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Dodge Neon Build and Race Advice Gen 1


Black Magic
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Several questions were asked in a thread that was not in the tech section. This is for Gen 1 Dodge\Plymouth neon, 95 to 99. Re posting that information here to help any team interested in running these cars. They can be great cars for teams on a budget, many ex scca IT cars exist and there was once a class specifically for these cars (Spec Neon). Many of these former race cars exist, most with the desirable parts like the SDK option already on them. 

 

They lack the fuel capacity of many of the more popular 80's cars and require a motor swap to be reasonable competitive (or turbo). They have hub\bearing issues that need to be addressed or monitored. The engines require attention to detail and some basic mods to be reliable at higher duty cycle in DOHC form. Unless you are a really good car builder, they will be more difficult to push to the front than a BMW (e30/e36). The cost of operation can be much lower and replacement\repair of the chassis is much easier; I have owned several parts cars with $350 being the most I have paid for a driving parts car. 

 

So if you are a new team looking for a cheap car, or have a Neon and are looking for basic advise on how to field one, here you go:

 

If you have more questions on a particular area please chime in. Hopefully some of the other car makes will release similar info to at least get new teams up to mid pack speed. 

Edited by Black Magic
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From "Plum Crazy"

 

We run a 98 neon. We run Bassett 15" wheels there cheep and you can pic your offset.

As far as hub setup one easy upgrade is to run PT cruiser(manual Trans) front spindles and half shafts. Gives you bigger rotors and breaks. need to turn down the top of the spindle to make them fit into the neon struts. will take a hit on points for axles.

 

A good place for info and neon parts is a place out of Texas, Modern Performance. If your running a neon you will be in touch with them sooner or later..😃

Also the first thing we did is a long tube header. it really woke up the 2.0.

We have also modified the intake and are running cams. the car performs well. running RT sway bars and mopar springs.

Like Black Magic said you need to pick your tracks. we run RA and the car just isn't build for that big track. But still a great time.

7hr races and tighter tracks these cars are fun and I think cheap in comparison. 

Have fun

 

Breaks!! depending on the track. some tracks are harder on them then others. RA eats breaks.

We always have extra rotors pads and calipers. 

We run the PT setup and do not have break issues. we run Hawk blues and can get 2 weekends out of a set of pads.

If you staying with the Neon front end Performance friction also makes a great set of pads that we ran once. I'll get you the part number.

And never run cross drilled rotors speaking from experience. We ate a set of rotors and pads in the first stint.

 

Edited by Black Magic
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From Me

 

I am a mid atlantic guy (NC), and I have a few neon teams I run with. If you want to run a race that I am at, we could help support both cars with spares (you will need to pay me for them obviously). I have also done "driver insurance" with teams at the 24hr before, where both teams agree to prioritize every driver getting a stint before anyone gets 2 stints. This spreads the risk of a broken car leading to zero seat time across 2 teams. 

 

The neons tend to have the following issues that you need to support with parts

 

Failed crappy non mopar radiators (a strong fart can put a hole in the crap you buy from parts stores)

warped head\headgasket due to overheating

Hub\bearing failure

brake pad wear on stock sized brakes

CV axles (usually from lack of plunge)

Clutch from driver error

Engine (rod bearing failure from poor oil control)

Cam\crank\oil pan\valve cover seals

Fuel pumps

Shifter bushings

Throttle\clutch and shifter cables from driver ignorance

Critical engine sensors , Crank,Cam, TPS, MAP coolant temp,Knock, Air temp (95 only). 

Have spare pigtails for these sensors (tps and crank like to get cooked and cause weird shorting out)

Starter

Alternator (after you break a motor mount and it becomes the motor mount)

Motor mounts

Fuses

Struts (wreck repair)

Lower control arm (wreck repair)

Tie rod (wreck repair)

Radius rod and bushing (wreck repair)

Lateral links (wreck repair)

If ambitious, a rack on a k member and subframe bolts. 

 

The neon is a k member front suspension car, with the subframe attached to the middle of the car. We have wrecked so hard that the front impact structure was pressed into the tires, put a rad and new knuckles\lower control arms on the car and raced a hour later. Nothing ahead of the firewall attached to the k member, allowing lots of ability to repair. They are tough cars but you need these spares to fix them as the control arms, strut, knuckle and sometimes k member are designed to be the fuse in a major wreck. 

 

I use PT cruiser 2.4 engines, which only 01 and 02 are SBEC control (neon ecu style). If you use 03 and newer you will need to swap ecu, which used to be more of a concern when we had cost based swaps. The 01 and 02 have different oil drains on the front of the engine, but I have run both without issue (obviously right head for the block). 

 

2.0 engines tend to pump up the head at RPM's high enough to make the power needed to compete with the 500 point cars of today. They can also develop bottom end issues at those rpms. Hell it was this way in the past as well, when you look at the power to weight we allowed with e30s since i started (in 2012) the 2.0 was going to require high revs to compete. This was the reason many teams ran the SOHC engine in spec neon, and use the weight balancing instead of opting for the more powerful but higher spinning 2.0 DOHC engine. Pumping up the head depends on the rpm you run, duration of turn, and several other factors. How fast are you spinning the 2.0? 

