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1997 Dodge Neon Head Gasket

denises49denises49 Posts: 1
edited April 2 in Dodge
We have a 1997 with 46k miles, out of warranty,
with a leaking head gasket. Anyone else have this


  • denises49

    I guess you are a newcomer to Edmunds. If you had been reading the various posts about Chryco in general the headgasket failure rate on the early Dodge/Plymouth Neons reached "epidemic" levels. It seemed that many, many owners have had multiple gasket failures, in and out, of warranty. It may be to your advantage to really put pressure on the dealer to at least pay a percentage of the repair (not cheap by the way). Chryco is fully aware of this high failure rate and may indeed help you out (don't count on it tho)if you gripe loudly enough. A headgasket should never "blow" in normal use @ 47,000 miles. They know they have had a problem but hope that if they "stonewall" you, you will just roll over and pay the full shot to get it fixed. If not, I bet your next car will NOT be a D/C product.

    Good luck !
  • My 95 Neon is white and the paint on the roof is bubbling and peeling off. I have seen dozens of other white Neon's with the same problem. Just last week almost all the paint fell off the roof and now is starting to peel on one of the doors. I have called Dodge and they had me take it to a nearby dealership. They want to charge $500 to repaint it. I am now talking with a lawyer about getting something done about it. There is obviously a paint problem and I will not pay for it! This car has had problems since day one. Anyone else having a paint problem?
  • I own a 1997 neon sport coupe. I had my head gasket replaced at 24,000 miles. That has been my only complaint about the neon. I love my car, and even though is has had 1 major problem, I would still buy another neon in a heart beat. My fience' just bought a silver 2000 neon. It is leaking oil right now and only has 1,600 miles. The problem must not be fixed.
  • I believe the head gasket issue was "fixed for good" sometime in 1998... All subsequent Neons and replacements have been with a new design ... Take the 2K into the shop and see whats up... Shouldn't be leaking oil...

  • I also had a problem with my 96 Neon.My car has 44,000 miles on when the head gasket started leaking.Chrylser paid for the repair and also put on a new water pump.I only paid $100 dollars.They have been really good with me and I have no complaints.
  • Chrysler knows that this is a problem which was supposedly fixed with a new head and multi-layer head gasket. Sometimes the cam seal leaks oil which is mistaken for the head gasket. This is usually replaced when the head gasket is done. There is service bulletins on both of these problems with fixes for the dealers to do. I have a 1997 neon that had the head gasket go at 24000 miles and everyone I work with that has a Neon has had a head gasket job done.We work at the plant so we know the problems first hand. Good Luck
  • I have 1996 Plymouth Neon with 33,000 miles. All the maintenance services done exactly on schedule.
    Now I have oil leak problem and service person asked me for $700 to fix it. I have already paid $300 to replace the rotors 2 years before. I will talk to chrysler customer care and keep you updated.
    Honestly, I am very upset at this and I am 100% sure it can affect Chrysler sales definitely.
  • I just had the head gasket go on my '97 Cirrus at 47,000 earlier this week. The dealer did warranty the parts, but not the labor which was much more. I'm planning to try to contact Chrysler and see if they will pay part of that. I also had rotors go at 20,000 miles and was told not covered under warranty and that it was normal for Chrysler cars to wear front brakes 60% one side and 100+% on the other. Has anyone else had this problem?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,521
    I can't comment on the gasket, but others in this forum have had the same complaint. As for the brakes, uneven wear is quite common on cars that are usually loaded on one side only, such as when driven mostly solo. The pads on the drivers side will usually wear faster due to the weight distribution. Your experience seems a little extreme, though.
  • butch11butch11 Posts: 153
    Uh I put 40K a year on in a sales job-always alone-weigh @200 (on atkins diet-is coming off). Never in over 400K miles have i ever had an issue with my vehicles rotors due to weight distribution. They can and do get warped by people using impact wrenches to tighten the lug nuts. Also some manufacturer's have poorly designed braking systems and these puppies will warp on their own. Helped a friend get her rotors turned on a chrysler product-seems to me I was able to pull off the rotors after taking off the front tire. Took them to a machine shop and they turned them for around $10. If you have a chrysler product and they still attach their rotors the same way-save some bucks-take them off-go to the yellow pages and find some automotive machine shop-they have a lathe set up to do rotors. Save a bundle.
  • ksg1ksg1 Posts: 1
    Hi everyone,
    I am looking to buy a used car from a private owner and found a 97 and a 96 neon within my budget. However now looking at all these postings for head gaskets I am getting very wary. Is this something I can look for before I buy the car and how? Are the majority of neon cars coming out with this problems? I will not have a manufacturer's warranty since I am buying a used car.
  • check out this info from Thanks and goodbye Neon!!!

