2.4 swap

Doing a SRT-4 Motor swap into your Neon, maybe even a 2.4... have questions about it, what you'll need or what issues you'll run into? Answers can be found in here.
atzottola
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2.4 swap

Post by atzottola » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:33 pm

Swapping a 1998 2.4 Stratus motor to a 5 spd.2003 Neon. Almost too much information. What is needed to get this in basic running form. I am building a track car. No power steering, A/C, just an alternator. Don't care what it looks like, just want it to fit and run. Here is a list of what I think I need from the bone yard:
1. Neon DOHC intake (upper/lower). Can I use PT Cruiser intake?
2. Neon or Pt oil pan and pump.
3. Pt lower brace.
I plan on using the Stratus TB and exhaust manifold
Will the Neon 2nd gen SOHC front engine cover mount fit the DOHC engine?
Can I use the alternator brackets off of either car and put it front (Stratus) or in the rear (Neon)
I plan on using the Neon wiring harness and Computer.
The Stratus intake looks much longer. Is this why it can't be used?
I want to go to the salvage yard and make one trip (hopefully). Anything else needed?

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Post by occasional demons » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:58 pm

Unless you plan on using MS, or swapping to a 2002 older wiring/pcm, you should look for a 2003 to 2010 PT engine. It will have the correct mount bracket, etc. You can use a stratus/sebring engine, but you will still need the PT style oil pan/mount, etc to make life simpler.

PT IM will work if you cut a hole in the hood. There is no advantage to using a Stratus TB, use the one that comes with the DOHC IM, try for an ATX TB.

No, the SOHC mount bracket will not work on the 2.4.
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Post by atzottola » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:30 am

The Stratus and the Neon are in the driveway, so I guess I'll have to look for PT parts.
Don't think NASCAR will let me cut a hole in the hood so I'll need a DOHC IM from Neon.
Can I use the Stratus wiring harness and PCM and run it off toggle switches or is it much easier to just use the key in the steering column? Not sure how intertwined the wiring is from the body to the engine. I'd still like to keep the gauge cluster so this may not be possible.
Should I grab the fuel rail from the Neon DOHC or will my Stratus or SOHC Neon work?
Luckily, it seems the PT parts are getting easier to find than the old Neon parts.

What is "MS"? Only thing I can think of is Microsoft. I know I look stupid asking this one and It'll come to me as soon as I hit "submit"

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Post by occasional demons » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:29 pm

Mega Squirt.


You could hack the stratus engine bay/engine harness into the neon. Most, if not all wire colors are the same. The only issue with the Stratus 2.4 PCM, is it is rev limited to ~6000 rpm. You would be losing 750 rpm.
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Post by atzottola » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:57 pm

I may try to merge the 2 manifolds just for giggles. I have a fab shop but not a machine shop. If both manifolds are aluminum, I'm in the clear.. The 03 Neon looks like plastic. Haven't opened the hood for awhile.

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Post by INVUJerry » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:27 am

The 03 neon is plastic. Get a manifold from a 95-99 DOHC neon it'll fit the best. If you are making a dirt car just get some wiring from a 97-99 neon and a ecu from there. If you get an fsm you'll be able to accomplish what you need easier.
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Post by atzottola » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:14 pm

why can't I use the wiring/ECU from the Stratus? Is it just the rev limit? Occasional demon wrote in a previous post that the wiring colors should be the same. I was just going to splice them into the Neon body wiring. Seemed like the easiest/ cheapest route. Going to be an asphalt car. 1/2 mile. Probably will never come out of 3rd gear. we hit about 85-88 mph before we turn left. Not sure I would hit the rev limit. Just a base Neon with a 5 spd. Trying to keep this cheap. Please, no cliches' about racing and cheap.

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Post by occasional demons » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:02 pm

You can use the Stratus wiring/PCM, but the gauges/speedo aren't going to work, except for the fuel level. You may still need to get a wiring diagram for the neon and the Stratus. Since it is a track car, you really only need to focus on the engine bay and engine harness wiring.

The Stratus sensors/wiring are a little different, but if you graft the Stratus engine bay harness/PCM to the neon, all that stuff will be in the right place.

You will have the same quirks plus some, using a 1gn neon PCM/harness. You would need to do all the stuff related to a 2.4 swap in a 1gn neon as far as re pinning the PCM connector. With the 2.4 PCM/wiring, you won't have to do anything.