 

Each of the DOHC accessory types, Neon, cloud car, pt cruiser all have small variations on pan shape. The PT also has the newer style oil pump mounting which plumbs the oil filter thru the pan. This is much easier to fit in the neon, and with the PT alternator mount allows you to use all of the motor from the donor car. You still need to sort out mounts, but with the stratus the oil filter and alternator fit can be tough. The PT pan is very bowl shaped which is terrible for oil control, but once you pull the balance shafts and weld a baffle in at the stock oil level, will give you 7+ qrt capacity (nearly 9 with accusump) and is how I keep my motors alive. Did your 2.4 have balance shafts? If you removed them did you plug the feed and baffle the pan? Accusump? 

 

The 2.4 engine is 20% bigger, and given the same VE would make the same power 20% slower engine speed. That makes 7200 rpm redline on the 2.0 6000 on the 2.4. Straight out of the junkyard you can take these motors to 5500 easily, 6k you start to limit their lifespan. I have yet to see a 2.4 stock, un-rebuilt bottom end, with the correct oil mods and reasonable tune fail when limited to 5500 rpm. That says alot for 150k+ mile motors with zero prep and generally poor care from the owners, and is a good price point for a new team to operate at. That last team I helped race with is running a motor they got for $230. I have seen poor rebuilds blow up in their first laps, and high rpm use will limit engine rebuilt interval to a few races. 

 

2.4 stock rods in this vintage are not very good for rebuilding. Cracked powered metal makes them basically single use, as the features in the crack meant to center the rod halves get smeared as you unbolt and rebolt them. Some parts are listed online as OEM for that car, but I think they are the design for the new 2.4s (dodge must have updated and marked the old as NLA). These may be a better rod, and would most likely be what you got if you bought new from a dealer, I have not closely examined them. Non cracked rods (getting stuff from somewhere besides dealer) will be reusable. Depending on the number of races you do will determine which way you go, both can run the same rpm for a race (one needs to be replaced after though).  The non mopar rods are cheaper in the short and long run, if you decide to not run a junkyard motor as is.

 

Good bearings give you better insurance against failure as well. Clevite H is a great rebuilder bearing. Gasket kits are very cheap, and a good price point for a solid running car would be to redo head gasket and all engine gaskets, leaving the bottom end intact\untouched (besides pan gasket and front\rear main).

Edited by Black Magic
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From Me

 

Welcome to the neon club. I have raced or helped teams race about a half dozen of these things. 

 

If you are just getting started, the PT swap is a good place to start. Keep in mind 01 and 02 and newer knuckles are different and require different axles to work. You will need to mill the top of the knuckle to the narrower neon width to use neon struts. Most guys doing this swap claim it as 25 points for a trans swap, as we classically got the axles and knuckles from the donor car when doing a trans swap in the past (claiming the 01 or 02 pt 5 speed trans, which is also a t350 or t355 like the neon). 

 

The basset wheels do pretty well. They take dents but end up useable, and I have pulled some small dents out successfully. Keep in mind at 60ish bucks you will not find another wheel close to this price, so consider it a consumable and toss them when they get bad. They also use different lug nuts, buy the right ones when you do your wheel purchase (all look up the "race tech" video series if you want more info on this and other topics). 

 

You will end up about 5ish in backspacing to fit the car. You need to be careful of strut to tire clearance when you run enough camber to do well (slotting your struts to knuckle holes for more adjustment like the ACR cars had). You should source the SDK suspension (ACR\mopar, any car that picked SDK option) springs and bars if you car did not come equipped, as this is radically better than some of the base optioned bar setups were (aka no rear bar and small front). As a challenge car it is most likely a SDK suspension car. 10" wheels are a bit ambitious, and I have worked hard to try and fit them to my new build. Unless you are making a serious 2.4 motor, 8" wheels are a much easier bet and will let you move on to other parts of the car that matter. 

 

You will want the 95 DOHC\ACR trans for the better 5th ratio. This gearbox could be ordered in almost any car, as the "ACR" option was a add on to both SOHC and DOHC. I have contacts that rebuild these for me, and we have parts to support them. 

 

Message me with anything else you need. Good luck with the car. These cars can be very cheap to run and can be reliable if prepped the right way. You will need a 2.4 swap (unless turbo) to ever see the front of the field, but with that motor can do well if the fuel capacity doesn't limit you (pick non 2 hour races or races with cautions\low fuel burn). They are great lemons cars, because the fuel rules there give them a more even shot.

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Reply I gave to specific setup questions

 

5" offset is what I use. Some setups may require a small spacer, 1/4" or so. Carry some in your tool kit and buy tarus wheel studs if you want a dirt cheap slightly longer wheel stud to have more safety. 