    \From: Greg at Chrysler

    Greg, something stinks here-- why would Chrysler stand behind so much other work with 12/12, and completely blow off any warranty pertaining to head gaskets?

    It is not a new policy. To my knowledge, Mopar h

    as *never* offered coverage on seals and gaskets, unless that seal or gasket came as part of an assembly. For example, if you had a complete Mopar remanufactured engine or transmission installed, then the seals and gaskets in that assembly are covered as part of the assembly.

    Whether it's a valve cover gasket, a head gasket, a differential cover gasket or a rear main crank seal, there is no 12/12 Mopar warranty on seals and gaskets.

    Here's my *personal opinion* on the subject: If a recently replaced seal or gasket is leaking, the failure is most likely due to either

    improper installation
    a flaw in the surface that the seal or gasket seats against.
    For example, the head gasket could repeatedly leak due to something wrong with the cylinder head or engine block. In that scenario, an otherwise good gasket would not seal...

    Greg Smith

    5.2 Troubleshooting and Maintenance
    This section contains problems and questions common to the Neon; it is intended to stay fairly Neon-specific in content. Emphasis is placed on mechanical issues rather than appearance care; however, some aesthetic questions are included. Also, this section is not a How-To list, which appears elsewhere on this site. It is meant as a quick guide to some of the common symptoms and their causes. Another good source of information is the Neon TSB list; some common TSB numbers are included here as well.
    5.2.1 Q: Are headgaskets really a problem?
    A: The Neon has a reputation for headgasket failure, and it has affected many Neon owners. Since the blocks are identical, both the SOHC and the DOHC are susceptible. Chrysler revised the original gasket twice to address this issue, and finally released an all-new part. The new MLS (multi-layered steel) gasket supersedes the old part under the same p/n. The new gasket went into production SOHCs in September of 1998 (part of the '99 m/y), with the DOHC following shortly after that, probably before November of '98. TSB 09-05-98, which describes the revised part, was issued on November 06, 1998. This means that the new piece was available at parts counters around that time. (Thanks to Greg Smith for this additional information.)
    Nearly all failures occur in the driver's side rear of the engine block, where an oil passage crosses between head and block within 1/4" of the outside edge. The most common symptom is an oil leak at the block joint in the vicinity of the brake fluid reservoir. Other, less common symptoms of headgasket failure include: water in the oil (indicated by foam on the dipstick or drain pan), oil in the coolant overflow reservoir, and burning of coolant (continual steam or light grey soot in exhaust pipe). However, most Neon headgasket failures do not cause mixing of oil and coolant.

    Two items should be kept in mind on this subject. First, with more than a million Neons on the road, even a large number of failures is a small percentage of the unaffected cars. Second, this problem is common among most cars with aluminum heads, not just Neons. This kind of head design saves weight, and is typical on modern cars. However, aluminum heads are sensitive to overheating and may crack or warp, which leads to gasket failure.

    Headgasket failure is enough of a problem, however, that Chrysler has made special provisions for headgasket repairs beyond the normal warranty period. While dealers probably won't volunteer to fix a car that has exceeded its warranty, many Neon owners have found that a call to the Customer One phone number may help. Depending on the age of the car, Chrysler may pay a portion of the replacement cost; in many instances, repairs have been made just as if warranty coverage existed. Also, owners who have paid out-of-pocket to have the headgasket replaced may be reimbursed under this extension. In many cases, full coverage of headgasket failure has been extended to five years or 100,000 miles.

