Question about 2000 Plymouth Neon
I can not get the right engine mount or engine mount plate out to get at the timeing belt cover there is not enogh room to remove it after getting the mounting bolt and 4 attaching bolts out
My 2000 Dodge Neon had 105,000 miles on it and needed the timing belt changed. This is not an easy task and you will find it takes about 6-8 hours if you have all the needed parts ready to install if you need them. Don't expect to just go to the local parts place and obtain some of these parts. There are several dealer only parts.
Before you start this job: 1. Inspect the upper and lower torque struts that hold the motor on the passenger side. Order them ahead of time if you see they are damaged. Make sure the local parts store has them in stock if you are not sure of their integrity. You can tell if they are bad when you remove them; they just fall apart or you can see the split neoprene. 2. Inspect your accessory belts and the serpentine tensioner pulley prior to beginning the work. Order the belts (If you have over 75,000 miles on the vehicle, you will need the new accessory belts.) or know where you can purchase them locally. 3. Make sure you can get a new timing belt tensioner unit locally at your Mopar Dealer. If you have a mechanical timing belt tensioner, you are warned by a Dodge technical bulletin to replace it with a hydraulic unit. 4. Order a water pump and replace it while replacing the timing belt. 5. Of course, purchase a timing belt, lol...
First, it was necessary to remove the passenger side tire and the splash guard behind the tire in the wheel well. The next items to remove were the accessories belts (ac, alternator, etc.) which included the serpentine belt. The crankshaft damper had to be removed with a three-arm puller tool and a small insert that protects the crankshaft threads.
Remove the power steering pump by just setting it off to the side after removing the bolts. You don't have to undo the hoses; just lay it over to the side.
Using a floor jack, you hold the engine in place while you remove the lower torque arms. Inspect the upper and lower torque arms carefully as mine needed replaced. I was very lucky that a local parts store had the lower torque arm at their warehouse; I ordered the upper torque arm as I could easily see it was broken. I would at least inspect these torque arms carefully for broken neoprene prior to beginning the timing belt change; the engine could have fallen off the lower torque arm if I had hit a huge bump while driving. When I took the upper torque arm loose, the engine shifted on the floor jack and the lower torque arm neoprene completely separated, allowing the engine to shift off the arm. The lower torque arm is about 2' long and made of aluminum with neoprene inserts for the engine to ride more smoothly on when hitting bumps. You must also remove the upper torque arm on the engine passenger side about 12" in length; that was also broken on my car and had to be replaced. The torque arms were about $112 for both.
Next, you must remove the serpentine tensioner plate which has three bolts; I think. This was a totally unexpected cost for my timing belt replacement when I tried to purchase only the plastic tensioner pulley and was informed that the item was not a replacement part; you had to go to Dodge and purchase an entire plate (with a redesigned "hydraulic" tensioner for the serpentine belt tensioner). I went to a local salvage yard and obtained a fairly new tensioner pulley for about $3; the old plastic pulley was completely worn away. A new serpentine tensioner plate with the integral tensioner was $429 at Dodge; I was very happy that I found the replacement pulley for $3 at the local salvage yard saving about $426.
You can now remove the front timing cover. Make sure to align the camshaft and crankshaft timing marks before removing the timing belt. The camshaft pulley has a mark that needs to align with the mark on the head above the pulley. The crankshaft sprocket should line up at the same time with its mark at the top of the oil pump assembly. If you accidentally move the camshaft in some manner, after you remove the timing belt, you can damage the pistons or valves.
Next, to loosen the old timing belt, you need to look at the tensioner. Insert an 8 mm Allen wrench into the hexagon opening located on the front of the belt tensioner pulley. Rotate the pulley counterclockwise until it contacts the stop. While holding tensioner pulley against stop, insert a 1/8" or 3 mm diameter pin or Allen wrench through the hole located to the left of the hex opening. While pushing pin into hole, allow the tensioner pulley to rotate back. Almost immediately, the pin should engage the locking hole to prevent further movement of the pulley. I was totally surprised by what happened when I tried to purchase a new timing belt tensioner pulley as my pulley was worn quite badly. I received the wrong part to replace the tensioner pulley three times at three different parts stores. It took about an hour to discover that there was a problem with the old "mechanical" timing belt tensioners. It is not just recommended that you change the tensioner; you must replace the timing belt tensioner plate and all if you have the older mechanical tensioner. This is a technical bulletin from Mopar that says there have been several "explosions" of the mechanical units with engine replacements needed; the tensioner actually blew a hole in the engine block. Of course, this is not a "free replacement" due to a manufacturing problem; you must purchase this item. Some of the latter models of the 2000 Neon have had the hydraulic units installed and all you need to purchase is the tensioner pulley which costs about $30. You can tell if you have the mechanical one when you actually get into and remove the timing belt; the mechanical unit has four pronounced legs, while the hydraulic unit is more of a plate (even though the holes align for both units). You must replace the back timing belt cover with a new tensioner installation (and it comes with the kit). Mine, of course, was the earlier model and required a complete plate, hydraulic unit and tensioner pulley replacement. And, of course, it was a dealer item only with a cost of $469. I had no choice but to drive (a borrowed auto) about 100 miles to a dealer that had one in stock. Before you begin your job of timing belt replacement, find out if you own an earlier 2000 and also locate a dealer with the unit in stock. You honestly should install the hydraulic unit as the technical bulletin explains the damage from an "explosion".
Posted on Apr 15, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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