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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there is a couple of guys out there running Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler neons and I was wondering how good of a "starter" rally car it is. I have access to one and the wife and given to go ahead (cheaper than the methadone clinic;)

I'd appreciate any info, good or bad, and cuts/jokes/slaps.

See ya!
Shawn Teegarden
 

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Hi Shawn, there's one guy here who has some limited experience in them but he has said at various times that he had to 'completely rebuild the suspension' after nearly every event, and at other times how cracks, and lots of them, too, began to develop in what sounded to me like a amazingly short time. That sounds bad to me. I am sure however that he will disagree.

The more important question is always the question: Why THIS car, you didn't say if it was a prepped rally car, or not or if you want to be saddled with restrictive P class rules (assuming its P class).
So more info, please.

And also what a good starter car is IN MY book is one which has very good LONG TERM GROWTH POTENTIAL as YOU, the biggest variable in the total equation, get to grips with what you're doing, and as the fever takes hold, and the desire for MORE MORE MORE! begins to blott out the brain.
In other words, can you upgrade the car so you don't loose the work and money put into the shell, suspension, cage etc if you must SELL to upgrade.
So let us know.












John Vanlandingham
 

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>Hi Shawn, there's one guy here who has some limited
>experience in them but he has said at various times that he
>had to 'completely rebuild the suspension'
True statement. But 2 things have changed. ProRally suspension rules, and the availability of DMS for the Neon. So suspension would not be an issue anymore.


>every event, and at other times how cracks, and lots of
>them, too, began to develop in what sounded to me like a
>amazingly short time. That sounds bad to me. I am sure
>however that he will disagree.
Cracks were another result of the suspension. When the dampening is pretty much gone, you start to hit the bump stops harder. Start with correct suspension, problem solved. And I would have done more front end welding around the suspension mounting points. I never said I was a master car builder. Just a guy who knew the limits of his budget and ran a car that was competitive for the class he could afford.


>The more important question is always the question: Why THIS
>car, you didn't say if it was a prepped rally car, or not or
>if you want to be saddled with restrictive P class rules
>(assuming its P class).
>So more info, please.
You can get 150 horsepower with plenty of aftermarket parts that are legal in P class. Probably could build a competitive Neon for under 8k that would be a good starter car. And there is a turbo available if you decided to go Group 5.

>And also what a good starter car is IN MY book is one which
>has very good LONG TERM GROWTH POTENTIAL as YOU, the biggest
>variable in the total equation, get to grips with what
>you're doing, and as the fever takes hold, and the desire
>for MORE MORE MORE! begins to blott out the brain.
>In other words, can you upgrade the car so you don't loose
>the work and money put into the shell, suspension, cage etc
>if you must SELL to upgrade.

But, at some point it will be easier to buy a used 4wd with history than to keep upgrading a 2wd no matter what the class.

xr4ti is a great car with the long term potential, but what year would the last one sold in the US be? How long will a xr4ti be allowed to run in ProRally?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, for more info, P class would be fine. I'd be somewhat of a jackass if I thought I should start out at the top, without knowing what I'm doing. The car is not a prepped rally car, but it is paid for and about to be replaced. Somewhat of an "available" car. Production class would be fine. It fits my budget, and would tweak and add as funds allowed. As Trevor mentioned, once I get established, figure out if I'm any good at it, and enjoy it, I'd probably buy a car with history, turbo, move up a class or two.

This car has as much growth potential as I need right now. If and when the time comes to sell out and move up, I don't expect to get my money out of it. The enjoyment will be enough.

Trevor:

You mention DMS for the neon - DMS dampers? Basically I was wondering about the problems other people have had in the past with their neons and build on that. Don't be afraid of competition - you guys are light years ahead of me as this project won't see the light of day until next year. I figure rally is about like off road racing - you have alot of suspension mods you can do until you finally get to the point where the limiting factor is horsepower. Oh, lets throw in stage experience. I have none. But, I think I can.

Mike: Any word on Hallet?

Shawn
 

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Who in their right mind would want to race a Neon? Did Susan really give you permission to start cutting up the car? Tell me when and I'll be there with my Sawzall.
 

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I've been racing my Neon for over 4 years, in drag, autocross, and now rallycross. I have recently started aquiring items to build the car into a rallysprint/ClubRally car. I can't comment on the durability of the body shell long term in rallying but I can give you some insight on what problems you might have.

I have heard of some autocrossers with some small stress cracks on the exhaust tunnel near the firewall (probably a result of runnning sticky Hooiser tires and 450lb+ springs on the street). Aside from that however, I have never heard of any structural problems with a Neon, nor any durability problems with the suspension. I kinda figure that with the Showroom Stock roadracers bottoming out on curbs at 100+mph we would have heard by now if the unibody was going to fall apart. Plus, a fully welded cage and seam-welding will do even more to prevent body damage, something that isn't always done in the roadracing cars.

The DMS suspension is news to me....I searched around quite a bit for suspension options for the Neon and settled on the Moriss Dampers setup. The only other options that were readily available were Leda and Truechoice, neither of which have much (any) track record rallying with Neons. If DMS is making a suspension for Neons, none of the Neon enthusiasts know about it and I certainly haven't been able to find anything.