    5.2.2 Q: My engine's leaking oil, and I'm scared. Help!
    A: OK, don't panic yet. Both engines may leak oil at the cam position sensor (CMP), which is located below the intake piping that leads from the airbox to the throttle body. There is an O-ring seal at this sensor which can fail, but is relatively easy to replace. The resulting oil leak can appear to be either the head gasket or the main seal between engine and transmission. Check this spot first before freaking out.
    Another common leak is the oil pressure sensor, located on the back of the block under the exhaust manifold. This is also sometimes mistaken for head gasket failure. Remove the sensor unit using a 1-1/16" six-point deep socket, apply teflon pipe tape to the threads, and reinstall
  • I have a 97 neon, which just cost me $600 to fix the head gasket problem! It was leaking oil,and we hoped it was a minor problem..We were wrong!! Now I only hope the next car I get (2000 Neon) has no head gasket problems. After seeing the reports from fellow Neon owners I intend to inquire about this to the dealer before the transaction is complete. Thanks to those of you who have entered your comments. Hopefully this problem for us will not go unheard, and we can help somebody else in choosing a used car..Or just make fellow owners aware:)
  • fire6fire6 Posts: 1
    Reading over the head gasket comments I was wondering if this is also the rear main seal. I have a 95 Neon and it has started to leak substantially. There has been a leak since about 40000 miles but I didn't think much of it seeing it was a few drops, but now it's a gusher. I've talked to 3 diferent mechanics (1 is a dealer mechanic) and they all said the same that the Neons all have bad rear main seals up to 98 or 99. I'm not an automotive expert so I'm confused if this is the same problem mentioned here or something different.

    Also I was wondering if anyone has heard if the evaportator cores on the A/C unit go bad. I tried to have the A/C charged this last summer. The mechanic told me that more than likely the core was bad and it would have to be replaced because Chrysler has a problem with them. Something about the change from freon to R24(?) eats the core up and Chrysler hasn't been able to fix it. I didn't think he was screwing with me seeing he said he wouldn't do the repair unless he knew the new core wouldn't rot out. He did say it would run about $1100.00 to due the job. Well other than these 2 problems the car has been good to me so far. Thanks for any answers
  • br459br459 Posts: 12
    I will get to the point.
    96 Neon
    1.Blown Head Gasket @25K
    2.Blown Head gasket @35k
    3.Blown Head gasket @45k

    4.Got rid of it and bought a Camry
    ABC (anything but chrysler)
  • papkecpapkec Posts: 1
    At about 40K miles I also had a leaking head gasket. I thankfully have an extended service contract so it cost me $50 for a new head. I was surprised when they told me they put a new head on it. I have the 16 valve DOHC 150 hp engine in mine and I guess this engine has the head gasket problem too. I have 56K miles on it now and will probably get ride of it at 75K when the service contract is up and buy a honda or toyota. Sorry US car companies I gave you a chance to many little problems.
  • I'm looking at purchasing a five speed 2000 neon. i'm a first time buyer, and i really like the car. however, i don't know if the head gasket problem is fixed with the 2000 neon's. if anyone has any info, or any advice for addressing the issue with the salesman, pleas email me at, or post your responses here. THANK YOU
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    If you haven't already, you should also check over in our Sedans conference. If you look through Dodge/Plymouth Neon (Topic #1556) you'll find lots of other folks discussing purchasing the 2000 Neon.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • we I agree with everyone on the opinion of the head gaskets and the problem. I have contacted dodge about this and the brake problem I have had with my 95 neon. the responce was if the car is not underwarranty any longer it is not our problem any longer either. about $4,000 dollars later I am in the market for another neon just want to make sure that now everything is ok!
    it was otherwise a great car!
  • OK, try this again (in the process of registering, I got on the wrong message board). I have a 97 Neon, and like everyone else, I have leaking oil.
    #1) What is a head gasket??
    #2) Just before my warranty expired I had the dealer check my car due to leaking oil. They said that oil was leaking into my spark plugs. They replaced the plugs, "fixed" the problem, and sent me home. Now, 4000 miled later and off warranty, my car is leaking again. When I last had my oil changed, the mechanic (nondealer) told me I was better off just topping off the oil than fighting to fix a neon's oil leak. Anyone's opinion on all of this? Obviously I'm not well versed in car mechanics.

    By the way, my goal in usefulness of this car is at least 2 years and 30000miles. Thanks so much!
This discussion has been closed.