Plymouth Neon

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Auto Defects > Plymouth

July 2000

Dear Consumer:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Neon or your Cirrus, Stratus or Breeze. CAS has received numerous consumer complaints on air conditioning leaks, electrical circuits that malfunction, transmission troubles, premature brake wear, head gasket failure, and poor driveability. The PT Cruiser introduced in 2000 as a 2001 model is little more than a glorified Neon selling at excessive prices and can be expected to have similar problems as 2000 Neons.

Introduced in 1995 as the latest in Chrysler's cab-forward, front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars, these models are not as safe or as reliable as the earlier LH models. The Neon got off to a bad start with three safety recalls in the first month of introduction -- two for brakes and one for a fuel leak.

The 1995 Neon failed its 35-mph crash test with a driver Head Injury score of 1,088 indicating a 33% probability of life threatening injury in a 35-mph frontal crash. The passenger did not do much better with a 27% chance of death or serious injury. Of all the 1995 subcompact cars crash tested by the NHTSA, the Neon did the worst. By 1998, the Neon only improved to 22% and 15% for driver and passenger respectively. The front crash tests for the 1998 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus twins showed a 25% and 19% probability of death or serious injury.

Chrysler has issued many dozens of Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) to dealers on how to fix problems in all of these cars ranging from fuel pumps that whistle so loudly they need to be replaced to bacteria in air conditioning systems to coil springs that must be replaced to brake moans and howls. CAS has listed many of the major TSBs in the enclosed Fact Sheet which tells you how to find other TSBs on your vehicle. The 1995 models had so many TSBs that CAS could not list all the ones that applied to just that model year.

You'll find more information on these and other Neon and Cirrus/Stratus/Breeze problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Chrysler on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

NEON & CIRRUS/STRATUS/BREEZE FACT SHEET
Breeze Cirrus Neon Stratus PT Cruiser
Chrysler technical service bulletin numbers are in parentheses.

Air Conditioner/Heater: Musty odor 1995-98 All models (24-11-97); Blower motor inoperative in freezing weather 1995-97 Neon (24-03-97); "Bump" felt during A/C compressor engagement 1996-97 N, Breeze, Stratus (18-20-97); Musty odor &/or defroster fails to clear glass 1995-97 All models (24-14-96); Whistle @ higher blower speeds 1995-96 Neon (24-11-96); Compressor failure in hot weather 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus (24-07-96A); Intermittent whistle 1995-96 Neon (24-07-95); White flakes from A/C & heater outlets 1995 N/Cirrus, Stratus (24-08-95 & 24-05-95).

Body/Paint: Info on paint, water or air leaks, go to Chrysler Paint.

Brakes: Front brakes "howl" @ 10 mph or less 1995-97 Neon (05-08-97); Front brake squeal &/or creep/groan @ 10-20 mph 1995-98 Neon (05-20-97); Chirping rear brake drums 1995-96 Neon (05-05-96); Rear brake howl 1995-97 Neon (05-01-98); Front brake squeal or squeak 1995 Neon (05-08-95); Moan, grind or growl in moderate/heavy braking 1995 Neon (05-07-95 & 05-16-94A); Shudder when decelerating from 65 to 45-mph 1995 Cirrus, Stratus (05-05-95); Premature front lining wear w/grinding noise 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (05-01-96).

Electrical: Remote keyless entry discharge 1997-98 Neon (08-39-97); Intermittent remote keyless entry operation 1995-97 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (08-08-97); Interior lights work improperly 1995-97 Neon (08-36-96); Headlight flicker 1995-96 Neon (08-26-96); Rear grid defogger indicator light malfunctions 1995-98 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (08-06-98).

Engine/Driveability: Stumble/miss @ 2 minute intervals, shift cycling 1996 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus w/2.5L (18-26-97); Cold engine stumble/buck, shift cycling 1997 All models (18-11-97); Intermittent single cylinder misfire 1995-96 N/Cirrus, Stratus (18-10-97); Vehicle shudder 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus (18-09-97); Sag, hesitation or miss 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus w/2.5L V6 (18-08-97); Warm-up sag, hesitation & driveway die out 1996-98 N, Breeze/Cirrus, Stratus (14-08-97); Overheats in traffic &/or A/C becomes inoperative 1995-96 Neon (07-01-97); Overheats &/or radiator fan continues to run 1997-98 Neon (07-07-97); Low frequency rumble or gear noise from front between 50 & 70 mph 1997-98 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (02-07-97); New oil filter to prevent road damage 1995-96 All (09-03-96); Erratic idle, performance loss 1995-96 N/Cirrus, Stratus (18-04-96); Fails to run, alarm actuates improperly 1995 Cirrus, Stratus (08-02-95); Head gasket replacement 1995-99 w/2.0 or 2.4L (09-05-98).

