10th Jun 2002, 13:03

I bought my 1996 Dodge Neon in 1998. It was used, with about 40,000 miles on it. I have had to replace my alternator twice, within a one year span. I've had problems with it leaking oil and running hot, all happening at about 112,000 mile mark. I am also having trouble with my dash shutting down on me and staying at zero on everything. I wonder what the problem is with that.

12th Sep 2002, 14:16

I own a 1996 Dodge Neon, which for the most part is very reliable. I do have a problem with the dash gages going out. Gas, speedometer and temp gauge will not read properly.

Dealer replaced the cluster & still the problem is there. Please forward any suggestions as I'm lost for ideas to fix the problem.

17th Sep 2002, 10:52

Well, I see I am not the only one with the speedometer problem. There's a few more problems with my car as well. I have a 96 Plymouth neon power windows (front only) in the back they are manual (weird). Lets see, there is the trunk release which is broke, blinkers are broke, I have to shut them off manually. Speakers are shot in front and back. The trunk leaks, A/C only works when it is raining out, the car idles at 2rpm, and then yesterday it just stalled out as soon as I pulled into work. The screw came off the antifreeze container which in turn made the cap rub against the fuel line and I had to replace that luckily it was only about $22. As far as the speedometer goes.. hey my car can do 60-0 in 2 seconds.. If I hit the dashboard, the speedometer goes back up, I know that isn't fixing the problems, probably making it worse. Well, as far as getting another neon.. NO WAY.. they're cute and good on gas, but never again.

2nd Sep 2004, 22:54

For everyone with dash problems, there could be one simple solution. LOOSE GROUND WIRE. No need for a mechanic here. just a twist of the wrist. Good luck.

9th Apr 2006, 22:34

For all those with gauge problems: (gauges randomly won't work)

The problem is caused by a loose connection on the two 10 pin connectors behind the gauge cluster. When you unscrew the 4 screws that attach the gauge cluster to the dash, the gauges are attached with two 10 pin connectors on the back of the gauge cluster. The "female" end of the connectors have spring connections that are supposed to hold tightly against the pins when they are inserted. After a while (9 years and 90,000 miles in my case), these spring connections lose their "spring".

I solved the problem for another 10,000 miles by removing the gauge cluster, and using a soldering iron I carefully added a little bit of solder to each metal pin. This makes the pins effectively larger and helps them make a connection with the "female" connection points again. This wasn't as hard as it sounds, I promise. It kept them work about 10,000 more miles, now it is doing it again so I'm about to do the same thing over again. I'm sure if I could find this little part and replace it it would solve it for a longer amount of time, but every dealer I talk to wants to sell me a whole new gauge cluster or speed sensor, neither of which would even solve the problem. Good luck to you all.

11th May 2008, 06:59

I own a 99 Neon 2 door (not an r/t) and bought it 7 years ago with 48k on odometer from a dealer and it was real clean.

I've only put 17k on the car in the 7 years. I work just a couple of miles away from home, and a full tank of fuel lasts for nearly a month.

Just recently I started having the gauge problem, where for no reason at all they would stop working. I just did the 20 pin resolder trick yesterday and we'll see if that does the trick. If it does it again, it could be nothing more than a bad ground. I hear it's in the steering column (?) but not sure. I often wondered if the problem was in the key switch itself, since when the gauges would stop working, a restart of the car would get them to work again. Is the gauge ground tied in the key switch somehow?

It looks like the gauge clusters are easily interchanged with performance model gauge clusters. ie with tachometer. Can I pop out my standard cluster and insert one from an R/T? I'd swear that the harness in back of the gauges is common to all the first generation Neons and the gauge clusters are interchangeable. I guess that made things real simple on the assembly line. Does anyone know? Has anyone upgraded their gauge assembly?

Also want to find the optional leather front and back seats in a parts car. Cloth seats are OK, but would love to upgrade the interior a bit. Send me a line at Fueldyne@aol.com Steve.

2nd Jun 2008, 22:14

Well my friend wants to sell me his 1996 neon for $400.00 that's parked in his yard and won't start-(except for about 20 min and then he says it shuts off) sounds like a good buy if I knew what the problem is. Some say its the fuel pump, some say its the ignition module. Who knows!! All I know is I don't want it sitting in my yard with a for sale sign on it. I need something that saves gas but can't make up my mind if I should take my chances on the neon. R.C.

5th Nov 2010, 06:41

On my 1996 Dodge Neon I have replaced, the timing, water pump, thermostat, and radiator with all new parts. I have replaced the crank sensor and four times the fuel pump, and the filler tub system.

I have a chugging in the car while driving every once in awhile. Last night the car was chugging and backfiring, and it stalled on me while driving down the road. After ten minutes of sitting, it started and I drove it the rest of the way home with the car driving great. Any ideas what would cause the car to be chugging or missing?

I too have dash problems; the gauges don`t work most of the times at all, and I have been pulled over a few times because of no speedometer.

4th Jan 2011, 19:05

I have a 97 Neon, and have done the CV joints and the fuel pump, and now doing the timing belt and the water pump. It's like one thing after another with these cars. Paint pealing off like no tomorrow. Ha ha, good thing it only cost me a couple of hundred dollars. Going to get another Honda.

21st Mar 2011, 16:05

PCV valve. Cheap part, easy to replace.

6th Dec 2012, 08:02

I have a 1996 Dodge Neon. It's starts with no problem. After about 30 minutes while driving down the road, it just automatically turns off on me with no warning. It has to sit for about 20 minutes before it will start again. After driving for another 15-20 minutes, it shuts off again. There is no sign of when it will turn off, it just does. The check engine light does NOT come on and it continues to keep doing this. Does anyone know what it may be? I have had the fuel pump checked; it's not that. Also had plugs and wires checked, and had the auto shutdown fuse switched with another. I just can't figure out what the problem is. ANY help will be greatly appreciated.

6th Dec 2012, 22:27

Used to happen to my '85 Audi 80 GTE - have an electrician check the Engine Control (or whatever it's called) relay, the one that operates the electric fuel pump and ECU); there may be a hairline crack on the solder inside the relay, which may have electronics in it.

13th Apr 2013, 14:47

It is the catalytic converter. I had the same exact problem. A friend of mine who is a mechanic punched/drilled the cat, and now it runs like a dream!