1989 Dodge Raider 3.0 V6 from North America

Summary:

Very tough truck that is great off-road!

Faults:

Front windshield wiper assembly jammed which caused the wiper motor to burn out. Had to replace both parts.

The inclinometer leaked liquid all over the dashboard. I do not know how to fix this.

Replaced the clutch when I bought it. Cost around $500 for parts and labor!

The heater barely functions. It takes 10 minutes to get any heat and never warms up much.

I occasionally get exhaust smell in the cabin, usually when stopped in traffic within the first 10 minutes of driving.

Breaks are getting weaker. It might need new pads or new calipers.

General Comments:

I bought the Raider as an extra vehicle and to drive in the winter instead of my 2001 Eclipse. It is a ton of fun to drive and has only disappointed me in a couple areas.

I have taken it off-road at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in west Michigan. This is one of the more grueling off-road tests for an ORV. It passed every test I could throw at it. It climbed every sand dune in the park with no trouble and outperformed some Jeeps. The inclinometer was great for avoiding roll-over (which does happen on the dunes.) It is a lot more fun to drive off-road than one of the big tank-sized SUVs.

My prior SUV was a 93 Cherokee with a 4cyl and 5 speed. On off-road competency I would rate these two as equals. The Jeep was a little more comfortable inside, but the Raider is more unique and fun to drive (and was cheaper to buy). The Jeep advantage was shift-on-the-fly 4 wheel drive. The Raider has auto-locking front hubs which have to be unlocked by driving in reverse for 3-6 feet.

If anyone else has had the same problem with the heater please let me know. I don't want to pay to replace the heater and am not sure that is the real problem. The engine temperature gague never gets much above the cold mark, the engine exhaust fan is always on, and I haven't found a good way to block airflow through the radiator.

Also, if anyone has successfully fixed the leaking inclinometer please let me know how.

The best part of my Raider is that it starts every time. Even in below zero fahrenheit weather. Drives great in the snow.

Email me at jalittle@comcast.net.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2005

24th Jan 2005, 08:45

There is no "fix" for the leaking inclinometer, just replacement. That whole cluster with the inclinometer shows up fairly frequently on ebay, usually not too outrageously priced. You can occasionally find one in a salvage yard on a Raidler/Montero that hasn't been picked over yet.

I used to own an '89 Raider with the V6. I did not have any trouble with the inclinometer, but the engine burned a LOT of oil for not really that high a mileage (130K). It had a pretty uncomfortable ride, too, even with the adjustable suspension seat on the driver's side. It also seemed rather susceptible to rusting.

Good luck with yours!

1987 Dodge Raider from North America

Summary:

This is an awesome vehicle for daily use or recreation

Faults:

Water pump bearings went out at 210,000 miles, cheap to replace.

Alternator (super cheap rebuild, believe me!) quit at 210,000.

Air conditioner has needed freon since I bought it at 100,000 but I've never charged it, don't need A/C where I live.

General Comments:

This was my first vehicle and it's ruined me for all other cars.

It's a safe, comfy little tank that requires minimal maintenance and goes anywhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th November, 2004

16th Mar 2006, 02:50

I have a 87 raider I think its the best little 4x4 ever I too have repaced the same parts. what kind of fuel economy are you getting? any problems with brakes or rear shocks?

25th Jul 2006, 21:55

I purchased a 1987 Dodge Raider about three weeks ago, up until then I had never even heard of it. I have already taken it off road (with normal street tires) and I love it! I want to customize it, lift bigger tires ect... It does need paint as there is rust and I need to have the AC checked to find out why it doesn't come on. But I refuse to complain about anything! I like it more than my old Bronco I can get to places off road with this that the bronco would never fit!

27th Mar 2007, 15:23

I just bought an 87 raider for 500 bucks. just to hold me over. now I can't stop driving it. My wife hates it. But I love it. it goes anywhere, and most important it takes me away from the wife. lol.