SaturnFans.com
what's new (beta) - classifieds - forums - photos


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Categories > General Saturn Discussion
Register FAQ Members List Groups Calendar Chat Room Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-21-2014, 03:06 AM   #1
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

I've wanted to do this for a while now and I think this is the appropriate section to do it in.

The first car I started doing my own maintenance for (seriously) was a base '97 Plymouth Neon (no options). After selling that one, I bought a '98 Plymouth Neon Highline (all power options). That car was in an accident and now I own my '97 SL1 (no options).

I've worked on my Saturn enough to feel like I can begin making comparisons about maintenance items (and anything else that comes to mind).

If you feel like commenting, go ahead. I may respond, I may not. I just want to express my thoughts and experiences just in case anyone is curious (as I was before I decided to buy my 1st Saturn) as to which one is better for them.

My format will have the item being compared in bold, and which car I favor. Then I'll give some reasoning/explanation for my choice. Here it goes......


Exterior Appearance ----- Saturn
The Neon looks like a boiled egg pretty much. I was never a fan of the way it looked. I like the Saturn's more rectangular headlights vs Neon's ovaled ones. Saturn has more of a "conventional" appearance I think....and I like that better. And from the side, Saturn looks sleeker.


Engine Compartment Space ----- Saturn
Just look at both with the hood up and you can see how cluttered it is in the Neon's compartment in comparison to Saturn. Under the hood of a Saturn gives much more space to work if necessary. It seems to be a more basic, simple design than Neon.


Auto Transmission ----- Saturn
Saturn's 4-spd vs Neon's 3-sp. Obviously a 4-spd is better. While cruising at hwy speeds, that 3-spd is working pretty hard while Saturn's 4-spd is cruising without too much trouble. Both trans's have their quarks...the Saturn with its valve body & input shaft nut issues and the Neon with the gear selector and throttle pressure shafts rusting together causing acceleration problems and late shifting. But both are fixable for the casual DIYer so..... Both seem to have somewhat harsher shifting when going into reverse also (less-so with the Saturn though). The only weird thing about Saturn's 4-spd is that the TCC kicks in between 2nd and 3rd gear instead of at the latest gear. I've read on this forum that this is normal, but I think it's a very strange normal. Still....the 4-spd is better.


Engine Component Layout ----- Neon
I like the exhaust manifold being in the rear of the engine like the Neon has it. I've burned myself a good many times already because of Saturn's exhaust being near the front. Sure, I could just wait an hour or so before crawling underneath, but I didn't have to do that with my Neon. Also, the intake components are serviced more than the exhaust, so why not have them in the front? If I have to clean the throttle body or replace a sensor associated with it, I'd rather have it near the front...it just makes more sense to me.

Although both cars are easy to replace ignition components, the coil pack on the Neon is directly on the top. Just remove 4 bolts and the electrical connector and that's it....and it doesn't come in 2 pieces either.

The spark plug wire arrangement is more logical on the Neon. The wires are right on top and it's 1-2-3-4 to 1-2-3-4 vs Saturn's 1-2-3-4 to 4-1-2-3 arrangement.

The crank sensor is directly above the oil filter and not that hard to get at on the Neon, while Saturn's got that damn thing above the starter. Credit to Neon for that design.

I haven't replaced any starters on any of my cars yet, but Neon had theirs in the front while Saturn's got it in the rear. I would imagine working in the front might be simpler, but I can't say for sure.

Battery placement is similar...Neon's is closer to the front of the vehicle, which I prefer.

EGR accessibility is about equal...perhaps a bit easier on the Saturn though.


More to come.....

Last edited by bachands; 05-21-2014 at 03:13 AM..

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 05-21-2014, 05:58 AM   #2
SL19302
Master Member
SL19302 is a name known to allSL19302 is a name known to allSL19302 is a name known to allSL19302 is a name known to allSL19302 is a name known to allSL19302 is a name known to all
 
SL19302's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Drums, PA
Posts: 3,350

2000 SW2
2002 SL1
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

My cousine had a Neon, That vehical was nothing but aggravation, One problem after another, Anything from Transmisison problems to the timing belt breaking under 60K, I wouldnt ever buy a Dodge product, If GM gets to the point where I cant trust them anymore ill go foreign, Nissan, Subaru, Honda those brands have a little quality left at the assembly gate.