The only possible way the cluster will function is if the Stratus has PCI Bus. (A violet/yellow wire)

I don't know if the Stratus was upscale enough for that. The bigger Chrysler cars had it a few years before the neons did.
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Post by atzottola » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:00 pm

I would like the cluster to work, but if it runs fine without it, I'm not going to worry about it. I can always get some cheapy gauges to moniter oil pressure and temp. When it quits revving I'll know I'm at redline. Will the OBDII work without the cluster in case something goes wrong I can diagnose it? This is my first time straying away from caveman Chevy V8's and the stock Cavalier that was getting stomped by Neons every time I raced it. If you can't beat em, join em (hopefully beat em with a 2.4). Ideally I'd like to lose all the wiring and put a toggle switch for power, 1 for the fuel pump and 1 to start. That's asking a bit much. I can worry about that down the road if I can actually get the thing to run after the swap.
Any of yins guys in the Pittsburgh area by chance?

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Post by occasional demons » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:37 am

As long as you retain the OBD port, you can get codes without the cluster.

You can find a PDF Factory Service Manual on line if you search around for say a 2004 SRT/PL. the wiring should be the same as an '03. You'll then need to source a '98 Stratus wiring diagram to match up what you can. The OBD port diagram will be in the FSM.

There may be links/info on a Stratus forum, such as Stratusphere, or the like.
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Post by atzottola » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:25 am

Thanks a bunch, I'll be pulling the Startus engine today. I'm sure it will be at least a week before I get parts to put it in the Neon. I may bolt it in as best I can and worry about the particulars later. Looks like I can use the front Stratu mount to hold the engine up if I cut it to fit around the strut tower. I want to get everything sorted before I even put a water pump on it. Stratus engine had the Timing belt broken when I got it. Had 120 in 2 cyls and 90 in the other 2. Can't trust the gauge though, it is from Harbour freight and reviews said they read low. Regardless, the engine may not be in the best shape to begin with. just want to get it changed for now.

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Post by atzottola » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:59 pm

just ordered the DOHC Neon intake on EBAY. It doesn't come with the fuel rail. Will my Stratus rail fit? I know the SOHC will not.

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Post by occasional demons » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:33 pm

It will fit, but you will need to make a firewall to fuel rail line.
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Post by atzottola » Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:45 am

What do you think about mounting the engine and trans solid? I'm a fabricator so this is not a problem. Just worried the vibration may rattle the unibody loose. It's a track car so I'm not worried about comfort. Just want to make a front and rear engine plate to make removal easier.

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Post by NickKo » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:34 pm

Interesting topic / thread.
Subscribed for updates. :)
atzottola wrote:I'm a fabricator so this is not a problem. Just worried the vibration may rattle the unibody loose. It's a track car so I'm not worried about comfort. Just want to make a front and rear engine plate to make removal easier.
You should start a project thread with pics !! :thumbup:


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 57mm TB; Maddog STS
-2000 Ply.LX w/MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; 2.5 exh.; 60mm T/B
-2001 ATX w/Syked PCM + Magnum header
-2001 ACR w/SRT T/B bored out to 55mm

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Post by atzottola » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:55 pm

I'll be making it up as I go along, I'm pretty good at figuring out better ways to do things. I'm hoping I can work it so the whole mess can come out the top when I'm done. I'll try and take pics as I go along. The biggest stumbling block I have is computers. Whether in a car or on my lap. I'll have to remount all the Stratus ECM stuff and try and figure out what I don't need. Getting rid of useless wiring frees up a lot of room. May just put mechanical gauges in if the cluster doesn't work. I'm old school and understand the simple ways.

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Post by sidepipe87 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:53 pm

I'm in Pittsburgh, where are you located?
PM me for your 03+ PCM SKIM/VIN flashing needs. Neon PCMs Plus

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Post by atzottola » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:46 am

May be a while, I have 2 projects going at once. I was hoping to just use everything from the Stratus to run the engine. Haven't done the math yet but I don't think I'll have to rev past 6k going 85 in 3rd gear. I'll try the Neon PCM once it is running again if I think I need to rev higher. Just about ready to drop the old engine, broke my breaker bar last night trying to get the stinkin axle nut off.

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Post by sidepipe87 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:18 am

sidepipe87 wrote:I'm in Pittsburgh, where are you located?
PM me for your 03+ PCM SKIM/VIN flashing needs. Neon PCMs Plus

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Post by occasional demons » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:45 am

Axle nuts are torqued to ~165 ft lbs. You may need to get a beefier breaker bar. I use either 3/4 or 1" (Don't recall which ATM) drive when loosening/tightening mine. If the nut comes loose, the bearings will be trash within 10 feet.

You can also put a pipe wrench on the outside of the socket, if you have an impact socket.

A quality screwdriver in the brake rotor cooling fins will hold it if the wheel is off the ground.

