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How to Replace the Head Gasket in a Dodge Neon

by Bryan Clark

The head gasket ensures there are no leaks in your engine block. A faulty head gasket will lead to oil on the engine or oil in the antifreeze. You should replace your head gasket every 60,000 miles on your Dodge Neon. This is a tough job that takes a good amount of time. Be sure that you have ample time to complete the project and that you understand the instructions fully. You will need to remove many components of your vehicle to access your engine block.

Access the Engine Block

Step 1

Open the hood and disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.

Step 2

Drain the coolant from the car by placing a collection bin under the drain plug on the bottom of the engine.

Step 3

Remove the bolts securing the air box assembly and remove it from the engine. There will be a wiring harness attached to it. Disconnect it by pressing in on the release tab.

Step 4

Remove the screws that secure the EGR valve and disconnect the vacuum tube by removing the clamp that secures it. Remove the EGR valve.

Step 5

Remove the bolts that secure the intake manifold to the head. Remove the intake manifold.

Step 6

Remove the spark plugs from the head by turning them until loose and then pulling them out.

Step 7

Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel injection assembly by removing the hose clamps that secure them.

Step 8

Remove the serpentine belt by pushing in and rotating counterclockwise on the lug that secures it with a ratchet.

Step 9

Remove the alternator by removing the bolts that secure it.

Step 10

Remove the exhaust from the exhaust manifold by removing the bolts that secure it.

Step 11

Use a car jack to lift up the right side of the car. Place a jack stand under the car.

Step 12

Remove the front right tire by removing the nuts that secure it.

Step 13

Loosen the air conditioning compressor by loosening the bolts that secure it. As the unit is loosened, you will be able to pull off the compressor belt. This is the only part you need to remove.

Step 14

Remove the crank bolt by rotating it counterclockwise.

Step 15

Use the puller device to remove the crank pulley. First secure the puller to the pulley using three bolts, then actuate the puller counterclockwise to remove it.

Step 16

Remove the front timing belt cover by removing the screws that secure it.

Step 17

Place a jack stand under your oil pan.

Unbolt the engine mount. The engine should now be separated from the body frame.

Taking Apart the Engine

Step 1

Rotate the crank until the marks on the gears line up.

Step 2

Remove the timing belt tensioner by removing the mounting bolts that secure it.

Step 3

Remove the timing belt. You should be able to remove this once the tensioner is removed.

Step 4

Remove the timing gear from the assembly by pulling it out of the camshaft.

Step 5

Remove the head bolts on the top of the head.

Step 6

Use a prying lever to remove the head from the engine block.

Step 7

Remove the old gasket. Be sure to clean the engine head and remove any residual parts.

Step 8

Insert the new gasket.

Step 9

Replace the head on the block.

Step 10

Follow the steps in reverse to piece the engine and car back together.

Reconnect the negative terminal of the battery.

Items you will need

  • Coolant collection bin
  • Socket set
  • Screwdriver
  • Car jack
  • Jack stand
  • Puller
  • Pry bar

About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.

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