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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • This is probably an exercise in futility, but I'll go along.....How are they going to know if my bumper was alread cracked if it's hanging off the side of my car or in a thousand pieces on the ground after an accident? This is all speculative, but I understand the central theme of Mike's posts: there's not much point in making a marginally necessary repair on a car that's not worth a whole lot when in all likelihood I'll be fixing that very same part once the inevitable rear end collision occurs?

    And thanks, Thom. All things considered, I am pretty happy with it. I can't wait to bring it home.
  • 71charger71charger MDPosts: 116
    There is a company in Florida that makes kits for putting the 2.4 in Neons. The 2.4 is higher and requires a custom engine mount to get it under the hood. This swap was written up in one of the Mopar magazines a while ago. I don't remember which one. I'll look around and see if I can find it. You may try their websites (Mopar Muscle, Mopar Action, High Performance Mopar). Generally I've found the magazine websites pretty useless but you might get lucky.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    First off, congratulations on your new (at least new to you) Neon, Jeremy. I hope it gives you a lot of trouble free miles.

    That price doesn't sound too bad to me at all and since you ordered a carfax report, you should have some extra peace of mind. Better yet, imagine how many thousands of dollars more you would have paid for a comparable Honda Civic.

    On a different note, this insurance debate is getting quite heated. But, I think Zapatista makes a very good point (that I was having difficulty getting across to some apparently...).

    So here's a hypothetical: if my bumper has a big dent in it now, I get it [the bumper] replaced and subsequently get into an accident two weeks later in which it has to be replaced once more, what is the difference in repair cost that will be charged to my insurer for the 2nd repair? If you guessed $0, you would be correct.

    Causing an accident or submitting a fradulent claim is one thing. What I am referring to is quite another.

    My current vehicle (a 1991) has 174K miles on it. Yet, I am paying the same $$ in premiums that I would if the car had 50K miles.

    It's been awhile since I've had a law class, but it would be VERY difficult to prove the example I initially gave to be fraud. And it isn't fraud if you can't prove it. Fraud is a legal definition, not some individual's position on fairness or morality.

    To further prove this point, try to answer this question: when was the last time you saw an insurer give a discount to a customer for driving a car with previous body damage? A car with a dent in the bumper is worth less than the identical car without, but with 999 out of 999 insurers, the premiums charged will be identical. Why? Because if either car gets rear-ended, the price for repairs will be the same!

    It WOULD be fraud, however, if you filed a claim for the Neon you just bought a week from now falsely stating that someone hit the vehicle just after you bought it.

    It WOULD ALSO be fraud if you got into an accident in which a different end of the vehicle received damage and you decided to "lump" the rear end damage on to that claim.

    It is for these above two situations that your insurer requires you to state previous body damage when insuring a "new" used vehicle with them.

    One more example: if I bought a car with a broken window and someone later stole my antenna (hey, it could happen), I would be obligated to inform the insurer that the window was previously damaged when filing the vandalism/theft claim. I would not, however, be obligated to tell my insurer the antenna had been previously bent in a carwash.

    Hopefully, this makes it a little more clear.

    I did not, and will not, advocate staging accidents or submitting fradulent claims, so take a chill pill.

    Now, can we please move on?

    Let's get back to talking about the Neon. This is, after all, the Neon board.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    If you add extra weight to the front of the vehicle for which it wasn't originally designed to carry, won't you be giving up some of the neutral handling characteristics of the car?

    Wouldn't it be easier to just add on a turbo-charger kit to the original 2.0?
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    If there is dent in your rear bumper, and in the unlikely event someone runs into the back of your car and heavely damages your bumper, I'm sure their insurance company well repair the rear of your car, to like new! The prior dent is cosmetic, the new more severe damage will be considered collision damage. NO fraud is involved, unless Zap2000 some how caused the accident! BTW, I'm sure the odds are slim on someone hitting a car you really want hit? "Murphy's Law"!

  • I was considering the 2.4l as a replacement if I found a wrecked donor car. This may be the cheapest upgrate. 167ft.lbs of torque is some improvement over 133ft.lbs. Higher rated springs would solve the weight issue. Thanks for the answers!
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    One of the thing that attracted me to the Neon (both first body style and current body style) was its somewhat distinctive look compared to the other small cars on the market. I will miss that when the third body style comes out. I have a feeling that there will be no similarity between this new body style and the previous ones. At least we have a few more years for this current body style to be around.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    So here's the deal, folks.

