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Dodge-Plymouth Neon Overheating



  • rander1rander1 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 with about 55K on it and am going through the same thing. Mocha colored antifreeze and it overflows this brown sludge on to the street, so I pretty-much only drive it around town. I also have an oil leak on the drivers side of the engine, I'm curious to know if they are related. I also have problems with my speedometer working intermittingly as well as my gas gauge not working. Oh yeah and now the heater works only when it wants too. I was dreading taking it to Dodge for fear of what it would cost, so this is good news.
    I have owned a lot of cars and I have never had one this old with so many problems, time to go with an import!
  • I have wonderful news for you that every 96 Neon owner went through. Your "Head Gasket" is gone. Time to junk it. They corrected this problem with the later models. You don't want to know what it'll cost you. More than book value of your car. :lemon:
  • faroutfarout Posts: 1,609
    Rander1: As someone already told you it's your head gasket. These were a big problem for a couple of early model years. Before I did anything I would call a Dodge dealer, and if you have some kind of relationship with a service writer or shop manager, you just might luck out and get dome for free or a lower cost. If you do have it fixed have a new water pump put on and timing belt. These have the time ware rather than the milage ware. It was to be changed at 90,000 miles. I have 179,000 on my 96 Dodge Neon and the only thing done to the engine is head gasket and timing belt and water pump and thermo stat. These engine have gone well beyond 225,000 miles. Just good oil changes and spark plug changes are the key. TO RID YOURSEL OF GARBAGE JUNK IN THE RADITOR. put about 8 oz of Dawn dish soap and run it for a bout an hour and it will be rid of the junk. Good luck! Don't dump the Neon, its got lots of life yet to give,\.

  • srt497srt497 Posts: 1
    yes i have a 97 plymouth neon n jus couple weeks back it started overheating on me again. i have replace the radiator,waterpump,theramostat,fans r workin fine. but the thing is dat the coolant resiavor is acting up. after i put either coolant or water i hear bubbling from the resiavor n at times all da liquid is gone from the resiiavor after driving it, and also my carpet was getting full of water. so it had 2 be either the heater core or the head gasket . so i disconnected the heater core n also found out the head gasket was fine. so now im really stumped, wat can it be, help would be greatly appreciated thanks im new 2 the forums.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
  • The bubbling noise is from shutting the car off to quickly after stopping. The water pump must be able to circulate water for the cooling system to work effectively. If your front floor board is getting wet it is almost without a doubt the heater coil. If you have eliminated the heater coil try this ... when the car is cold (perferably after sitting over night) remove your radiator cap. Start the car and add 80/20 mix of antiboil/water. Once the level stops dropping shut off car and replace cap. The overheating problem may be air in your cooling system. The wet floorboard may not even be related to the overheating. If this fixes the problem and it returns you have either a bad radiator cap or a leak somewhere. You can also try running a cooler temperture thermostat (they are available from howell automotive on the web) Also double check the fans...make sure your a/c is off so the a/c fan does not kick on. If you are driving when the car overheats try turning on the heater wide open at its hottest setting this will help the engine cool off quicker. hope this helps.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020

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  • Hey Woodstudio, could you please make your story from post #27 long again? I called Customer Assistance and they acted like I was making it up that the Neon's headgasket was a piece of crap and they said there was nothing they could do. How did you word it? I was really nice to them on the phone and told them that I'd read of similar cases on the Internet where there was some kind of assistance since the problem is very widespread. I would love to only pay $500 for the gasket, belts, and water pump. That would be ideal instead of paying around $800 for only the head gasket which was a ticking time bomb in itself.

  • steamedsteamed Posts: 1
    Recently purchased 2001 Plymouth Neon LX. Driving on surface streets it does fine, but when I get on the interstate after about 10 minutes the temperature starts to rise and within about 15 minutes it is at the top of the gauge. Pulling over and idling does not cool it off, neither does exiting the interstate and driving on surface streets. The cooling fan is functioning properly. Here is a list of repairs attempted to fix problem: cooling system power flush, new thermostat and radiator cap, new radiator, new water pump, new head gasket, cooling system flush again. What is causing this problem?
  • mcmanusmcmanus Posts: 121
    I've got the nearly the same problem with a 2001 Mazda 626 LX V6, but with my car it's associated with air conditioning. List of repairs: two thermostats, water pump, radiator flush, cleaned the outside of the radiator, recharged the A/C, replace coolant reservoir tank.

