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#1027687 - 05/05/11 01:48 PM Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L
MTRaider Offline

Need a Spot
Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 8
Loc: Montana
Hello to All,

I'm a newbie, so I apologize in advance for my future, unintended mistakes. I hope you will permit some latitude as I lay out my case. Thank you.

I inherited a 1988 Dodge Raider that I had bought for my oldest because it was too unreliable for him. That he had blown the engine was a consideration. I liked it more than him anyway, so much so that I hauled it from Florida to Montana, where it has sat undisturbed for a year and a half.

My ambition is to repair/restore the Raider, but I need help. Because rebuilding or replacing the motor is the only mandatory repair, I need the benefit of your collective experience in laying out the sources, costs, and pitfalls, so I can decide (and soon) whether I can take on the project, or whether I will be posting "parts available".

I am 58 yrs. old now, but I was a gearhead in my younger days, and I'm confident that I can do most of the work myself.

Any and all replies will be gratefully accepted.
_________________________
1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L
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#1027688 - 05/05/11 01:55 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: MTRaider]
off-roader Offline

Web Wheeler
Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 16211
Loc: Bay Area, CA *****
Welcome! I'm sure that those more versed in the 2.6 will chime in soon.

One question for you though is when you say "he had blown the engine", what exactly do you mean? A head gasket failure? Bottom end destruction due to oil starvation?
_________________________
Off Roader
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#1027689 - 05/05/11 09:05 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: off-roader]
MTRaider Offline

Need a Spot
Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 8
Loc: Montana
Thanks for the reply. To answer your question, I'm not exactly sure, but I have researched the cooling issues related to these engines. My guess, best case, is blown head gasket; worst case, cracked block. I should of mentioned that the engine has 137K miles on and blew a bit of smoke, so my reasoning is that if I go in to and find a head gasket I'm going to want to do a valve job. If I do that, I'll need to consider rings and bearings. If I'm going that far, I may as well get a new long block, or rebuild. Make any sense? Of course, you and others may tell me that it will cost a zillion dollars and that there are no reliable rebuilders or parts sources, etc, and I'll have to face the choice of praying for a blown head gasket, replacing it, and motoring on for a few more years. Not my first choice, which was more in line with a "Pimp the Raider" build. In these uncertain times, I'll have to take the best option I can afford.

I hope this gives you, and others seeing this for the first time, enough to work with. Thanks, again, for your help.
_________________________
1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L
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#1027690 - 05/05/11 09:13 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: MTRaider]
JohnnyBfromPeoria Offline
Trail Leader
Registered: 06/10/02
Posts: 6198
Loc: Phoenix, AZ *****
Bottom end on the G54B, 2.6l I-4 is pretty stout. Shouldn't have gone south with that kind of mileage.

Clearwater cylinder heads in Clearwater, FL makes a new casting head that is a good all-in-one replacement. Fel-Pro gasket set and new head bolts, along with a bottoming tap run down the head bolt holes will redo the entire top end in one day.

There really aren't good sources for a reliably built long block, but the parts are certainly out there.

Good luck.

John B.
_________________________
'87 Raider 2.6 Turbo Auto, Under Construction
'95 Montero SR, 35x12.5/15 BFG M/T KM-2's, Rock sliders, Qtr panel chop, gas tank lift, 2" BL, Aisins
'86 SWB, 2" BL, 33" BFG KM-2's, 2.4l KM-148
2012 Chevy Camaro LS V6/M6 IPF S/C
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#1027691 - 05/05/11 09:45 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: JohnnyBfromPeoria]
fasteddy Offline
Web Wheeler
Registered: 01/30/01
Posts: 13629
Loc: Helen , GA *****
It is a good gamble to do the head. The blocks are very tough, unless you had a balance shaft bearing go and put metal in the oil. You would hear that as bearing noise if it was fried that way. Put a well charged battery in it and get/rent h compression tester and report the numbers. The cranking to do the compression test will show you any bearing noise. Look for oil pressure on the gauge as it is cranked, too.

Your costs are as follows, with alternates:

Rod out (about $100) or recore (about $250-300) the radiator as required. The cooling will be more than adequate then.

Pressure test your head to determine if it's easily repairable. Repair if sound (straighten to a straight cam bore, and resurface inside spec limits, service valves, replace any broken studs - you need to get a machine shop quote on all this, a few hundred. Otherwise, check with Clearwater Heads, Alabama Cylinder Head, or your machine shop for a new or rebuilt head. Go new if you can.

