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Dodge-Plymouth Neon Overheating

badralbadral Posts: 7

I have 95 neon sports. 114k miles. (I know it's crap!) It's overheating after 10 mins of driving. The shop I took it to said the problem was thermostat housing, which I replaced. Coolant is usually full, though sometimes it is gone (I don't know why). Even with coolant, it heats. If I turn on the heat at max to my foot, heat marker gradually normalizes. If I turn off the heat, it goes up again. I don't think I should be driving like this. It makes me hot.

I don't wanna go back to that shop. Anyone have an idea what is the problem? Thank you!


  • 71charger71charger Posts: 116
    Could be a lot of things. Do you have bubbles in the coolant? If so, I'd say headgasket. If not, possibly a clogged radiator, stuck thermostat, collapsing radiator hose are a few possibilities.
  • badralbadral Posts: 7
    that sucks. well you gave me something to start with. thanx.

    its good clean car. I just replaced timing belt and waterpump. I'd like to at least reach 150k, before dumping it.
  • I have a 97 Dodge Neon Highline (DOHC) and my car is overheating. The car does fine while I am driving (because of airflow) but when it sits idle the temperature gage increases to HOT in minutes.

    I can see the the radiator fan is not kicking on when this happens. I also turn on the AC and the radiator fan is not starting (I believe turning on the AC, turns on the radiator fan.)

    To try and troubleshoot this, I put +12V to the radiator fan motor and it worked fine, so I am guessing it is one of the relays and/or switches. I checked the connection to the engine coolant temperature senser and it was good. Also, I replace the engine coolant temperature senser. I am now stuck. I checked the Haynes manual and it explains that this problem could be in the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) and should be serviced by a dealer.

    Does anyone have any recommendation before I go to a dealer? Would it be better, easier, cheaper to just replace the PCM.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  • There is a rely that controls the radiator fan. Have you cheked that?
  • I did not check the relay. I am not sure where it is at? I could not find it in the fuse box and it seemed that all wires lead to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM).

    Do you know where the relay is?
  • Should be with the other relays. There should be 3 or 4. If you can't find let me know I will get a book.
  • I have a Haynes book and I am only aware of relays on the fuse box (power distribution center) and my 1997 Dodge Neon does not have the radiator fan relay there.
  • Hi:

