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#79 of 139 1997 head gasket problem
Dec 01, 2000 (3:00 am)
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.
Dec 26, 2000 (6:29 pm)
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!!!!!
#81 of 139 1996 Head Gasket
Dec 27, 2000 (2:21 pm)
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.
#82 of 139 The Adventure Begins...
Dec 28, 2000 (9:24 am)
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 lemonaidcars.com, 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: http://neons.org/neonstsb/TSB/09/090598.htm - 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....
#83 of 139 1996 Neon - On the 4th HEAD GASKET
Dec 28, 2000 (2:14 pm)
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've been to three now>. 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.
#85 of 139 1998 Head Gasket Blows @36.5k
Jan 01, 2001 (8:04 pm)
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...
#86 of 139 The Adventure Continues...
Jan 02, 2001 (10:00 am)
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!
#87 of 139 Oil Found On Spark Plugs
Jan 03, 2001 (12:42 pm)
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?
Jan 03, 2001 (3:40 pm)
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).