New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

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AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:14 am

Last year a friend invited me to a get together at his house. He has a little dirt track path set up in his pasture to drive cars on. He’s been buying old cars for cheap & “racing” them out there for fun. Last year’s car was a stripped out stick shift Nissan Altima painted in blue & orange. I got to make several laps in it & so did my girlfriend. We were last in line to drive it, so it was a bit down in power & overheating quite a bit. During my second stint it busted a hose & died. After we pushed it back to the “pit” with his tractor he wanted to send it out in a blaze of glory, so he got it cranked up again & put a brick on the gas pedal. After a surprisingly long time it finally blew.
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We were hooked! After getting invited back for this year’s event I started looking for a car to take. I also plan on cutting out a bit of a “track” in my back pasture to have some fun on. Plus, her boys are just getting into their teenage years, so this will be a great way to teach them how to drive.

Well, Friday night a local guy posted a 2000 Patriot Blue MTX Plymouth Neon LX beater for sale on Facebook, & my friend tagged me in the post. I messaged the seller, asked a few questions, & made an offer.

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I picked it up last night & hauled it home.

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When I got it off the trailer I drove it out into the pasture. Scared the deer out there & myself a bit as the front tires rubbed on dips & bumps. Then Since it was almost out of gas I drove it to the gas station to fill up. Less than $23 to top off the tank. My truck’s tank is 26 gallons & it uses premium, so huge difference there!

Today I found this forum, read most of the FAQ & did some searching to try to figure out what this is going to need. It didn’t take long to diagnose the cause of the rubbing. The previous owner put on new tires that are way too big.

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Maybe those tires will fit on one of my trailers after I put smaller ones on. The inside needs a good cleaning. I need to check out & probably replace the timing belt. And it has a vibration over 50mph that the previous owner blamed on a worn out CV axle. After 20 years & a lot of miles it does leak a bit of oil, but reading here has given me several places to check for that. The AC doesn’t work. I should probably remove the parts for that, but this is Texas... It has a newer stereo. Not sure if I’ll keep that in. I’m honestly torn about whether or not to strip out the interior. I kinda want to keep the option of using it as a beater on the street. There’s an issue with the dome light. He pulled the sensors from the door & now the IC displays FUSE after startup. I don’t mind no light, but it is a bit of a PITA. I’m sure I’ll find lots of other problems that need work.

So far it has been a fun little car to play with! Kinda funny how I got a 4x4 V8 truck to drive on the street & a sporty little econocar to drive off-road! :mrgreen:
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:20 am

Tonight I looked around under the hood a bit. This thing is dirty & a bit of a mess.
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One thing that specifically caught my attention was this ground strap that’s not connected anywhere.
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Where does it go? Could I use the bolt at the end of the intake manifold for it?

And as I was crawling out of it the driver’s seat I noticed that I keep grabbing the A-pillar. Both A-pillars have a bunch of rust on them & I can’t remember the last time I got a tetanus shot. So, I decided to something about it.
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And I think the AC might actually work, but it was kinda cool outside today anyway. And the passenger rear window won’t roll down.
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:49 am

My gf has been trying to get me to start making & using lists, so I should probably start a list of problems & things that need replaced.
  • wash it! Inside, outside, under hood
  • brake rotors need replaced
  • upper front engine mount needs replaced
  • plugs & wires need replaced
  • timing belt could probably be replaced
  • oil leak diagnose & repair
  • fix ground (pictured above)
  • figure out what to do about the FUSE warning
  • front struts/springs. I read that SRT struts lift the front to allow larger diameter tires. I’m sure these are the 262k+ mile factory ones. I do NOT want lowering springs. Stock height or even taller with higher rate only.
  • diagnose CEL
  • CV axle checked/replaced
  • Driver door pull
  • Check shifter linkage
  • Check clutch
  • driver seat back is stuck laying too far back
  • clean/polish headlights
And how about a list of wants?
  • Tachometer. How can you have a stick shift without a tach?!?
  • Pull some weight out of it- Need to search here to find out what is worth pulling
  • Exhaust- muffler (Maybe swap in the factory one from my truck?), header
  • Intake- ATX TB along with some kind of cold air intake, maybe the Magnum manifold?
  • Pull the head. Replace valve springs & seals. While in there might as well upgrade the camshaft... Deck head.
  • Computer tuning for all the above
  • 2.4 swap? Is that as big as you can go with these?
  • RollBar
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

Midnight_Rider
2014 Platinum Contributor
Posts: 8172
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:49 am
Location: Indianapolis, IN

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by Midnight_Rider » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:06 am

Welcome! Nice to see another Neon about to get some good attention.
Official "I'm Going To Drive My Neon 'til It Dies" Club #10

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:34 am

I figured out & fixed my tire rubbing issue!

I took the car into town to try to get a pair of smaller tires on the front to combat the tire rubbing I've had on dips. When they had the front jacked up I noticed that the fender was dented in there & was bent in worse than I realized. So, before they took the old tires off I used a sledge hammer to knock the dent back out away from the tire. It moved enough that I thought it might have been enough. So I came home & took it for a ride in the pasture. It was better, but still rubbed too much on dips. So then I got creative.

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As you can see, I used a recently cut log wedged between the tire & fender with the weight of the car to push the fender back out. Then I drove it back & forth a little to effectively roll the fender out even more than before. Took it for another ride in the pasture to test & the rubbing is all gone! Now it just bottoms out in the back which new springs should help with.

It really didn’t cost me anything, but I did pay the tire shop for a “tire rotation” and then rotated them back to where the worst tire was on the back.

Now I’m tempted to do the other side to even it out a bit :mrgreen:
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:38 pm

some quick measurements for my own notes on here...

On the driver side only from the bead of the 16” wheel to the edge of the fenders measure 6½” front & 7” rear. With a jack lifting the right side to where both driver side tires are off the ground both measure 9 ½ inches. That’s a total travel of 3” front & 2 ½” rear.
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:09 am

I put in the newer white face cluster with a tach tonight. Huge improvement! I realized I was short shifting a bit before, but that was probably best for the car & me :rofl: Only 1 of the bulbs is out. Just ordered some eBay LEDs to replace it & the rest of them.

I also pulled off the cover for the dome light. I get the FUSE message in the cluster.
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Well, as you can see, there’s no bulb there at all. The previous owner said something about that bulb kept popping on him, so that’s why he pulled all the door switches out. Maybe an LED bulb will fix it?
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:14 am

Oh yeah, I lost 2 of the cluster screws in the dash as I was swapping them out. Hopefully they work theirselves down to the floorboard soon. :facepalm3:
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

AdioSS
2GN Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:17 pm

Re: New 260k+ mile Plymouth Neon owner (lotsa pics)

Post by AdioSS » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:38 pm

Just realized that instead of waiting for the eBay LEDs, I can just pull a bulb from the old cluster. 8)
Cheston
2000 Plymouth Neon SOHC ATX
2018 GMC Sierra Z71 6.2L
1996 ImpalaSS

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