    According to Edmunds, there is now a $2,500 (yes twenty-five hundred "big ones") rebate on 2001 5-spd Neons in my zip code (Mpls, MN).

    On top of that, I'm eligible for a $400 college grad incentive from Chrysler and I just noticed that Chrysler is throwing in an extra $500 if you download a certificate off their website (as of 8-25-01).

    In addition, I should able to purchase one through a fleet agent for $50 over dealer invoice (they're much easier to deal with than Joe Carsalesman BTW) because of an agreement with my employer.

    So my question is: does it seem unreasonable to try for $3350 less than "dealer invoice" on a 5-spd 2001 Neon ES? I know that the incentives all come out of Chrysler's pocket, not the dealer's. Still...
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Be careful that the $50 over invoice (or any of the other offers) prevent you from using all of them at the same time.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Actually, that isn't really my big concern. When you buy through the fleet agent (the last three new cars my parents bought have all been through fleet agents), you get a lot less "gaming" action than if you were dealing with the reg sales staff.

    Actually, when my parents got their 2001 Olds Intrigue this spring, they bought through an agent for $50 over invoice and got 1. the $1500 Olds loyalty rebate (they qualified by purchasing a new Olds back in 1996), 2. $2000 in GM card rebates, and 3., the $2000 Olds consumer rebate. GM also throws in an extended warranty as part of the phase-out too. They actually - as amazing as it seems to me - paid almost $8000 less than sticker for a new car they actually ordered-out with the exact options they wanted (none of this "out of inventory" BS). Furthermore, I went with my dad for the "negiotiations", and it was less nerve-wrecking than trying to buy wallpaper.

    The prices through the agent are fixed, so whatever consumer rebates are available are just added bonuses.

    My big concern at this point is finding one with the options I desire (it defeats the purpose of buying new if you have to settle for a silver car with no sunroof, alloy wheels and leather seats IMO). If I didn't care about color or options, I'd just buy another used car. And you can't really do an order-out on a 2001 anymore since they've stopped making them (yes, I'm stating the obvious again), so what you see is what you get.

    Part of me would also like to wait to see what's coming for 2002...but while I'm waiting, those good deals are disappearing. Ughhh!!!!

    If anyone has the inside scoop yet on changes/improvements for the '02 Neon, please share with the board! Thanks.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    2002 Dodge Neon-
    Anyone who loves NASCAR Winston Cup racing has to expect that Dodge showrooms are celebrating the marques return to NASCAR this year after a 15-year absence. Dodge has introduced special motorsports edition packages for Neon, Intrepid and Dakota vehicles that are flame red, black or silver. The package includes race-inspired wheels and tires, motorsports badging and a motorsports track bag/cooler with Dodge racing collectibles. Last but not least, the Dodge Neon SE is offered with a $660 Power Pak package that makes several popular options; including a single CD player; power windows, door locks, mirrors and trunk lid release; and 15-inch tires available on the base Neon.

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Try this site for more info:
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    2004 Neon: Based on the recently introduced 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer, the upcoming Neon redesign will offer its own unique styling. The Lancer's 2.0-liter engine mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic will be the most likely engine/transmission package.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Thanks for the updates.

    I'm kind of thinking the changes (other than the 4-spd auto) for 2002 are going to be nil for the Neon. It looks like just option groupings and colors are likely to change, which isn't all that bad when you think about it.

    I was kind of hoping for thicker glass and more body insulation on the '02 (we'll see when the October issues of Motor Trend and Car and Driver surface in a couple weeks) for Sedan DeVille-like quietness, but that's probably a bit unrealistic.
  • I bought 2 new front Pirelli tires for my 1998 Neon. A couple weeks
    later, I had the brakes changed. Now, my car is making whirling
    noises as the front left wheel is moving. When I brake, it sounds
    like an airplane coming to a stop with a soft noise sounding similar
    to a descending whistle. Not only that, but it seems like my front
    axle is making noises as a I accelerate and then slowly step on the
    brake pedal. I've had the mechanic take off the brakes, clean them,
    and reinstall them, all while I was watching. Nothing looked out of
    place or bent or anything. He isn't sure what the problem is.

