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Dodge/Plymouth Neon

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  • You know, after going away, the light has come on again twice during pretty long trips, so maybe that's it. I hate to say it, but I have no idea where my ground connections are, where to look for them or what they look like. Is there a resource online--maybe a pictoral tutorial somewhere?
  • Look for where black wires are connected to the sheetmetal with, appropriately enough, sheetmetal screws. Usually on the back side of the radiator support, inner fenders, firewall and such. See if any look corroded. Or just take all you can find apart, scrape any crud (hate to load you down with this technical jargon) off the eyelets and where they attach and screw it back together. There are probably small ground straps on your motor mounts to maintain electrical continuity from the engine to the rest of the car as the engine is suspended in rubber bushings. These grounds are usually bare braided steel with a clip on each end that is just pushed on. Give those (if you can find them) a wiggle so the steel can bite through any surface rust. As for the rest, as I said, just pull connectors apart and put them back together. Just make sure you check for any tabs that have to be pushed in/pulled out to release them before you just yank on them. Broken wiring connectors are a major pain. You probably don't want to disconnect the grounds from the battery as that will kill your clock and radio presets.
  • Thanks for the detailed how-to. I'll give it a shot when it stops raining and report back.
  • Since this is my first post, I'll just stick to what I know. As the title shows, I own a 2001 Neon ES. 5 speed, of course. Doubt i could have made it with a 3-speed auto. Just over 8000 miles since I bought it on May 23.
    Anyway, Three problems I've had....One of which I've solved myself. 1. Bolt-on wheel covers make an annoying clicking/rubbing noise when the car is in motion. I believe the wheel covers rub against the wheel itself or the tire. Tightening didn't help in my situation. I solved this with a set of $40 wheel covers from Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart.... 2. Either the clutch slips or the engine hesitates every now and then. I was very suprised when my dealer couldn't duplicate the problem. I'm suprised they're able to muddle their way through oil changes. I've more or less decided to live with the problem until it does it frequently enough for me to demonstrate it to them myself. I know that if I tried it now, The car would refuse to play along. They seem to be tempermental like that. 3. It seems to like to attempt to stall or, on two occasions, to actually stall. The conditions were different in every instance of the problem. I tried a procedure from neon.org to use the on-board diagnostics to get stored computer error codes, but none had been stored. Interesting.
    After my previous 3 vehicles, I realize that all vehicles are going to have problems. I'm not one of those who whould sit here and refuse to buy another DC vehicle for the rest of my life for two reasons. The first being it's damned foolish to say, and second of all, I've "lurked" around this board for some time, and I've seen what is said about those who act so foolishly. I look forward to seeing if any of you have had, or have heard about, either of the last two problems. I've checked all recalls and TSB's, and I don't believe there are any concerning these problems. There are, however some things on the NHTSA site posted by owners about the stalling and, in part, the hesitation, clutch.

    Sorry for the lengthy post. I didn't realize that I'm probably in the contention for a record.
  • My neon is an SE model, not an ES. I basically have a base neon. No a/c, no cruise, no inside trunk release, only the essentials. The way I see it, there's less to break that way! See Ya Around
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    From what I have gathered thus far from various research, I think Dodge has screwed up the '02 model line for consumers like me (YOU may be different).

    Someone please correct me if this info is wrong, but here's what I've ascertained so far:

    You can no longer get the ES without the spoiler (which is [non-permissible content removed]-ugly IMHO) or without the less-than-stunning alloy wheels. Also, the color Cinnamon is not available on the ES this year, it is replaced by almond.

    You CAN get an '02 SE in Cinnamon still (don't ask me why) and if you do go the SE route, you don't have to tolerate the iwannabeastreetracer spoiler on the back. You also get the old ES' standard 5-spoke wheel covers on the new SE (I like those better than the over-styled '02 ES alloys), but then you're stuck with the old base model's rather blase velour interior (and no upmarket diamond weave bezels on the dash or chrome interior door pulls) and the fog lights aren't even an option.

    So basically...if you want a Neon with an upscale interior now, you have to learn to live with the spoiler and alloys (both of which make the car look a bit too overdone for my conservative J.Crew tastes).

    Ugh!!!

