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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Wow, aren't we a bit defensive vocus! No problem at all about you posting where/when you want, as long as you don't mind me snooping around after you and making sure you post legit information.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Thank you for the run down on the "expresso" badge.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    The sporty appearance package available on the Neon (Dodge and Plymouth) was called Expresso for the 1996 model year. The "Sport" designation did not hit the Neon until the 1998 model year. So there were "Expresso" labeled Dodge and Plymouth Neons.

    Beanboy: Don't mind you checking my facts at all. Matter of fact, I do research for a living, so try to be right on about my info. I shouldn't really magnify the negative about the Neon experience I have had (with my roommate's), but just want consumers (as to say, people who check this board) to know so they don't get into the same mess as my roommate is in. I wish Dodge would get the refinement and customer service down on the Neon, because I think it's a nice little economical set of wheels. And it seems there are good and bad Neons, as with any car, so you just have to hope for a "lucky hand" when purchasing I guess.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Paul and hersbird!!! :-)

  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Is you buy a used Neon dirt cheap and take it to your favorite local shop for work if it needs anything. Everything on the car is cheap to fix, nothing major going on the long-term vehicles other than the HG.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    There were 'sport' labeled dodges in 95-97 as well. The badge looked different, a body colored scripted sport, vs the chrome individual S-P-O-R-T on the 98 and 99's. If anything the early plymouth's were badged 'sport', but I do believe the Dodge never was badged 'expressso' at least in the US. I two neon books from the dealer showroom for the 98 models, one Plymouth and one Dodge. The dealer I bought my neon from in 98 sold both makes. I special ordered my neon and could have picked either one with everything being exactly the same except the plymouth would have said 'expresso' on the side and the Dodge 'sport', I picked the Dodge just because I don't like coffee. Given any Chrysler muscle car line from the 60's, I'd chose the Plymouth over the Dodge every time (Roadrunner over Superbee, Cuda over Challenger, etc) but those cars were actually different.

    well here is the full skinny on this expresso stuff from in their FAQ section:
    vocus is right as for the 96 model year, I an right for 97 on, I don't think the 95 models were actually labeled anything but it was called the sport package.

    "1.3 Neon Sport and Expresso Sedan/Coupe

    The Neon Sport debuted as the top-of-the line model. Most of the features that were optional on other cars were standard for the Sport, such as antilock brakes and 14-inch wheels. Very early Sports had steel wheels; alloys became standard when the Sport Coupe appeared in late 1994. Other identifying factors are the special fascia with fog lights; when the DOHC appeared, all Sports received the "power bulge" hood, even for SOHCs.

    The Sport line has undergone more changes than any other. Like all Neons, it was originally available only as the SOHC-powered Sedan. This car had the same SDC (Touring) suspension as the Highline. The Sport Coupe, which appeared at the end of 1994, was a somewhat different animal. While keeping all of the standard Sport features, it added standard DOHC (which could be deleted for credit) and performance ratio gearing for manual transmission cars. It also featured the SDE (Sport) suspension, with stiffer struts (not quite the ACR competition-stiff units), front and rear swaybars, and the slightly quicker steering ratio found on the ACR.

    In the 1996 m/y, Chrysler introduced the Expresso for both Dodge and Plymouth, which was an option package based on the Highline car. It had most of the comfort and appearance items of the Sport, though alloy wheels were no longer standard (all '96 Expressos had white bubble wheelcovers or white alloys, regardless of body color), and Coupes used the SDC suspension. Antilock brakes were optional rather than standard. The seats were the Sport level, with a special Tango upholstery, also known as "confetti".

