Chrysler Neon 1995-1999 Repair Guide

Cooling System

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CAUTION
Never remove the radiator cap under any conditions while the engine is hot! Failure to follow these instructions could result in damage to the cooling system, engine and/or personal injury. To avoid having scalding hot coolant or steam blow out of the radiator, use extreme care whenever you are removing the radiator cap. Wait until the engine has cooled, then wrap a thick cloth around radiator cap and turn it slowly to the first stop. Step back while the pressure is released from the cooling system. When you are sure the pressure has been released, press down on the radiator cap (still have the cloth in position), turn and remove the cap.

FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



The cooling system should be inspected, flushed and refilled with fresh coolant at least every 30,000 miles (48,000 km) or 24 months. If the coolant is left in the system too long, it loses its ability to prevent rust and corrosion.

When the coolant is being replaced, use a good quality antifreeze that is safe to be used with aluminum cooling system components. The ratio of antifreeze to water should always be a 50/50 mixture. This ratio will ensure the proper balance of cooling ability, corrosion protection and antifreeze protection. At this ratio, the antifreeze protection should be good to -6°F (-37°C). If greater antifreeze protection is needed, the ratio should not exceed 70% antifreeze to 30% water.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

When checking the coolant level, the radiator cap need not be removed. Simply check the coolant level in the recovery bottle or surge tank.

Check the coolant level in the recovery tank, usually mounted near the firewall, to the right of the passenger side strut tower. The coolant recovery tank level should be between the ADD and FULL marks on the side of the recovery tank, when the engine is at normal operating temperature. Only add coolant to the recovery tank as necessary to bring the system up to a proper level.



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Fig. Fig. 1: The coolant recovery tank is located near the power steering fluid reservoir and the passenger side strut tower



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Fig. Fig. 2: The coolant level should be between the ADD (1) and FULL (2) marks on the coolant recovery reservoir



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Fig. Fig. 3: If the level is low, add coolant through the recovery reservoir cap


CAUTION
Should it be necessary to remove the radiator cap, make sure the system has had time to cool, reducing the internal pressure.

INSPECTION



Checking the Radiator Cap Seal

See Figure 4

While you are checking the coolant level, check the radiator cap for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost and the engine will overheat.

Worn caps should be replaced with a new one.



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Fig. Fig. 4: Be sure the rubber gasket on the radiator cap has a tight seal

Checking the Radiator for Debris

See Figure 5

Periodically clean any debris; leaves, paper, insects, etc. from the radiator fins. Pick the large pieces off by hand. The smaller pieces can be washed away with water pressure from a hose.

Carefully straighten any bent radiator fins with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful, the fins are very soft. Don't wiggle the fins back and forth too much. Straighten them once and try not move them again.



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Fig. Fig. 5: Periodically removal all debris from the radiator fins

DRAIN & REFILL



See Figures 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11


CAUTION
When draining the coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by ethylene glycol antifreeze and are quite likely to drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain the coolant into a sealable container. Coolant should be reused until it is contaminated or several years old. To avoid injuries from scalding fluid and steam, DO NOT remove the radiator cap while the engine and radiator are still hot.

  1. Make sure the engine is cool and the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
  2.  
  3. Remove the recovery tank cap.
  4.  
  5. Place a fluid catch pan under the radiator. Turn the radiator draincock counterclockwise to open, then allow the coolant to drain. The coolant should drain out of the recovery tank first.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: The draincock valve is found at the bottom corner of the radiator. There is also a hole in the fasica panel which the coolant drains through



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Fig. Fig. 7: The radiator draincock opens by turning it counterclockwise



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Fig. Fig. 8: Attaching a piece of tubing to the valve helps prevent mess during coolant draining


CAUTION
Never open, service or drain the radiator or cooling system when hot; serious burns can occur from the steam and hot coolant. Also, when draining engine coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted to ethylene glycol antifreeze and could drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantities. Always drain coolant into a sealable container. Coolant should be reused unless it is contaminated or is several years old.

  1. Remove the radiator cap by performing the following:
    1. Slowly rotate the cap counterclockwise to the detent.
    2.  
    3. If any residual pressure is present, WAIT until the hissing stops.
    4.  
    5. After the hissing noise has ceased, press down on the cap and continue rotating it counterclockwise to remove it.

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      Fig. Fig. 9: NEVER remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot!

    6.  

  2.  
  3. If equipped, remove the engine block drain plug.
  4.  
  5. Allow the coolant to drain completely from the vehicle.
  6.  
  7. Close the radiator drain valve, then reinstall any block drains which were removed.
  8.  

When filling the cooling system, be careful not to spill any coolant on the drive belts or alternator.

  1. Using a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and clean water, fill the radiator to the bottom of the filler neck and the coolant tank to the FULL mark.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 10: If the system was drained, fill the radiator to the bottom of the filler neck



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Fig. Fig. 11: Fill the coolant recovery reservoir up to the FULL mark

  1. Install the radiator cap, then place the cap back on the recovery bottle or surge tank.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine. Select heat on the climate control panel and turn the temperature valve to full warm. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature. Check to make sure there is hot air flowing from the floor ducts.
  4.  
  5. Check the fluid level in the recovery tank and add as necessary.
  6.  

FLUSHING & CLEANING



  1. Refer to the drain and refill procedure in this section, then drain the cooling system.
  2.  
  3. Close the drain valve.
  4.  

A flushing solution may be used. Ensure it is safe for use with aluminum cooling system components. Follow the directions on the container.

  1. If using a flushing solution, remove the thermostat. Reinstall the thermostat housing.
  2.  
  3. Add sufficient water to fill the system.
  4.  
  5. Start the engine and run for a few minutes. Drain the system.
  6.  
  7. If using a flushing solution, disconnect the heater hose that connects the cylinder head to the heater core (that end of the hose will clamp to a fitting on the firewall. Connect a water hose to the end of the heater hose that runs to the cylinder head and run water into the system until it begins to flow out of the top of the radiator.
  8.  
  9. Allow the water to flow out of the radiator until it is clear.
  10.  
  11. Reconnect the heater hose.
  12.  
  13. Drain the cooling system.
  14.  
  15. Reinstall the thermostat.
  16.  
  17. Empty the coolant reservoir or surge tank and flush it.
  18.  
  19. Fill the cooling system, using the correct ratio of antifreeze and water, to the bottom of the filler neck. Fill the reservoir or surge tank to the FULL mark.
  20.  
  21. Install the radiator cap, making sure that the arrows align with the overflow tube.
  22.  

 
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