Of course, it is inevitable that a lemon will come off the factory line once in a while. But I have had nothing but positive experiences with my 1987 Raider, so I feel I must defend it.
I bought this vehicle used with 126k miles on it, from a previous owner that I knew seriously abused and neglected it. Even so, after some relatively minor and inexpensive repairs to the vehicle, it has been running like it just came off the assembly line. I am sorry that you had a bad experience with your Raider, but every experience I've had with mine indicates that it is a well-made and well-designed vehicle that will last me a long time.
My carb went in my Raider too. Dealer cost was 1200 to repair. I installed my aftermarket carb for 350. This truck gave me a lot of costly repairs over 10 years of owning. I learned to repair it myself and saved enough to buy a new truck with cash.
Guarantee that my Dodge Raider is the biggest piece of junk ever. My brakes went first. Then the harmonic balancer pulley went, which is hell to repair. Now I'm having problems with the crankshaft and transmission. On top of that, the passenger door won't even close. What a piece of junk!
Bought my 1987 Raider with 160,000 miles on it -- now I'm up to 173,000 with no problems worth mentioning. It has to be one of the greatest 4x4 ever made, runs great and very reliable. Parts are fairly inexpensive (I've checked, but so far have had to replace nothing except a 6 year old battery) if you shop around and know what will generally interchange: Montero, Dodge RAM 50, Dodge D-50, most Caravan engine parts, Mitsu Starion engine parts, etc (this would be vehicles of the same year). I guess a lemon can be made by anyone, but almost all other owners I talked to across the nation (via the Internet) LOVE their Raiders. Of course, most of them also are able to work on their own vehicles, and know about a 4x4 truck.
My Raider is 13 yrs old. I bought it from my dad for a dollar and so far have replaced only the clutch. No other vehicle can even come close to matching the Raider. People love the look, the shape, sound and irresistable originality of this vehicle.
I have a 1988 Dodge Raider with 187000 miles. I've never replaced anything besides the battery, and brakes. Now that the head blew, I am buying an engine for 800 dollars, with only 30000 miles on it. I don't know why you say parts are expensive. I mean, 800 dollars for an engine? It all has to do with how you take care of it. I change the oil every 30,000 miles. which comes up fast, and it is very important when you go on 4x4 trips with 100+ degree heat in moab. You probably just have a lemon.. there is at least one in every make and model.
While it has its weak points (head, transmission, carburetor) it's a stout little car. It tows way more than it should be able to, goes almost anywhere, and when you keep it in tune (not always easy) it gets pretty decent gas mileage.
Happily, no- one will work on them anymore, so I've had great luck finding lots of parts (including an almost- new carb) at the local junkyards. And there's no resale value for them, so you can actually buy a pretty nice early Montero or Raider for next to nothing.
I am the original owner of a 1988 Dodge Raider. I counted on this vehicle for many years and had no problems. I was rear-ended at a red light and had very little damage. The domestic SUV that hit me was totaled. I have done routine maintenance, changed the starter and A/C pulley. The vehicle is still on the road today, generally on weekends. I enjoyed my Raider so much that I purchased a 2004 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Unfortunately, the spirit of the Raider is gone, but it (too) has proven reliable for everyday use. I hope to mechanically restore the Raider just because.
The Dodge Raider is an amazing vehicle. I have an 1988 and have driven it to the ground. I'm 18 and it has lasted through insane off-roading, farm work, and high way driving for at least 2 hours every day... and has required very minimal work on it. It has reached over 350 000 km and still runs like a beauty. My family now has 3 of these bad boys and I wouldn't trade them for anything!
I'm SO sorry for you man. But I had an 88 Dodge Raider 2.6L and I must say that has been one of the best cars if not THE best car I ever owned. Slow, but torqueful... great 4x4, and never needed much maintenance. Besides the lemon theory no one should take their car to the dealership to get fixed. Dealers will just charge double for what any other good mechanic can do with his eyes closed. Plus Dealers don't use "generic" parts, but only "Original Parts"...new flash: it's the same stuff with only the logo to difference them apart.
Now, I had that little tank for about 3 years in Costa Rica... yes COSTA RICA. A country where a car's durability is truly tested. Our roads completely suck and our jungle terrain in rural areas puts any 4x4 to the test. And that little tank proved to be a true Jungle Rumbler. I currently own an 89 Range Rover, but I would buy another Raider in a heartbeat. In fact, I advised my little brother to get one. A TRUE LITTLE TANK WITH GREAT 4X4 CAPABILITY.
I felt I really had to defend it...
I have a 22R Toyota engine, with tranny, and a Dodge Raider with a blown engine. I was wondering if my 22R engine and tranny would fit into my Dodge Raider with any problems? If there were going to be problems, what would they be, and what could I do to get it to work?
Man, I work for a dealership and have been dealing with that bad reputation from people forever. When people get tired of blowing their money at independents, they come to dealers to get the vehicle fixed. To a cheap customer, we are their last resort after they have spent countless money at an independent shop. They could spend 1k at their shop misdiagnosing it, then 200 fixing it correctly at a dealer. But in their eyes, the dealer just got them for 1200. Keep going to lame independents; I'll see you when you need it fixed. :)
I hear ya on that one buddy. I also work at a dealer, and I see the same exact situation every day. People just don't understand the benefit of taking your car to the dealer. The price is most definitely higher than an independent shop, but the real difference is factory trained technicians. If customers could see all of the training courses and TSB updates I have to go through, they would think twice before trusting their car to someone who only has generic training and service information.