98 Neon


Old 04-16-04, 05:26 PM
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98 Neon

I'm a little concerned that I can't seem to find the room in the engine compartment to make any adjustments. I'm a fair hack of a backyard mechanic, but I can't seem to get the right tension on the alt. belt.

My real problem is that the started selenoid went and I'm having problems getting into the top bolt. I have plenty of extentions and the right size sockets, but It doesn't seem to catch. I see no evidence of the bolt being stripped.

Oh, the oil light came on two days ago and there is plenty of oil in her. She had a new headgasket done (buy a certified mechanic) 4000 miles ago.

I don't know, I feel like this car is designed just to keep me from working on her.

Any advice would be welcome.

I had to order the hayes manuel for her, three different parts stores did't have the right year in stock

Thanks for your time
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Old 04-16-04, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,538
check and make sure your socket isn't cracked or worn out as that will cause it to not grab the bolt either.
you should probably check oil pressure using a mechanical guage to see if its within specs, may just have a bad oil sending unit causing the light to come on.
probably be a good idea to think about trading it in for something better before the head gasket starts leaking again.
Old 04-17-04, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: So Cal
Posts: 248
Those Neons sure don't give you much room to work.

You said you've got the right size sockets. Do you have the right type? Metric vs standard, 12-point or 6-point, possibly a "reverse torx" style? If your socket is proper and squarely on the bolt or nut, it should work.


Old 04-17-04, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
If you are trying to remove the starter solenoid just remove the starter and work on a bench instead.
Old 04-17-04, 11:53 PM
mike from nj
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take it back to that 'certified' mechanic and have him tighten the belt. he had it off 4000 miles ago and left it loose. (if you want to do it, it's easier from the bottom, drive it up on ramps and get it from down there, after removing the splash shield)

you will be replacing the solenoid and the starter as one piece, they are not easily separated, and the cost of the solenoid alone is more than a remanufactured starter. before you replace it, make double sure that the extra lead on the positive battery terminal is clean and tight. that unboltable (terminal) is for the starter. now, down to the wire on the starter....it also has to be tight--13mm(it also came off when the head came off too). the starter bolts are 15mm.

as for the oil pressure light, look from underneath, at the oil pressure switch. it is sticking out of the block pointing rearward and usually has a green connector on it. if that wire is touching the exhaust or the axle (very close to both) anywhere (if it touches metal ground) it will light the light. this also means that certified person didn't put the wires back into their clips to prevent this exact thing from happening.
if the switch is leaking oil, it might make the light come on too....look for that.

if no leaks, or rubbing wires, then like BJ said, you need to hook up a manual gauge to that same hole the oil pressure switch is in and perform a few tests.

let us know what you find
Old 04-19-04, 09:48 AM
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This is interesting... I have a 99 Neon and I replaced my head gasket about 5000 miles ago and i am having the same problem with the oil light. My starter and alternator belts are fine, I followed all torque specifications and everything perfectly. I just had my oil pressure light come on a couple days ago. And I was just about to post a whole new thread until I saw this one. And since you already answered my question, all I have to do now is check the oil pressure switch and replace it if necessary. Thanks!

I do have one more question though... say I replace the switch and it still comes on, and I get a manual tester, what do I do then? What am I looking for? And if it really has low pressure, what could I do to fix the problem? Thanks for the help.
Old 04-19-04, 11:41 PM
mike from nj
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the switch is designed to light the light at or below 4 psi i believe. it does this by grounding the wire. if any portion of the wire is grounded, the light will be on.

if you hooked a manual gauge to it, you would be looking for it to be above 4 psi at all times. way above. like around 20-30 at cold idle, up to 80 at 3000rpm 'cold'. hot oil is much lower, could be around 10 at idle, about 40 as you rev it.

if it ever dropped to zero psi( on the gauge), i would pull the oil pan and look at the screen on the oil pickup, it's usually clogged. the engine bearing's 'life' depends on how long you drive it with the oil light on, measured in minutes.

oil pressure switches do go bad from time to time, and will light the light at a hot idle.

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