Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

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04rebel
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Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:38 pm

Son came home from work today, asked if I had any refrigerant that the A/C was not cool. I hooked up my simple top up kit with 1lb can...would not accept any flow, saw the compressor clutch not engaging, so jumpered the connector on the accumulator at the pass. side firewall and clutch engaged but still wouldn't take in the R-134a. Shut down and depressed the valve in the low press line and nothing came out, system empty!
I never did much A/c work, and the A/C system looks to be pretty well laid out for durability and can see no trace leak effects anywhere. SO I'm asking for you folks help before I "break down" and take it to a shop for diagnosis.
What a shame, as the great A/c operation this little car has had since getting it 3+ yrs ago has been one of my biggest likings of the car! Even worked great after all the jostling of doing the timing belt a couple weeks back!

Yes rad fans work and no codes, fuses and relays good too. PLEASE HELP...

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:33 pm

15 years, it could be anything. Basically without a way to find refrigerant leaks, it only guessing.
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm

occasional demons wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:33 pm
15 years, it could be anything. Basically without a way to find refrigerant leaks, it only guessing.
Thanks for the response, I'm not looking here for the "fix" to the trouble. Just curious if others have seen a particular area(evaporator, condenser,lines) that seem to be a much found trouble spot. I don't want to pull the DASH again, once was enough for a heater core! [-o<

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:11 pm

Unfortunately, the only related thing (1gn neons) the evaporator has been known to be a trouble spot. I found this out after having it all completely apart, to clean debris out of the HVAC module, while I had everything stripped from the interior in my '99.

I can't say if they used a different evaporator in the 2gn's or not. The entire HVAC module, while slightly different, will swap between gen's with little issue.
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:32 pm

Thanks O.D., after the work today for the rear hubs and changing out the front struts(2nd time since getting it), it was TOO darned HOT out to poke around more with it about the a/c. And going to a shop for it would probably cost as much as the car is worth once again! Car will be home till 10:30 tomorrow morning...maybe in the cooler morning I'll poke around more under the hood! I did notice that the High side port has been uncapped (had to be like that before we got it), and man is that in an awkward spot below the P/S pump(2.0 SOHC)! the other lines look good along the right side, so I'll try and see if something around the condenser.

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:22 pm

Well, After finding out the "semi expensive" way(buying more R-134a) that my 5 year old top up reusable filler hose had bit the dust! Yes the Neon had to have the low pressure cut off switch jumpered to kick the compressor and it took 2 cans of R-134a with sealant for a total of 1.32 lbs. The A/C is currently working and will check it again in the morning before my son heads out to work. Does not seem as cold as I remember it getting, but the system is 15 years old now! This is the FIRST time since getting the car to have to top up the A/C, fingers crossed that it holds!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:30 am

18 years and the A/C still works in my '01. I almost hate having to break it open to swap body shells. It can get so cold, that in the humid hot days, the air coming out of the vents is white. :shock:

I can only run it when the car is actually moving at speed, otherwise it kills the engine. (Poor compression)
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:18 am

OK, rub it in now! Have NOT gone outdoors as of yet to check it as it's 74* and POURING straight down RAIN!
Last evening when doing it I did get a good 25* temp drop from outside temp.

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:18 am

OK, rains stopped for now. Went out and checked static low side pressure and was at same level as last evening. Started it up and A/c worked and got quite cold very quickly at same running range as last evening. Only concern I have is that the compressor clutch did not cycle during the plenty long time that I ran it, unlike my 98 Avenger coupe that does cycle and A/C is working fine.
Any comments appreciated, as I've stated that I don't do much A/C work other than the DIY top up kits. And usually do that BEFORE they quit running altogether like the Neon did(as son drives it constantly and I don't get to keep that close a check on it till he FINALLY says something!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:37 pm

Did you buy straight R134A or the stuff with oil in it?
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:00 pm

Stuff that had stop leak in with the R-134a, BOTH cans. Compressor sounds healthy, will check it over again when son gets home tonight around 9:30.
I don't have full gages, so I have no clue what the High side is at.
Also the compressor did NOT cycle last evening when I got refrigerant into it. Which once it started taking refrigerant, I quick plugged the low press. wire connector back on.

For any that already read this post...
I deleted the oil from the ingredients of the type R-134a that I used. Went and looked at the can again and it only had leak sealer in with it. Maybe I should pick up a can of the oil for the system???

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:25 pm

Don't add more oil. It will displace the refrigerant quantity. The oil will not be lost with a slow leak.

Sealer can be bad news depending on which side of the system the leak is on. It can clog the system permanently.
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:40 pm

occasional demons wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:25 pm
Don't add more oil. It will displace the refrigerant quantity. The oil will not be lost with a slow leak.