    For 1997 and up Neons, the Sport was made into a similar option package, rather than an individual model. Dodge cars are called Sport, Plymouth uses the Expresso name. Both are similar to the '96 Expresso, though the newer style alloy wheels are optional and are silver on non-white cars. This package relates to the Highline car the way the R/T relates to the ACR."
  • csawrucsawru Posts: 29
    Greetings all,

    I've owned this car since day 1, with regular oil changes, mostly rural highway miles. I don't abuse this car and while I enjoy it as a commuter, I had some bad news about it the other day. For the past few weeks when I start the engine in the mornings, (And in Wisconsin, they can be *cold*) I've heard a light tapping sound from the motor, which goes away after the temp. stabilizes. For a while I thought it may be temp. related, or perhaps because the oil was needing a change. I changed the oil from the 5W-30 mix I use in the winter to a 30W I use other times. Still had the ticking. Really no other way to describe it. You only hear it under moderate load, not at idle and not when accelerating. Otherwise it had good performance, mileage is still about 35-40 MPG and doesn't seem to burn or leak oil.

    At about 89,000 miles I had the entire head replaced. From reading a bunch of prior posts,I had the typical head gasket go out on me. It took me a while to get it serviced, but with a 100,000 mile ext. warranty, it was replaced more or less with minimal charge. I had all the hoses and belts, including timing belt replaced at the same time, thinking this would give me a few more years with this car. The body is solid, mechanically seems to be in good shape otherwise, and I just replaced the front rotors myself - really pretty easy. I've changed the oil and filter roughly every 5000 miles.

    So about the ticking. I took it to the dealer I bought it from, he told me they think it's piston slap and possibly some rod knock. They call for a complete short block replacement...About $3000 total. Well I'm going to get a second opinion from another nearby dealer who I've had business for years. I described the same symptoms to the service manager at the second place, he stated it may be a sticky lifter, or something else somewhat minor.

    So if it's the worst case, what advice do any of you have? Having just gone past the 100K ext. warranty, with a well-maintained engine. From what I see this motor does seem pretty stout on the bottom end - cast iron block, etc. Honestly, 101K rural highway miles in 4 years doesn't seem that extreme. Any advice or more info would be sincerely appreciated. Thank You.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    A 97, well do you owe anything on it? Cars with high miles tend to need "things" on a go forward basis. I owned a 91 Ford Escort Hatchback with 97,500 miles and after a year of some minor and major repairs(the repairs all seemed reasonable at the time) I realized I was spending almost as much money repairing the Ford as I would have making payments on a new car. I see your issue as economic. You are driving a 4 1/2 year old car with high miles. If it's paid off, it might be time to cut it loose. Just my 2 cents.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    In 1995, there were 3 models of Neon. It was base, Highline, and Sport. The only option package they came with back then was called the "Flash Decor Group", which gave the interior of the car that funky-color upholstery. The Expresso became available in 1996, along with changing wheel covers for the base models and adding power steering as standard on all models.
  • nash5nash5 Posts: 2
    I am shocked to read that anyone is happy with their Neons. My husband bought a brand new 96 Dodge Neon in May of 96. When his oil started to leak last summer, we did not take it to the dealer b/c the warranty was expired. We spent $350 at one place, 3 weeks later he broke down on the interstate, was towed to the nearest place and we spent $1500 to have the head gasket replaced. Then we found out it would have been free had we taken it to the dealer. Got the 1-800 number to call about being reimbursed (they'll only do half if it's a on-dealer place) and have NEVER talked to an actual person - one day was on hold for 2 hours (no exaggeration.) In February, the Neon broke down again, compressor or something to the tune of $1000. Now we're trying to trade it in - for a non-chrysler product of course - and the most anyone will give us for a 96 neon with less than 50k miles is $1000 b/c the engine is so terrible - and we've changed the oil religiously every 3000 miles and taken it for tune ups and all that. I refuse to sell it privately because I could never look someone in the eye and tell them I think they should buy the piece of junk. The only thing I can think to do is tell everyone I know my story to give Dodge as much bad publicity as possible. No one at the dealer or corporate seems at all concerned with my problems.
  • csawrucsawru Posts: 29

    It's just now paid off. And I can live with some things which are essentially cosmetic or are not safety/running related. Heck, I'd even put up with a busted AC at this point.

