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There's no more reason to junk a Neon or PT (which IS a non-interference motor piston-to-valve but can sometimes have valve-to-valve interference) for a broken timing belt any more than there is to junk a K car for a bad head gasket. In either case, the head can be repaired relatively inexpensively once it is off the car.

Most manufactured products have a projected operating life. What did Chrysler have in mind EEK operating life?
Honestly, the industry probably planned 10yrs/100k miles or so back then.
Somewhere I read a few years back that the design life of the powertrain was increased at Chrysler, but I don't recall from what to what.
That being said, it was easy to get more than 100k miles out of most cars of that era.
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