    Can anyone help me figure this out?? please.... I carpool, and I want
    to know if it is just the car needing some lubrication or if it is
    something a lot more serious.
  • 71charger71charger MDPosts: 116
    How about a little more information? Aluminum wheels or Wheelcovers? If wheelcovers check for bent or broken attachments. Did the tire shop or your mechanic put the lugnuts on with an impact wrench? If so the rotor could have been warped. Does the noise change in intensity with a change in direction? For example gets louder turning one way and goes away turning the other, if so it's probably a hub bearing. Were the rotors turned? If so it may have not been properly done, if not your new pads could just be working their way through a rust ring on the rotor that your old pads did not make contact with. How many miles? Could it be getting time for CV joints? Check your CV boot(s). Are they intact? If there is a rip your lubricant is probably gone and the joint shortly will be.
  • I woke up today and looked at the new car adds as usual and got turned on by an add from a Dodge dealer in suburban Chicago for 2002 neons for $9473 with auto and air (my 2 requirements). Took a drive out 1/2 hour drive from home to the dealer and checked them out. I figured I couldn't go wrong! My temporary driver--a beat '89 Sonoma pickup is semi shot and the wife won't drive it. Your price $650 or best offer. I had the orignal "95" Neon since new till totaled in August of 2000(air bag worked great--my only injury waws a sore thumb). Anyway,I picked out silver over with the magic 2 miles on the odometer over the blue( I don't wash cars frequently)test drove it and put a few miles on it. It fit like a glove!. Somebody else was buying the only 2002 garnet red $9500SE neon while I hemmed and hawed so I sprung for it. The paperwork went fast$10473 +$815 Chicago tax,$143 IL title & license, -$1000 rebate for an out the door bill of $10480. Is this a deal? I'll let you know how we like this one.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    I haven't been able to find 2002 Neon pricing anywhere yet, but that seems like an amazing deal.

    They must be selling them at true dealer cost.

    Are you sure it was a 2002? If so, you got a damn good deal. Pat yourself on the back.

    Please post the name of the dealership from which you purchased the car. I think a lot of us that are within driving distance of Chicago would be interested in price shopping with these guys in the future.
  • I was delighted to find an overdrive in the automatic I picked up at Downers Grove Dodge this evening. I hadn't seen any test reports yet on the 2002's and the dealers don't even have brocures for them yet. But there it was: a 4 speed automatic overdrive. The silver Neon purred like a kitten on the way home tonight. The motor really gets to run on noticably lower rpms in that steeper 0-drive. This new neon even has frames around them windows--not like my old '95 red one. The whole car seems to be put together real tight. Well, that's one complaint we won't have to read about anymore from the test drivers who said the auto needed the overdrive for the last 7 years. Incidenally, I got one of only 3 of the 2002 SEs that the dealer advertised in the Chicago Tribune this morning(9-7-01)at the special advertised price of $9473. The other two went quick. One was being bought by a nice young lady while I was there and the other went just after I bought mine. Of course they have a lot of other new cars. In fact I almost bought a 2002 4cylinder Caravan SE (auto and air)at the advertised price of $16,500 after I test drove it today--but I opted for the Neon. Those bright halogens lit up the road nice on the way home.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    The warranty was extended (in the U.S. at least) to 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain as well - likely the Korean competition with the 10-year warranties had started making inroads into Neon sales.
  • Ok, so after buying my 97 Neon in Minnesota 2 weeks ago, I finally drove it back out here to DC and I absolutely love it. It just purrs. The whole process has not been without its headaches, though (literally a migrane in Ohio). Here's my story:

    I bought a 97 Neon with 65K at a Toyota dealership in Minnesota two weeks ago and it was giving me a Service Engine code of 32 as soon as I drove it off the lot. I took it back to the dealer and they took it to a garage down the street to "clear the code" for me. I kept talking about fixing it, they kept talking about clearing the code--I was worried. I live in Washington DC now so I flew back on Friday, picked it up at the dealership and headed East, back to DC. All was well until 400 miles later, just east of Chicago, the light comes back on again and it gives me the same code. Now I'm pissed. The salesman isn't at work, the mechanic isn't at the shop, so I press on. 300 miles (and a migrane-induced 2 hour nap at a rest stop)later, as I'm crossing Pennsylvania, I look down and the light is off again. I pulled into DC last night and all seems to be fine. The invoice from the auto shop is in the glove box and it reads:

    **Check Engine Light On, Inspect and Advise***



    PARTS TOTAL: 0.00
    LABOR TOTAL: 55.00
    INVOICE TOTAL: 60.65

    So it doesn't look to me like they "fixed" anything as much as they just tried to make the light go off. I suspected this beforehand since the dealership will spend as little money as possible to fix it once I've bought it, despite the 30 day/1,000 mile warranty that came with it. It ran perfectly all the way to DC, except I noticed some water leakage on the ground under the reservoire twice when I got gas. Should I complain to the dealership? Take it to a Dodge dealer or a regular mechanic out here and send them the bill, or just drive it and hope the light stays off? What gives?

