Saving an 02 Neon R/T

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SittiRT
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Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by SittiRT » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:53 am

Hi everyone,

I made an intro post with a backstory to this car, see here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=71037

The car is now based at a lockup a short distance from where I live, so whenever I have time I drive over there to work on the Neon. Here are some photos of where she's been living the past few weeks:

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I've done a few low cost jobs, like sorting the Multi-Function switch and fitting a replacement wing mirror. But before I really throw any money at this car, the dreaded timing belt needs doing.

So far, my attempts at removing the crank pulley have been...fruitless. The first tool I used snapped at one of the three pulling arms. The second set of tools I used bent at the arms. I have since ordered "BGS 7761", an apparent replica of the OEM Chrysler bearing puller which *should* do the job. Being based in the UK, all this mention of just going round the corner to Autozone doesn't really apply to me!

The car right now is up on axle stands, with the power steering pump moved out of the way, ready for the job to be started. Once I get this pulley off the rest just seems to be a lot of fiddling around but ultimately not too difficult a job. Last time I did a timing belt was on a Fiat X1/9 but the access was WAY better than on the Neon (and having good access is never something I thought I'd say with regards to working on an X1/9...)

Will try to keep updates coming for whoever's remotely interested!
'02 Chrysler Neon R/T
'96 Vauxhall Calibra SE6
'72 Saab 95

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:56 pm

Awesome! I bet it is very very rare to see a 2nd gen Neon out in the UK. Let along a R/T. I RARELY see 2nd gen R/T's out here in the states now since the car is getting older. Hope you can get that crank pulley off! I am sure some heat will help get it off too.

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SittiRT
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by SittiRT » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:58 pm

MyNeonSaysHi wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:56 pm
Awesome! I bet it is very very rare to see a 2nd gen Neon out in the UK. Let along a R/T. I RARELY see 2nd gen R/T's out here in the states now since the car is getting older. Hope you can get that crank pulley off! I am sure some heat will help get it off too.
You're right about that, these are super rare here. Registration data shows about 70 2gn R/Ts left on the road in the UK, and they didn't really sell many here to begin with. Although funnily enough, a week after getting the Neon back, I saw another red Neon R/T driving around the small town I live in! Maybe a sign...

So the Chrysler puller worked a charm! At first it didn't grip the pulley properly (these "notches" people mention to grip onto the crank seem non existent...) so with the tactical wedging of some spanners into the gaps behind each jaw of the puller, it came right off. I did the timing belt today, replaced the water pump, camshaft seal, tensioner and tensioner pulley too. Was defeated by the idler pulley though as I didn't have the torx socket for it... Very pleased with how it went though!
'02 Chrysler Neon R/T
'96 Vauxhall Calibra SE6
'72 Saab 95

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MyNeonSaysHi
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by MyNeonSaysHi » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:06 pm

Awesome!
Really cool how you know how many are registered. Crazy you saw another one rolling around.

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occasional demons
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by occasional demons » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:07 pm

MyNeonSaysHi wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:56 pm
Awesome! I bet it is very very rare to see a 2nd gen Neon out in the UK. Let along a R/T. I RARELY see 2nd gen R/T's out here in the states now since the car is getting older. Hope you can get that crank pulley off! I am sure some heat will help get it off too.

I think all export neons overseas were R/T's. With more features on them, Hence "BUX". (Built Up eXport)

They also cost a lot more than they did in the States, but they added more features to help sell them, and slightly offset the added cost of exporting them. IIRC, Alex Kurdian said his was in the $30,000 neighborhood when new. But that was Australia...

Edit:

I don't recall if nerox ever said what his cost. nerox is one of the few UK members that used to post frequently back in the day.
nerox wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:57 am
So,

Got myself a 2nd R/T sometime last year (about October time)

originally bought it with the intent to strip it down for spares and make some £

that was never to be the case ... instead my girlfriend decided she wanted it ... and therefore it had to be repaired.

it had a few problems the owner didn't want to attempt:

leaking coolant pretty bad from an unknown location

FUSE showing on the dash

broken wing mirrors

and a few other annoying little bits.

paid just over £300 ($450) and trailered it to a friends house where its been sat ever since.

the FUSE turned out to be the interior light harness had become disconnected.
the wing mirrors were replaced
and the coolant leak was from the water pump inlet pipe.