Sealer can be bad news depending on which side of the system the leak is on. It can clog the system permanently.
Well all was good for his 100 mile RT today and A/C blowing ICE COLD. Low side pressures holding at same levels. Will continue to monitor and leave things be for now. Didn't have running long enough to see if the compressor clutch cycles on and off...and still not sure that it does on this system.

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:51 am

UPDATE: All is NOT so good, compressor is now cycling and cabin temps are NOT getting cold. Low press lines under the hood are ice cold. My simple low press side gage is showing the press drop to around 5 psi when clutch engaged and up to around 12 psi when clutch is out. Static reading shows same as before, on the high end of the low area and not "in the green of the gage's color graph.
Maybe try one more partial 11 oz. can of straight R-134a? Wish I had a proper set of gages handy!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:56 pm

OK, after multiple run sessions thru the HOT day, I think I may have found the problem. 3 different times I went to unscrew the low press cap and it literally POPPED off thru my fingers. The valve is much different in size than my other Dodge products and I don't have a core tool of this size. So I'm wondering now if the valve core is failing???
There is pressure at the high side port, as I used a hook pick and refrigerant came out.
Guess I need to invest in some full gages and a vacuum pump!

UPDATE: I just went out and tried it again and the dog gone cap POPPED off with force when it got to the end of it's threads!
I still can't believe what i found, the inner hole for going over the schrader valve end was caked with crud and when tightened down HAD TO BE PRESSING THE VALVE! Found it by using a drill just smaller than the hole, and the crud just climbed up the drill bit! SO I took a slightly larger drill bit and opened up the hole, NOW we'll see how it does!

This is the weirdest leak problem cause I've ever seen!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:18 pm

04rebel wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:56 pm


This is the weirdest leak problem cause I've ever seen!
Well if the valve can now seal properly, maybe the cheapest fix, other than the money already spent on refrigerant. :)
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:49 pm

Well money spent for 4 more cans of straight R-134a...$20.00 and all day fighting with it! sure beats $80.00/hour and sure that a shop would NOT have caught it. My problem was son is always on the go with the car and no extended time to let me "play" with it..till today. They all went out on a family daylong outing and took my T&C, leaving me the Neon and Avenger at home. Took the Avenger to the nearest Walmart for the R-134a...65 mile round trip, and it's A/C worked flawlessly now for 3 days since topping that back up!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:37 pm

Well, It was a VERY rough night last night!
The "crew" got back home at 8:00pm and son immediately took off with his GF to get her home 48 miles away and then get back home as he had to leave for work at 7:30 am. At 12:30am we got a call to "rescue" him 7 miles from home on the return leg. Seems he REALLY ditched the Neon trying to avoid a deer. A nearby farmer pulled him out with his tractor. But alas the Neon is probably done for! the front body is shifted,although no visible body "crunches". The plastic nose took some damage, but still looks decent. It also took a hit to the oil pan(cast aluminum) that slow seeped out while I limped it home, Motor is ok and trans functioning OK also. Was hard to tell at that wee hour just how much more damage is done until I can get my ramps out and fill enough oil to get it turned around and up on them. BUT it did drive well(feather footing the gas and no warning lights) While I drove it home.
MY SON is OK, and just a VERY BADLY SHAKEN PRIDE and now the chore of figuring what to do on a very limited budget and still get to work 50 miles away !
At this point the A/C problem/fix has taken a total "back burner" on the situation!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:08 am

Well that sucks, but at least he is okay!

Best of luck on getting it sorted out!
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:17 pm

Looks like the little car will survive(again). Took the oil pan down and cleaned and made an internal patch over cracked area with JB WELD, 3 days now and not even a seep with 100 miles of my driving on it. New pan from Rock Auto on it's way from Phoenix, Az.( total cost $52.00). The upper and lower mounts were torn, so Autozoned them(1 free replacement if shot in 1 year). Today with a smaller chain style "come along" I got the lower radiator support pulled back to a reasonable position that all the stuff aligns to hold the radiator and nose pieces. IF I could just find the upper right grill chrome trim, one would not suspect it's history from just a glancing look! Just have to get some screws and washers to fasten the bottom bumper cover to the plastic lower filler panel.
A/C is kapoot, and I'm NOT going to mess with it anymore.