...
2015 Subaru Forester Limited "Prinny"
2000 SW2 Still Running Strong- 160K Traded In
2002 SL1 Still has Its Training Wheels on at 88K Traded In


CHECK YOUR OIL!

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to SL19302's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help SL19302 reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
SL19302 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL19302 View Post
My cousine had a Neon, That vehical was nothing but aggravation, One problem after another, Anything from Transmisison problems to the timing belt breaking under 60K, I wouldnt ever buy a Dodge product, If GM gets to the point where I cant trust them anymore ill go foreign, Nissan, Subaru, Honda those brands have a little quality left at the assembly gate.
I found working on the Neon aggravating at first, but only because I was learning. Once I got the hang of it, I didn't find it to be too difficult.

If I had only about $3000 to spend, I'd buy a 2002 SL1 with power options. If I had about $5000, I'd upgrade to a Honda Civic. The Neon isn't on the top of my list, but if that's all I could afford, I wouldn't mind having one....preferably 2002 model.


Engine Noise ----- Saturn
Not much debate here. Neon engines are just noisy. Perhaps I just got 2 bad ones, but both my Neons had the annoying "tappet" noise. The oil was always full and engine clean, but it didn't seem to matter. And apparently that's normal behavior for Neons. Although my SL1 has a small engine that can seem a bit "pingy" while running, it is quieter and smoother. The quieter, the better IMO.


Gas mileage ----- Saturn
No contest again. Some people here have reported around 40 mpg with their Saturns. But since I've read of Neon owners also getting in the upper 30's (I'm assuming with 5-spd manuals and all highway driving), I have to use my own experiences. Most of my driving is "city" driving with a lot of stop-and-go, low speeds, etc. And my trips are always short too (less than 30 minutes). So for me, anything around 30 mpg is good. With comparable driving, my Neon got about 26.5 mpg while my Saturn gets me about 28.5 mpg. This doesn't surprise me....I expected it.


Instrument Control Panel ----- Neon
All 1st and 2nd gen Saturns (mine being a 2nd gen) have those dumb sliders that control the air flow and temp. Even 1st gen Neons had all rotary dials. They're just simpler to use than sliders.

However, the 3rd gen Saturns finally got rid of the sliders and installed the rotary control dials so......one reason I'd like to have a 2002 SL1.


Oil Changes ----- Neon
First off, both are easy to change oil. But, to make sure it's done cleanly, My Saturn will take me 3 times as long as a Neon. Why? The oil filter on a Saturn is horizontal and higher up on the block above the driveaxle. Makes for quite a mess if you don't remove the filter just right. Although it's not necessary, I find it best to remove the pass. side wheel & splash shield to access it better. That way I can ensure everything is clean once I'm done.

On the Neon, the oil filter is vertically mounted, and directly next to the drain bolt. It's a breeze getting to and doesn't get oil all over the driveaxle and sub-frame.

Done properly, my Saturn oil change takes me about one hour while the Neon took me about 15 minutes.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Framed vs Frameless Door Windows ----- Saturn
Saturn has a top frame around the door windows while Neon windows are frameless (at least 1st gen Neons are). Why would Chrysler do that? It's so stupid to me. My inclination when I go to shut my door is to grab it from the top and push it closed. If I did that with a Neon door, I'm concerned I might actually break the damn window....or at least "loosen" it from its track a little each time I do it. I actually had to re-train my brain to grab it from the actual door panel instead of the window.....

.....so thank you Saturn for making my life just a little easier.


Gauge Cluster ----- Saturn
Pretty simple: The tachometer comes standard on the Saturn while the Neon makes it optional. The tachometer is very useful in giving information and diagnosing problems, such as seeing when shift points occur, what the vehicle idles at, and measuring A/C refrigerant pressures @ the necessary 2K rpm. These would be much more difficult with no tach.

The Neon did offer a tachometer in its 1st gen models, but only in their "upgraded" models....same for 2nd gens, too, actually.