Fixed all those problems, also did a complete timing belt job, powder coated the rocker cover, cleaned up inside, replaced all the tatty worn out bits and pieces.

initially I had somehow cracked the original pulley upon removal an replaced it with a DORMAN one from RockAuto (which is also what I have on mine since the same thing happened)
when it was all replaced, 5 minutes went by with the engine running and the alternator belt shredded itself to pieces.
Turned out to be an issue with that pulley, not sure exactly what but I think it was out of round.

by this point I had bought another engine to disassemble and learn from so was able to use that pulley.

it all went back together nicely this time and drove it today to the inspection centre.

only problems with it now are the outer rod ends are worn, a couple of tyres are looking bald too.

it feels a bit different to my R/T (seems a lot less responsive and lacks power) also makes a 'clicking' noise under load when accelerating hard, but it hasn't moved in 6/7 months until now.

Heres how it looked when I picked it up

Image

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nerox wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:26 pm
Just got it home

Image

failed inspection on the rod ends and a little welding required on the sills.
nerox wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:26 pm
Just got it home

Image

Bill
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2001 Neon ES MTX with '02 R/T PCM
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Midnight_Rider
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by Midnight_Rider » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:37 pm

To my knowledge, all Neon exports to Europe and the UK were the R/T trim level. Just my .02 worth.
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by blueneo03 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:02 pm

This is a cool thread! looking forward to seeing how it all goes!

I really wanted power folding mirrors when i had a neon but the kits that had been put together from the UK were like 300$ which is a lot for mirrors..
Image

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SittiRT
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by SittiRT » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:18 am

Thanks for all the interest!

To give an update, the timing belt job is now all done! I did it over two days - I could have done it in the one but I was defeated by the accessory belt pulley of all things, which I needed to get a tougher socket for. The jobs done in the process:

Timing belt
Timing belt hydraulic tensioner
T/belt pulley
Camshaft seal
Water pump (turned out to be the source of the water leak)
Idler pulley
Cleaned inner + outer timing covers, camshaft sprocket + aluminium engine plate
New alt + accessory belts

The job was pretty much how a lot of other people have experienced it: the timing belt component change is pretty straightforward, just GETTING to it was the pain, that plate on the front of the engine really didn't want to come out. I can also confirm that BGS 7761 is tough enough for the crank pulley, but did need some spacers behind the jaws to stop them sliding off (what "notches"?).

It did become apparent as well that the lower torque strut is shot, so I've temporarily fixed it back in place with a mind to ordering a new one. With everything put back together, I changed the coolant, oil, plugs and air filter - and it started right up no problem. Very pleased it all went well on the first go!

I'm probably not going to touch it for the next few days and this weekend as I've missed some trips to the gym because of this job... Plus I'm satisfied that the biggest job this car needs is now done. Next essential job is probably the water leak into the boot and the sloppy gearchange (shifter bushings should sort that)

Photos or it didn't happen, right?:

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To answer to the posts above, the export Neons I'm aware were definitely built with a higher spec across the board (powerfold mirrors etc), however the standard models besides the R/T were certainly sold here too, a number have come up for sale recently. For anyone interested have a look at this page showing the amount of Neons in the United Kingdom over time, and how few R/Ts were sold here in the first place! > https://www.howmanyleft.co.uk/?utf8=%E2 ... mit=Search
'02 Chrysler Neon R/T
'96 Vauxhall Calibra SE6
'72 Saab 95

Midnight_Rider
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by Midnight_Rider » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:14 am

Nice to see someone showing a Neon some love. And thanks for the link- I didn't know that trim levels other than R/T were exported there.
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occasional demons
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by occasional demons » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:47 am

Before or after the seal was replaced?

Image

The seal should only go in flush with the head.

But as long as it doesn't leak, it should be fine.

Is it the picture, or is the sealing surface actually dented in looking?
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SittiRT
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Re: Saving an 02 Neon R/T

Post by SittiRT » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:39 pm

occasional demons wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:47 am
Before or after the seal was replaced?

Image

The seal should only go in flush with the head.

But as long as it doesn't leak, it should be fine.

Is it the picture, or is the sealing surface actually dented in looking?
This is post assembly, and no dents on the sealing surface/camshaft, trick of the light I think.

I assumed they were pushed against the 'stop', nevertheless your post got me a bit paranoid so I went to run it again and check. Ran the engine for about half an hour and not a drop of oil appearing. I guess the real test will be a road test but still.

I think the main thing is that it's not in the exact same position as the old seal was, so the new seal is sitting on fresh sealing surface as opposed to the area with 100k miles worth of wear on it.
'02 Chrysler Neon R/T
'96 Vauxhall Calibra SE6
'72 Saab 95

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