Allen wrenches will just snap, they are too brittle. :roll: :lol:
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Post by atzottola » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:32 am

I had a 2' crowbar between the studs. The bar was bowing as I jumped on the breaker bar. No way a screw driver would have held up to that. I have a 1" Harbour freight socket set, just didn't have it at my house. I'll need a 2' pipe on that to break it loose. It really is locked on that tight.

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Post by occasional demons » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:30 pm

I use an old Stanley screwdriver every time. It doesn't flinch.
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Post by NickKo » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:16 pm

atzottola wrote: broke my breaker bar last night trying to get the stinkin axle nut off.
I've seen this happen before !!

In my case (it was actually someone else's Neon, not mine), we were able to get the axle nut off.... After applying some heat to the nut.
It worked !! :thumbright:


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 57mm TB; Maddog STS
-2000 Ply.LX w/MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; 2.5 exh.; 60mm T/B
-2001 ATX w/Syked PCM + Magnum header
-2001 ACR w/SRT T/B bored out to 55mm

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Post by atzottola » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:48 am

The old "heat wrench" works every time. May weaken the nut though. My Harbour freight 1" drive socket set with a 3' pipe did the trick. Still had to jump a few times to get it to crack. They must have had loctite on them.
With everything stripped out, looks like the engine/trans may just barely fit through the top. Hope to try tonight (if I can get some wood for my heater).

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Post by NickKo » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:31 pm

atzottola wrote:The old "heat wrench" works every time. May weaken the nut though.
Yeah, I have thought about that. :-k
But then, I have never heard of anyone, ever having one of those nuts 'break' on them.
Unless I was racing the car, I probably wouldn't be too concerned about it.... One could always change out the nut or get a new one, if 'heat hardening' is a concern.


- Nick
-1998 2-dr SOHC MTX= 57mm TB; Maddog STS
-2000 Ply.LX w/MTX = Maddog STS; CAI; 2.5 exh.; 60mm T/B
-2001 ATX w/Syked PCM + Magnum header
-2001 ACR w/SRT T/B bored out to 55mm

Official "I'm Going to Drive My Neon till it Dies" Club #000009

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Post by occasional demons » Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:47 pm

Unless you used an oxy-acetylene torch and got it glowing, I don't think it will hurt it too badly.
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Post by atzottola » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:27 am

I agree, each case has to be looked at differently. I've heated a hundred exhaust manifold nuts and reused them. If it was a wheel nut, I'd replace the stud and nut. I started to read a lot about fasteners a bunch of years ago. The more I read the more freaked out I got. The way engineers talk, you would think your wheels would fly off if you overtightened them by 15 lbs.
Pulled the engine and trans through the top last night. Only thing it hooked on was the battery tray support. Cut about 2 inches off with a hacksaw and it came right out. I'll probably have a lawn tractor battery in it anyway. Gotta shed weight and the small battery works just fine. Have seen guys use a small motorcycle battery, never had a problem.

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Post by occasional demons » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:02 am

A group size 51 battery works great. 500 CCA on the average. just a bit bigger than a lawn mower battery. It's what I'm using in my 1gn. Cranks the 2.4 with ease even in sub zero temps.

I think if you heated the spindle nut hot enough to alter it's metallurgy, you might have a grease fire in the hub. :lol:
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Post by atzottola » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:40 am

I'm going to try and use the stock Stratus oil pan and filter. Looks like the oil filter may hit the lower a arm mount extension on the K member. Was thinking of trimming that down, connectin to the unibody above and using it for a solid rear motor mount to the old power steering pump bracket or straight to the block.
I'm going to run a 2 x 3 tubing crossmember behind the radiator (between the unibody frame) and place another mount to the front of the engine. Rear trans mount will stay pretty much the same configuration except for a solid mount instead of the rubber.
I'll probably have to tie the motor mounts together under the engine also with a bolt on member.
I have 500 hp in my small block '66 pickup and have 6 small 3/8" bolts to the aluminum bell housing on a th350 pushing a 4500lb truck with 3000 stall converter. So taking that into account the 4 large bell housing bolts in cast iron look pretty good in comparison. Don't think I'll need the 2 pan bolts to the housing. just the dust covers.
Only problem I might have is if the K member is rubber mounted to the body (forgot to look) If it is, I'll have to do something different. Maybe attach the K member solid to the body after or toss a crossmember in front of the power steering rack. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
Tell me I'm nuts and why. I can take it. Probably missed something that you guys may have come across.
My pickup has the 2 motor mounts on the engine, 1 on the back of the trans and everything has 2 to 3 times the power and weight as the Neon.
Everything on this car seems to be "design overkill".

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Post by gtxtreme19 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:32 am

look at Hul_kogan's post about putting his 2.4 in he had to remove the lower torque strut to let the oil filter fit. he ended up using a remote mount oil filter and put the mount back on, then had trouble with oil leaking.
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