The arrangement of the clusters is also different (regarding the gauges and information lights). Saturn has a good symmetrical arrangement, which I prefer.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
onefunkar
Master Member
onefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the rough
 
onefunkar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,505

2008 Outlook XR
2007 AURA XR
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

in january 1994 when 95 plymouth and dodge neon came out saturn was actually pretty worried about the neon. they sent me to a plymouth dealer to go get a neon for comparison to sales people between the two cars.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to onefunkar's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help onefunkar reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
onefunkar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2014, 02:25 PM   #6
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefunkar View Post
in january 1994 when 95 plymouth and dodge neon came out saturn was actually pretty worried about the neon. they sent me to a plymouth dealer to go get a neon for comparison to sales people between the two cars.
And what was your conclusion?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2014, 05:03 PM   #7
onefunkar
Master Member
onefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the roughonefunkar is a jewel in the rough
 
onefunkar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,505

2008 Outlook XR
2007 AURA XR
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

i think at the time what was selling saturns wasnt so much the car as the process. the car was actually seconday. people just wanted to be treated right. i guess both cars had advantages. the one thing i didnt like about the saturn, which was just about to be fixed at the time, was they couldnt get the airbag thing out ontime so had to have the auto belts as required at the time for non airbag cars . the sat urn was more unique and i did like it better than the neon

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to onefunkar's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help onefunkar reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
onefunkar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2014, 05:58 PM   #8
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Transmission Fluid/Filter Service ----- Saturn
Saturn's design includes a drain bolt on the trans as well as a spin-on filter. On my old Neons, I had to install my own drain plug and in order to access the filter the trans fluid pan must be removed (and then re-sealed when finished).

Both Saturns and Neons with AT's are recommended to have the fluid and filter replaced either once a year or once every other year. This frequency should justify a drain plug for the trans fluid and ease of access to the filter. So Saturn did that one right....draining the trans fluid is a cinch and the filter not that hard to get to and remove.

I've read about the possibility that Chrysler didn't really want people to do their own fluid changes. Maybe they only wanted their owners coming to the dealer to have their trans serviced....I don't know. Although it's not terribly difficult to change the fluid and filter on a Neon, it's very inconvenient and creates a huge mess (which is why I decided to install my own drain plug when I had one).

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2014, 12:29 AM   #9
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Rear Brake Line Routing ----- Saturn
I was servicing all 4 brakes on my Saturn recently and I took a good look at the rear brake line paths while under the vehicle. I was mainly looking for one thing....are they routed over anything that would create difficulty if replacement is necessary? Doesn't look like it to me. It looked like a rear brake line replacement would be quite manageable.

I bring this up because the 1st gen Neons have the driver's side rear brake line routed up and over the fuel tank. So if it must be replaced (assuming it's done properly), the fuel tank must be dropped and moved out of the way. And then there's very little room to get one's hands up there. Not an easy job from the How-To I read on replacing it.

So.....good job Saturn.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2014, 04:47 PM   #10
davidsky
Master Member
davidsky will become famous soon enoughdavidsky will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,962
 

2005 ION-1 Sedan
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

The Neon rode and handled better for the most part. Had more power as well.
The Neon was a great car to drive, lousy car to own.

...
Member of the Crank Window Club

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to davidsky's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help davidsky reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
davidsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2014, 03:03 PM   #11
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Engine/Trans Mounting System ----- Neon

As many of you may know, the Saturn has 2 torque strut mounts that limit the rotation/sway of the engine. They are mounted on the "ends" near the wheels. The Neon has a more typical design with just one front mount that sits beneath the center of the radiator/condenser area.

I like Neon's design much better for two reasons:

1) One front mount is better than two since it is less expensive to replace and it is also easier to access. I believe it to be a better design for minimizing engine rotation also.

2) The front of the front mount had something called a mass damper/dampener. It is basically this large piece of steel secured by a heavy duty bolt. Besides it's primary function (whatever that is), it provided an excellent jacking point that could withstand all the weight without issue. This way, I could jack up both sides evenly in one clean step. With my Saturn, I have to jack up one side at a time, which I hate since it stresses the struts a bit each time (I popped a strut once doing one side at a time...went too high). To avoid damage, I usually jack my Saturn up in stages to the final height...I first drive up on wheel ramps and then jack up each side from there. It takes much longer than it did with my Neon....and it's very irritating.

Chrysler did a better job on that. The dogbones are stupid....IMO.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2014, 03:35 PM   #12
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

Drivebelt System ----- Saturn/Neon
This is sort of tie, but it depends on how you look at it.....

