Buying a project car...How big of a project is it though?

I am looking at buying a 1989 Dodge Raider which is the same thing as a mitsubishi montero and a mitsubishi pajero. The guy I am buying it from said it ran fine up until the other day when he was driving it on the highway and it started to shudder and said it felt like there wasnt enough fuel getting to the engine. He then pulled over, turned the car off, then started it again and drove the rest of the way home without any problems. What do you think the problem with it is that is causing this and is it fixable? the engine has high mileage, and burns a bit of oil, but again, I’m looking at it to be a project for this summer. thanks for your help!

I would look a little longer for another project vehicle. This really sounds like a money pit to me because there are not a lot of these vehicles on the road. Parts will probably be very hard to find as well. You can check out the Dodge Raider Enthusiasts website and go from there.

Howdy ! Just How Long Are The Summers Out There On Frontier 719, Partner ?


Ha where i live, it doesnt start to get warm until mid may, and its cold again by september, so not too long, but just long enough to get some work done.

I seem to recall that the Mitusbishi V6’s used in these tended to have fuel injector problems. I don’t remember any details other than that everyone I’ve ever known with a Montero has at some point had to replace them to the tune of almost $2000 (they’re expensive and a pain to get to). Granted that’s a sample of only three people, but I was under the impression that there was some sort of endemic problem. Parts are generally pretty expensive for those rigs, though.

My vote if you want something similar is look for a mid-80’s to early-90’s Isuzu Trooper. The Isuzu-sourced 4-cylinders are great little engines or they also came with GM-built V6’s with TBI (same engine that came in S10 trucks) which have really cheap parts and are almost absurdly easy to work on.

it actually has a 2.6l 4cylinder engine in it…do you think that would be similar to the engine in a 4cylinder trooper? its not the large model of the montero, its a small 2-door model

It is coincidentally the same displacement as the Isuzu 4-cylinder but not at all related. I’m not really sure if the Mitsubishi 4-cylinder is a particularly good engine-- the Japanese 4-cylinder truck engines tended to be, but it might be worth looking for Mitsu-specific forums and inquiring further.

Also, re your question, the problem sounds like a fuel pump or electronic ignition problem (to wildly speculate), not anything internal so I’d guess that it shouldn’t be too much of a project. You might consider getting a compression test on it before you buy it, especially given the burning a little oil (how little exactly?).

i thought it sounded like the fuel pump as well, which doesn’t concern me too much, but i will definitely get the compression test just to make sure its not something bigger. I’m not too sure about how much oil the car is burning, I’m planning on going to look at it next weekend so I’ll go over it pretty good. the owner must trust the car because he drives it from northern colorado springs to pueblo when it snows, which is about a 100 mile trip! this car will primarily be my winter car so i can actually get out of my neighborhood when it snows!

Hi there,

Not sure if I"m too late to weigh in here, but I’ve had a Dodge Raider for 5 years. It’s a fun car to drive and easy to spot in a parking lot.

However, I had a similar problem as the original owner, and my mechanic said it was a fuel injector. We’ve looked and looked and can’t find one anywhere. I’m going to check, and if I strike out there, I’ll be donating my Raider to NPR.

Let me know if you had a different experience!

when buying a project car some things to consider are: how many of them were made, how long have they lasted on the average, and how many other people are enthusiastic about that make and year? If the average life is 10 years, or 100,000 miles for instance, and it is not a “classic” car, and they were never very popular, then dont do it. There wont be any after market or NOS parts, and you wont find any in the yards, they will all have been crushed. If it is a popular car that had say a 250,000 mile, or 25 year average life, and it is now 25 years since it was built, you will find parts in the lot, and you might find NOS parts in Hemmings or there may be clubs and parts at automotive swap meets.

Trying to keep these 20 year old, high mileage electronic orphans running is an exercise in futility, a black hole into which you shovel money…

If you are looking for a project, stick with 1974 and older vehicles. Then, when you are done, you will have something decent and repairable, something anyone can understand and work on…No electronics, no emissions controls.