 

The vanilla neon setup would be SDK suspension (stock ACR, look at neon.org and figure out what you have) with 3.5 deg front camber, 1 to 1.5 rear, zero to 1/8" in toe front and rear. 35 psi hot tire pressure target, move to 33 front 40+ rear to loosen car up as you get better at driving. To save money I used to run split tire sizes, 14"s even at times in the rear. The mopar high rate springs are a good option, I bet what you have is fine but most likely lower in rate than the mopar x or xx springs. 

 

With proper plunge and brake temp management stock mopar axles should last seasons. I have yet to fail one that was not abused with clutch drops (burnouts), or ran bottomed out, or cv boot missing. Watch for available axle plunge when running good camber. Wheels off on jack stands jack up a corner until the car lifts off the stand. With the axle nut loose turn the steering and make sure the axle can pludge in. If not, you will most likely find the drivers side will not plunge and the passenger has spare room to go. Shim the engine and trans at the trans mount to push it to the passenger side, centering your plunge on each side to be more even.

 

Options for hubs, run napa hub (or similar) which is a bit thicker, stock 95 to 99 neon. There was a thicker ACR hub, but these may be hard to find. Hubs last about 2-4 races and should be replaced with wheel bearings. Or swap to 01 or 02 pt knuckle\hub\axle. 01 and 02 and different front each other, know what you got and get replacements for it. 

 

Most everyone carries extra knuckles with bearings\hubs already in them. Some guys have tried the on the car bearing presses with some luck, I have done one with the trailer tongue jack before in a panic. A knuckle swap is pretty fast once you know what you are doing, and with a pair of tape measures and basic smart level you should be able to rough in the camber and toe enough for it to handle just fine. 

 

Setup properly the car should have  mild oversteer anytime you are not on the gas, and sometimes when you are on the gas a little. Trail braking will make the car lock the rears, so you can trail in to flick the car, but in general you will want to brake straight ahead to conserve the rear tires. I am assuming you have rear disks, as almost every challenge car did (SDK setup). You will need to learn to recover from a spin early with more throttle and controlled countersteer, as the balance change on throttle (understeer\tighter) is a critically useful tool to making FWD cars fast. 

 

I ran st43 pads in stock neon front brakes for a long time. Until I made more power on the 2.4 this setup was fine. If you upgrade the motor much\2.4 swap you will need bigger brakes, with a pt knuckle swap about the cheapest way possible (take hoses and everything from the PT, it is literally the entire corner besides lower control arm\strut. 

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From Ross

 

"Stock brakes while the hubs and axles are stock too. I have hawk blues and white box OE rotor blanks. I was going to call Carbotech for pads and maybe Frozen for rotors. Any help on brake balance. I have a proportioning valve front/rear to help out. For the rear disks... What pads don't hurt handling and keep flat spotting down while lasting a weekend? "

 

From Me: 

 

Not to steal money from Frozen, I don't doubt their parts are better.... but given the brake rotor I used with stock calipers, the wider 2000 neon unit, can be had for $23 on rock auto it is hard to justify spending more. This is for the Raybestos street preformance unit, not junk either. 

 

I have found the life and power of the ST43 to be a great choice for stock calipers. They last forever, but the strong intial bite and slow release can be hard for drivers with poor pedal control. You have to be a smooth braker with these or you will lock them up. You can also just remove the brake booster hose and run no power assist, which can help drivers who are used to slamming the pedal. 

 

I run cheap organic rear pads, because they have the least grip of what I have tested. Try a few pad types, they are 10 to 20 bucks on rock auto. The major tuning element will be how you drive, and learning to not trail brake a ton. Bias valves will help, but driving style will be the cheapest thing to change....

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@BlackMagic

 

Thanks for re posting this. Tons of good info shared by you guys. 

 

Seems I am on the right track for the most part. Going to snag a parts car for spares and continue race prep on this. 

 

The ECU is a pain. 1995 is a one year only wiring harness and ecu. I was thinking of megasquirt but like the oem reliability...? 

 

As far as brakes, I agree. I'll use up the hawk blues I have and pick up a set of ST43's for replacement. No trail braking... Got it. Set the angle of the car and power through. 

 

How about service on this chassis. What's the best "at track" way to pull trans, clutch, motor, subframe, or control arms? Pre built knuckles and hubs take care of the hub and axle issues. Is it worth leaving an engine and trans connected to swap in the event of failure? 

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You didn’t even touch the good stuff...

 

-T350HD why?

-T355 why?

-no 90 intake

-why the early stratus head is better than a PT head

- why 90% of the time your trans breaks is because of this (shifter) why you need a mad dog 

- where to drill a 1/4” hole to adjust shift cables

- axle sub list

- what dohc header is best and how to mod 

- ATI damper pulley (torsional vibes)

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mopar 4 Life said:

You didn’t even touch the good stuff...

 

-T350HD why?

-T355 why?