    Anyway, it's in fantastic shape and I love to drive it. I'm definitely happy I did my homework and it doesn't appear that the EGR failure is anything major, so I'm a happy camper, all told.

    Good luck with the 02's. They sound sweet.

  • 71charger71charger MDPosts: 116
    Were you using the A/C? I've never seen as much condensation drip from an A/C system as puddles underneath mine. That's a good thing, it's nice and cold. As long as it's just clear water and not green you should be fine.
  • Also remember that you don't have to turn on the A/C for the system to run it anyway. The A/C runs in defrost mode as well, I disabled it on my 98 to only run when you push the blue button, I hate cars that think to much for you, I also set the fog lights to be able to be turned on any time the key was on. Both things only took about 1/2 an hour to do. The A/C requires removal of the climate controll panel and drilling out the circut board line from the derfost to the a/c, the fog lights required poping off the button which also includes the rear window defroster and using the power supply line from the defroster for the fog lights as well. I used the defroster a lot in Montana and always ran with the fogs on (like DTR lamps) and never had a problem with the fuse. I even had 55 watt bulbs in there.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I tell ya, leave for a little bit then come back only to be getting flamed. :) That's cool, I can handle it. I am eating crow among a couple friends of mine, because I always nagged about their "unreliable" Cavaliers and Neons, and now I have myself in a little trouble. Serves me right I guess. I am really disappointed in this new Protege. Wish it was like my old one, but I guess that's long gone. Guess that will teach me to shut my mouth in the future. :)

    Seriously, I guess I have to eat my words now about the Neon. I know my ex-roommate hasn't had any trouble lately from his. His daughter did wreck her 1996 though. Slid into a guard rail in the rain. Must be a pretty safe car, because she walked away from the crash. So anyway, apologizing for all the flaming posts about the Neon. Guess they aren't half-bad after all.

    And let prayers be with everyone after yesterday's terrible tragedies in the US. God bless everyone involved in that, and their families, co-workers, and friends too. People here in the MD/DC area have been driving around with their headlights on to show support for the victims affected. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Vocus, I don't recall torching you. Even if you might deserve it - this IS the Neon board after all, and a lot of Neon owners here (I do not own one - I just like them) feel the same way about their cars as you do about your Protege.

    My "nasty" comments were said in jest, even though - admittedly - written sarcasm isn't exactly the easiest thing on earth to decipher (particularly when it's authored by someone you don't know personally).

    Not to sound hokey, but I think a lot of people (and virtually everyone who takes the time to post to auto boards) see their choice of automobile as a reflection of their personality. Picking out a car isn't like buying toilet paper - it's an exercise in personal expression (yes, I have a degree in marketing). This is why I TRY (sometimes I don't always succeed) to tread cautiously when I express my opinion of cars I do not like.

    I think EVERY car has its strengths and weaknessess. Even the Chevrolet Cavalier, a car I personally dislike, has some undeniable strong suits: price, long-term dependability (ever heard of anyone whose had engine or transmission problems with their Cavalier?), and a very extensive dealer network. For someone who values these strengths more than others, I can see how it could be a very appealing car.

    Personally my small car faves are the beautifully appointed VW products. I can't help but be smitten by their extremely tasteful, upscale interiors. Unfortunately, I can't ever see myself justifying the high purchase and maintenance costs of a VW.

    To me, the Neon is not only a very appealing car (it's stylish, roomy, and even the low-end models are a blast to drive with the stick), but it's also a great value.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Regarding what you said about the Cavalier, my best friend bought a new 1996 Cavalier 2.2/3 speed auto back in May 1996. He has just over 110,000 miles now, and he just had to replace the transmission. It literally fell OUT of the bottom of the car, along with all the fluid. Cost him $1300. So I have heard of someone with at least one engine problem in a Cavalier.

    I can't aruge that the Neon is a good value. I guess my ex-roommate just got a bad one, like I got a bad Protege. Things happen though. Also, I would love to have a Jetta 1.8T. Didn't get one because I heard about reliability problems. Five people who work in my office have Jettas (all VR6 and 2.0s though), and not one of them has had a problem. Go figure. Guess next car I get will be what I want exactly, and I will stop listening to Consumer Reports on everything.
  • buoyantbuoyant Posts: 128
    Well, anything can happen. I can tell you that the 3-spd unit GM put in your friend's Cavalier is one of the most reliable transmissions on earth. But, poop happens.

