Old gas looses octane and low octane can cause pre-ignition which can damage an engine. It’s a bunch of cans not certainties. You can try adding an octane booster or have a company polish the gas. First remove the gas filter and pour the contents into a glass jar, let it settle and look for signs of water, sediment, and phase separation (break down of gas if E10 or higher).
Cost to replace a engine is about $7000, up to you how to proceed.
1997 2400 SCR
5.7 Vortec / Bravo 2