Neon FAQ

Welcome to the Chrysler Group's Second Generation Neon Frequently Asked Questions! This site is intended to be a source of information for anyone interested in the Neon, whether new owner, Enthusiast, commuter, or beginning racer. Many of these topics appear in the message boards on a recurring basis. Hopefully, having this resource kept current will lower the volume of repeat discussions.

The original FAQ has been substantially reorganized and updated since its origins in the early days of 1995. There is now a new generation to this vehicle and thousands of Neon Enthusiasts. The original FAQ was geared to introducing the car to the world at large. For this version, the focus has changed toward the person who already owns (or is strongly considering) a Neon, and wants to find out specific details about the car. Questions are answered in "technical layman's terms," with explanations wherever possible. Emphasis has been placed on factual information; any opinions are clearly labeled as such. Great care has been taken in choosing sources of opinion.

Information is provided with as much background as possible. Consequently, there are very few one-liner answers. If you do not see a specific question listed, try reading other answers that seem relevant. Most likely, the information is contained under a slightly different topic somewhere.

Some of the information previously included in the How-To section of this site is incorporated here. Also included are part numbers and other information that has been compiled, but has not yet found a good home. Please see the credits below for more information. There is also a revision history, which will highlight the changes. New or substantially changed items appear in pink.

Second Generation Table Of Contents

Click here for the First Generation Table Of Contents.

2001.0 Neon Models

2001.1 Neon SE/LE Sedan

2001.2 Neon ES/LX Sedan

2001.3 Neon R/T Sedan

2001.4 Neon ACR Sedan

2001.5 Neon SXT/Sport Sedan

2001.6 Neon SRT-4 Sedan

2001.7 Neon Model Questions and Answers

2001.7.1 Which Neon is better, the first or second generation?
2001.7.2 How can I identify a second generation ACR?
2001.7.3 What does 'SRT-4' stand for?
2002.0 Neon Engines and Transmissions
2002.1 SOHC (Single Overhead Cam)

2002.2 Magnum SOHC (Single Overhead Cam)

2002.3 SRT 2.4 DOHC (Dual Overhead Cam)

2002.4 Export (Single Overhead Cam)

2002.5 Engine Questions and Answers

2002.5.1 Which engine is better, the first- or second-generation?

2002.5.2What are the different cam specs for the SOHC models?
2002.5.3 Why do the two engines have different octane recommendations?
2002.5.4 How does the magnum's active intake manifold work?
2002.5.5 What oil should I use?
2002.5.6 What oil filter should I use?
2002.5.7 What spark plugs should I use? What is the correct gap?
2002.5.8 What is OBD II? What are 'error codes'?
2002.5.9 Is the second generation SOHC an interference design?
2002.5.10 What do the rev limiter and the speed limiter do?
2002.5.11 Is there any parts interchangeability between the two SOHC motors? What about the older generation?
2002.5.12 Are there stiffer mounts available for the PL2k?
2002.5.13 Placeholder for 00, 01-02, 03-05 PCM differences
2002.5.14 Is there a difference between the Magnum and base engine controllers?
2002.5.20 What are the similarities between the 2.4 litre DOHC and the Neon's 2.0 DOHC?
2002.6 ATX (Automatic Transmission)

2002.7 MTX (Manual Transmission)

2002.8 Transmission Questions and Answers

2002.8.1 What automatic transmission fluid should I use?
2002.8.2 How can I increase performance of my automatic transmission?
2.9 Performance Modifications Questions and Answers
2.9.1 Will aftermarket parts void my warranty? What about Mopar Performance parts?
2.9 .2 What is a basic plan for increasing SOHC performance?
2.9 .4 What is a K&N filter, and what will it do for performance?
2.9 .5 How can I upgrade my exhaust piping and muffler? Which muffler is best?
2.9.6 What about a header and cat?
2.9 .7 How can I upgrade my intake system?
2.9 .8 Can I install a cold air intake if I have an automatic transmission?
2.9 .9 Is water a problem for a cold air intake, or not?
2.9 .10 What spark plugs and wires should I use?
2.9 .11 What does an under drive pulley do?
2.9 .12 What aftermarket computers (or 'chips') are available?
2.9 .13 Won't I get in trouble for switching the PCM? I thought they tracked mileage or something.
2.9 .14 What do 'porting', 'polishing' and 'headwork' mean?
2.9 .15 What is the difference between the SOHC and Magnum intake manifolds?
2.9 .16 What is the significance of the throttle body? How do they differ between cars?
2.9 .17 What do cam gears do?
2.9 .18 Enough of this sissy crap. I need boost!
2.9 .19 Which is better, turbo or supercharging?
2.9 .20 What about nitrous oxide?
2.9 .21 Where do I hook up my new monster tach and shift light?
2.9 .22 How does the Phantom Grip differential work?