    Looking in my Neon 2k manual from Haynes, the relay is shown on the electrical schmatic for the AC and physically located inside the fuse/relay box.
  • Okay I am back :)
    Once again with bad news thanks to whoever said my overheating problem was my head gasket :) You were right however I wish it was a lot simpler for the dealership to find out the problem. The termostate we replaced I'm sure was a good idea to do however, the car kept overheating even afterwards and losing power. The engine light would come on and then turn it self off so there was no proof there was a problem with it losing power. Then by some miracle the light stayed on the other day, so back to the shop it went. So we had them retest why it was overheating and a losing power. The chrysler dealer said it was a fan module, and there was oil in our spark plugs. They wanted 550.00 for the fan and 800.00 for the spark plug replacement. I did not have them do the work because well it was a lot of money that I could not afford since this car breaks down all the time, it does not allow me to save for the next breaking down lolol. My friend looked at the car, and checked the spark plugs they were dry as a bone, and surprise no oil at all. Then he told me to take it to a friends shop were they have the machine that tests it to see what is wrong. Then my friend would do the work since he works on dodges.Well it is my head gasket not the other things the dealer told us. I was wondering for months where my antifreeze has been going since I had to fill it up all the time. I just don't understand why the dealer could not tell me the real problem instead of making one up ? It just seems weird for my head gasket to be blown, a cam sensor go out, a speed sensor go out, power steering pump to go, 2 windows go out, a door, having to replace all my freeze plugs already, my motor mounts go, and I just had my spark plug done lol 15,000 miles ago and they are saying it is my spark plugs again lolol is this normal for it to be in the shop every 3 months when my car just turned 3 years old with only 90,000 mikes on it. I just cannot keep up. It has truly been a nightmare between the car breaking down and the poooooooooor customer service I recieve at these dodge and chryser dealers. I am sure I might have missed other things that have gone out that I cannot remember because it is to painful to remember lololol. Oh yes to the person who told me not judge dodge/ chrysler on my neon well I don't have to too, I can base my expereince on their customer service too it stinks. I will not do business with this company again. However my new car is great and it is not a dodge lolol
    Shyleen ;)
  • I have a 1997 Neon. When I got it the fans would not work either. There is a small Mopar relay mounted (oddly) underneath the battery tray. For some reason, this fails reliably. It costs around $80 from Dodge, but I found it on Ebay for $32. Search on Ebay for "dodge fan relay" and it is the only thing that comes up. The relay is used on many Dodge models. Plug it in and the problem will be fixed.
  • Alright, where to start. I just recently bought a 95 Dodge Neon with overheating problems and seriously underpowered. I buy cars a fix them, that's why I got it. Anyways I tracked down my problem to replacing the Headgasket and cleaning the head. When for a first test drive after finishing up. Everything seems fine except the engine is a bit noiser than I expected and makes an odd hard to describe noise. Is this normal for a Neon? I also got a Check battery light. I couldn't find anything wrong though. Today I do a longer test drive. I start having problems. The Engine overheats and I find the radiator fans aren't running like they should, also my temperature gauge is stuck on overheat. Sounds like an electrical problem to me somewhere. Any ideas on where to look?
  • Doing a diag on an engine noise over the internet is very hard to do. Some Neons have a piston slap noise that will go away when the enine warms up. When you did the head gasket,did you have the battery tray removed? If so,you may have forgot to plug in the battery temp sensor on the bottom of the tray. This will turn on the charge/battery light. What do you mean by "the rad fans are not running like they should.? Are they running at all? Are you sure you have a enough coolant and do not have an air lock. Can you jump the rad fan relay to make sure the fans turn on?
  • The noise seems to stay even when I get it warmed up. The battery Tray stayed in place the whole time. The radiator fans where not working at all when the car overheated, but once it cooled they worked again. Fan Relay works fine, one of the first things I checked. I'm sure that's there's plenty of coolant and no air lock. I may have foudn the problem. I exaimed the wiring harness and found along it that the wires where fused to together from some intense heat. I dissected the area and so far have not seen and insulation away from the wire, so I have to keep looking.
  • I always swore nobody could give me a Chrysler product. Well, it just so happened that a 2000 Neon came my way for a good price. Same year as my Elantra with a fraction of the miles (42,000). Don't you know a couple of days after I brought it home I noticed a good sized spot of coolant underneath it. Dodge dealer where the car originally came from replaces the radiator cap. Still leaked. The second time they say nothing is wrong and charge us 60 bucks to put dye in the system. So now my spot is neon green. Took it to a private garage and he tells me it's the HEAD GASKET. I researched before I bought this thing and thought Dodge had this resolved. Any action I can take here? Should have listened to myself I guess.
  • I bought my 98 Neon Expresso Sedan new in 97, consider me a very happy owner. Have only suffered a few problems, the first was the head gasket when the vehicle was less than 5 months old - dealer replaced the head and have not had any problems since. :mad: I do believe that this should have been a recall issue though, fortunately my vehicle was garage parked so I noticed the drips of oil early on. The second, has to do with the power moon roof. It had been replaced twice while on warranty because of the rails and recently has gotten stuck again ( :confuse: I have been told that to replace it now, they won't repair it, will cost me just under $1000), it cost me $100 to have them close the moonroof and I am not planning on having it replaced. The only other issue I have had in the 8 years and 140,000 miles of owning my vehicle is the problem of draining the battery. :confuse: With no warning the battery will be drained. This began right after the warranty expired (approx. 4+ yrs, 60K miles), now I find I have to replace the battery about every 9 months. I always have the diagnostic run and everything is fine. So, I don't know what causes this. Due to this I always buy the warranty on the battery and keep my roadside assistance current. Though recently, :surprise: a disquieting incident occurred which I am inclined to believe had something to do with the battery issue. One rainy afternoon about a month ago (early November), on my commute home from work, my rear windshield imploded unexpectedly. I didn't know what had happened and called 911. The police after responding believed that having my rear window defrost on had over heated the back window and caused the implosion. When I had the window replaced the installer, with my only telling him of the implosion, had agreed with the Police that he believed it was a power surge and that he sees it fairly often. Didn't think at the time to ask if it was specific to Neons. Anyway, now I use the rear window defrost sparingly and am just glad that it occurred after I was off the highway and driving slowly in a residential area. Other than these problems have only had to replace tires and windshield wipers and brakes once, everything else is original.
  • I have a 1996 plymouth neon highline it is leaking motor oil very badly, I am gessing its the head gasket thing? How much does it cost to get it replaced/fixed etc.

    And if its not that what else could it be and how much would it cost to fix?

    Also my spedometer works on and off anyone else have this problem? How much is that to fix?
  • Don't assume it's the head gasket. That can cost more than the car is worth. Perhaps the front seal is blown? A few hundred for that. Your speedometer cable could be gone. Call the dealer for an estimate and then take it to a local shop. They should diagnose it for free. Just tell them it's leaking oil and you would like an estimate to fix. If you don't have the cash to fix the speedometer don't bother. The oil problem is your main concern.
  • My 1996 neon sohc has been overheating and i put a new radiator in and the head gasket was cracked i replaced both will that fix the Problem
  • My 97 was leaking 1 qt per 1000 miles. Smell the anti-freeze. Mine was brown and had an oil smell.

    It was the head gasket. My car had 66000 miles. I had the dealer also replace the timing belt, water pump, and alternator belt. By calling customer assistance I only had to pay $500. I think that is pretty good response by Chrysler for a 9 year car.
  • I have a 2-door manual transmission 1997 Dodge Neon with 66,000 miles. This is my work car. And up till now it has been great transportation. It gets good gas mileage, is quite quick, and has been reliable. Yes, it had a leaky trunk, which was easily fixed by taking the lights out and reinstalling with a silicone sealer. And yes, it has wind noise around the windows, which is improved by lowering the window an inch and then cranking it closed. I can't complain about the service it has given me.

    By 66,000 miles it was leaking 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles. So I brought it into a five-star dealer. It was diagnosed with a head gasket failure. They also want to replace the water pump. (I heard bearing noises when it was cold outside.) I told them to replace the timing belt and alternator belt while they are at it. I also asked if there is any assistance available due to the known design flaw in the head gasket. The dealer said no, that it was out of warranty, and that there was never a recall. So I said okay to about a $1000 repair.

    So, I called the Chrysler Customer Assistance (800-992-1997) to see if they could provide assistance. I told them how nice the dealer was. To make a long story short, they told me I had to pay the first $500 and they would pay the rest. I'm very happy with their offer. The car is 9 years old! It is long out of warranty. I think this is outstanding customer assistance on the part of Daimler Chrysler.

    From my view it's hats off to Chrysler!
  • 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: 770
  • 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_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095

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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.

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