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1997 Dodge Neon Head Gasket



  • abaltoabalto Posts: 22
    That questions and technical advice web site...

    I have also looked for a good Dodge web site to ask questions and technical advice, opinions, etc. The best site I have found is This site is clearly the best in quality, with over 60,000 posts! Good luck either way Trevor!
  • My 1995 Neon HIghline WAS a dream to drive. Oil changes every 3,000 miles..I kept iot so well, it looked better than when I took delivery in June of 1995. Then, 18000 miles later, in Dec '96, I got nailed for a HUGE expensive brake job. Then the common killer: May '98 at just over 36,000 (no extended warranty, cause I was a donkey's rear)the head blew. I had oil mixing with my anti-freeze. All estimates went from $2500 & up. I has tears in my eyes as I drove to a Saturn dealer to get rid of the Green Hornet. I still owed $6k, only got $3,500 on the trade and therefore took a financial bath. Saturn is kicking like Karate with 86,000 miles......34,000 of them this year so far. I will never, ever, as long I live get another Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth product.

    There should be some kind of class-action suit regarding this problem. I wuz robbed!!
  • Counting my Wife's car, we have 2 '97 neons. They are almost exactly the same. The only major difference is mine is a standard transmission. We have both experienced the same line of problems.

    Her car started leaking oil from the rear oil seal. I believe this was between the transmission and the engine. After her's was fixed it started to have problems idling and idles rough period. The Dealership didn't find anything wrong.

    Her dome light comes on at random times as well. This all started at about 47K miles.

    Now mine is showing the same signs.

    Anyone have any similar experiences?

  • You folks are scaring me! I just bought a 98 Expresso coupe as my commuter car. First time I didn't do any research before I bought. Then I check out Edmunds and see all the oil problems. Not what I need to see! Does anyone have a Neon that hasn't had problems? Is it possible I bought one that will be perfect?

    Mine has 33K miles, 5 spd. Actually a fun little car. But after reading all these posts, I'm paranoid. I actually think I see traces of oil on the white paint near the front tires. If a head gasket is getting ready, what can I expect? Any sure tell signs? Should I pull the plugs every once in a while and look for oil there? I run the car hard in DC traffic, so I hope if there will be problems, it will happen in the next 2500 miles while it still has the factory warranty.

    Please tell me Chrysler made some good neons!
  • I had a truck that had a bad head gasket. Here were the warning signs:

    1) Oil in the coolant
    2) Strong antifreeze smell
    3) Truck ran hotter than normal
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    To paraphrase what Robert Eaton, former chair of the former Chrysler Corporation said - "out of 100 vehicles, we're likely to build 10 that are as good as any Toyota has ever made, 80 that are OK, and 10 that cause repeated problems for our customers".

