The idling up and down is your air conditoner pump. its out of refrigerent so it causes it to idle ruff.
I disagree... I have had my Neon since it was new. It is another '97, but mine is a Highline coupe, auto transmission, and I've never had a single problem out of it. I got it sophomore year of high school at 16, thanks mama, and it took me straight on through college up to a year ago, and now my cousin's boy drives it, and it is still running strong with 220k miles on it or more.
I had to replace the alternator twice in its life due to the speaker box in the trunk, but nothing has ever given me a problem, and my dealer told me it was only a 100k mile car... she doubled it... and she has no rust or anything, no dents and the original paint without any fade.
I love mine; it is red with a spoiler, it's been dropped 2 inches and has 16 exel wheels on it, ultra low pro tires, streetglow lights underneath, and red as well as the dash and steering wheel cover.
Took the original seats out though when I spilled bleach on the driver's one about 5 years ago or so, and put in racing seats with 5 point harnesses.
Has a cold air intake and barrel sherry exhaust pipe. It can do 135 last time I put it on the straight, which is pushing 7 years ago now.
13 years, and yet to have any problems, even with the added stress of the accessories.
I have a 97 Dodge Neon, Red, 1 owner, never had any problems. It still has the original parts on the engine. Great car.
I often advise people on purchasing cars. Some years ago a handicapped friend of mine asked me to help him find a good car after his Japanese import proved to be unreliable. My first suggestion was a Ford Escort due to their rugged reliability, but my friend lived very near a Dodge dealership and wanted to look at the Neon. Since I had just sold a Dodge with over 240,000 miles on it and virtually zero problems, I helped him negotiate a deal on a nice new 2001 Neon.
He drove the Neon until last year and traded it in on a 2012 Avenger. The Neon had served him well and performed flawlessly for 11 years. My experience has been than all domestic car makers build extremely solid and reliable vehicles, that will last for decades if well cared for.