    It all started with me leaving the cap off the reservoir after checking levels and two days later overheated in stop and go freeway traffic on a warm summer day.

    I think it has to do with the computer, because the fan runs when the engine is cold, even on 30F degree days.

    BTW I'm here because we "inherited" a 2001 Plymouth Neon with nearly 120K miles from the stepson (eventually for the next stepson) and was wondering if anyone could advise how much to invest in maintenance.

  • ocmikeocmike Posts: 1
    My 2004 Neon (45000m) overheats- as other posters have written- when slowed in traffic or idling for extended periods. My fans do not come on. I am in the process of replacing the relays- but how do I test the fans? "Jumping" fans is a bit outside my limited expertise here.

    The AC unit works well- but falters (as in warm air) as the temp fluctuates. When I "open it up" the temp returns to normal.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated as car repair costs are not something I can absorb right now.

  • the post says that the cooling fan relay location is underneath the battery box. Could it be possible that they changed the location of the fan relay in 98?
    Any information on this subject would be helpful.
    I re wired the fans to come on when the ignition switch is on so I know they work.
  • tomw6323tomw6323 Posts: 1
    I have a car with 61 k. When I shut my car off I can hear the water bubbleing back into the coolant bottle. It does not do it all the time. I check my oil everyday thinking maybe it may be a headgasket going. But, there is no signs of coolant in it. My car does not over heat and I recently changed my water pump. What could this be!?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    If there is actual PRESSURE in the coolant overflow tank, that is not a good sign.

    You can test the coolant for combustion gases and you can also pressurize the cooling system with a pump and then pull the spark plugs and look for coolant on them. Both these tests would reveal a bad head gasket issue.

    It isn't always the case that coolant enters the engine oil. It depends on where the head gasket fails within its pattern of various sealing surfaces, holes, openings, etc.

    You can get water in the oil, oil in the water, gases in the water, or none of the above and still have a bad head gasket.

    I'd certainly keep an eye on this since Neons are a bit notorious for bad head gaskets. But unless you are overheating, you don't have to worry just yet. But keep an eye on that temp. gauge.


  • I have the same problem, sans the water getting into the carpets. My 96 Neon is overheating when it is in "stop and go" traffic. I have replaced the thermostat, the rad hose, the waterpump, fans are working fine when tested in the mechanic shop.

    Mechanic2. told me I need a rebuilt engine, and that he thinks the Neon is burning oil inside of the engine, and this is causing the overheat. However, I am not noticing any leaks, and no "brown" antifreeze. The car is not burning oil. Can it be still an engine/head gasket problem? :sick:

    Now, I read at another Neon site, that this overheating might be related to the speedometer not working (another notorious Neon problem). Apparently, the speedometer data controls the time the fan comes on and off. Any advise how to check the vires for the spedometer?
  • odomodom Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Neon. Overheated after I got it back from staying at an ex-friends house. I found the fuel line had been cut and now am wondering what else they may have done. It overheated the first time after about 80 miles (during the mid-summer). We changed the thermostat and flushed the radiator. Now, I ran it for 30 minutes and no overheat until the rpm was raised over 2,000. The water started boiling and a minute later the fan finally kicked in. I'm NOT a mechanic. The dealer said it could be a 101 different things and to get it fixed would cost more than the car is worth. I'd still like to try to fix. Can someone offer a tip or advice. Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    If you have only low speed overheating and not high speed overheating then definitely you have an AIR circulation problem rather than a coolant circulation problem---so your suspicion about the fans is a good one in terms of diagnosis.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    If the dealer doesn't know what the cause is then how could they know that it costs more to fix than the car is worth?

    Get a proper diagnosis. Have the cooling system pressurized by someone who actually wants to fix your car and cares enough to diagnose it, and with the system pressurized, extract the spark plugs and look for the presence of coolant in the cylinders.

    You don't necessary have to have a water/oil mix with a bad head gasket.

    You can also test the coolant with a chemical for the presence of combustion gases in the radiator. If there are combustion gases, you are "boiling water" as you drive, like a tea kettle--either from a bad head gasket or a cracked cylinder head.

    If both these tests show up negative, then you have to check for radiator clogging, inoperative cooling fan motors,etc.


  • randy58randy58 Posts: 1
    I have change the head gasket with another head. I still have bubbling in the over flow tank. I did not see anything wrong with the head or gasket i just removed.
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