    Yes, there are some good Neons out there. Not enough, but by his reckoning - 10% of them.
  • msucommsucom Posts: 1
    Recently, I too replaced the head gasket and timing belt on my 1997 Plymouth Neon Expresso. I do drive a lot and have put 90000 miles on the vehicle in the past 3.9 years. I still have a little more than a year to pay on this car and was very upset with the 815.63 repair. When I bought this car, I was concerned with the possibility of problems. But, I thought I would give the American car market one shot. Big mistake! I am in medical school now and don't have a lot of time to deal with car trouble, let alone the expense (I completely live off of loans). I am wondering if I have a chance at all to recoup all or part of this big repair. If anyone has input on this let me know. Also, any info regarding the company's complaint department phone number would be helpful.
  • jr1drjr1dr Posts: 5
    My '97 neon just came back from the dealer for the dreaded head gasket repair. It was one month out of warranty. I called chrysler customer service (the phone # is in the back of the owners manual) and they paid for it all. I have 18K miles on it.
    Has anyone had experience with the new gaskets? Do they blow as well?
  • I just recently had an oil leak in my '97 Neon with less than 31,000 miles. I had it checked out locally and they informed me it was the head gasket. The mechanic also informed me that they had 8 Dodge vehicles in in the past year (a city of less than 2000 population)with the same problem. In doing the repairs on some of those vehicles, he indicated that when they received the new parts, it had been redesigned. I wonder why??? The Dodge dealer I purchased the car from did agree to give me a "courtesy" warranty because of the low mileage. But it appears to me that there is a problem (but I'm no mechanic). When I picked my car up yesterday from being repaired they told me that I had transaxle fluid leaking and that they replaced the seal on the left front axle. So....Ford Focus here I come!
  • My 98 dodge neon sport is cute, roomy (important for my 3 kids), and really fast! But it's also very disappointing. I have replaced the head gasket, battery, breaks, front tires( going on twice), and the ignition wires. Not to mention the " Service Engine Soon" light coming on about once a month. And when I take it to the dealership all I get is rudeness. For $90 an hour for labor they should make sure everything is fixed before they give it back to me but they don't. I also was wondering about the lemon laws. When I expressed my thoughts about this to the manager he was more than willing to service my car at no charge and even apologized to my husband for being rude. So, speak up. Let those people know how you feel. I was thinking of buying a Dodge Caravan but now I say HELL NO!! Thanks for the support and all the shoulders to cry on.
  • I'm definitely a person who believes that Honda & Toyota build the best cars in the world. It comes as no shock to hear that your Neons are giving you this many problems (well, a little shocked). Before you hate me though, the main point of this message is to say that my girlfriend has a '96 Neon with 118,000 that hasn't had any problems yet. To be totally honest though she bought it at 60k and at 90k she wrecked it and had to have the transmission replaced along with the cosmetic reconstruction needed. So i don't know whether she got a gem or if maybe she's just been lucky enough to avoid the repairs. I actually like driving it...but i think i'll stick to my Honda & Toyota instead.
  • Bought in July '00, found approx. 2 wks later, had
    a problem with instrument panel(suddlenly dropping to zero. Also, the selector dials for the A/C weren't working, and A/C itself wasen't working either. After i think 4 times in and out o' the shop, these problems were taken care of. i paid the extra for the warranty. Around the same time, i noticed oil in my driveway. What'da think it was? Back to the shop i go. They were kind enough to give me a rental for a Month, and fix it finally for Free. Although they were under no obligation for the labor. Since then i've had no problems with my Neon. Thanks to Reno Mazda-Kia.
    Oh, my Neon now has 113K miles and looks good!
    Any input please direct to:
  • topstops Posts: 1
    Just picked up my car yesterday from being repaired at the local Dodge dealorship. Problem?
    Found oil leaking at 40Kmi. I have not had this problem with two other new cars that I had in the past. Toyota Tercel, and Ford mustang. I bought a new car so I could concentrate on business not worrying if my car would make from one destination to another.
  • I bought my '98 neon sport. At 18k miles I had leaked out all my oil and had the car towed to the dealership. Headgasket was replaced. Dealership said no big deal. At 22k miles I noticed more leaking. Back to the dealership. They told me it was not leaking, that it was residuals from prior leak. I advised them that I'm not that stupid. Had my bfriend call the shop, they were able to put the dye through the car and find the leak for him. Dealership insisted that it would take 2 wks with no loner car to order the "new headgasket model" part. I got on the phone with Chrysler Corp, and like a raving lunatic demanded service. Advised them of the unfair treatment with the dealership and the the same problems with the car. Dealership and Chrysler Corp tried to sell me extended warranties. I advised both of them that I plan on selling the car prior to ending my 3yr/36,000 warranty. I'm not giving this company another penny. Chrysler Corp put pressure on Dealership and I got the "new" headgasket the next day. At 28k miles I'm back at the shop. Idling roughly. Blinking engine light. Dealership advises me that I need a tune up and advised me of how much they will do it for. I advised that I do not need a tune up with 28k miles. To early. Dealership got annoyed w/ me for not having my tune up. Today.... at 30k miles... on my way to work.... stall out on the road.... managed to get the car to a mechanic down the road from my home. Mechanic there advised me that my 2nd cyclinder spark plug was completely broken in "an unusual" way. Wasn't worn or cracked, but broken. I advised is this typical/usual.... he said no. What am I to think now???
    ****I'm on this site now looking for either a nice little sentra or a civic. I'm going to end up taking a loss on this car with the trade in, but I just need to get rid of it.
  • Well, it finally happened to me, after 56,000 miles, my friends who owned Neons told me it would happen, but I was like no it won't!! I have not taken it to a shop yet, but I know what it is, bad OIL leak = Head Gasket!! I called my local dealership and they said that there is lots of problems like that, they said I may not have to pay for it, they will try to have Daimler Chrysler pay for it. I hope they do, who can afford to pay a dealership for fixing a headgasket? NOT ME!!!!! Anyways, I see I failed to metion that my brother works for Daimler Chrysler, and I kinda have to be loyal to that, but after this I called andd told him that I will not buy another CHRYSLER product. I am going to go with HONDA or TOYOTA!!
  • I have had my 95 Neon since I bought it brand new from my local dealer and do not have much problems with it until 2 weeks ago. I noticed drops of oil in my driveway and took it in to service today. Guess what.. head gasket problem and costing 967 dollars to fix. Having had this privilege to read this and knowing all these responses..I just wonder if it is still possible to have this known-defect to be fixed under warranty. Anyone knows any tricks !!
  • I just found out my head gasket has died on my 98 neon with only 63,000 miles on it. I am trying to find another car to replace it and have learned my lesson with dodge products. If anyone thinking about buying a neon is reading this, I implore you to reconsider your decision.
  • rumerrumer Posts: 1
    I leased my 1997 Dodge Neon in February of 1997.
    It only had 20000 miles on it when the head gasket went bad for the first time. I took it to the local Dodge dealer who supposedly fixed it.
    At 48000 miles the head gasket went bad again and it had no warranty coverage left. Fortunately the dealership payed for the cost. I don't understand why I was not notified of the part they put on my car being defective before it went out again. Now my transmission is acting up and my power steering. I tried to trade it off but the place where I got it at won't take it back!!! They said it is not worth what I owe on it. Now I feel like I am stuck with a piece of junk that no dealer wants because of all the problems with it.
  • Well, I bought my 97 Neon Sport Coupe used, with 51,000 miles. The same day I got it, I took it to my mechanic (a family friend) and guess what? It was leaking oil. He must have known about the defect, because he told me to let my dealer know about it before I did anything else. I ended up getting the leak fixed at no charge. Now that the weather has gotten cold, my fuel injector has gone out. I have known a few people who have had Neons, and they have had no major problems. Why me??????? I love my car and I desperately hope that I have no more problems. I have the worst luck with cars, and I am still paying repair bills from 2 cars ago. If there is anything else that anyone knows of that can go wrong with Neons, let me know!!!! I am tired of having to hitch rides with my parents!!!!!
  • Everything I'm reading sounds really familiar. At 66,000 miles, my 1996 Neon had a head gasket leak. Repaired and paid by Chrysler. A year and a month later at 86,000 miles (actually, my car is in the shop right now for this problem), another major head gasket leak. Called Chrysler who agreed to pay half of the $700 repair. Now I'm debating on whether to keep the car, as the mechanic at the dealership told me that the head gasket problem is the only systematic problem with the car, although I have also had the fuel sending unit go out at
    $250, freon leak, radio LED went out, and the dome light didn't work upon delivery. Also had an exhaust manifold leak.

