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Just purchased a 98 Neon; Anyone with Neon knowledge?
Topic Started: Mar 20 2017, 11:31 AM (296 Views)
monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

So I figured out how to get around the wife's NO more cars declaration...bought one for my step-son's wedding present, lol. The old Accord gave him back in high school blew the head gasket after 275k, being it's an automatic, figured it wasn't worth the effort to fix since that could go at any time. Found an old 98 Plymouth Neon 4 door sedan 4cyl auto that needs lots of help in the looks department, but only had 92k on it. At the moment it needs rear struts, front wheel bearings, windshield, drivers door panel, both front fenders and tires. On the way home, speedometer randomly started dropping to 0 then hop back to speed after 10 seconds or so, so found a cluster with tach in it with almost the same mileage for $80 to swap out since I guess these had solder issues at the back of the cluster. Did pretty well for MPG, plugged my ultragauge into it and got 35mpg on the way home over around 100 mile distance.

Was wondering if anyone out there has had Neon experience before, trying to figure out what other quirks they might have.
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MarkZ28


Brakes suck. They have thin rotors and they can warp easily. They love to eat head gaskets, fortunately, they job isnt much harder than a Metro. Check the back of the engine, if theres oil on the block its probably the head gasket starting to go. They were basically a cheap throwaway car. They do have good power though. Dodge automatics arent very durable either. I worked at a Mopar dealer in the late 90's early 2000's, Neons were in thete a lot for warranty repairs for head gaskets, brakes, water leaks, and other misc stuff. About the only Mopar vehicle that was in the shop for warranty repairs was the Ram trucks with leaking intake plate gasskets and the ever popular auto transmission failures. Consider the Neon as a temporary car to get him by until he finds a better car. I would just fix the major stuff and let the rest go unless he wants to work on it himself for fun.
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monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

Lol, him working on it will never happen. He has artistic gene with absolutely no mechanical inclination, so I get the "come fix it Dad" all the time. Now he lives 5 hours south of me, told him that's coming to an end. Figured a throw away car is all I want to get him since he has totaled all but one of every car he's had, so if it lives for 2-3 years, that's more than I can ask. :'(
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monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

Thanks for the info Mark. Looked it up and they had a very crappy head gasket, made a much better gasket available in 98 that was supposed to last well over 100k, first gen were said to last 40k if you were lucky. Since I know nothing about the history of this car, think I will do a head gasket along with the cam seal, timing belt and water pump I was planning on anyways. I sure don't like how low they are to the ground, it's harder to get out of than my metro with my long legs, don't have very good vision out the back either.
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wolfsblood07
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[ *  * ]
A classic! Plymouths are hard to find nowadays.
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Hotrodray1
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Over Educated parts guy

Make sure to do timing belt and water pump and seals. I think change interval is 100,000 miles. But I could be wrong! I have done a lot of pt cruisers with that Engine.Man what a pain! But the neon had lots more room in comparison.
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monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

That was actually one of the things I looked at first before buying...pondered how hard/easy the timing belt would be since I planned on doing it as part of the needed maintenance before I hand it over to clueless Junior, lol.
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Hotrodray1
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Over Educated parts guy

A-men I understand that completely!
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turbogts22
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Dean
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
You didn't specify if you got the single cam or the dual cam motor. Most likely the single cam which will be a little easier to do a timing belt on. They do require a special puller for the crank damper pulley. Overall they're quite a bit more difficult to work on under the hood then a Metro.

With oil changes and the usual proper maintenance they'll run well past 200k just fine. If it has the newer MLS head gasket it should be fine. The 3-speed autos were fairly reliable as long as you don't spin one tire needlessly trying to get it unstuck, the diff pin will blow through the case.
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cwatkin


You have to love it when a group dedicated to the Geo Metro describes another car as a temporary throwaway car. With that low mileage you should at least get your money out of this one. Have the kid bring it home to have you change the oil. I understand the main bearings in these are essentially integral to the block so that makes rebuilding a more major ordeal.

The Geo is a cheap simple car that is reliable if you take care of it. The Neon is a typical Chrysler product and a cheaper one at that. Run it until it dies and then send it on its way!

Conor

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92blumetro
jack of all trades, master of two

take the console out and put it in a metro....as for the rest of the car, good luck!!
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monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

Doing good so far with repairs. Spent $100 at pull n save this weekend for a turn signal switch, 2 nice fenders, 4 stock hubcaps, a set of lug nuts (special for hub caps to screw to), gas cap and housing, nice factory jack that is like a wide floor jack type from who knows what, drivers door panel, stereo wiring harness, a decent Alpine cd player with usb and bluetooth with adapter face, carpet/hardboard cover for spare tire, a set of factory fog lamps (and they work, lol) and two returned instrument clusters with a tach that the speedometer didn't work in (they let me cart them out of the scrap bin for free). I just now got done repairing both of them, the solder cracks on the board at both harness plugs causing all sorts of issues. Took 20 minutes to tear apart and re-solder. Both work good now. It's just a ton of little maintenance issues that have never been done, sometimes disgusting how people can just totally trash a car.
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scratchpaddy
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Not so fast

Yep, I'm familiar with those cold solder issues. The instrument cluster on our '97 Caravan started flaking out around 180,000 miles... along with everything else which hadn't flaked out already. I re-soldered the board, but the van died a few months later.

Posted Image
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Stubby79
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scratchpaddy
Mar 27 2017, 10:39 PM
Yep, I'm familiar with those cold solder issues. The instrument cluster on our '97 Caravan started flaking out around 180,000 miles... along with everything else which hadn't flaked out already. I re-soldered the board, but the van died a few months later.

Posted Image
Wow! Look at them all! :O :shit
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monzanut
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Drip under Pressure

Either 12 or 14 per plug, two plugs total. They didn't place much solder on at the factory, with my bench magnifying glass could actually see the cracks in the solder. Only takes a few minutes to re-solder all of them, got a nice adjustable Weller and I set it to 635 F.
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