Question about 2005 Dodge Neon

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I need some high level help on my 2005 Dodge Neon 2.0L. Manual transmission (125,000 Miles)   Back story: Being adamant about proper care to my vehicle, and working under the apparently incorrect assumption that it has an interference engine.  I employed a local shop to perform preventative maintenance on the vehicle.  I had the water pump, timing belt, and tensioner replaced as well as the accessory belts.  After picking the vehicle up it had a noticeable toothy vibration in the steering wheel and a sound not unlike a stock car in the passenger cabin.  This sound and vibration was not very noticeable from the exterior of the vehicle.  I asked and was told that it would take about a week for the belt to break in.  About a week later the sound had not gotten any better and was not good at all under very cold conditions.  I also began to notice a squeaking noise when the throttle was exercised.  I then returned the vehicle to the shop very confident that something was not right.   Upon a test drive it was diagnosed as likely having failed engine mounts causing the engine to rest on the frame.  Research had told me that engine mounts are items that will need replaced on this vehicle especially with manual transmission.  So I agreed to have them replace the engine mounts in hopes that this would solve the problem.  It did not.   So, at this point they have had the vehicle for over a week and are no closer to finding a solution.  Initially they removed the timing cover and ran the engine and diagnosed a bad tensioner (bearing).  This was a brand new MOPAR part!  They replaced it to no avail.  I am not sure at this point the order of things, but I can recap some of the work that has been done.   The tensioner has now been replaced 4 times.  The water pump and belt 2 times.  At one point they noticed that the timing was 5 degrees off.  One belt tooth is 8 degrees so it was decided that the belt had been damaged by the initial failure of the tensioner.  Now that timing is correct the problem persists.    Fearing that, the while it was believed that this engine was interference type, the chance that engine had been damaged was suspected.  Compression, leak down, and visual inspection of the cylinders through bore scope were performed.  Everything tested fine.   Dodge dealer tech has been brought in to verify proper installation of all parts.   Service bulletin was eventually found detailing alignment procedure for engine mount replacement (apparently dealer did not know this one existed).  Did not help though.   Was taken to another shop and placed on some type of Chrysler machine that balanced/timed/something with the crank and cam shafts.   Shop has resorted to testing minor things like the coil and plugs, but they are still trying.   Moral of the story I took a perfectly good running car in to have some parts swapped, now the car is AFU.   Please help

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  • kal13 Mar 24, 2011

    I really think they are trying their best to fix it. It is in great shape and they have done a lot of work on it for me in the past with no issues. They have put countless hours into trying to fix this problem with no success. The manager has been staying late, coming in early, and working on his days off trying to get me going. They are fully aware that the vehicle ran perfectly when I brought it in and have made no bones about there being a problem. Per there own tests they have confirmed the engine is in immaculate condition. Just can't figure out what has gone wrong. I probably could have done this job myself, but right now I have more money than time so I opted to have it done. Never saw this coming. Plus if this woulda happened to me I woulda been screwed.

  • kal13 Mar 24, 2011

    You know, the reason I didn't take it to my local 5 star dealer is they managed to thoroughly trash my car doing a simple oil change last time. I have also experienced many other failings on their part at my expense over the years. I just don't trust them. The shop I took it to has always done good work for me and treated me fair. I can't help but assume the parts I got from MOPAR are causing the problem.

  • kal13 Mar 25, 2011

    So I went over today to get more scoop, add some ideas, and test drive the car so I could use my own judgment to see where we were at.  To my surprise the car runs great.  It would appear that the bad tensioner and subsequent damaged belt most likely was the problem.  Now what they have been fighting is a rough idle situation that presents itself after the car is warmed up.
    It would appear that when the car is cold the idle is staying at about 1000 rpm.  With this, it runs smooth as a babys bottom.  Once the car warms up it drops to about 800 rpm and starts to shake some.  I do not believe this is in direct relation to the timing belt work that was done, but perhaps due to something that might have been tweeked during the work to troubleshoot it.  It is a great relief for this to be the only problem now.  It sounded so bad before and I thought they still had that problem.  While they were bore sighting it he said they did notice some carbon buildup in the cylinders, so I bought 2 bottles of seafoam to run in the tank to try to clear it up a little.
    I took the car home for the day and played with it to study the problem more.  Initial suspicion was that the IAC could be acting up.  Called around town and nobody had one in stock.  Would not think it would be bad since I replaced it 15 months ago though.  So tonight I took it off and sprayed some cleaner in it for good measure.  Everything looked good on it.  Plugs and wires are probably 20-30,000 miles old.  Could be them, but doubt it.
    If I Idle warm (800 RPM or so) it shakes some.
    If I try to turn the wheel a little it shakes worse.
    I set in it for a while tonight with it idling and noticed that a change in the fan seems to affect it.  It sounds like if the fan kicks off it shakes more, but logic is telling me that it may be the fan kicking on.  May need to study this further in the daylight.
    Basically, it looks like at just idling it shakes a little, seems that is I apply any idle load to the engine it makes it worse.  The shop was going to check today and see what proper RPM should be.
    Wondering if it could be the alternator.  If the alternator is going bad, and increased electrical load is applied, such as kicking in the fan or running the blower, would possibly drag down the engine?
    Any other suggestions would be appreciated


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I have a dodge neon 2005 sxt 2.0 when i give it any gas at all the enging has a severe vibration that when i remove my foot off the gas it rides smooth i had a tune up changed the motor mounts and have done alot to it and nothing is stopping this vibration which feels like something is going to drop out from under anyone else with this issue and what did they do

Posted on Aug 14, 2011

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As I was reading your story, the very first thing that was evident to me is that the timing was not set correctly. And after you were told to drive the vehicle to "let the belt break in" I knew that the shop you were at had no bussiness doing this type of work if they are that mis-informed about how an engine is to properly operate. And after driving it like this for any period of time the best advice I can give you is to take the car to the dealer and have a competant tech. fix the errors. I myself have GM and Mercedes-Benz backround, and wish I was there to help..

Posted on Mar 24, 2011

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I totally sympathize with your current situation, but in their eyes - it's 6 years old and they're trying to "run it in and out - for the $$$". (I know I used to work at "Stealershop") To them it's an "ECO-BOX" and they put a fraction of attention to your car vs a new 300 or Charger - they make more in labor $$ in warranty work w/reimbursements/shop labor that actually doing diagnostics. In short, if you really plan on keeping car for any length of time, find yourself a good "small time" mechanic that you can trust. If not, get the car running "decent" and sell it and wash your hands of the entire scenario. It'll help keep your sanity. Just from the detail of your description you're very detail oriented - maybe should take some auto classes and start doing many of your own maintenance and work - it's self satisfying when you do it yourself and you can $ave a ton of $$$

Posted on Mar 24, 2011

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