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1997 Dodge Neon Head Gasket



  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Hello mkbizwoman,

    Welcome to Town Hall!

    Perhaps you have already found all these other resources here, but I just wanted to point them out in case you have not.

    The Finance, Warranty and Insurance Conference is a good place to pursue your questions about the Premium Care Protection Package. The Smart Shopper Conference is a good place to check into things like used car pricing and resale value.

    From your ID, I assume you are a woman. If so, you might also like to take a look at the Our Turn Conference which is dedicated to women's automotive issues. We are fortunate to have had an automotive tech join us recently as co-host. Her name is Kristina and she posts under the ID md_tech. It's possible she may have even had some personal experience with this vehicle.

    I don't mean to be chasing you all over Town Hall, I just wanted to be sure you were aware of all of the resources available here for your particular situation.

    Meanwhile, we'll wait to see if anyone has any advice for you here in this topic.

    Again, welcome. And good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm sorry to say but the Neon hasen't been a very dependable car. They don't hold their resale value and they seem to have a lot of mechanical issues. We just had one in recently a 97 with a Head Gasket problem,even thought, the car will still be under warranty you will live in the repair shop... This is the type of car they unfortunatly term "throw away". Personaly when I first saw the Neon I wanted the cute little car too... But I haven't been to lucky with American cars. I had a red Dodge Daytona that did me wrong and since then I haven't touched another American car. I don't even like to work on them!!!!They have a conference on Sedans you might want to check out... I heard the Nissan Sentra has really moved up in the compact cars review...(Check It Out) An don't forget if you have any other concerns you can find me at the Women Automotive Conference...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • jbaird1jbaird1 Posts: 1
    Like so many others on this page, I have had major problems with my '95 Dodge Neon. I am not a car person, but here's the scoop:

    * Brake problems about a year ago; major expenditure.

    * Head gasket problem currently

    * Air conditioner leak currently

    Our Neon has about 83,000 miles on it. I don't think of this as high mileage, but apparently the folks at Chrysler do; when I told the dude at the 800 number the mileage, he made some comment about high mileage, and I shut him up by telling him about the Honda in my driveway with almost 200K on it that still works well!

    At any rate, I could use advice, if anyone has any above and beyond what I've already read in the past 40-something gasket entries. I did call the 800 number for Chrysler, not really helpful, just referred me to the closest Dodge dealer in the area. Brought the car in for a "diagnosis" this morning, really more for them than me, since I'd already had the problem diagnosed by a local independent car repair place. They quoted me $700+ for the gasket, and 400+ for the air conditioner repair. The diagnosis slip didn't list auto part numbers or anything, just the total -- no breakdown of what the cost consisted of. Shoddy, in my opinion. Also, when my husband went to pick up the car (we opted not to pay for the repairs until we'd called back the 800 number) the repair person had left his half-empty gum pack on the driver's seat, and an empty can of chewing tobacco (!) on the passenger seat. About halfway home, hubby realized that the hood hadn't been closed tightly, either. When we called the service manager to complain we got "hey, it happens sometimes". So, we paid $70 for the diagnosis, and an additional mystery fee of $7 for "rags". Needless to say, Antwerpen Dodge in MD will not be getting any more business from us.

    Called the 800# (which I about have memorized at this point) after that mess, and they called Antwerpen about it. Upshot was that the dealer would cover 20% of the repair cost. Big Deal. When we asked the Chrysler people about using a different (better) dealership, they said we'd have to start fresh with each dealer, meaning a new diagnosis, etc. I am so mad at this point, and I'm feeling really impotent and powerless.

