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Dodge/Plymouth Neon



  • moonshadowmoonshadow Posts: 256
    Well this board is pretty dead. Very strange, cause i see neons every where i turn.

    For those that do tune in , i got the alternator out through the side like i suspected. Removed the tire and inner plastic wheel well cover after pulling out the electicals from underneath the car.

    Lower 4 inch pivot bolt was seized in the pivot bracket due to being so low to the ground and elements. Snapped at the half way point and had to beat out the rest with a long punch.
  • I have a 2000 Neon ES with the 2.0 liter engine with ~33,000 miles that sometimes attempts to stall when it is started when the engine is cold. Oil has been changed every 3,000 miles. If I give it a little gas, I get a big plume of oil filled smoke from the exhaust. After that it runs fine. Any ideas about what may be going on? Ive got only 3,000 miles left on the warranty. Thanks
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I would definitely take the car in before the warranty expires, especially if it's putting out oil in the exhaust. Might be a head gasket problem. Also, you might leave the car overnight so it can be freshly started there at the dealer and they can see what you're talking about.
  • Thanks for your help!! Ive got an appointment already (because the trunk is leaking). Ill let them know of the oil in the exhaust problem and see if they can find anything. It doesnt do it every time (even after waiting a night), so Im hoping I dont get the dreaded "cannot duplicate customer concern at this time" response.
  • Any owners of the 2003 Neon or the Dodge SX2.0 in Canada? My wife and I have included it on our potential picks lists. I am concerned about potential quality issues and would like to hear any feedback from owners.
  • Basically what I see in this discussion is true by experience and or witnessing it myself, or from other neon patrons. I'm not too sure of the 03 but 02 and below have some of the same problems border round. The "suspected fish tail" you hear so much about is true. In actuality my car doesn't fish tail, It's more of a sidewind! The suspension is what causes this. In good days you will sidewind especially if you hit a nice patch of uneven or worn road and you will see exactly what I mean. My friend thinks is completely hilarious when I straddle the white line on the inside of an off ramp by the time we reach the end of it we "sidewinded" to the entire other lane. Month 2 and on was not great either. The steering staring to go, the muffler is showing extreme signs of wear and acceleration is extremely delayed and exaggerated to where if you seen my car you would assume it was a stick by the way it bows before shifting. This car is nice after all the after market goodies are applied making it a cheap car at the moment. I denied this fact after driving it brand new cause the engine break-in was more important than showing off it's power or lack of. I will give it credit for it's incredible tire spinning takeoffs at ease on dry or wet surfaces. On wet surfaces you will unintentionally spinoff from the traffic light, which is why I urge those neon patrons who experience this as well to perform tire rotations slightly ahead of the pre determined schedule in the mannual. I like to add is if you have 2 or more "Moderate" size passengers in the vehicle with you on the highway, acceleration is not going to hapen and you can watch the needle fall every 2 minutes at a steady pace(FUEL)so if you carpool with a neon you might as well get a SUV that burns 15 miles to the gallon cause you may not spend $40 at the pump each time but You will make alot more trips in the long run. The car facts were prabably determined with the driver alone in the car. In conclusion more people in a neon leads to an extreme drag in acceleration and shifting.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Has anyone here driven both the SXT and the R/T? Any thoughts on the difference in ride and handling? According to my research, the R/T offers only 6 more lbs/torque, although with 132 vs. 150 h.p., the horsepower improvement is more noteworthy. Also, I'm wondering how compliant the ride is in the R/ it harsh and fatiguing, or just firm? It's not easy finding an R/T for a test drive, so advice would be helpful.