    I guess if I really had my heart set on a Neon (I sure used to), I COULD get an ES and have the spoiler removed at a body shop and more attractive aftermarket 5-spokes put on to replace the factory ones, but it just isn't worth the hassle - or the added cost - to me.

    Personally, I've always felt that the reason for buying new over used was because you could get the car just the way you wanted it (color, transmission, options, etc.). If I didn't care about getting exactly what I wanted, I'd just go out and buy another used car - they certainly make more sense financially.

    I'd been planning on ordering a new Neon as soon as the Ultradrive on my current car finally crapped out, but I'm rethinking that now.

    One of the things I used to love so much about the Neon before was the ala carte option menu (e.g., I wouldn't be forced into buying leather or boy-racer plastic Pontiacesque tack-ons to get to options I really want - like the in-dash disc changer and the sunroof).

    With that gone, the Neon has dropped a couple places on my shopping list (from first to third to be exact). It's still a nice little car, but unfortunately, I can no longer get it done "my way". And that makes all the difference to me.
  • well in a quick trip to www.4adodge.com it looks like the spoiler is standard on the ES still but the wheels look the same as before. The R/T wheels look different, (nice IMO) maybe it's just that the alloys are standard on the ES now and they were optional before. I agree with you about ordering it your way, I think if it's an option on the line somewhere then it should be able to be ordered that way. If you want a red interior on a blue car then by god, it's your money (the dealer should just insist on a 50% deposit or something. If you want hubcaps and no spoiler on your R/T and paint the whole thing Cinnamon then you should be able to order it. They used to do whatever in 60's and 70's. The option lists were a mile long, you could chose between 20 colors in various two-tones and vinal tops which made literally hundreds of exterior appearance options possible. There were often 5-10 differnt motors and 3 different transmission choices. Them were the days, you can probably thank the imports for bringing the 'have it OUR way' package bundles to the commonplace. It is just to hard to have a car built to order overseas and then shipped here, it would take so long they would lose customers in the 3-6 month wait.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    What if you only want cruise control but NOT power windows,brakes,locks and a bunch of other junk??? More small cars are coming STD. with those.
    Hopefully with the growth of Internet buying and ordering, the public can make it's needs known, eh?
  • I think we will see where more and more cars (even the low end ones) come with power windows and possibly with roll down windows not even available. It depends on the pre-production costs.

    If you offer only one kind of window system (or only one kind of any system), your development costs are less.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    I can certainly understand why they wouldn't offer 10 engine choices (namely the huge cost), but this spoiler thing really frustrates me. So much so that it will drive me into a different showroom when I'm ready for my next vehicle.

    At least on the old R/T (pre-2000) you could delete those goofy looking stripes that ran down the top of the car. So in my mind, you should be able to delete off the goofy looking spoiler on this new ES.

    IMO the new Neon design looks MUCH better without the spoiler, and I'd bet I'm not the only consumer with this opinion.

    What totally baffles me is why everyone is so nuts about spoilers nowadays. They serve no function on passenger cars (which don't go fast enough to benefit from them) and they add weight. The fact that Kia is slapping them on their crapboxes should tell you something. They are today's vinyl woodgrain applique - only there because some people think they look "neat."

    I was hoping that Chrysler would actually IMPROVE the Neon ES for '02. You know...more noise insulation, a tweaked engine with an extra 5 ponies, standard side airbags...something like that. They should've just left the damn thing alone.

    Regards,

    I.M. Upset
  • Frankly when I bought mine I didn't get a spoiler and didn't even think about it. None of the ones on the lot had them. I think I've only seen factory spoilers on the Plymouths in 2000. Although, much to my surprise, my wife was disappointed I didn't get one. She even suggested I look into getting one installed. It would be a boring world if we all liked the same things. Although I agree you shouldn't be forced to take it except perhaps on R/Ts, ACRs and such specialty models. Maybe four inch exhaust tips will be next.
  • bruticusbruticus Posts: 229
    Love this car. I bought it in July 1998; the dealer (the son of a man my father worked for in the early 70s, but the dealer and my father aren't really friends) had brought the car in for his daughter in 1996; she drove 2500 miles and said she didn't want it, so it sat in the showroom/under the roof until my father saw it and recommended it to me.