    I believe Honda and Toyota build some very high quality automobiles, but rest assured, their service departments do more than just oil changes too.

    All told, I think vehicle longevity is 50% engineering/build quality and 50% owner maintenance. I'm currently driving a 1991 Chrysler New Yorker 5th Ave. with 175,000 miles on it and it's in mint condition (the original owner was - of course - an old fart and the car was babied). I was planning on driving it till the wheels fell off, but that hasn't happened yet (and the way things are going, it might not happen 'til 2008).

    I bought this car no more than a month after looking at a 1993 Honda Accord 5spd EX with 105,000 on the clock - exactly what I thought I was looking for at the time. Despite Honda's reputation for long-term dependability though, this car was SHOT at 105K.

    I recall the test drive vividly. The driver's seat rocked back and forth, the brakes made a horrendous sound and every time they were applied the vehicle pulled strongly to one side, a radio button was missing and the fan knob was cracked in two, the clutch was worn-out and the car vibrated so bad at idle I thought the doors were going to fall off. And these are only the items I can still recall from 3 years ago. Rudy Luther's Hopkins Honda asking price BTW, $9500. No joke.

    Apparently, it had been owned by one of these idiots who believe the mantra: just buy oil changes and gas and your Honda will last forever.

    My current car is the most reliable car I've ever owned and I bought it with 140K on the odo.

    The most unreliable car I've ever owned: a 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS I got NEW and crashed at 60k. Interestingly, it was a Japanese car BUILT in Japan. Just goes to show that Japanese and high quality are not always synonomous.

    As far as Consumer Reports is concerned, recall that it was this same magazine that RECOMMENDED the 1995 Neon six years ago in their annual auto issue. I worked with a guy who bought a 1995 Neon for this reason and has bad-mouthed Consumer Reports from that day on.

    Now Chrysler is building solid, reliable Neons (that seem to come in high in every quality indicator except those of CR) and Consumer Reports can't find enough bad things to say about them. Go figure indeed.

    I agree with you, Vocus. Next time I buy new (or used for that matter) I'm getting what I want and I don't give a flying damn how CR rates it. It seems the more "flavor" a car has, the less they tend to like it. Of course, they are engineers, not automobile afficionados. Well, no Toyota Corolla for me, thank you anyway.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I am really mad though. I am having all this trouble with my trusty Protege (according to CR), and I could have gotten the Jetta I wanted and maybe been luckier. Oh well, guess I will learn next time.

    My Pro's in the shop right now, with a funny squeak in the transmission on the 3-2 downshift (among other things), and they told me they can't find it. They hear it, but don't know how to fix it. That's real nice to hear. I told them they better act right and put a new tranny in there, because I am not about to drive a car with a known problem in it, so I can be stranded. I ain't havin' it.
  • 71charger71charger MDPosts: 116
    The article outlining this swap is in the October 2000 issue of Mopar Action. This swap is doable but not without it's problems. First you have to convert to manual steering. The 2.4 is an inch taller from the crank centerline to the deck so a custom right side mount is required to drop it down for hood clearance. Neon gauges are fed from the engine computer, others from a body computer which the Neon does not have. So there are electrical issues as well. The source for this conversion is CNNP Racing in Davie, FL. They're on the web at
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    when it gives out? That's hardly an indicator of an 'engine' problem or a bad transmission.that's probably 2 to 3 times what many Ultra matic 4 speed trans have gone before blowing.
    Neons are great don't get me wrong, but cars are not refrigerators.They don't go for 20 years without something wearing out. Given the infinite #s of driving and maintenance habits, it's amazing they last as long as they DO! :)
    C/R people are hardly "engineers", but I doubt they interpret their own reader data without bias against domestic vehicles.I think they're elitists more than anything else.
    I don't own a Neon but I really believe a lot of people go into a domestic vehicle LOOKING for things to go wrong so they can prove their assumptions.The bad mouthing was so great about the Neon that I crossed it off my list.Unfortunately that wasn't very fair.
    Was glad to read the post re: the Cavalier. It does reflect what I like in a car re: the engine and trans. It's so yestertech, if they keep it in production as is any longer,it'll be retro!22,000 miles and no problems and I like it's simplicity. It's straight forward like my 63 Valiant which I've owned for 20 years- I know where everything is under the hood, parts are cheap and I can identify everything and even possibly replace things myself if I have to.
    The prices for a new Neon are great. I imagine a lot of them will be sold as a hedge against potential oil shortages in the coming months and hope it makes a whole new group of fans for D/C.
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