  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    I've got over three years on my 2000. I couldn't be happier. Handling is excellent. I used to drive a four person carpool in it and never had trouble getting 30mpg or better. The only thing wrong with it is it needs a new windshield as I finally got hit by one too many rocks.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I can't tell you about the 2003 but I have a 2002 R/T. I couldn't find one on the lot, I had to special order. I got a white one with no sunroof. I have most all of the other options including leather and side airbags. The suspension is a little firmer but does not beat you to death on long trips. Leather is nice, not many ordered with that option. My dealer said it was only his second ordered that way. I paid about $15K after discounts and rebates. Window price was almost 19, my price also included a wrap around extended warranty that made the 7 year 100,000 mile power train warranty a "Maximum Care" warranty. This way if I do have any problems (ZERO so far) all it will cost me is a $100 dollar deductable for the next 7 years/100,000 miles. Getting on to your comparison I have driven an SXT and I find it to be sloppy handling compared to my R/T although the 5 speed version seemed to be almost as quick as my R/T. The R/T also include 4 wheel anti-lock disc brakes which I felt were necessary. Hope this helps!
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Thanks for the input. Sounds like the R/T has been a great car for you. I owned a 2000 Neon and loved it, but sold it to move overseas. With the leather package, 150 hp engine, new engine mounts, side airbags, etc., I think the 2003 R/T is a great car for the money (esp. with the discounts you mentioned). By the way, I think Mopar offers a DVD-based sat nav system, too, so the way I see it, this car can be made into a near-luxury sports sedan for under $20,000.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I saw the Mopar DVD-based sat nav system, cool but too expensive. I have a Garmin Street Pilot III. Half the price and you can move it between vehicles. I also have a 2000 Dakota Quad cab 4.7 V8, 5 speed and 2wd. I drive this most of the time while my wife drives the 02 R/T. I use the nav system in the Dakota and the 02 R/T when we travel, it is a really nice system. It comes with street level maping for the whole US and a 128 meg memory module that you upload map data into. It will hold detailed mapping for several states at least here in the Mid West.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I think calling the Neon a near-luxury anything is wayyy to optimistic, even with every option. It's still an economy car down underneath, no matter how many options you check off.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Yep, it's an economy car, alright. Wind and road noise, etc., but I'm actually keying off several auto used the term "near-luxury." I get his point, but I'd compare the car more to a BMW 2002 in its mission.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Sounds like you've done your homework on sat nav systems. Does the Garmin system cover parts of Canada, too? I have the Mopar catalogue with me now, and it mentions parts of Canada (I occasionally head to Quebec and Ontario to ski). Also mentions 10 Sirius Satellite stations included with sat nav, which is interesting...I wonder which ones. I'd probably spring for the Sirius radio, too, if it can be added to sat nav. As for taking sat nav with me, well I would plan to keep the Neon R/T until it fell apart. My idea for the car would be to pay cash for it, then sock away money until I'd saved a downpayment for a Boxster 2.7. I'm single and have no "committee" to ask regarding said plan. To me, Neon = all the car a guy really needs and a near-guarantee of someday getting (and keeping) my Porsche without ever having to strain for it. ;o)