    But you point out the same thoughts I'm having.

    Kind of hard to face spending big money when I can get a new Kia Rio 4 door econobox for $9000 - including a 100K powertrain warranty. I don't know much about Kia, but the price and warranty has me interested in knowing more.

    I guess if anyone has specific ideas how to deal with service on this, such as would I have a ghost of a chance pressing for warranty coverage, or even partial reimbursment? You hear about folks getting some informal assistance fairly often, just that sometimes it takes some doing.

    Thanks much,

  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Hey all!

    Could anyone tell me what the EPA rating is on the 2001 Neon (base not HO Magnum engine) with a 5-spd? I seem to recall the 2000 model as being rated 28 city / 35 highway.

    Now I see it rated as 27 city / 33 highway on Edmunds. I'm not sure if they botched the info when keying it in (I'm thinking maybe that's the rating for the HO version), if the EPA revised its estimate or if Chrysler fiddled with the gear ratios (personally, I'd take an extra 2 mpg on the highway over a three-tenths of a sec drop in 0-60 times any day of the week...particularly now with petro running at just over 7 dollars a gallon or so). I'd like to know what the deal is though.

    I'm just a couple thousand away from purchasing (with cash) a new Neon ES now. After driving a few more cars lately, I'm remaining steadfast. If you can live with the "noise" (which I can - it's limo quiet compared to the Isuzu Stylus XS I drove back in college...perhaps I'm deaf from that experience), I think the cute little bobtail Neon is the most rewarding small car out there (unless your idea of rewarding is a soft ride, in which the nod would have to go to that new Civic). But, I digress.
  • amber11amber11 Posts: 2

    We bought our '99 Expresso 2.0L 4-Cyl DOHC brand new and have maintained it on schedule the last 2 years. Now, when you have your foot on the brake and put it into gear (reverse or drive) it makes a horrible grinding noise. If you put it into gear without your foot on the brake, there's no noise.

    It's still under the original warranty, so we're not worried about the $$ and have an appointment with the dealer, but I was wondering if this sounded familiar to anyone and what it might be.

  • jackielejackiele Posts: 22
    I purchased the above car new for my daughter in 1997. It presently has 35,000 miles on it and is the biggest piece of junk I have ever had the misfortune of owning. I have had two master cylinders replaced and just did the head gasket. The only saving grace was that I took out the extended warranty so it has just cost me $150 out of pocket. ($50.00 deductible). I am now in the process of buying a Honda Accord. I will take out the extended warranty on that car also (even though deep down I know that it's unnecessary) However, after my Neon, I'm not taking any chances. I know that there is no resale on this car so my family will use it until it just falls apart - shouldn't be long now! Please, please, please, if you're thinking about buying one, don't.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    For those who would like to use this site to post unflattering comments about our cars, let me save you the trouble:

    "I am (your name here)and I have a (least 4-6 year old Neon) and I thought that after paying 2500 - 5000 dollars less for my car than a Civic/Carolla/Sentra/Protege with 1.9% financing for 60 months I should be able to drive it for 150,000 miles and never have any problems with the car - ever.

    Now, I have paid 500 dollars in a timing belt/head gasket/sensor and I am pissed. How can Chrysler sell such junk? Everyone knows those other cars never break, need oil, tires or brakes. My mothers, uncles cousins girlfriend has one of those other cars and never had a problem with it in 25 years.

    This car has been a problem since the day I had it. After one year, I had to get it inspected. I am sure those other cars are so good, my state does not require them to be inspected. But since my damn Neon is such a peice of crap, I have to submit to yearly inspections.

    Then at 25 - 50,000 miles I had to have my head gasked replaced under warrentee. The car never left me anyhere and my mechanic found the problem while it was being inspected. I am pissed.