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:23 pm

Well the little car is doing quite well from the "incident", so to try and be nice to the little car, I gave the A/C one last shot at getting it working this morning before it left for work. Yesterday I found and bought a "large bore" valve core tool and the low press side schrader valve and replaced it this morning. This time,once I got enough R-134a back in, I used soapy water to see if the core was still leaking...it was. Blew out the water and tried tightening the valve a bit more...tool cracked, but did tighten more. Rechecked with water and had a very small and infrequent bubble show(big difference from before), due to time constraints I finished adding more R-134a and vents were blowing cold. So I told my son to see how it works on his way home tonight and will check things over tonight or in the morning(depending on time). We are to be in a "heat wave"in the 90's thru the weekend, and as my son works outdoors as a lifeguard I'm sure he would appreciate the working A/C for his 50 mile one way trips! FINGERS CROSSED that it holds and I can find a better quality core tool!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:58 am

Well, 24 hours later and the system did NOT hold. Low press reading very low but not empty and compressor doesn't kick in...bypass the LP cutoff switch and it will. Other things (and other vehicles) to deal with, son will have to use the manual crank window lowering for airflow!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:58 am

At least he has 4 windows. My '99 being a coupe only has two. A/C has never functioned since I bought it. PO's decided deleting the A/C and Power Steering were good ideas. PS was simple ad cheap to fix. A/C, not so much. Especially with the 2.4 under the hood, it adds to the, um fun level of finding real estate for the compressor pulley.

But it hasn't killed me yet. I have driven it twice to Carlisle in the July heat, and currently it is my DD in this scorcher. Last night sucked, I had to drive it with the windows down in the rain, because the air movement the blower motor makes wasn't an option. Thankfully I added some insulation/sound deadening when I had the interior gutted.

It would be really unbearable with all that engine and exhaust heat coming through the floor. I have driven cars with no or little insulation, and it sucks for keeping cool. My '72 Charger would roast my right foot from the automatic trans heat coming off the tunnel.
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:37 pm

In our unusual temp "heat wave" here and limited time to work with it, I tried to be nice for the son. I guess if this weather keeps up, another core tool and schrader valve,a can of 134a and a can of DYE along with finding my 70's black light, then actually looking for where the leak is...no more guessing...getting too expensive!
Yesterday morning it was working well enough that the HVAC box drain was flowing like a full on faucet...the humidity is so high here! :roll:

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:49 pm

Who cares about the A/C on this car anymore...Last Thursday night a speeding ticket on the way home from work and ONE WEEK later he calls and says a DEER HIT HIM...said all is ok (even the car)...We shall see in the mornings light IF he makes it home! Poor car has had more troubles since the end of may than the last three years!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:26 am

Well my son was truthful about the deer hitting him(the car), a slight pressure dent to the lower right rear door...no real damage! IF he would have just come home directly from work IN daylight, this may not have happened at all. but he decided to "socialize" with fellow co workers after their shifts were done. He finally got home at 11:30 pm when his shift ended at 7:15pm!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:32 pm

Kids are going to do what kids are going to do. :D

Don't be too hard on him. Can't really blame it on staying out late, stuff happens, at least it was only a deer....
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:04 pm

I know, I actually can still remember MY youth and doing similar to his stunts...just never hit a Deer or continually ditched my cars. We've had a series of deadly car wrecks ON HIS ROUTE to and from work and now the police are patrolling and ticketing much more closely. My point is that my son needs to be a little more cognizant of what is going on around him and adjust accordingly FOR HIS OWN SAFETY. ;)

Just Sat morning at 4:30 a.m. in a town not 25 miles from home there was a multiple fatality one car crash..driver was 16 yrs old, 2 others 16 yrs. old and a 14 yr. old. The LONE survivor(16 yrs. old) of the 5 in the car was the only one wearing a seatbelt. At 16 NYS only has learner permit with ADULT front passenger AND the driving hours are NOT allowed during the time the crash happened....STILL trying to figure out what parent would let a group of kids have access to a car under those regulations!

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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by occasional demons » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Chances are the parents didn't know their kids were out of the house. I know I snuck out plenty while my parents were sleeping. I never went joyriding in a car though. It was the bicycle, since that was darn near silent. But cars are pretty quiet theses days, and more people can afford A/C in their homes, so the windows aren't open.

If I had fired up the car, it would have been game over.

Unfortunately, it's a more dangerous world out there, in multiple ways, than even just 10 years ago, let alone 30 years ago. What we did for fun can get you killed now. The learning curve is a brick wall.
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Re: Anyone know the common fail points for an 04 base Neon? A?C?

Post by 04rebel » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:57 pm

Well, I had a very "frank" talk with my son the other day and we talked about just what has been happening with him and the fears both my wife and I have about the roadway accidents that could involve him and the Neon. He agreed that his attitude needed improvement and that he did need to take heed of what is happening around him that could impact his doings.
I have noticed a distinct change in his driving and car care attitude. As I told him again that the Neon HAD TO LAST until HE could afford another car AND insurance. He has gotten off easy compared to his older sister in getting his license sooner and US footing the majority of car care and insurance. Also reminded him that for money involved in the Neon, that there was NO WAY that a newer or better car could be found. His driving and using the Neon is a PRIVILEGE and NOT his entitlement from us.
We shall see how long it takes to be forgotten!

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