    The Neon/Dodge truck combination sounds great. So your wife likes to drive a 5-speed performance car? Does she have a single sister?
  • malibu_jack:

    I have a first generation Neon, a 1999 to be exact. With Dodge I have noticed that later builds do not mean better quality (as is the case with other manufacturers). My 1999 Highline Coupe, DOHC, 5spd with only 65k miles has had and still has a number of problems.

    Most of them are small things, such as water in the tailight, extremely loud rattling from clutch cable, diagonal scratches across the windows, passenger door lock does not work from outside, squealing belts only 5k miles after new belts installed and squealing from my exhaust donut. But some are expensive and have/will affect the driveability of the car, My rockers are cracked and knock frequently, the car stalls out when its cold, the car has failed to start on me twice, it misfires real bad at idle and the a/c compressor bangs when it engages.

    Most of these are "normal Neon problems", even the cracked rockers which will cost me $1300 to fix. I am sorry but when a manufacturer still has "normal" problems 5 years after a car was introduced it shows the manufacturer in general has some serious quality control problems.

    I have had some of these problems looked at by the Chryco dealership (the misfire at idle, the cold stalling and the a/c compressor) but they claimed everything was in proper working order and a tuneup or repair was not necessary.

    I was happy with the car for the first couple of months, then when all these problems started showing up I just ended up hating the car. I cannot wait till I can dump this hunk of junk.
  • Re: Acuraowner:

    Sorry to hear of all the unfortunate mishaps with your car. I was out looking at the SX 2.0 on the weekend and didn't even get one foot into the showroom when I was pounced by the most pushy salesman. I was there for at least 30 minutes and never set foot INTO the car!!!

    I was getting real pissed since I wanted to get it out on the road, but it was obvious that was not going to happen.

    Anyway....After looking at several vehicles that weekend, I came to the conclusion that almost all makes have their problems...whether they are mechanical or cosmetic....

    Thanks for the insight though.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    Garmin has some coverage in Canada however it is in detail mostly in large cities. If you look on their web site it may provide info on the coverage you seek.
    My wife doesn't have any sisters, sorry however I have 2 daughters 20 and 23 who both drive 5 speeds. Actually none of our vehicles have anything but 5 speeds by choice. I am considering an automatic next time only since I mangled my left leg in a motorcycle accident and I'm not having much luck healing properly due to the trauma (been over 6 months, I can walk but have a bad limp and a titanium rod holding it all together). I don't enjoy the clutch action as much since there is still some pain when I depress the clutch but it does appear to be lessening with time.

    Anyway, based on your needs I can see where the in-dash unit would be preferable. It would also be covered by warranty and insurance if dealer installed I imagine. I wasn't aware of the tie in with the Sirrus radio system. I'll have to look into it a little further.

    I personally think the new style Neon is much more refined over the previous generation and has fixed many of the "problem" areas like wind noise from a frameless window. Again based on MY experience the 02 R/T has been flawless. I purchased a set PT Cruiser rims from Ebay and bought a set of Sempiert H rated directional snow tires for winter use. With these tires the R/T seems to be able to go anywhere, even in 8" of fresh snow. The car will be 1 year old next month and has had NO quality issues, only going to the dealer for oil changes every 3 months. My wife and I also drive aggressively, but not abusively. The R/T also does not have a speed cap like most "economy" cars and the SXT. I've had it up to 127 on the speedo and it felt really composed, it probably would have gone a little faster but I ran out of runway. Rick
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    Iowabigguy...that's great to hear about your R/T's snow capabilities...I'd definitely want to use this car for ski trips and general winter driving.

    Yesterday I had the chance to drive an R/T and SXT back-to-back, and there was a big difference in my opinion...all in favor of the R/T. Besides the tighter steering and slightly better acceleration you had talked about, the R/T was also much quieter (sound insulation under the hood and under the floor), had a more composed sound (lower exhaust note and engine did not strain). For my tastes, the ride was better in the R/T, because its extra firmness was combined with a supple quality, wheras the SXT was downright "jiggly." Also, the 5-speed of the R/T felt more crisp and smooth.

    What's even more interesting, imo, was that I drove a Jag X-Type 5 speed (it's my father's car) to the test drive, and came away thinking the R/T was a BETTER drive, except in the area of interior design, because obviously the Jag is in a whole different price class. The X-Type with sport suspension hits bumps like a truck (very harsh), the 5-speed is a bit vague, the interior noise level is comparable, and the X-Type has an advantage in the smoothness of the V-6 vs. the 2.0 Magnum only at much higher RPMs. I also preferred the R/T's brakes, which are after all great. I just wish the R/T would have a more stylish interior, which would not be too tough, given the fact that the Chrysler Neon in Canada and Europe has a more 300M style interior at the same price point. Better yet, I wish they'd bring a Chrysler Neon 2.0 to States. They seem to be marketing the Dodge only to under-25s, which is a shame.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    Funny you mention the Canadian and European versions of the Neon. I looked at all of those sites before I ordered my 02 R/T. That is what decided me on ordering the leather interior. Prior to getting mine I had never seen a Neon with the optional leather interior. It really improves the appearance of the interior, making it appear less "economy car" like. I got the impression that all the European versions came standard with the leather interior. I also liked the tail lights of the first generation Chrysler Neon. I personally feel that the 2nd gen Neon gets bad press that it really doesn't deserve. It is a blast to drive with insurance that doesn't cost more than car payments. I'd love to have a SRT-4 however with the current no rebates and the higher insurance cost I'll wait till my younger daughter is out of college and no longer on my insurance policy.
  • stjohnstjohn Posts: 1
    I'm about to do a brake job on my daughter's '97 R/T. New pads all around but, have a question about the rotors. Any reason to buy new ones for this car (no noticable problem currently) or just have them turned/machined? The car currently has 47K miles.