Steering/Suspension: P/S assist loss in heavy rain &/or deep puddles 1995-97 Neon (07-04-97); "Popping" from front suspension 1995-98 Neon (02-06-98A), 1995-98 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (02-05-98); Steering wheel oscillation/vibration above 50 mph 1995 Neon (22-01-95); Rattle from column on turns or over irregular surfaces 1995 Neon (19-06-94), 1995-98 All (19-01-98); Rough ride on road with irregular surface & bottoming out on pothole 1995 Neon (02-10-94, 02-11-94); P/S pump moan 1995-97 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (19-06-96); Noise on right turns, replace steering gear 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus, 1995-97 Neon (19-04-96A); P/S noise on cold starts 1995-98 All (19-03-98).

Transmission: Right side driveshaft vibration between 2800 & 4200 RPM 1995 Neon (02-01-95); Clicking from left front @ rear cover of transaxle housing 1995 Cirrus, Stratus (21-26-94); Erratic, late or harsh automatic transmission shifts 1995 Neon (21-13-94); Vibration felt through gear shift knob in 3rd gear 1995 Neon (21-11-94); Squeaking when shifting manual transmission 1995 Neon (21-09-94); Vehicle shudder 1995 Cirrus, Stratus (18-27-94); 41TE/42LE design changes 1995-97 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (21-18-96); 41TE/42LE 1-2 upshift shudder 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (21-11-96); 41TE/42LE transaxle shudder during EMCC shift 1995-97 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (21-05-97); Burnt transmission fluid 1995-97 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (21-14-97).

Other:"Creak"/rattle from front passenger foot well 1995-97 Neon (23-47-97); Door glass scratched1995-97 Neon (23-46-97); Door glass inoperative 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (23-15-96); Broken center console latch 1995-97 Neon (23-24-97); Fuel pump whistle 1995 Neon (14-01-95); Tail lamp moisture buildup 1995 C (08-18-95); W/S spray area too small 1995 Cirrus, Stratus (08-04-95); Excess engine noise under dash 1995 Neon (23-26-94); Carpet goes bald in spots 1995 Neon (23-22-94); Exhaust rattle, buzz or moan during warmup 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus (11-02-96); Poor AM reception 1996-97 Neon (08-11-97); Improved headlights 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (08-18-96); Delayed W/S wiper spray 1995-96 Neon (08-11-96); Erratic wiper delay intervals 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (08-08-96); Exhaust noise, vibration in wet weather 1995-96 Neon (11-02-98); Remote trunk release malfunction 1995-96 Breeze, Cirrus, Stratus (23-06-96).

MAJOR RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Brakes: 2,700 1995 Neon - ABS master cylinder rear seal allows air to enter brake system (94V-026); 7,100 1995 Neon - Fluid leak due to loose hose mounting bracket (94V-034); 151,800 1995-96 Neon w/"ACR competition" package 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus, 1996 Breeze - Master cylinder leaks (96V-075); 90,000 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus, 1996 Breeze - ABS solenoid valves stick open (96V-074); 3,400 2000 Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze - Right front brake tube damage (00V-196).

Engine/Driveability: 7,100 1995 Neon - Moisture in PCM, stall (94V-033); 15,000 1996 Neon - Wiring harness short, stall (96V-026).

Steering/Suspension: 375,000 1995 Neon - Steering loss (97V-169); 300,000+ 1995-97 Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze - Lower control arm ball joint separates (97V-201); 3,600 1998 Neon - Rear suspension cross member missing welds (99V-001); 1,000 1999 Neon - Front lower control arms separate (99V-114).

Other: 40,000 1995-96 Cirrus, Stratus - Engine oil leaks & fires (96V-006); 219,000 1996-97 All - Hood flies up (97V-095); 91,544 Cirrus, Stratus - Rear belt anchors pull out (98V-063); 10,000+ 1997 Neon - Airbag deploys when ignition turned off (97V-080); 685,000 1996-98 All - Ignition transmission park lock fails (98V-183); 380 2000 Neon - Passenger airbag inflates improperly (99V-043); 17,000 2000 Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze - Child safety lock label (00V-066); 38 2000 Cirrus, Stratus, Breeze - Fuel tank strap corrodes (00V-067); 263,278 2000 Neon - Throttle sticks in cold weather (00V-194).

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