-no 90 intake

-why the early stratus head is better than a PT head

- why 90% of the time your trans breaks is because of this (shifter) why you need a mad dog 

- where to drill a 1/4” hole to adjust shift cables

- axle sub list

- what dohc header is best and how to mod 

- ATI damper pulley (torsional vibes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any chance either of those trans come with a limited slip?

 

No 90 intake seems to be popular with the neon guys, what would the points be for one? Any cheap way to do it?

 

Shift cables would kill a trans in a long race. How about with the mad dog shifter you mentioned? 

 

Axles and hubs are one of my biggest concerns. Unsure of what's in the car now and hoping to find some OEM one's in the junkyard this weekend. Do you have a well proven hub/axle combo? 

 

More info the better. 

 

Thanks Ross

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2 hours ago, Mopar 4 Life said:

You didn’t even touch the good stuff...

 

-T350HD why?

-T355 why?

-no 90 intake

-why the early stratus head is better than a PT head

- why 90% of the time your trans breaks is because of this (shifter) why you need a mad dog 

- where to drill a 1/4” hole to adjust shift cables

- axle sub list

- what dohc header is best and how to mod 

- ATI damper pulley (torsional vibes)

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a neon dance off.... ? :) 

 

Seriously glad to hear you chime in. I hope you guys are going to field a neon again, not just the PT. Need you back out here.

 

Add to it as you see fit. I think it would be interesting to see the forks in the road people took. Like most things as a package i bet either can work, and mix and matching may not. 

 

I personally just use t350 gearboxes, and have only damaged one that the oil drained out of when the car hit a piece of concrete. In the states the eclipse guts can be found easily to give you rebuild donors for .81 final drive 5th gear setups (the 5th gear ratio you want). The later 350hd can also be used with a little more effort, in some gears could be a slightly more desirable ratio, and I have seen guys run this successfully as well. I less frequently see these gearboxes in the yard to snag in the ratios I want, so cost and availability drives me. The 355 I have not tried, turned off by the 4.12 final drive and with a big motor on long track being out of gear. Plus I would think you would need to find a way to make the bellhousing from either a 350 mate up or drill new holes\adapter it? Curious if on shorter tracks it could help?

 

When you 2.4 swap you will face the dilemma of running the stock pt intake thru the hood (if you went PT 01/02 engine package) or taking points for a 2.0 DOHC intake which will fit. I have helped teams that did both, my personal car had a hole in the hood. The neon intake picks up power from removing the 90 deg bend at the end and rewelding the throttle body inlet back on as a pipe. Since you will have to take points as a non oe intake with the 2.0 DOHC intake anyways, the de 90 is sort of free lunch. Changing throttle body size would also be included, should you choose to use mustang TB or jeep. As of now, my understanding is you get throttle body + intake for 50 points, or intake only for 50 points.  

 

The earlier 2.4 heads had bigger valves. The 01 02 PT has smaller valves, slightly different port shape. I don't think either is a bad choice, and people have their reasons for picking each (some lean PT based on their valve to port ratio profile if porting, valve area perhaps sebring if they think that matters more, or just stay PT because they needed the PT intake to make the swap less points). 

 

I haven't messed with shifters much, and just haven't had issues with killing gearboxes. Might be totally lucky. The prior owner did have metal stops that bolted onto the shifter to prevent overtravel and stretching the cables. I use poly replacement bushings from either booger bushings or energy suspension, the stock ones were not available when I looked unless you buy the whole cable. Every stock bushing I have seen is very soft and don't look to be in good condition. You will also need to weld the diff pin in the trans and or use a dif pin locating tab, something to do the next time you have it rebuilt. The pin can come out which will destroy the case, dump the oil and ruin a day. 

 

I made my own header to my own specs, so someone else will have to chime in. Commercially available long tube headers are getting harder to find. 

 

I haven't tried ATI balancer so someone else will need to chime in. I have seen a solid underdrive pulley on the crank and alternator on a motor which broke the oil pump gears under the balancer. No idea if it was related to the balancer or not. 

 

Dodge FWD axles give you several drop in replacement options. I tend towards staying neon axle with neon hub setup cars, and for PT swaps I have seen both PT axles and PT axle\dodge shadow passenger side used. The shadow may be shorter, I can't remember. I have found on several cars the need to recenter the engine\trans to get some axle plunge on each side, to make sure the axles don't bottom out. The PT hub swap is well documented online and would be the easy button for a new team worried about hub\bearing issues. Keep your 01 and 02+ have different hubs\bearings\knuckles, so don't mix up years here.

 

I forgot clutches. You can either go modular (looks like a torque converter and uses flexplate) or the 95 neon style traditional flywheel and clutch like normal cars. The non modular setup can be easier to service as you can just swap the clutch, and some options there have more durability\holding power. In modular design there are better clutches and I have found PT cruiser Luk clutches without the self adjusting feature (little yellow springs near the clutch fingers) to be durable and cheap. No idea if the luk PT non adjustable clutch is the same part number as the neon one, so just buy it from the listing for a pt cruiser. 

