Thanks to Michael Volksmann, Greg Smith, and Lou Case
This document covers the five-speed manual transmission (used in the Neon, Stratus, Breeze, Avenger, Sebring, and PT Cruiser) made by Chrysler’s New Venture Gear factory in Syracuse, New York (taken over in 2003-04 by Magna). See our step-by-step guide to replacing the clutch and the five-speed manual transaxle used in the Caliber, Compass, and Patriot.
There were four different sets of gears for the Neon:
Different Neons used different final drives as well. The standard Neons came with a 3.55 ratio throughout the life of the car. The 3.94 ratio was used on performance models — with all DOHC engines, and then with 2001-04 Magnum engines. 1995-99 ACR models used the 3.94 ratio. As a result of the differing fifth gear ratios and axle ratios, the top gear ratio varied.
2001-02 Neon Standard2003-05 Neon Export (2.0 engines)
The PT Cruiser and export 1.8 liter Neons used the 2001-04 Magnum transmissions; export Neon 2.0s from 2003 to 2005 used the 2001-02 base transmission. 2002-05 right hand drive 1.6 liter Neons used the 2001-04 Magnum ratios and drive but had a different part number.
As used in the Neon, these transmissions had a type of T350 until February 2000; then they were type T350 HD and switched from cable to hydraulic actuation. Michael Volkmann wrote, “The second generation has added reinforcement ribs to the case to increase the ridigity of the unit and allow for larger loading; and the bell housing was changed increase case rigidity and allow for the hydraulic clutch actuation.”
The five-speed manual transaxle used with the 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines had a three-plane shift arrangement with reverse alongside fifth gear. Oil capacity is 2.1 qt (2.0 L) of a special fluid — not plain oil.
Shift forks are fixed to three wide-base rails that operate in Teflon-lined bushings for low friction; shift levers are atop the case for easy access to the shift cables. Each of the separate crossover (rail selection) and select levers has pure rotary motion which minimizes shift effort. The driver cannot accidentally go into reverse from fifth due to a cam in the mechanism which moves the crossover lever into the three-four gate without binding or jamming.
The shift knob was made of urethane; the shifter mounting bracket and all cable mounting points were rubber isolated to prevent unnecessary vibration.
All forward ratios were synchronized, with high capacity dual-cone brass synchronizers in first and second gear and single-cone synchronizers of a paper friction material on the other gears (it is more durable and clash-resistant than brass). The paper-friction synchronizers are on the input shaft, lowering shift effort by cutting rotating inertia. A reverse brake mechanism minimized reverse engagement clash.
Two-piece welded speed gears are shorter than one piece gears to shorten shift travel and transaxle length. There are needle roller bearing on all speed gears to reduce friction and extend gear life.
The case itself is cast in only two pieces to minimize leak paths; structural ribs strengthen and stiffen the case to minimize vibration and noise with little or no extra weight. The case has good bending stiffness, providing a natural frequency above the exciting frequency of the engine at peak RPM.
The modular 9.0-inch (228-mm) single dry-plate clutch was used on all but early Mexican Neons maintains low effort throughout its life. The clutch cover is riveted to the flywheel, and the disc is captive inside the assembly. The hydraulically activated modular clutch is connected to the crankshaft through the same flexible drive plate used to attach the automatic transaxle torque converter.
The modular unit makes the unit more reliable, and more repeatable in assembly; the clutch assembly bolts onto the crankshaft through a flexible drive plate which, with automatics, is used to attach the torque converter. This eliminates the need for different crankshafts. The modular clutch is replaced as a unit; it is activated by a self-adjusting cable. The release lever is contained entirely within the bell housing, cutting the need for a flexible boot.
See clutch repair for this transmission.
When used in the Sebring and Avenger, the NV-T350 was labeled as the F5MC1.
The two-piece split-case design was aluminum and weighed about 82 lbs. overall. Its forward speeds used constant-mesh helical-type gears that reduced gear noise. Fifth gear was an overdrive gear to improve fuel economy.
The transaxle required Mopar M.S. 9417 (P/N 04874465) lubricant (or equivalent). The fluid’s level should have been within 3/16" from the fill plug hole’s bottom edge with the transaxle level. The fill plug was on the differential area of the rear case housing, and the drain plug was on the bottom of the bellhousing case half.
On the side of the transaxle is an identification tag that had the barcode, transaxle model, assembly part number, and build date. On the transaxle’s end cover was a metal identification tag.
The bellhousing case half (which contained the clutch assembly) and clutch housing are a one-piece aluminum casting, which reduced weight. The rear of the transaxle was within the gear case housing; the back-up lamp switch and vent were both near the top of the housing.
The shift system’s (shift knob, lever, transaxle shift levers, and cables) selector and crossover cables were not adjustable, and if they became worn or damaged, they must be replaced.
Two transaxle shafts controlled the shift selector assembly (shaft, housing, selector, and pin). The selector shaft moved up and down (first to second, third to fourth, fifth to reverse), and the crossover shaft moved side to side between shift planes. A bias spring on the crossover shaft returned the assembly to the third/fourth/neutral position when the vehicle was in neutral and the shift lever was released.
A reverse blockout cam prevented shifting from fifth gear to reverse. A pin engaged the cam as the shifter came out of fifth, and the cam pushed the pin and shift assembly away from reverse.
The input shaft bearing assembly (clutch release bearing sleeve, input shaft bearing, bearing housing, and seal) was not serviceable as individual components, and thus the whole assembly needed replacement if something went wrong. Also grease was not required on the retainer where the release bearing rode.
On some NV-T350 transmissions, a reverse brake assembly stopped input shaft rotation through the friction cone locked to the transaxle case. The reverse idler gear was kept from clashing with the input and output shaft gears, and the input shaft was stopped before the idler gear engaged with another gear if a shift to reverse was attempted before the clutch spun down completely. The assembly consisted of a stop ring, friction cone, shim, needle bearing, and bearing race. It was not used on all NV-T350 applications.
The manual transaxle had three synchronizer assemblies. Third to fourth and fifth to reverse were on the input shaft assembly, and first to second was on the output shaft assembly. The assemblies had a hub, sleeve, struts, springs, and detent balls.
Bolted onto the differential case was the speedometer drive gear. It was an open-center design ring gear; it had a selectable shim on the outer race in the bellhousing case half which gave differential bearing preload adjustment. Adjustment for the side gear was made by changing the side gear thrust washers, which came in select thicknesses and various sizes. The input and output shaft bearings did not require any preload adjustment.
Summarized by Ken Massey
When forum member Katie B.’s PT Cruiser stopped shifting, she took it to a mechanic who said he needed to drop the transmission to inspect the clutch.
Bob Lincoln replied: “They can tell if it’s the gearshift/cables without dropping anything. They just need to have someone shift with the engine off while the other person watches the cables at the transaxle.”
Valiant67 added: “The bushings on the ends of the cables are often a trouble source. The dealer usually replaces the entire cable assembly because the bushings are not sold separately by Chrysler.” The aftermarket, though, does sell separate bushings.
The fluid levels in the clutch slave and master cylinders may be low, especially when the pedal is “mushy.”
Visit our page on clutch repairs.
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