The 2 main problems with any Neon are the stock headgasket and the differential. Any Neon built before mid '98 has a defective headgasket that will eventually pour oil down the back of the engine block. Once you update to the MLS headgasket the problem is solved for good. The problem with the differential is a soft pinion shaft that allows the pinion gears to bite into the shaft when one wheel spins faster than the other. As soon as the gear "bites" the pinion shaft is spit out of the bellhousing and takes your gearbox (and sometimes clutch) with it. Since you can have an LSD in production you can either buy a Quaife or modify the stock diff to prevent this.
My reinforced/LSD stock diff: www.geocities.com/bdazneons/diff.html

I think that the Neon is a great candidate for a rally car because its cheap to buy, easy to work on, and cheap to repair. The other great strength it has is an exceptional performance aftermarket that will allow you to build a strong and reliable NA motor. The drag guys have also built up a market of bulletproof clutches and axles that should work well in rallying.....

C

www.howellautomotive.com
www.blackdogmotorsports.com
www.buymopar.com
 

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RE: DMS for a NEON

Hey Shawn
I have a 1995 Neon ACR. This is my 3rd year rallying it.
There have been a bunch of people mention the DMS suspension.
DMS originally built the Struts for my car. I have been working with them to get te setup correct.
I ran all last year with them. They are the best.
And DMS is ready to start making them for whoever needs them.
I did a lot of research before deciding on the DMS setup.
And found that nothing would hold up. Some of the guys that ran Neons before me found this out the hard way, (Evan, Trevor and others).
I would definitely go with the DMS with Evan's as a second choice.
Don?t waste your money on anything else.
You will save money in the long run going with a good suspension.
As others have mentioned you will not only go through numerous sets of struts you will start to destroy the car.
I have no seam welds on my car and have no structural damage due to the wrong suspension.
Feel free to contact me if you would like more info on them.

As far as running a Neon, GO FOR IT
I am really happy with the performance of my Neon.
It is really competitive and cheap money.
They are not the best looking cars, but mine has held up exceptionally well, through some very rough events
Contact me if you need to.
Brian

http://www.glhracing.com
 

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RE: DMS for a NEON

Thanks Colin,
The 1G Neon had 144mm stroke. In 98' I designed a supension for my rally car with a DC suspension engineer friend from OE drawings. Our spec. had 185mm stroke with a gain of 7mm in compression travel.
Moriss' shock uses these dimensions as well.
We also have a spec. for the new Neon.
Neon is a great car. Stock, It has better geometry and grip (not to mention power) than any VW I've ever driven. ANY vehicle will develop cracks in the body if not properly prepared.
Koni's are brakeable not only on a stage road but even on a dyno...

http://morissdampers.com/
Give me a ring anytime.

Evan
Moriss Dampers Inc.
(Metro Detroit, USA)
586.469.9635
 

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Wanna build cars or race cars?

I know I'm sounding like a broken record here, but do you like building cars or racing cars? If you want to race, save yourself a ton of money (and time and aggrevation) and buy an already prepped car. You could be racing next month instead of next year. If your enjoyment comes from building cars, by all means go for it.
 

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>Colin--Is that a "Phantom Grip" in the differential you have
>pictured?

No, its actually a custom modification made by a company called Future Auto. It uses a Phantom Grip like spring block to provide pressure, but has a clutch disk behind each side gear to reduce wear and increase friction. Pat at Future Auto machines the back of the side gears and the housing to make additional room for the disks. He also machines the front face of the gears to remove the lip so they ride flat against the spring block. The other big advantage is that he installs a "case hardened" diff pin and .250 hardened retaining pin to *hopefully* prevent it from coming apart (I will find out this season).

I like the Future Auto alot better than the PG because the PG does not do anything other than exert alot of pressure against the washers behind the side gears. I have seen a bunch of Neons with PGs that still acted much like they had an open diff. My FA diff is extremely agressive, definately the most agressive FWD LSD I have ever felt. And after 2 years of abuse there was virtually no wear, when I had it rebuilt he even reused my original clutch disks.

Its definately worth the the extra $300 or so over a PG and is still half the price of a Quaife. If you don't want to weld solid, I think this will prove to be the most cost effective option.

You can find his contact info at http://www.patsauto.com/ if you are interested. Make sure you tell him I told you about it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
RE: Wanna build cars or race cars?

Well, how about both? Due to financial restrictions I think I'd have an easier time spending a little at a time, i.e. I can't come up with the money right now to buy a car. I do have a car I can modify and run production with after I install the safety equipment.

I also figure that I can learn from my mistakes then when I go to buy a car I will have a better grip on what to look for or stay away from.

But you're right, its easier and cheaper to buy one built already than to buy a car, modify it, etc. My out on this is I already have the car.

Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That sounds like a good idea. I think I'll get in touch with him about that. Does he modify yours or take yours as a "core"?

Shawn
 

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He modifies your core. The turn around is usually really fast though, especially considering that it requires quite a bit of custom machining.

C
 

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Shawn,

I have run a Neon for the past year with some sucess. I haven't had any problems to speak of. I'd be happy to talk to you regarding car set up if you are interested.

David Johnson
 
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