 

People have welded diffs in this FWD car and others with good results. Another option would be an aftermarket LSD, quaife or OBX (usually needs shim work done to get OBX right), paying the same points as any other limited slip diff swap into a car with no factory LSD option (25). The SRT4 had a LSD option, and maybe you could do trans swap+knuckle as one package and get the LSD and knuckle package for 25 points, however I am not sure that is the ratios or package I would suggest. 

Edited by Black Magic
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17 hours ago, RC413 said:

@BlackMagic

 

Thanks for re posting this. Tons of good info shared by you guys. 

 

Seems I am on the right track for the most part. Going to snag a parts car for spares and continue race prep on this. 

 

The ECU is a pain. 1995 is a one year only wiring harness and ecu. I was thinking of megasquirt but like the oem reliability...? 

 

As far as brakes, I agree. I'll use up the hawk blues I have and pick up a set of ST43's for replacement. No trail braking... Got it. Set the angle of the car and power through. 

 

How about service on this chassis. What's the best "at track" way to pull trans, clutch, motor, subframe, or control arms? Pre built knuckles and hubs take care of the hub and axle issues. Is it worth leaving an engine and trans connected to swap in the event of failure? 

 

I ran 95 wiring in my old car. My car had a 95 SOHC mopar pcm. The mopar cal has more timing and will make a little more power, is rich up top though. Even ran all my 2.4 setups on this pcm, simply swapping injector size\fuel pressure to add fuel when needed. Not ideal, but ran surprisingly well for the effort and money involved (almost none). I will most likely go 96+ pcm in the new car, just so I can use skyed ecu reflashing tool and reprogram the ecu to get a flatter fuel curve at high rpm with the 2.4. I have some spare 95 car harnesses and stock PCMs if you need spares, I don't see a overwhelming reason for you to swap harness.

 

I have helped teams that went megasquirt after they burned up multiple engines. Need to ask yourself how good is your tuner, access to tuners, and ability to diagnose and fix stuff on your own. The mopar PCM has most of the check engine error checking gone for emissions, so a check engine light generally means a fault and you can diagnose it with a obd2 scan tool and use factory diagnostics. Like OEM wiring, there are lots of reasons to stay with good oem engine controls until you are ready to tackle more (want to go fast). Take the wire loom off your entire engine harness, replace any questionable wires, usually replace TPS, MAP, Crank harness pigtails with stuff from a parts store (rock auto) and move on.

 

Major engine\trans repair. The trans I remove alone when doing a trans swap, leaving engine in the car. It is not that heavy, and can be passed thru the bottom without removing the sub frame. For engine swap I remove both engine and trans together, and they come through the bottom without removing the subframe. There are cutouts in the front sheetmetal to specifically allow this\clear engine. Procedure is to use hoist to pick up engine, remove mounts, lower engine to the ground and or a roll cart on the ground. Then attach nose of car to hoist, pick car up off engine, and pull engine out. I have a picture somewhere of a neon nose 4ft in the air doing this procedure, it looks goofy but is a very efficient way to get them out. I have been on a good team that did a gearbox swap in 30 mins, and have done a motor in and out in 3 hours (run, park, swap, run again).

 

Besides needing to swap lower control arms, and replacing a bent subframe from a wreck, I rarely have turned the subframe bolts. On many cars even removing these due to years of rust can be a chore (even with a torch to heat it). 

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I am probably biased but I think that the Neon is a great platform for a Champcar, especially if you enjoy the research and development aspects of fielding a race car.   You get to start with a low point car and then debate / decide / experiment with where you spend your points.  The Neon is super easy to drive, primarily I think because out of the box you will likely be heavily biased to understeer, and then as you improve driving craft and car setup you push the limits to actually get a more neutral car in which you can get some rear end rotation.

 

While donor vehicles are getting a little more scarce, the PT Cruiser platform which is a source for 2.4 engines, big brake upgrades, 350HD transmissions (2001 in particular), and axles is still in abundance.

 

@Mopar4life and @BlackMagic (and I am sure others) have proven it has been a podium worthy platform. For 6 or 8 hr races fuel capacity is probably biggest challenge???  If the starting VPI was lowered by 50 points I think it would be a little bit less of the bringing a knife to a gun fight with the higher VPI cars.  I believe there was a petition to this effect, haven't seen the ruling yet.

 

I will add two key nuggets I didn't see above - weight reduction and brake cooling.  The latter takes a bit of ingenuity given available space and FWD.

 

In addition to Modern Performance (https://www.modernperformance.com/category/95-05-neon) mentioned above, here are some other resources:

 

www.neons.org is a source of tremendous knowledge (intermingled with a bunch of BS) that naturally has less participation now that the platform is getting older. 

