Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON
That's what truck repair shops are for. Being a 1996, this one is a lot easier to swap a more worthy engine into. Believe me, you don't want anything built after about 2008. DPF and DEF issues are no fun.
So buy an old $2500 school bus with a bit of rough framing and used house furniture tossed into it for 8K and then swap a better engine /trans into it after in hope of making it good???
Sorry, but that doesn't sound smart or cost effective in any way, shape or form IMHO.