One of the interesting shortcomings of the Plymouth Neon (and the Chrysler and Dodge Neons as well) is a tendency for the fan to make dit-dit-dit noises as it hits a stuck leaf. There is an easy way to fix this — adding a screen to the cowl cover. The built in cover is supposed to screen out large objects, but it doesn't do this well enough. Newer cars usually have a replaceable filter to eliminate allergens as well, and enterprising owners can probably adapt such a filter to the Chrysler Neon; that isn't our goal today.
Start out with the right parts - the usual collection of socket wrenches and a thin flat-bladed prying thing, along with the handyman’s secret weapon
and a small amount of nylon screening. This is sold in rolls at hardware stores for house windows; it’s light, easy to work with, and durable, and you may need some for your house someday.
First, take out the clearly visible bolts that hold down the cowl cover. Next, remove the wiper arms —
Now, you can carefully remove the black plastic cowl cover. Carefully, so it doesn't scratch anything on the way out — or crack — lift it up and out. (We didn't have any problems.)
Flip it over and you can clearly see where to attach the screening: around the big round tube thing, and wherever there are openings to the outside world.
Use the duct tape (cut or torn where needed) to support the mesh wherever possible. If you really want to do it right, use glue (a glue gun may be the best way) to give the nylon some serious support; duct tape is for the guy who wants the whole job to take ten minutes, glue is for the guy who wants it to last ten years. I kept the Dodge Neon for two years after doing this and it was fine at that time with just the duct tape. I wish I still had it now.
Do not overtighten the bolts when you reattach everything. The cowl bolts don’t need a lot of force. The wiper arms must be lined up carefully and pushed on firmly but straight, and with the grooves lined up. (you'll see why when you look at them. Apparently they design the grooves to give up long before the wiper linkage, in case the wiper hits an immoveable force.) This is where marking the position earlier pays off. Mis-aligning by a small amount probably will not matter, as long as the arms don’t hit anything or leave the windshield, but it’s best to stick to the original settings.
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