You'll need some other bits, all the hoses, a head gasket kit (get the one for an 89 Mitsu Starion and get the best head gasket), a set of one time use locking exhaust manifold gaskets, some gasket remover and a scraper to clean the block of all old gasket and gunk (spend LOTS of time and elbow grease doing this, and do it as well as possible), new belts, a new timing set is nice, too, while you're in there. I'd get a new set of hydraulic valve lash adjusters on a repaired head.

Pay real good attention to how you take the vac lines apart so you can hook all that mess back up right easy. There's a way to take it apart in big chunks that stay mostly with the intake mani/carb, the easiest way.

It's a weekend's work for one man, with a helper needed only once, in setting the new head very, very carefully and very straight on the nice new gasket on the nice shiny clean block top. I pull and set the head with the manifolds attached, bulkier/heavier, but much easier if you have the helper. I will not come to Montana. You should have stopped in GA on the way thru and we would have fixed it up for you...
_________________________
Not responsible for advice not taken...
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#1027692 - 05/05/11 10:10 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: fasteddy]
MTRaider Offline

Need a Spot
Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 8
Loc: Montana
Thanks John and Fasteddy for the feedback.

It would be a wonderful and ironic thing if I could solve the problem by moving from Sarasota, FL to Montana, only to find what I need in Clearwater, FL--about one hour from my old home. What a deal!

RE cooling, the radiator's good. A hose broke and my son ran it dry--residual damage.

Other symptoms to fill out the diagnosis: after replacing the hoses, steam out the carb (a rebuilt Mikuni-some $$ have been spent already) and oil in the coolant. It did run fine for a while, then I think the gasket let go. At least that's the theory. It also developed the habit of shutting down unexpectedly, but I think that may be electrical, a hot wire short maybe, since it would restart after a while.

What about flushing out the cooling system: Any areas in the block need special attention?

By the way, I did acquire a set of original tech manauls, so I'll have some references. As for vacuum lines, I say thank God for the digital camera!

Thanks, again, guys.
_________________________
1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L
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#1027693 - 05/05/11 10:36 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: MTRaider]
fasteddy Offline
Web Wheeler
Registered: 01/30/01
Posts: 13629
Loc: Helen , GA *****
OK, it's the head gasket. Don't let the gunk sit in the crankcase - the antifreeze will eat the bearings.

I'd rod the radiator just because I could. Worth doing. Nothing kills a 2.6 head quicker than heat, either a sudden overheat, or a chronic mild overheat will do the deed. Kept cool, they last a long, long time.
_________________________
Not responsible for advice not taken...
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#1027694 - 05/06/11 12:15 AM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: fasteddy]
MTRaider Offline

Need a Spot
Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 8
Loc: Montana
I hear you, I just hope I haven't gone too long on that.

What can I do to flush the crankcase and oil pathways? Anything for reconditioning the bottom end? Some additive to use, even for general purpose?
_________________________
1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L
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#1027695 - 05/06/11 01:57 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: MTRaider]
fasteddy Offline
Web Wheeler
Registered: 01/30/01
Posts: 13629
Loc: Helen , GA *****
Throw a half quart of dexron in the oil to wash the crankcase and oilways out by cranking the engine in 30sec bursts. Let it sit a few hours and drain the mess out. Do an oil change at 3 hours of engine run time on restart.

I forgot before. While the head is off, inspect the honing pattern on the thrust side of the cylinder wall (the highest wear area), and inspect the whole cylinder for scoring. If the thrust side (the exhaust side, if I've spun the engine right in my head) still has a discernable homing crosshatch pattern, and there are no scores in the rest of the wall that catch a fingernail, the bores at least are pretty good.
_________________________
Not responsible for advice not taken...
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#1027696 - 05/06/11 11:10 PM Re: Rebuild or replace 1988 Dodge Raider 2.6L [Re: MTRaider]
Kevin C Offline
Trail Leader
Registered: 05/20/00
Posts: 6123
Loc: Portland OR ****
If the motor was stalling, it could be a friction issue. Just to be sure, I would take the oil filter off, cut it open and check for bearing flakes. You may see some residue if you drain the oil, but most probably settled out.

When a motor with a bad head gasket sits, you often can get a pitted cylinder wall or cylinder wall rust. Once you get the head off post a couple of pictures. On my block it was bad enough to require a sleeve.

Kevin C
_________________________
87 Turbo Intercooled Raider, roller cam, torsen rear diff, LSD front diff, lockup auto with modified converter, V6 brakes, low transfer case gears...
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