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1987 Dodge Raider


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#1 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:46 AM

I had posted about this purchase previously in the BS section...but didn't want to start a resto thread until I had a better feel for what it was going to take...and if it was indeed worth pursuing.  Ultimately, as of three weeks ago, I decided to go for it.

Found this little beauty back in December and just had to go take a look.  Owner was a seventy-two year old Vietnam War vet, so with my military history, we got along swimmingly.

First off, it had been sitting for eight years unmoved.  So I'm thinking right off the bat...how much rust, brakes must be locked up, gas tank is probably a gel-capsule, etc etc.  Then of course...is the engine locked up?

Anywho, I call the guy to say I'm coming out to look over the Raider.  He asks me where I'm coming from and I tell him Sugar Land.  He says "thank God, at least you're not one of those fruit loops from Houston."  Ummm, ok.  I'm thinking maybe I should reconsider.  We keep talking and hit it off once we discover each other's military background.  Ok, maybe all will be ok.

So I make the two-hour ride on the bike.  I show up and this guy is a character...called me Evil Knevil since I showed up on the CBR.  Then walks me around to the back yard where the Raider is...all along the way pointing out the thirty-six different hidden cameras he has all over his property.  I was considering making a dead phone call so I could be GPS tracked to my location...you know...just in case HE was a fruit loop.

Anyway, we get back to the Raider and I'm surprised at how good it looked.  I mean it's a thirty year old car, so it certainly had some age showing, but all in all I was pretty happy with it.  Then he puts his hand on my shoulder and says, "you know Nick, I like you, even though you're Evil Knevil.  Are you going to do something good with this thing?"  I say "yes sir, I've always wanted one."  And I showed him pics of the Starion and the Conquest being rebuilt, and he was happy with what he saw and said "I like knowing she's going to someone who'll make it happen."  Then offered me the Raider for a third of what he was asking for in his ad.  I immediately agreed.

Then we spent two hours looking the whole thing over and sharing stories.  He hand-cranked the engine for me to show it wasn't locked up.  Hooked up a power pack to show me that the lights all work, signals work, radio worked, etc etc.  Checked all the doors and windows and locks.  I was very pleased.

We did the deal on site, and I told him I'd get in touch with him about towing it to my mechanic in Sugar Land.  He told me that he was going to his property out near San Antonio the following week and would be happy to tow it down to the mechanic for me on his way.  So I got a free tow out of the whole deal as well.  If only all purchases could be like this.

Anyway, the week after, I call the mechanic and go over our list of what needs to be checked/done.  First thing first, drop the tank and clean it out.  Had a challenge with the fuel pick up, and an even bigger challenge trying to find a replacement pick up.  Ended up rebuilding the original.  Replaced the fuel pump and filter, as well as new fuel lines the entire length.  Replaced the plugs and wires as well.  Then a new battery.  

Then came checking the radiator, replacing coolant lines, and filling with fresh coolant.  After that was blasting the inside of the oil pan, replacing the oil filter, and filling with new oil.  And the old belts were so dry-rotted I couldn't believe they were still holding their shape...so all new belts were in the mix as well.

Moment of truth...can you believe it...the damn thing fired up and ran.

It didn't run well lol.  Very shaky with a lot of hesitation and lot of noise from every single pulley...somewhat expected...certainly not surprising.  Next step was to pull the top off the motor and get the carb rebuilt.  The rebuilt carb setup made a huge difference.  It now idles smoothly.  The pulleys were either cleaned and lubed or outright replaced and the previous screaming sounds were gone.

So we were close to a real test drive...but the tires had to go.  Even though they were all holding air (including the rear mount spare), I just didn't want to trust tire that have been sitting in the same spot for eight years.  So we replaced them with some new Kenda Klever ATs.

So all this led up to today...when I got to actually test drive it out on a real road.  I was very happy.  The brakes are actually in pretty good shape, although they could definitely benefit from some new brake lines, a good bleed, and some new fluid.  Second gear has its own personality...sometimes it lets you say hello, and other times it tells you to piss off.  I'm sure other things will arise, but that's all I noticed on the short test drive.