 

https://www.kinnettickreations.com/     - custom wiring harnesses

 

As seen from the fact this thread exists, I have also enjoyed the comradery with other Neon teams. Lots of information sharing, spare parts sharing, and friendly competition.

 

Kent - #55 Udder Chaos 1996 Dodge Neon

 

 

 

 

Edited by tneker
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19 hours ago, Mopar 4 Life said:

You didn’t even touch the good stuff...

 

-T350HD why?

-T355 why?

-no 90 intake

-why the early stratus head is better than a PT head

- why 90% of the time your trans breaks is because of this (shifter) why you need a mad dog 

- where to drill a 1/4” hole to adjust shift cables

- axle sub list

- what dohc header is best and how to mod 

- ATI damper pulley (torsional vibes)

 

 

 

 

The more I read the more I realize i don't know.

Can yo please expand on the shift cable comment?

1/4 " hole adjust? 

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1 hour ago, Plum crazy said:

The more I read the more I realize i don't know.

Can yo please expand on the shift cable comment?

1/4 " hole adjust? 

 

I believe what Steve was referring to is how to adjust shift cables.  I have seen both transmissions that already have the hole and the 1/4 drill bit is just a proxy for an alignment pin, and other times a hole would need to be drilled first.  Admittedly when there was no hole, I eyeball instead of drill.  Perhaps that is a mistake?

 

 

CROSSOVER CABLE 

NOTE: Only crossover cable is adjustable. Selector cable is not adjustable.
1.Remove shift console. Loosen crossover cable adjustment screw at shift lever. See Fig. 1 . Using a 1/4" drill bit, pin transaxle crossover lever in 3-4 neutral position. Align hole in crossover lever with hole in boss on transaxle case. Ensure drill bit goes at least 1/2" into transaxle case. See Fig. 2 . 
2.Allow shifter to rest in neutral position (shifter is spring-loaded and self-centering). Tighten adjustment screw to 70 INCH lbs. (8 N.m). Remove drill bit. Ensure shift lever shifts into all gears. Install shift console
 


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/99387_Graphic2_67.jpg

 


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/99387_Graphic1_128.jpg

 

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14 minutes ago, tneker said:

 

I believe what Steve was referring to is how to adjust shift cables.  I have seen both transmissions that already have the hole and the 1/4 drill bit is just a proxy for an alignment pin, and other times a hole would need to be drilled first.  Admittedly when there was no hole, I eyeball instead of drill.  Perhaps that is a mistake?

 

 

CROSSOVER CABLE 

NOTE: Only crossover cable is adjustable. Selector cable is not adjustable.
1.Remove shift console. Loosen crossover cable adjustment screw at shift lever. See Fig. 1 . Using a 1/4" drill bit, pin transaxle crossover lever in 3-4 neutral position. Align hole in crossover lever with hole in boss on transaxle case. Ensure drill bit goes at least 1/2" into transaxle case. See Fig. 2 . 
2.Allow shifter to rest in neutral position (shifter is spring-loaded and self-centering). Tighten adjustment screw to 70 INCH lbs. (8 N.m). Remove drill bit. Ensure shift lever shifts into all gears. Install shift console
 


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/99387_Graphic2_67.jpg

 


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/99387_Graphic1_128.jpg

 

Thanks I have seen this in the shop manual. we have the trans out of the car replacing the clutch at the moment. this will be checked when we are done putting everything back together.

 

 

Thanks again

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Other tread has question

 

"We are running the 2.0 at 6200RPM shift point. did the same with the 2.4. looks like this needs adjustment.

Also did very little with the oil control in the bottom of the 2.4 made one trap door for windage need to do a lot more.

Also with the older 2.4 block there is only 2 oil returns on the back side of the block and with the huge right hander at RA I believe that the oil filled the head and couldn't return .

will be remedying that.

We were also running SRT4 rods also found out you should be running a high volume pump with those. going back to stock rods.

I would sure like to see a pic or two of what you do in the oil pan for oil control if at all possible.

 

Thanks so much again.

 

Tom" 

 

6200 on 2.4 is pretty fast (without work and development), and with reasonably stock engine (cam) beyond peak power rpm. 

 

Srt oil pump is higher volume for the piston squirters that block runs. I would use stock pt pump (no turbo) with the pt block. If you are stock cammed just leave the 2.4 engines alone for a while and run 5500 rpm. Wil be a reliable way to run long enough to find the other stuff you need to fix on car. Take on the rpm challenge when you have exhausted other low hanging fruit. 

 

Pan pics are low quality to save space. Gives the idea though. Don't forget to drill a hole for the dipstick. Baking the pan also helps burn the oil off making welding easier. Simple stuff to keep oil in the center when you turn hard. The perimeter gets welded and or sealed off (you could maybe jb weld parts in, i haven't tried to be this brave yet.

 

 

20150725_172341-800x600.jpg

20150725_172351-800x600.jpg

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Ok, I will explain more of the points I made.

