-built van, and hopefully my last as in I never plan to get rid of it.

Starcraft conversion, interior like brand new with exception of worn driver's seat.

Has captain's chairs, sofa, TV, VCR, Nintendo, mood lighting, reading lights, dual 300 watt power inverters.

I worked this van pretty hard, and once I have the money to replace/rebuild the tranny, I'll work it some more.

Nothing in the world more comfortable for long trips.

It likes to drink the gas, but cruises effortlessly at 80mph on the highway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2004

4th Apr 2004, 06:52

If you are not using very much oil and the vehicle smokes at startup, signs point to excess fuel going into engine after shutoff... bad needle and seat, float, leaking TBI unit...

6th Aug 2006, 20:43

Well, here it is almost three years after the old bucket's transmission failed, and she sat all this time. Changed the oil and put in a battery, it fired right up. Everything except for the previously mentioned transmission problems seems to be operational. I pulled the transmission this weekend, its off to be rebuilt and should be back in a week or so. Having another vehicle that got better gas mileage, I'd been in no hurry to fix the van, but unfortunatly my trusty old '68 Valiant's slant six ate a crank bearing, so now I've got to pull its engine out and do the rebuild thing, so the GMC's getting put back into service, as the only other vehicle I have is a '75 Ford E-350 van that gets like 8 miles to the gallon.

27th Aug 2006, 19:11

Just out of curiosity, what kind of gas mileage do you get? I have an 83 with the same engine, but with the 700R4 tranny, and I'm lucky to get 10 mpg on the freeway, and it seems to lack the power to do 80! I'm thinking my cat may be plugged...