2003.0 Neon Suspensions

3.1 General

3.2 Touring (SDC)

3.3 Sport (SDE)

3.4 Competition (SDK)

3.5 Suspension Questions and Answers

3.5.1 How can I adjust camber on my PL2k ACR?
3.5.2 How can I adjust camber on my PL2k Neon?
3.5.3 How can I lower my PL2k Neon? Can I use springs from an older Neon?
3.5.4 How can I improve handling of my Neon?
3.5.5 What are the stock wheel/tire sizes?
3.5.6 Are wheels interchangeable between both generations of Neon?
3.5.7 I saw OEM SRT-4 wheels and tires for cheap on ebay. Will they fit my Neon?
3.5.8 What are the aftermarket suspension parts that will fit a Second Generation Neon?
3.5.9 Can I put SRT-4 Springs on my Second Generation Neon? What about struts?

2004.0 Neon Brake Systems

4.1 Brake System Information

4.2 Brake System Questions and Answers

4.2.1 General discussion of brake systems

2005.0 Neon Miscellaneous Information

5.1 General Information
5.1.1 What are all these acronyms people use?
5.1.2 Here are some telephone numbers for Daimler-Chrysler. Enjoy.
5.1.3 How do I get a Service Manual?
5.1.4 How do I find a good dealer in my area?
5.1.5 What is a TSB?
5.1.6 How can I find out information about a specific Neon?
5.1.7 What is 'Rice'?
5.1.8 Here is a veritable potpourri of Neon trivia.
5.1.9 Where can I get all those funky tools listed in the Service Manual?
5.2 Troubleshooting and Maintenance
5.2.1 Are head gaskets really a problem?
5.2.2 What about post-warranty repairs? Will there be a recall?
5.2.3 What can I do to prevent head gasket problems?
5.2.4 What are the long-term effects of not repairing the head gasket?
5.2.5 My engine's leaking oil, and I'm scared. Help!
5.2.6 My Neon gurgles when I turn it off...
5.2.7 My Neon whistles when I turn it off...
5.2.8 What is the deal with motor mount failures?
5.2.9 Why is my manual transmission getting hard to shift?
5.2.10 My clutch is making popping noises, or feels funny.
5.2.11 My Neon yelps or chirps when I shift hard, or when I go from 'R' to 'D'.
5.2.12 My Neon made a horrible noise when I hit some deep puddles, and I thought it was going to explode.
5.2.13 I changed my spark plugs, and the well was full of oil. Is my head gasket shot?
5.2.14 Why does my gas mileage suck so bad?
5.2.15 My Check Engine Light is showing codes 12 and 21. What's wrong?
5.2.16 My Check Engine Light is showing code 43. What's wrong?
5.2.17 My spare tire well or my rear set foot well is wet!
5.2.18 My steering wheel shakes at 73 mph (or some particular speed) and it's driving me mad!
5.2.20 Are clear taillights illegal?
5.2.21 Why don't the back windows of my sedan roll all the way down?
5.3 Some Longer Essays
5.3.1 A discussion of engine power, and the theory behind shifting.
5.3.2 We all know you should use Mopar body parts. Here's why.
5.3.3 A few words about the problems involved with adding boost to the Neon.
5.3.4 A discussion of fuel injection control by the stock PCM.
5.3.5 Some important words about 0-60 acceleration times.
5.3.6 What is the theory behind header design?
5.3.7 How about that One Millionth Neon?!
5.3.8 How does a differential work?

2006.0 Second Gen Performance

6.1 General Information


The original 2k FAQ was compiled by Duke Wilford in early 2003, although not completed or published. It was revised and expanded in 2004 by Nick Adams. This version is copyright 2004 by Duke Wilford, Nick Adams, and Anyone is invited to submit questions, factual answers, or editorial comments to the current FAQ editor, Nick Adams < [email protected]> (remove -nospam).

There have been many contributors to the FAQ over the years, and some have been forgotten. Information used verbatim from other sources is quoted and credited; names of people who have furnished information appear in the answer text. However, a few sources deserve extra thanks for the vast quantity of information they have provided: Erich Heuschele, a Chrysler chassis engineer and prolific Neon racer, has been very generous with his knowledge and insight; Greg Smith, another Chrysler technical employee and racer, has spent untold amounts of time looking up specs, part numbers, production figures, and a million other facts. Thanks to Steven Nikkel for compiling a list of running changes about Canadian Neons. Please note that any items from DaimlerChrysler employees included here have been provided on a strictly personal basis, and are not to be considered as official DaimlerChrysler Corporation information or opinion.

Revision History

Date, Y/M/D Version Details
2005.02.13 v 1.051 fixed ACR swaybar size. added placeholder for FAQ'd performance mods.
2004.12.09 v 1.05 fixed SRT-4 Tire sizes. Added B+G springs & coilovers, fixed coilover chart. added verbage about compression changes in 2003.
2004.07.21 v 1.04 fixed suspension links, added 1.6L and 1.8L placeholders, added SRT-4 spring/strut swap info, updated 03+ body descriptions
2004.06.07 v 1.03 fixed performance links and sxt exhaust info. separated 41te and 40te transmission charts.
2004.05.13 v 1.02 Fixed paint/color and coilover charts.
2004.05.05 v 1.01 Updated formatting to reduce load times and corrected typos.
2004.05.01 v 1.0 Posted at the website.

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