    Can I expect further head gasket leaks after this repair, or other major problems? I'm leaning toward getting rid of this car this spring while I'm ahead!

    Any input would be most appreciated. Thanks.
  • Vital stats: 98 Neon; 2.0L SOHC engine; 57,000mi; obviously out of warranty

    Problem: You know it, you love it: a leaking head gasket (HG)

    The Adventure: Chapter 1

    After reading up on all the particulars from successful(check out "stevarino"'s post #54 here on this board)/unsuccessful folks here and elsewhere at such great sites as, etc., I have decided to take the leap and try and prod (gently at first, with a harpoon if necessary) DaimlerChrysler (DC) into covering the repair and, with any luck, extending the warranty out to 7yrs/100kmi (this is goal #2 and will not supersede goal #1).

    In the hopes that my experience might be of service to someone else with this common problem, here it is as it happens...

    First, I had an independent mechanic check it out and confirm the HG was leaking (this was free). For oodles of reasons not important here, it was decided that I should try the dealership.

    Before calling the dealership I called DC's 800 number (1-800-922-1997 for those who need it) and created a customer service ticket (CST) via an explanation of the HG problem. As expected, the representative on the other end gave no indication that DC would actually cover the repair cost or extend the warranty or give me any good faith guarantee but would send (email, apparently) the information I gave him directly to my dealer of choice (a local 5-star that we've had the car in to before for other warranty work and which did a good and fast job - FWIW: we had the whole manual tranny replaced @ 35,000mi, gratis and in a half a day no less). So, I jot down the DC ticket number and ask about the particulars of the process. DC says that the dealer should diagnose the problem and then potentially make a decision on the spot or refer it up the line to the regional potentate (ahem).

    Armed with my CST# and a little info (download the TSB at the following website: - it really makes for interesting reading for insomniacs...) I give the dealership a call. I start off with the obligatory "you guys were so great when we had the car in before..." schpiel and presented the problem. Because I really want to keep everything above the board, I also mention the fact that I had spoken with DC. She doesn't let on that the HG leak is a major problem but does want the CST# and pleasantly schedules us in for the first thing Tuesday morning (01/02/01) for the diagnosis.