    Thanks for any input.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    That's interesting input...I was wondering whether the leather work was done properly and enhanced the car's interior. Too bad there are only 4 colors offered for the R/T. I happen to think Dodge has some of the best paint work and choices of colors in its class. Any thoughts on which color (black, yellow, red, silver) looks best on this car with the black leather interior? I have only seen silver/black cloth so far and I thought it was a bit boring of a combination...these cars are pretty scarce around here so I'm shooting in the dark.
  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    Unless your rotors are deeply grooved you can just slap new pads in and go. Just be more cautious for the first hundred miles or so until the new pads conform to the rotors. I've never bothered to turn a rotor. If they get grooved I just put new ones on.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    I was pleased with the leather. It is obviously not the quality found on European luxury cars but it looks and smells good. The doors have leather inserts too which are pleated. The seats have held up well and are softening up with use. We ordered the Stone White which was replaced by the silver in 2003. I prefer the white as it provides a nice contrast with the black trim and is much cooler with our hot Mid West summers. Silver is getting boring to me as there are so many silver vehicles on the road. Black looks good but the heat load in the summer is awful and I don't care to invest the time required to have it look its best. The yellow screams "Give Me A Ticket" although it would look good with the black leather. Red would be OK except that is Dodge's favorite color and it has been overdone to me. If I had to choose 2003 colors it would be a tough choice, I'd probably end up with the silver. I'd like an R/T in the Light Almond or Atlantic Blue and pass on the spoiler. I'm running 205-50-16s on PT Cruiser 5 spoke aluminum rims which I prefer to the 2002 R/T rims. I was looking for a slightly different look but I see that Dodge put a very similar rim on the 03 R/T, oh well. Rebates are looking pretty good too right now. I don't know where you live but if you are considering ordering an R/T you might want to join the "Farm Bureau". A year membership is around $40 and it entitles you to a $500 rebate once you have been a member for 30 days. It used to be just for pickup trucks but now covers the cars too.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    iowabigguy...Amazing, I have found someone in an R/T who is on my obviously like European cars, but see the value in the R/T. I completely agree with you on the 2003 colors. I think the yellow would look best, and think silver is too boring, and wish they would offer the car without the spoiler (I'm 37 and would feel silly, so I'd have it taken off, probably by replacing the trunk lid). The only issue I have with the yellow is that it is a bit too loud and I think the best way to "wear" a car like the R/T is as an understated sleeper...after all, it's a very elegantly styled little car. But I think I'd have to go for yellow, anyway, unless Dodge offers the Atlantic Pearl, Light Almond or Graphite Metallic for 2004.
  • Hear that the Neon will be replaced/redesiged for 2004 using the lancer platform which may include a hatch. can anyone confim this?
  • tunefultuneful Posts: 35
    I need transportation. It has been a slow process for me shopping new (learning about cars from scratch), and I haven't bought yet. Car above has been parked in front of someone's house in my area now for a couple of months, with a "For Sale" sign. Nice-looking silver with spoiler. Sign says "extremely low mileage." Should I look at this car? If so, can I offer significantly under "Private Party" figure from Edmunds (as this has sat around)? How much? Area is suburban DC. Car may be hard to unload down the road, though. I'm glad if folks have good experiences with their Neons, including one of my coworkers. But Consumer Reports dings the Neon bigtime. The thing about this one is the location is convenient (I'm a single F and have had a few weird experiences answering car ads). I could spend for a bigger car and/or Japanese if needed, it's the convenience here. But I have no stomach for something that will need a lot of repairs or leave me stranded. thanks.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Posts: 552
    You can buy a NEW Neon SXT with rebates now for $9500 plus taxes. You get a new car and a full warranty. With a 3 year old car you have no warranty and you may be buying someone elses problems. Newer Neons should have few problems based on MY experiences. Whatever you do I would suggest you buy new. With a new car you can determine what you should pay using the Edmunds TMV prices. Determine what options you want and get the Edmunds TMV price before you go shopping. Find out what rebates are available. Avoid the dealer's extras, like rust proofing, paint sealer and interior protection. These are only there for additional dealer profit. DO NOT fall in love with a particular car, emotions block common sense and you will end up paying more than you should. Shop around for a saleperson, you don't have to take the first person who approaches you. If the dealership doesn't treat you like you feel you should be treated, ask to speak to a manager and express your feelings. If you don't get thew results you want LEAVE. There are many dealerships in the Metro DC area who want your business. If you do your research you will know what you should pay. Check other sources of financing like Credit Unions,before you talk to the dealer. You can only be taken advantage of if YOU allow it. Good luck in your car hunting. Feel free to ask questions here, there are always helpful people with OPINIONS in Townhall.
  • speeds2muchspeeds2much Posts: 164
    I basically agree with iowabigguy. The main benefit of buying the ES is that you can scoop it up for a small amount of cash, have a nice-looking little car with a proven iron block engine and a great chassis for little money. Then you have no car payment. So, I'd say no more than $4,000 or so, depending on what it's worth to you. The best benefit, imo, of a North American car like the Neon, is that you can pay cash for it and not have a car payment, and still have something more fun to drive than say, a Corolla. Then you can stash away your cash for the many other things that are more important to you. As for reliability, though, as long as the car was well-maintained, I would not worry about having the car leave you stranded.
  • acuraowneracuraowner Posts: 57
    Look around alittle more before setting on this 00. First off it was the first year of the new design...therefore it will most likely have quite a few problems. Now if it has sat around along time and has "extremely low mileage" it may have more problems then if it had high mileage.

