99 Neon oil in radiator


Old 01-14-04, 01:45 PM
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99 Neon oil in radiator

Hey there everybody,
I have a 1999 Dodge Neon with a 2.0 SOHC engine (73000 miles) and a manual transmission. It has been well maintained. However, lately the temp gague has been showing the engine as running very cold (barely above C) where the normal temperature was about halfway between the C and the H on the gague. If I let it idle long enough the gague would go back up to normal and if I drove, the temp would go down. I figured that the thermostat was bad so I went and bought a new one. I was about to change it when I opened the radiator cap and noticed there was oil mixed in with the antifreeze. I immediately checked the oil and noticed no antifreeze in the oil. I figure it is a blown head gasket.

Does this sound like a blown head gasket or something of the like? If so, is this a DIY job, or does it cost a lot to do. I am sort of in a financial bind right now.
This is also my only vehicle I have access to, so is it still drivable, like say to work and back only (10 miles each way), or should I correct this now? Any input will help tremendously. Thank you.
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Old 01-14-04, 02:56 PM
darrell McCoy
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Normally a blown head gasket increases engine heat. Depends on where it may be blown out. I dont think that has an oil cooler in the radiator. Since it is a manual there wouldnt be a trans cooler either. How long has it been since the cooling system has been serviced? If it the pink coolant it is past due for a change. At one time or another, has anyone used stop leak? I would service the cooling system install a new thermostat and give it a go. You might rent a pump and pressure check the cooling system. 12-14# is plenty.
Old 01-14-04, 03:47 PM
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It's definately NOT driveable with a radiator full of oil. You need to get to the bottom of that right away. With the standard trans, it doesn't leave many options. It almost has to have a blown headgasket or a cracked head. It needs to be pressure checked for sure.
Old 01-15-04, 10:14 PM
mike from nj
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not all headgaskets blow the same way, like what is the norm(overheating, large smoke from the tailpipe).

these style gaskets have the oil leak into the cooling system, and will never overheat, not show up with a pressure tester, and never have coolant in the oil. on the rarest of occassions, the gasket will 'blow' and you'll see the smoke from the tailpipe and a big coolant loss.

look into the coolant overflow bottle, you'll probably see the same stuff(milky). you need at least a headgasket.

you could probably drive it like this forever, as long as you keep the oil full, however i HIGHLY recommend against that. the oil soaks the rubber hoses that are designed for coolant, and they swell bigtime, leak, crack, split and even blow off suddenly. you saw what it did to your thermostat.

if you are the original owner, call 1-800 customer service and demand politely that this situation be remedied. you need a headgasket, a radiator flush, the heater core flushed, a block flush(with the head off) and all the rubber hoses replaced. nothing less than that!! the new gasket design is almost perfect and came out in 2000.

i did one on monday(stratus), way out of warranty, was a 97, and cust was responsible for a $200 deductible only. (you didn't hear that from me!!)

let us know what you do.
Old 01-17-04, 04:32 PM
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Yeah those head gaskets on the older 420A's are known to blow easily. My cousin and I replaced one on his SOHC and it never went since (~40k mi's). So what's this stuff you heard about Calling a number and demanding that this be fixed, assuming it will save you some repair costs? This sounds odd that people can do this...
Old 01-17-04, 10:55 PM
mike from nj
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1st, a question---what's a 420a?

second, they are common to leak oil externally, sometimes even internally if let go too long(like this car) --- they don't 'blow' that often

are you really 16 years old car boy?
when something is designed wrong(like this style gasket)and it's out of warranty, sometimes(not everyone) sometimes the manufacturer will step up and help out with the repair costs. not after it's been done by someone else, not usually for the second owner, and sometimes not even then. maybe it depends on the mood of the person on the other end of the phone? i've never called, so i can't really tell the answer.

glad to hear you fixed your's though.
Old 01-17-04, 11:41 PM
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First of all, thanks for replying, I didn't know manufacturers helped with these types of things under cirtain circumstances.
A 420A is the code (named by Mitsu) for a 2.0L (some derivatives larger/smaller) chrysler 4cyl SOHC and DOHC forms, Front exhaust and rear exhaust forms even. They came in Neons, non-turbo 2nd gen Talons and Eclipses, Sebrings, Stratuss, Avengers, probably forgetting some cars with 420A's. Dont let Chrysler get you confused, they dont use the 420A code in certain applications even though thier "other engines" are virtually the same as 420A's. But if you want to get "technical", I would be wrong. Just remember the "420A engines" come in many forms and are listed under many names, but the people who deal with these engines all acknowledge it as a 420A

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 01-22-04 at 02:18 PM.
Old 01-18-04, 08:41 AM
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Good question Mike..... I thought it was a reference to smoking of the wacky weed.... well thats what my 17 year old son and 14 year old daughter told me that 420 meant anyway (cause its made reference to in alot of songs nowadays).... LOL
Old 01-18-04, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for your responses guys. Is this something I can do myself, because I'm the second owner, and I don't have comprehensive insurance, and I definitely cannot afford a couple thousand dollars to fix it. I changed jobs recently taking a huge cut in pay and I can't afford to sink a lot of money into this car. Thanks again.
Old 01-18-04, 08:23 PM
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If you have mechicanal skills, you could do it in a days time, with less cost. If not it would be best to take it to a shop that can handle it quickly.
Old 01-18-04, 10:02 PM
mike from nj
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billy---that's what i was thinking too

car boy---the mitsubishi 2.0L and the chrysler 2.0L share 'green' coolant---nothing else. not even the bolts would be usable from one to the other. i've been dealing with these engines for almost as long as you are old, and this is the first time i've heard of a 420A????

vendetta---in our dealership, the job is about $700 parts and labor, there would be additional charges for the complete flush and additional parts you need though.

can YOU do it??
anything is possible, it's only hard the first time. what's the biggest job you've tried? other than common sockets, you would need a crankshaft pulley puller(a 'three jaw' puller won't fit without modifying things, but can be done) and a torque wrench. you would need a good book, hopefully a service manual and a lot of patience. set aside a good weekend and have a friend around for moral support(hopefully one who's a technician and drinks the same style beverage as you) the sohc is way easier a job than the dohc. oops, also a floorjack you will need. air tools make the job go a bit easier too.

i could probably list every bolt to take off, but it would take me too long to write here. too bad you live on the wrong coast

think about it, but don't be driving it while you are

there's no better place to ask questions than here.
Old 01-20-04, 05:06 AM
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Thanks guys. I obtained a service manual for my vehicle and took a look at it to see what it might take to do the job and I am confident that with my past experience with working under a hood (I've done engine swaps and tranny swaps but nothing inside an engine before, but this job doesn't look too difficult to me). However, is doing all those flushes Mike from NJ talked about(radiator, heater core, and block flush) best left up to a shop or can I flush them myself, probably a dumb question because all I could flush with is a water hose and water doesnt rinse oil off very well, but I thought I'd ask. Couldn't hurt anyway. I'm just thinking about my cash flow situation right now.

Thanks again for all the input, guys. I'm hoping to get this job done soon so I don't have to rely on other people for transportation, plus my ride to work is switching shifts in a couple weeks so I might just have to have a shop do it, but there's still hope of doing it myself.

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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 01-22-04 at 02:32 PM.
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