    I'll post the results of the dealership inspection/conversation/resolution? Tuesday afternoon....
  • asprnasprn Posts: 1
    Having read all the entries posted, I can relate to most of them but the head gasket in particular. I am NOW headed for the 4th head gasket in 5 years. Maybe time has come for some more responsible action on the part of the dealership?? perhaps a voluntary recall?? I sick of wondering WHEN I will find my next ill oil slick! I am also rather tired of the rude demeanor of my local dealerships . I will NEVER purchase another chrysler product so long as I may live! Perhaps a wee class action suit on behalf of all of us repeat head gasket sufferers??? :-) maybe even begin the DC HI Support Group... pats on the back and here's your complimentary box of oil... you'll need it. On the flip side, I have enjoyed my neon. It is a joy to drive and a cute little car! Too bad the people backing it are difficult to deal with and the engine leaves a great deal to be desired.
  • Well folks it's not over yet. Anyone who has a 1998 Neon 2.0 DOHC get ready. It will happen without a doubt. The dealer did not give me any argument "..being that it is so close to warranty and since we want your experience with us to be positive...blah, blah, blah", but it took 4 days for them to repair the car only to have it start leaking again a week later. Probably the shop engineer (a.k.a underpaid, barely high school graduated grease monkey) forgot to clean and prep and did a not uncommon "slip-n-slide". Other than the head gasket, the brakes at 15k and the sunroof mechanism replaced twice at 28k and 30k, I ???love??? the car...Thank goodness my lease is up in a month and I get to give it back...
  • Chapter 2: Into The Shop With Ye

    Before the new year I posted (#82) about my currently unfolding experience with the, "Aw @#!%&!, my head gasket is leaking, I'm beyond the warranty period, and now I have to go fight DaimlerChrysler to get the darned thing fixed..." saga that all '95-'98 Neon owners will probably go through at some point. Here is the continuation of my experience...

    We pick up our story at the dealership early this morning (7AM) for Neon's diagnosis appointment. Drop it off, they'll call me at work. About 3 hours later I get a call from the service manager and he says sure 'nuff, it's the head gasket (what a surprise, eh?) and that they called DC and referenced my CST# (having this *already* set up with DC is key, IMO, to getting a quick resolution). The service manager (Tony - really nice guy, btw) says that DC wants me to pay the first $100 and that DC will then pick up the rest of the tab. At this point, the thought did cross my mind that I should press for totally free, but then I caved, "That'll be just fine," I says. I also ask if they will be installing the "new" MLS gasket instead of the old one and I was assured they will be doing just that. I should state that the dealership that I took this to is a 5star (though the last award was in '94 - guess they get to call themselves that forever) service dept. that has seen this car once before for warranty work. I did not, however, buy the car from this dealership so their handling of the situation, when a future new car sale isn't directly at stake, is commendable, IMO.

    So, what originally looked like a $600+ repair is now going to cost $100. Did I get it completely free plus an extension on my warranty? In a word, no. Did I have to fight and rail against the machine getting nasty with everyone in the service department and at DC? Absolutely not - everyone has been cordial and pleasant (but I might add no one, esp. the DC rep on the phone, was very forthcoming with information like 'oh yeah - that's a common problem' - never heard that once). Am I happy that DC is going to pony up the lion's share of the cost? You betcha.

    Now we'll see if the gasket will leak again any time soon. If so, there will be an epilogue forthcoming. 'Til then, good luck on your head gasket repair!
  • I have a 97 Neon SOHC with 47,000 miles. About two years ago the head gasket was replaced under warranty. I recently changed the spark plugs and they all had oil on them. Now my oil light is coming on. The dipstick shows the oil level is right above the minimum. Could this be another problem or is it the head gasket again?
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Hopefully, it is just the gasket again - but don't let it go. Have the car checked by a mechanic.

    As I recall, it took DaimlerChrysler a while to fix the problem - if your car was repaired with the original gasket, it may simply have failed again (hopefully it will be just that).
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Is the oil on the firing tips or on the porcelain? If on the tips, oil's finding it's way into the cylinders. If on the porcelain, it's probably leaking down from the cam cover.
  • The oil was on the tips of the spark plugs.
  • I posted a message about a week or so ago, when my car was still in the shop for a new fuel injector. I was at a friend`s house, had not had the car back for more than 2 days, and guess what? I got in it to leave and the son of a gun would not start. It was very cold outside, and that was the same symptom the car had when the fuel injector was bad. When I was driving to my friend`s house earlier that day, it seemed sluggish and I wondered if the throttle was stuck or something. Needless to say, I ended up having it towed to the mechanic. I am getting really sick of this, not to mention broke from having to pay the repair bills. I still haven`t found out what`s wrong yet.
  • I have already posted a message regarding my Breeze on a prior site, now noticed I fit into this site also.

    My 1996 Breeze just had a $1357 repair bill at the Chrysler dealer yesterday. The head gasket replacement accounted for $730 of that bill. Our 1997 Neon was just in at 28,000 for it's head gasket replacement.

    Not only are we afraid this will be an on-going problem with both of these vehicles, the Chrysler regional representative is refusing to cover any cost of the Breeze repair.

    He stated that only 2.0 liter repairs are being covered. There is a 2.4 liter in our car. Looking over all the complaints posted on these sites, I can't believe we're the only ones to have a problem with the 2.4.

    We want to be persistent in our claim with Chrysler. Any suggestions on our next step? Should we "tough it out" hoping for no future head gasket problems or go keeper into debt buying two different on-Chrysler products?

This discussion has been closed.