    Now if you cannot afford a new car I would recommend a used Japanese (Honda or Toyota). I have had nothing but problem after problem with my 1999 Neon which has been meticulously maintained since new. I have had the car since October '02 and the problems are just one after another. I was in love with the car when I first got it, but now I despise it and cannot wait to dump it. I thought I was getting a good deal because it was $10,000 less then a 99 Civic EX I was looking at, but all in all I wish I had just gone with the Civic.

    I know 5 people that had Neons (4 had the 1st generation 95-99 and 1 had a 00). Well basically now they spit on the name Neon and Dodge/Plymouth. The 4 with the first generations all had their headgaskets blow and got rid of their cars and took a huge loss within a couple of year of purchasing them. The one with the '00 had the car taken back by Chrysler under the lemon law due to electrical problems, she then got a 01' Jeep Grand Cherokee (another Chrysler vehicle) that had the engine self destruct at 42,000 miles.

    All in all, yeah there are a few people who have had no problems with their Neon but the fact is the Neon has a terrible reputation for unreliability. Just take a look around, how often do you see a first generation Neon on the road? I will venture to guess not often because most of them are either A)Sitting in a junkyard or B)Have been scrapped. Good Luck
  • tunefultuneful Posts: 35
    for your helpful comments, folks! I've decided not to look at the car--willing to spend more for better odds of reliability, from what it sounds like.
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