    In 100,000 miles I have gone though 5 sets of Pep Boys tires, the head gasket, timing belt, 2 sets of spark plugs, a pvc valve, 3 brake jobs 2 sets of front rotors, 30 oil/filter changes, 5 wiper blades, a feul filter, 10 air filters, 2 coolant changes, new belts & hoses, tire rod ends, 2 alignments, and had my transmission serviced.

    This car is taking me for everything I got. Some of you (I assume you are a small minority) report you have not needed any major repairs. I guess you just got lucky and got one of the few good ones. I am sure if I bought another one I would have even more problems.

    If you have one, you better sell it, or trade it in now before you start having to do all the things I had to just to keep it on the road.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    jackiele; your neon has very low miles compare with it's age. Within 4 years, how many times you got your brake fluid changed.
    I am a former owner of Accord 99LX (wrecked it a month ago), my wife drives 2K Neon. For your new purchase, visit Accord's problem topic and get yourself familiar to potential problems. You will need it.

    edsword; good job dude
  • greg116greg116 Posts: 116
    jackiele: are those the only problems youve had with it? Willing to let it go cheap? I'll take it! (not, too far away)

    from what ive heard about neons, this is a darn good one.

    edswords: very good job! i read a post in the pickups board about a guy who was thoroughly pissed about his eight-year-old Dakota because it needed its tranny rebuilt once, saying he'll never buy a dodge again. What a whiner.

    One quick question. I am planning on looking for a used '95-99 Neon sometime in the near future. I've driven a '96 4-door SOHC automatic for a few days and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the tranny was junk and the A/C didnt produce any noticeable results other than to surge the engine.

    Does the coupe give up a significant amount of interior space to the sedan? I'm gunning for a Highline Sedan for the versatility and possibly lower insurance, but if there's a Coupe that I really like ill settle for that instead.

    Oh, one more thing: Say I bought a '95 and the head gasket went. If I took it into the dealer, would they replace it with one that won't blow out on me again (Assume no warranty)? And, are blown gaskets related to abusive (read: enthusiastic) drivers or does it just seem to "happen?"
  • jackielejackiele Posts: 22
    First of all, I am not Neon bashing - I don't have to - the car has proved to do that all by itself. You are all in denial. Just read about the problems. Yes, I do take care of my car. I change the oil every 3500 miles and take it in for checks regularly. Because it was my daughter's car, I checked it more than usual because I was concerned for her safety. When you buy a car, (whether you pay $500 or $50,000), you expect a certain level of comfort from it. This car did not do that! I purchased it new, took excellent care of it, and it disappointed me at every turn. In fact, I was just at the dealership again on Monday. The power mirrors have suddenly stopped working. When he put my VIN number on the computer, he laughed. I told him that I was buying a Honda and he fully agreed with me. Told me it's the best car in the business. Also, I assumed that these postings were meant to help potential buyers and owners. Should I lie and not write the truth? If you're happy with your Neon, hey, you're really lucky and I'm envious. But, don't tell me that I cannot post my personal experiences. If I can save one person from a huge financial error, I will.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I don't really see any reason to be disappointed because of your Neon has some problems. Honestly you have very solid Neon and let me tell you it will start leaking oil soon because of head gasket problem but that does not mean it is a bad car.
    Look at Toyota Sienna- engine sludge problem
    Toyota 4Runner-head gasket (certain years)problem
    Honda Accord - V6 transmission problem (limited production)
    Honda Accord - Trans.oil leak -engine oil leak, poor construction compared with previous generations
    Honda Civic - stereo and CVT transmission problem
    Chevy malibu - break problems........
    So the list goes on. No matter what you buy you will inherit certain type of problems. There is no perfect car for the money you are willing to spend. Based on my personal experience and readings, DC has the best customer service if you know how to deal with them. Try to submit something to Honda, you will see how arrogant they are.
    Good luck to you with your new purchase.
  • jackielejackiele Posts: 22
    Thanks for your posting. My Neon already did the head gasket thing at 30,000. I understand that you're very happy with your car and I think it's great. I hope it provides you with a million more miles of happy motoring.
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