 

We decided as a team to do a trans swap. The T350HD was already a better choice as the case is stronger and has an updated synchro design. This also means setting the diff preload. The T350HD has slightly better ratio’s. If your lucky you may even find the 4.12 ratio if not 3.91 is it.

 

The T355 is used mainly for parts. It has a updated synchro for the 3/4 cluster. That does not have the issues with shift keys falling out. It’s a carbon synchro and can handle a lot of abuse. This part can’t be bought so you can only find it in yards.

 

The no 90 intake is an easy mod for HP. We took the hit for a intake mani. The best all around intake you can find is an AMM fab intake. The no 90 intake mod can get you most of the way there but we live in a series where you need to maximize points to HP gained. The other key part is the power no longer dies off at 5800-6000. In the later parts we revved out to 6500. Which was a big gain.

 

The stratus head has bigger valves and stock vs PT has a better cam profile. The early 01-02 heads were designed for boost. But with crazy Chrysler ways they put the head on NA cruisers. As if you were buying a NA cruiser you probably weren’t after performance. The stratus head also makes it easier to use the available performance intakes and such.

 

The shifter is a key part for trans longevity. We had the issue a couple of times of our 3/4 shift key falling out of the synchronizer. This is not always due to stretched cables but over extending the shifter lever itself. Let’s say you have a over zealous driver that when heated bangs the gears a little harder than usual. The extra force he puts in can dislodge the shifts key from the synchro. The mad dog shifter reduces the throw with no extra effort but also adds rod breaks which will prevent the over extending of the lever. It’s cheap insurance.

 

The 1/4 hole was already answered above

 

DOHC headers are still easy to come by. The best company is TTI. They used to make a race version with a step mid way but they are no longer made. The next best thing is to take your stock TTi and lop off the dump merge. We purchased a vibrant 4-1 true merge collector. Back to back dyno the merge was good for 5-6 hp. On top of the gains for the header. 

 

Two years into our adventure with endurance racing a 2.4 neon (2012). We were losing clutches due to broken pressure plates about every 4-5 races. So we changed them every four races. It was always the same failure. We originally thought it was a clutch issue as the Mopar performance clutch changed mfg’s. So we bought an ACT. Worse mistake ever. The added stiffness of the pressure plate really hurt the internals. We found you couldn’t shift as fast with it. We also still had the same problem but now with breaking $300 flywheels. Fast forward to 2013 PRI. We talked to ACT about our issues and they wanted to see our flywheel. They ruled it was torsional vibrations. Seeing as we had deleted our balance shafts this made the problem even worse. We decided to give an ATI a try. Not cheap, but we could tell a difference right away. Now clutches are lasting almost 12 events, seals, rod bearings are all lasting longer. I don’t say an ATI is a must but if you were going to run a lot of events like we did (6-7 a year) it really helps.

 

 

Dyno mod list:

NA 2.4 

Hand porting

AMM Fab intake manifold

TTi header with custom vibrant merge

3”exhaust 

stock 2.4 stratus cams 

ATI damper

Balance shaft delete

MS3pro Evo ECU w/K coil ignition 

dynapak dyno

 

8F9C2DEE-7A07-492C-9B5A-4FEA43A55A89.jpeg

Edited by Mopar 4 Life
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As this point my main focus is a reliable, well handling car. After a completed race, with no major issues, adding power/motor swap may happen. Not to keep up the boring questions... 

 

Fluids;

Syncromesh in the trans seems to be the go to?

What has kept the 2.0 alive the longest? Other than the oil that flows back to the pan the fastest... Ha. 

 

As far as points go, I'll have 55 points tied up in oil cooler, accusump, and aftermarket oil pan. Seems like a ton, but very needed to keep the 2.0 alive. 

 

There is a manual fuel pressure regulator in the car and as soon an innovative sends me my wideband back I'll be able to tune that a little better. 

 

Alignment;

Some of you guys have been talking 3-4 camber up front. Neon.org people really seem to think that is way too much or not even able to run and keep axles alive. Current settup is stock Konis and aftermarket camber plates. Anyone else care to share the settup that works and does not eat axles/hubs/tires? 

 

Brakes;

As far as removing the booster... The two cars I have driven with manual brakes had the best feel ever. Is running them manual common? Use the OE master or something else? 

 

 

Thanks Ross

 

@Black Magic pm sent on the 1995 ecu stuff, thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, RC413 said:

As this point my main focus is a reliable, well handling car. After a completed race, with no major issues, adding power/motor swap may happen. Not to keep up the boring questions... 

 

Fluids;

Syncromesh in the trans seems to be the go to?

What has kept the 2.0 alive the longest? Other than the oil that flows back to the pan the fastest... Ha. 

 

As far as points go, I'll have 55 points tied up in oil cooler, accusump, and aftermarket oil pan. Seems like a ton, but very needed to keep the 2.0 alive. 

 

There is a manual fuel pressure regulator in the car and as soon an innovative sends me my wideband back I'll be able to tune that a little better. 