    I just tipped over 60K miles with no mechanical problems yet except two:
    1: a couple years ago the odometer got borked somehow and started running too fast, and unfortunately there's no way to find out the real, correct mileage anymore, so the 60K showing on the numbers is almost certainly high. It doesn't matter to me, as I intend to keep the car until one of my younger sisters is old enough to drive. Either that or until I'm absolutely positive that getting a new car (wanna 2002 WRX) is the right thing. I can afford it right now, and interest rates are GREAT, but I work for a technology company, and you can all probably fill in the rest. ;-)

    2: Lately, the gauges have been mis-behaving. I'll be driving along and suddenly the speedometer quits registering, and the odometer stops turning (thereby making up some of the false miles!). If I keep driving, eventually the tacho starts acting up, and if I'm driving a LONG time the temp gauge will go haywire and run up to the top peg. I took it to a mechanic I trust (how many of THOSE are left?) who said that, as the car ages, the dashboard isn't fitting as tightly as it should, and there isn't enough "give" in the connections for the gauge pack to compensate. Anybody have any advice on this?

    Other than that, no complaints. Original engine, exhaust (altho the muffler is looking a little blistered lately), brakes, etc. I baby this car, with clockwork oil-changes and frequent vacuuming/washing/waxing.

    My father, who's an auto shop teacher, frequently attends car shows, and once ran into a Chrysler man who said ("off the record" of course!) that Neons are the epitome of the bipolar car: if you get one and put 10K or 15K miles on with no problems, you have a winner. If you suffer any major mechanical problem (alternator, head gasket, brakes, clutch) in that time period, you should trade it IMMEDIATELY, as the car is a bum-build.

    DjB
  • Since I am new to the group I wanted to introduce my car. After a lengthy and sometimes frustrating search I found a Neon with a 5spd transmission. My red '01 Neon SE came with Sport appearance group - 16" wheels/tires, spoiler, performance steering and suspension, A/C, cruise and CD player. Just what I wanted minus a sunroof. I found lots of cars with an automatic transmission and a sunroof, so I had to let the sunroof go.

    Just a few weeks after purchasing my car, my wife and I took a weekend excursion and found the car to be very comfortable.

    With 3K on my car I must admit I enjoy it much more than I expected. I just sold my 87 Mazda 323 that had about 180K - it was my first brand new car and I loved her. It was hard to see her go, but my new Neon helps me carry on.
  • Bought my daughter a 2001 Neon, we love the car. 15k, only problem was an automatic door lock that was noisy, got it replaced free.

    As the front end is VERY low, in going up the driveway, the front bottomed out and a black box about 12 inches cubed fell from underneath the passenger-side front fender. It appears to have been connected with a black hose, but the box is not air tight or contain any fluid. Dealer told me it was a " speed control box", but he didin't know what it was for. Four months now we haven't replaced it ($80 dealer installed)car runs great, same mileage, cruise control still works. What the heck does the thing do???? Should I get it replaced??
  • yositoyosito Posts: 55
    My son has a ´01 R/T, he loves the car, he bought it las November and the car has been truble free.
    It´s a sharp looking car, and the exhaust sounds great; it´s a blast to drive it.
    This is the 5th. Neon in our family, sounds crazy but they had been reliable.
  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    Don't know what it is either. You may want to try www.neons.org.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    I know on my 98 it was hard to change one of the fog light bulbs because a box that controls the cruise control was in the way. Maybe that's what the dealer meant by "speed control".
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Cruise control and speed control are the same thing. What doesn't make any sense is that the cruise in the car still works without this box in the car. Call the dealer and ask for an explanation is the only thing I would say.
  • Someone tried to sell me a 2001 Dodge Neon SE. Because the owner got the car from a rental company, all the documents are gone. All I got is the VIN number, so I really don't know whether the Neon is really a SE or some other trim. I can only find the VIN decoding on neon.org up to 1999. Does anyone know how to decode the 2001 Neon VIN? Is there anyway to check whether the car is really a SE trim? Thanks for helps and comments!
  • Is there some feature on the SE that comes standard on it exclusively? I mean that you cannot get even as an option on another trim level. If there is such a feature and the Neon you are looking at lacks it, it is not a SE.

    Does anyone see a flaw in that thinking?
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