JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
8/27/18 11:15 a.m.

Seeing as how my previous build ended prematurely, I decided to swap my fun parts over to a new chassis. Out with the old:

 

Enter the new candidate. It's a 2003 SRT-4 that I bought from the original owner for dirt cheap. 

 

On the positive side, it has a 2004 transmission (Quaife LSD) installed, Mopar Stage 2, some bolt-ons, and it's in great shape. On the downside, it has 176,000 miles and it leaks a little bit of everything; oil, trans fluid, and boost. I'm not a horsepower addict, so I'm not planning to slap a big turbo and go balls out with this thing. Instead, I'm going to stop the leaks, maintain it, and just have fun with it. 

The first step was to swap the wheels for the RPF1s I had on the previous Neon. 

 

I've made a few small aesthetic changes, but nothing noteworthy. I will chronicle the adventures in keeping this thing reliable and fun. The next steps involve swapping over my coilovers, solid motor mounts, and fixing leaks. 

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/27/18 12:23 p.m.

For dirt cheap that looks amazing. Cool project!

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap HalfDork
8/27/18 1:29 p.m.

Neons 4 life. 

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
8/27/18 1:33 p.m.

It looks clean and has an LSD for cheap? Bring on the leaks I say.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
8/27/18 2:13 p.m.

Let's just say the insurance gave me $500 more for a wrecked 2002 R/T, than I paid for this 2003 SRT. I got such a good deal on this thing. Despite its flaws, it was just too good of a price to pass up. It really looks great, inside and out, too. The suspension has been gone through pretty thoroughly and it handles so well as it sits. The coilovers from my previous car will make it just a little bit more stiff, but way more adjustable. 

I've known the original owner for about ten years and we've gone to events together multiple times. He's a good guy and I know the entire history of the car. He was super upfront about every tiny issue the car has and it helped ease me into the idea of buying a high mileage car like this. I'm going to see how it handles 200K. 

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap HalfDork
8/27/18 2:44 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

My RT I DD has 285k on it. The srt4 it replaced has 320k on it. Mine was pretty similar to your except it had had a ricer plate (blue plate)

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
8/27/18 2:51 p.m.

That's some crazy high mileage. Original block? I have a spare long block in my garage in case this one gets tired. 

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap HalfDork
8/27/18 3:01 p.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

Yes sir, consumed around 1qt of oil between oil changes. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
8/30/18 4:00 p.m.

Not a lot of progress lately. Just pulling aftermarket stuff and replacing it with stock stuff, because I'm getting old. 

I started by reinstalling the factory boost gauge. There was a broken Aeroforce ScanGauge in its place that was doing nothing. Then I pulled the haggard leather shift knob and installed a stock one that I had repainted. 

I think my next project will be to tackle the coilovers and motor mounts. I just need to find the time. 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
9/4/18 12:18 p.m.

I finally got around to installing the Torque Solution motor mounts in the SRT. The bottom was pretty straight forward. Check out all the oil under this thing. I have my work cut out for me with this car. 

The top mount, which is supposed to be the easy one, was a major pain in the ass. It was all because the captive nut for the vertical bolt had broken free and just spun inside the bracket. Fortunately, I have a parts car in the driveway and I managed to solve the issue. Now the SRT officially wears a part of the old car. I was going to paint it black before installing it, but I kept it silver as sort of a tribute to the fallen R/T. 

The silver bracket is barely noticeable. I think it looks right at home. 

I also installed the aluminum, solid shifter base bushings that I had in the old car. They do a nice job of eliminating a little bit of play in the shifter assembly. The car already has stiffer bushings in the linkage and a short shifter, so this kind of rounds out the shifting upgrades. 

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap HalfDork
9/6/18 11:49 a.m.

I adore how it has a stock air box

 

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
9/7/18 10:18 a.m.

The original owner had an AEM CAI on it years ago, but he kept losing filters. So he cut out the bottom of the airbox and reinstalled it with a K&N filter. I might reinstall a CAI down the road, but I don't have the cash right now to do any more than just fix E36 M3. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/7/18 11:08 a.m.
JeremyJ said:

The original owner had an AEM CAI on it years ago, but he kept losing filters. So he cut out the bottom of the airbox and reinstalled it with a K&N filter. I might reinstall a CAI down the road, but I don't have the cash right now to do any more than just fix E36 M3. 

Stop calling it a CAI, they usually aren't.  Cone filters dumped on the end of aluminum tubing plopped into a hot engine bay do not a Cold Air Intake make.  Dyno queens love them since they almost always run with the hood open so the hot engine bar air doesn't become a factor.

The stock airbox generally works fine, especially with better access to actual cold air due to the bottom being cut off.  Add some ducting/scoop from the nose/under the car to help force some air up there and you'll likely help things along a bit.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
9/10/18 2:59 p.m.

I know the difference. There is a true CAI available for the car. It puts the filter outside of the engine bay, down behind the driver's side fog light. It's dyno proven to add a few horses, too. 

I got to work fixing the many leaks that this car has. Starting with the transmission, because it was the easiest to fix. It was coming from the end plate. Here's what it looked like when removed:

About a dozen small bolts hold the cover on. Once removed, I scraped all of the old RTV off of both surfaces. I then reapplied some grey RTV and put the cover back on, hand tight. After the RTV dried for an hour, I torqued the cover down. I didn't actually drive the car for a couple of days after that, so I'm pretty sure it's had enough time to fully cure. 

It was topped off with Valvoline ATF+4, which is what the factory recommends. So far, so good. 

 

 

D2W
D2W HalfDork
9/10/18 4:08 p.m.

Is the hood on your silver car in good shape, and if so would you like to sell it. My son hit a deer with his SRT4 and we had to put a regular hood on because the only thing I can find is a carbon fiber one.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ New Reader
9/10/18 5:11 p.m.

The silver car was not an SRT, so it's just a regular hood. 

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