Saturn has just ONE belt that is used for everything. Also, the tensioner is set so once the belt is on there really aren't any adjustments. Either the tensioner is good or it is bad.

With the Neon, there are three belts. One belt operates the A/C and P/S....the two components that are the least necessary. One belt operates the alternator, which is essential for battery power. And finally, the timing belt (which is Saturn's timing chain equivalent), operates the water pump, which is imperative for engine temp control.

For convenience sake, the Saturn is definitely preferable. But for proper engine operation design, Neon is preferable. Why? If a Saturn drivebelt snaps somehow or the tensioner fails, both the alternator and the water pump are now out of operation...making the car inoperable (unless you want to overheat the engine and ruin it). Also, I've read a few threads here where people were concerned that when their P/S fluid started leaking, their alternator may have gotten ruined since it is directly beneath the P/S pump.

On the other hand, if protecting the engine and alternator in case of belt failure or leaking, the Neon would be preferable. The P/S and A/C are near the front while the alternator is in the rear making it protected from P/S pump fluid leakage. And the timing belt, which runs the engine timing, operates the water pump.....so if the timing belt snaps somehow, the engine is protected from overheating since the engine will shutdown as the water pump does.

In terms of replacement time, replacing the tensioner and belt on a Saturn may take just a little over an hour. If one were to replace all three belts on a Neon, that would probably take an entire day (6-8 hours)...for me anyway. Both the outer belts (timing belt being the inner one) are adjustable, but somewhat inconveniently. The accessory belt is tensioned by putting a 1/2" drive in the P/S bracket, pulling back on it, and then tightening the P/S pump bolts. It's actually sort of difficult for just one person. The alternator belt is more easily adjustable, but the adjusting bolt is a PITA to get to. And then once it's accessed, only about 1/4 turn can be made at time because there's so little room to work. And since the alternator belt is behind the accessory belt, the accessory belt MUST be removed to replace the alternator belt.

So like I said, it depends on how you view it......

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2014, 02:11 PM   #13
bachands
Advanced Member
bachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to beholdbachands is a splendid one to behold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Southeastern WI
Posts: 999
 

2002 SL2
Default Re: Saturn vs Neon (my comparisons)

In-Car Engine Work ----- Neon

I'm currently doing a partial re-build of my '99 SL2 project car. And I have to say, working on my old Neon was easier. Mainly for two reasons:

1. Seals.

Since the Neon has a timing belt and not a chain, there is no seal to worry about. I really don't like having a seal that big (referring to Saturn's timing cover) and especially when I have to re-install it with so little space to work. It's quite the PITA for me.

The oil pan also. Neon offered molded gaskets for it, while Saturn is RTV only. When I had to replace the oil pan gasket on my Neon, it was indeed a tight space under the car but it really wasn't that difficult. Since dry time was not a factor, I could take my time re-installing all the bolts. And after the job, I had NO oil leaking from the oil pan. With my Saturn, I'm going to have to get that sealant JUST right to prevent leaks....and not mention in a hurry.

2. Exhaust arrangement.

I've stated this before...the exhaust manifold is in the rear on a Neon. So when I removed the oil pan, I never had to touch the exhaust. Removing the oil pan on my Saturn, the exhaust is much in the way (because it is all welded and one piece). I had to constantly work around the top pipe while removing the pan. Very irritating!

So if I had to choose between working on a Neon engine or Saturn engine IN-CAR, I would definitely pick the Neon. Sure, timing belts do not last as long as chains (maybe 1/2 as long), but there is no seal to worry about. And after doing it a couple times, it's really not that hard of a job. I'd much rather replace a belt every 50-60K on a Neon than replace a chain every 100-120K on a Saturn.....no contest.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to bachands's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help bachands reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
bachands is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
98 and 99 Saturn SL2 comparisons? wolfehunter S-Series General 5 06-01-2009 02:43 PM
saturn beats neon kracker S-Series General 22 05-26-2007 04:48 PM
Saturn Outlook price comparisons mkaresh Outlook General 8 11-07-2006 06:45 PM
Supercharged Neon on the way...Wake up Saturn! DVader S-Series Mods 22 12-19-2004 08:53 AM
Dodge Neon vs. Saturn SL devy525 S-Series General 37 07-10-2002 06:38 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:38 AM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.