    It probably goes without saying that the new minivan we plan to buy in the next month WILL NOT be a Chrysler product. In the meantime, I'd love any additional advice you car-savvy people may have. Thanks!
  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    My bro has a 96' neon with prob bout 80-85k on it--never a problem--especially head gasket problem. the key is to ket the engine warm up by idling it, and if you must drive, be very very very light on the throttle. My mom's 90' spirit b;ew head gasket at 45k (warranty) but she never warmed it up. Dad's 97' Dakota had it replaced at 20k under warranty, now has 80k and is fine. if you take care fo the car and warm it up correctly you wont have these problems. it just seems that these dodges are more prone to this because of the cast iron block/aluminum head combo and the use of cheap gaskets that are incorrectly torqued at factory. if they spent a bit more and used steel gaskets their wouldnt be all these probs
  • fula2958fula2958 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Neon Highline, SOHC with 88,900 miles. I replaced the head gasket at 81,000 (before i knew that Chrysler would take care of it) my mechanic says he'll never work on this car again. What I'm wondering is if this is a problem on the DOHC's as well as the SOHC's. My brother has a 1998 neon sport and has never had any problems out of his car, so I'm thinking of just having the DOHC put in my car. Anyone tried this?
  • zavadazavada Posts: 1
    I leased a 97 Dodge Neon and had to replace the head gasket at 34-thousand miles. Fortunately it was covered by the warranty. I "unloaded" it shortly afterward. Next I leased a 98 Dodge Neon thinking Crysler Engineers would have resolved the problem. No such luck! I now have 23,900 miles and have developed a serious oil leak. It is at the end of the lease. Even though I have a favorable residual balance and my wife loves to drive it I fear that time when the first replaced head gasket goes (about 44 thousand:-() and I have to get it replaced on my own money. Why can't Crysler ever get it right? I would not think twice about buying the car if it weren't for this problem!
  • My 98 needed a new head gasket at 18,000 miles. It was already leaking at 23.000 miles when I traded it. Although this IS a WARRENTY repair, isn't there anyone else out there who expects more from their car, at low milage, than to compete for repair space at the dealership? Is there anyone else who thinks Chrysler should stand behind its product enough to recall it, if that's all that will work? These posts represent many years of the same problem.....and there are other identical and frequent problems, as well.
  • jsh3848jsh3848 Posts: 1
    My Green Machine reciently died at 56,xxx miles. It Replaced my 1989 Dodge Shadow. It seemed like a nice car at the time, At my work, 2 other employees have Neons. Both of their head gaskets failed. The cool, "car guy" I am (which I am not) told them that they needed to check the oil ever so often. I had oil in my car, and it still blew a head gasket. I went to the Chrysler dealer and told them about the problem. The jerk told me in his words, "Wow, this is a rare occasion, never heard about one with this problem". gave me estimated repair costs which was over $1400!!! Certinally I did not get my $12,000 out of this car, and never seen a car die at 56,000 miles! After the fixes, maneged to sell it for $5000. I am never going to buy another Chrysler product ever again! I went and bought a 2000 infiniti G20. Great warentee, and nice people to deal with. Never buy a DODGE/Plymouth/Eagle/Chrysler product ever. Rude people. No direct answers. Never again!
  • I had my new headgasket put in this April. Assuming that the newly designed gasket was put in, can I expect not to have future gasket problems? Seems by now we should have some history as to whether the new MLT (?) gaskets have worked or not.
  • glennkglennk Posts: 1
    I bought one of the very first Neons sold here and currently have 212,000 plus miles on it. All told I'm pretty happy with it but the head gasket problem is a pain. I replaced the first one at 110,000 and 2 years later at about 160,000 replaced another one. Both done at Dodge dealers and no offer of payment was made by either. I think I am close to blowing another gasket but at the age of the car, will probably get rid of it this time. It's about an $800 dollar repair where I live and I don't think the rest of the car is worth putting that much into it.
  • After rebuilding the engine (myself) last year, and replacing the waterpump and timing belt (not to mention having my machine shop repair the head and add new valves this year), it is finally time to trade the Neon monster in.
    Some of the things I learned about it in my 5 years of ownership:
    --only use chrysler/mopar parts. I had the accessory belt break 5 times in one month because I used another brand.
    --keep an eye on all systems. I have replaced everything at sometime or another over the past five years, including the the rebuilt parts of the engine.
    --I put 126,000 miles on this car. Most of the time it was a good car (except the aforementioned repair times). Just takes a little extra care.
  • Well I'm glad to hear that this head gasket thing is common. Well I'm not glad, but you know what I mean. Now If I'm not mistaken this is why the oil leaks in your car right? 'Cause this is my problem. I say that I should just keep adding the oil as i need to b/c it seems to be cheaper in the long run. By the way I've got a `95 Dodge Neon (71,000 mi) in the "nitro-yellow green" color. Very Rare. Anyone else have this color PLEASE E-Mail me! I'd love to hear from you!
  • Here is how I got mine replaced at no charge - and I was calm throughout the whole thing (key).
    1995 Neon, leaking at 50,000. Finally got it in around 65,000. Call Chrysler and explain head gasket failures are common and local mechanics told you to call chrysler for warranty replacement. Customer service person will start a file and make 'no claim' as to what Chrysler will do for you. He/she will inform you to take it to local dealer for inspection. SAVE YOUR FILE NUMBER! Now, service person checks it and says 'yep shes a leakin' and says Chrysler will pay for gasket you pay labor 400-600$. You say that is unacceptable and tell THEM to contact Chysler with your file number and get it taken care of under warranty. They will call their regional service manager. You should receive a return call stating that Chrysler stands behind its product and will cover it. They may recommend a timing belt change and will only bill you for the part and can install it at gasket change time. Take advantage of this! ~$92.00 So for $92.00 you will be taken care of. The key is to remain calm, stay in control of each situation and always direct the conversation in the way you want it to end up. Do not accept less. You will walk away a happy Neon customer.

    Good luck!
  • sumpsump Posts: 1
    Same problem. 37,000 miles and head gasket was shot along with water pump, oil filler(?) and assorted other problems. We have changed the oil
    every 3000 miles religiously and think this spells
    poor quality. We are (unfortunately) going back to Japanese.
  • Dodge Neon 98, head gasket went at 39K, called local 5 star dealer and to my surprise EVERYTHING was paid for 'under warranty' even though I exceeded the 36k base warranty. They did it no questions asked. I was fully prepared for a battle, what a pleasant surprise...
  • Well, I sure wish I had known this site existed prior to purchasing our 1996 Neon. I had the head gasket replace in Feb. and need to have another one replaced now. The thing that bothers me is that the working people who don't have a lot of money to sink into a car get stuck with the cars with the most problems. My friend says it is called Failure engineering. The automobile companies know that they can make more money by having a part fail than by having a car last. Remember when appliances lasted 20+ years now they only last 5+ years. If it lasts you don't sell as many. The problem is, is that they hurt the ones who can afford it the least.
  • planned obsolesence...or even a better word...
  • My Neon's warranty just ran out in August 2000. During the warranty period I found oil in the #3 and #1 spark plug tubes. Could this be from the head gasket problem. I had to take it back two times to have it fixed. The second time, they gave it back to me and said that the oil that I found was left from the last spark plug tube oil problem. Aha!
  • i have a 97 neon and i just found out the head gasket is starting to leak.
    my warranty has expired, but i was wondering if chrysler will fix this problem for me, since it seems to be a recurring one with neons.
    other than the gasket the car has been great, but i don't have the $600+ to fix it.
    please let me know what options i have, other than selling the car.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    You don't - it has to be fixed, relatively soon, or it will eventually destroy the engine.

    The head gaskets are well-known defects in DaimlerChrysler's 4-cylinder (2.0 and 2.4L) engines. See if you can get the dealer to go after DC to pick up at least part of the repair cost.
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