Next step is to listen to it with a stethoscope to make sure there's no internal skeletons that need to be dealt with.  And since it's an '87, the inspection only involves safety items...so we're in the clear on that issue.  I may just be taking it in for registration next week...keeping my fingers crossed.

I'll keep posting updates as things move along.  Until then, here's some pics...

Edited by NikoFab, 29 March 2017 - 02:01 AM.






#2 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:47 AM

Here's the pics from the original craigslist ad...

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Edited by NikoFab, 29 March 2017 - 01:48 AM.


#3 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:47 AM

Some pics from when we off-loaded it at the mechanic shop...

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Edited by NikoFab, 29 March 2017 - 01:51 AM.


#4 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:47 AM

Couple of shots of the interior...and yes, the inclinometer still works!

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Edited by NikoFab, 29 March 2017 - 09:01 PM.


#5 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:52 AM

And a couple of shots after getting back from the test drive today.  The new Kendas ride very nice.

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Edited by NikoFab, 29 March 2017 - 01:57 AM.


#6 jonboyb

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 08:02 AM

I still regret selling my turbo/FI Raider :(   They're just fun to drive, period.
87 Valencia Quest - MPI MSII
84 Mezzon Gold Dodge Conquest - Timecapsule
89 Dodge Raider - Turbo TBI MSII
11 Ecoboost F-150....Cause TT is Better than a V8

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#7 TexasQuest

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 08:24 PM

Always like those little trucks.
88 Fiji Blue -Tsi
Zoom clutch, Fidanza flywheel, Stedebani shifter, KYB's, ST springs, ST swaybars, abs delete, a/c delete, cruise delete, JVE, BSEK, TEP steel brake lines, LSP braided cooler lines, CX Racing radiator,  MK1 silicone hoses, MK1 pullies, *DM hard pipes & intercooler,14G turbo, ported exh. manifold, MAF Translator, 3.5" GM maf, Turbo XS RFL bov, *DM 3" exhaust, Cusco front strut bar, TEP rear strut bar, Enkei 92's, HKS turbo timer, AEM wideband, AEM boost gauge, AEM oil pressure gauge, Hallman boost controller
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View PostJohnnyWadd, on 04 March 2010 - 10:01 PM, said:

my shaft was big i dont know what your talking about.

#8 NikoFab

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 09:03 PM

View Postjonboyb, on 29 March 2017 - 08:02 AM, said:

I still regret selling my turbo/FI Raider :(   They're just fun to drive, period.

Who did you end up selling it to?

#9 jonboyb

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

Pagemo bought it then sold to a guy in Raleigh.  MIA since.  Even more depressing is the replacement 5-speed that went with it in the rear cargo hold.....factory Mitsu (not rebuild) with 1,500 miles on it.  Should have kept that tranny.

Edited by jonboyb, 30 March 2017 - 08:51 AM.

87 Valencia Quest - MPI MSII
84 Mezzon Gold Dodge Conquest - Timecapsule
89 Dodge Raider - Turbo TBI MSII
11 Ecoboost F-150....Cause TT is Better than a V8

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#10 NikoFab

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:51 PM

Ok update time.  Done a lot of work to the Raider...and she's running and driving well.

Swapped motors to a lower-mileage used unit.  The original motor had some bottom end noises we were concerned with.  Took the entire top end of the new swap motor and had it rebuilt...new motor is running nicely.  Although a new exhaust from front to rear is coming at some point.

Front brakes have been completely replaced...rotors, lines, calipers, etc.  Boy what a difference.

When I bought the Raider, it couldn't find 2nd gear...problem now solved.

Was able to get state inspection and registration done a few weeks ago.

Couple other things that will be addressed soon...but I'm comfortable enough to drive daily now.  I get a lot of thumbs up lol.

#11 NikoFab

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:58 PM

Beginning to address aesthetics one item at a time.  With the new Kenda Klevers on...I wanted to see if the OEM chrome wheels would clean up...not too bad for 30 years old.  First pic is the left front, and representative of what they all look like.  Second pic is the right front after some cleaning.


Original condition
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After a little cleaning and polishing
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Edited by NikoFab, 13 November 2017 - 07:00 PM.





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