 

Alignment;

Some of you guys have been talking 3-4 camber up front. Neon.org people really seem to think that is way too much or not even able to run and keep axles alive. Current settup is stock Konis and aftermarket camber plates. Anyone else care to share the settup that works and does not eat axles/hubs/tires? 

 

Brakes;

As far as removing the booster... The two cars I have driven with manual brakes had the best feel ever. Is running them manual common? Use the OE master or something else? 

 

 

Thanks Ross

 

@Black Magic pm sent on the 1995 ecu stuff, thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The .org is good and all. But there a good amount of members who really have no idea what’s going on. The race car mentality is totally lost on them.

 

With the oil stuff. A cooler is nice. But all you really need is baffles in a pan. It can be done yourself. If money is no object see if you can find a moroso/obx 2.0L pan that already has baffles in it. I never ran an accusump. But I have always been 2.4.

 

Redline MT-90 is what we use in our trans.

 

We did not use camber plates. We used stock eccentrics from a caravan. Big beefy bolts for camber adjustment and to free up points. We had a home brew suspension setup from taking off the shelf hyperco springs and using them as lowering springs. We only had sleeves in the rear. Again all this to free up points.

 

 We ran a RT/ACR master with booster. 

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Brake cooling ducts.

 

Front bumper has fog light holes. 

 

Any chance to get a few pics of hub attachment points for these? Seems like people add cooling for the outter CV area too. Need to get some hose ordered for this soon and some insight would be great. I have never made ducts for a FWD car... 

 

Thanks Ross

Edited by RC413
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On 5/31/2019 at 1:28 PM, Black Magic said:

Other tread has question

 

"We are running the 2.0 at 6200RPM shift point. did the same with the 2.4. looks like this needs adjustment.

Also did very little with the oil control in the bottom of the 2.4 made one trap door for windage need to do a lot more.

Also with the older 2.4 block there is only 2 oil returns on the back side of the block and with the huge right hander at RA I believe that the oil filled the head and couldn't return .

will be remedying that.

We were also running SRT4 rods also found out you should be running a high volume pump with those. going back to stock rods.

I would sure like to see a pic or two of what you do in the oil pan for oil control if at all possible.

 

Thanks so much again.

 

Tom" 

 

6200 on 2.4 is pretty fast (without work and development), and with reasonably stock engine (cam) beyond peak power rpm. 

 

Srt oil pump is higher volume for the piston squirters that block runs. I would use stock pt pump (no turbo) with the pt block. If you are stock cammed just leave the 2.4 engines alone for a while and run 5500 rpm. Wil be a reliable way to run long enough to find the other stuff you need to fix on car. Take on the rpm challenge when you have exhausted other low hanging fruit. 

 

Pan pics are low quality to save space. Gives the idea though. Don't forget to drill a hole for the dipstick. Baking the pan also helps burn the oil off making welding easier. Simple stuff to keep oil in the center when you turn hard. The perimeter gets welded and or sealed off (you could maybe jb weld parts in, i haven't tried to be this brave yet.

 

 

20150725_172341-800x600.jpg

20150725_172351-800x600.jpg

Thanks for the picks, this is very close to what I was thinking of doing. Good to see I'm going in the right direction.

Tom

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I need to find pics of my old brake setup, but I used circle track caliper ducts that I hacked up and fit to the neon caliper. It is sort of a glove the wraps over the outside of the caliper with a hose hook up, designed to force air past the pads toward the rotor vanes. 

 

I simply ran a hose to the back side of the knuckle and zip tied it onto the oem holes for the abs speed sensor. there is very little opening between the knuckle center and the rotor, and this filled most of that space. 

 

The important thing I found was to use sufficiently strong fans in the brake duct hoses. Since out average speeds are not very high, improving the airflow at low velocities via fans really added to the net cooling effect. When I broke a fan off in a wreck the brake life on that side was a fraction of the forced (fan) air cooled side, proof the cooling mattered on a stock setup. 

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Interestingly we stopped using forced air cooling after the race we tore off the hose on one side doing some agricultural racing... several hours later when the race ended we found that both sides pads were so close to the same wear if they weren't labeled you couldn't tell which was which. This is using PT brakes and a neon that is on the light end of things (sub 2000lbs).

Your mileage may vary, but I think brake cooling matters a lot more if your brake setup is marginal to start with.

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1 hour ago, Vanquizor said:

Interestingly we stopped using forced air cooling after the race we tore off the hose on one side doing some agricultural racing... several hours later when the race ended we found that both sides pads were so close to the same wear if they weren't labeled you couldn't tell which was which. This is using PT brakes and a neon that is on the light end of things (sub 2000lbs).

Your mileage may vary, but I think brake cooling matters a lot more if your brake setup is marginal to start with.

 

Makes complete sense. This was a 2000lbs car (empty weight) but stock neon rotor and caliper. Pt brakes for the cars i have run were enough of a temp reduction we didn't need cooling (least not with that car's motor package).

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