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Dodge 2.0 4 cyl Engine

The engine in my 2002 Neon has “spun a rod” in the number 2 cylinder and I was told and would need a new engine. A guy a work who claims to know cars says it’s a rocker bearing in the bottom of the engine and I should find someone to drop the oil pan and replace that bearing.

When I mentioned that to my brother in law who used to work a Jeep dealership he just laughed and said it didn’t work that way on these engines. That it might sound like it was coming from the bottom, but could involve a the piston and/or camshaft and that it would be a waste of time.

What do you guys think?

Can you give us a little more information? Does the car run? Spinning a rod (or bearing) usually means the bearing has moved and blocked the oil port, resulting in extensive engine damage. Are you talking about something other that this?

Yes it runs, it starts right up, there is a loud knocking sound that goes away pretty quickly and is replaced by a much quieiter knocking sound. it cruises along fine on the highway until you hit a grade that puts the engine under load, then it starts to lose power and feels like it’s missing. If you unplug the #2 spark plug the sound goes away completely, but of course the car runs roughly with not a lot of power.

It sounds to me like you may have spun a rod bearing. Pulling the plug wire removes the shock wave and allows the noise to quiet down. Unfortunately, repairing this involves (as an absoute minimum) removal of the head, removing the oil pan, unbolting the connecting rod cap, pulling the piston and rod, honing the cylinder, replacement of the rod bearings, and putting it all back together with new rings. That’s IF inspection and micrometer checking of the portion of the crank that the rod connects to discloses that it’s still servicable. In essence, a partial engine rebuild.

This will not be cheap. And you’ll still end up with a patched-together engine. And, since the cause of the bearing problem is probably loss of lubrication, only the good Lord knows what the other bearing surfaces look like. In short, you may be doing it again in six months.

I personally think your best bet is to look for a low mileage used engine from a boneyard. Or, if the rest of the vehicle is in excellent shape, consider a rebuilt long block. A short block would be cheaper, but your head has probably seen better days too.


Usually when a rod or crank bearing spins, the rod or crank saddle has to be replaced or machined. When the shell of the bearing turns in the rod big end it will heat up the rod as well as wear in the big end. If a new set of bearings are placed in the old rod, it is highly likely the bearing will spin again. Also as mentioned the rod bearing journal will have to be inspected. If there is significant damage to the journal, the crank will have to taken out for a regrind and fitting of under size bearings.

A used engine is probably the best alternative unless you want to do all the work of a lower end overhaul.

Excellent points, Researcher. Would you concur that it sounds like a spun bearing?

Thanks for info guys. Kinda what I thought. I was sort of hoping there was something cheap that would let me keep this car as a second “around town” car. I had the timing belt and water pump done and the transmission serviced in November and hated to lose that money. The body is still in great shape, it just seems a shame. Time to let it go I guess, I can’t see putting alot of money into a 6 year old Neon.

The motor is toast . . . too expensive to fix properly. Even if it only ran for a few minutes (and you said you are running it regularly), you are beating the crap out of either the crankshaft or the rod . . . or something . . . and this at the very minimum must be removed and either replaced or machined. I’d look around salvage yards for a used engine and swap it in. There should be a lot of them available . . . go for same year/same everything . . . my neighbor did a Neon engine swap in a weekend (I helped a little, not a bad job). I’ll ask him what he paid for it . . . year and size and stuff, if you like. Rocketman