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Bottom line, this is a Neon. Yah we like to pretend it isn't, but the problem is that this was a farking crazy fast car out of the box, that means the go fast stuff like engine, transmission, suspension, and wheels are all upgraded. But the rest of the car... it's a Neon. Therefore you'll have a lot of the same problems the base Neon has with respect to a cheap economy car that was never built to last longer than 10 or 12 years, if that.

Some of the tell tale areas: (you'll need to get down underneath for these, but it's worth it to avoid a mistake, for that kind of money don't settle for any bad rust)

- From the back side, crawl underneath, lay on your back, and look up under the bumper cover to see the actual rear metal bumper itself. You can't keep that from rusting if you didn't take care of the car, it's a breeding ground for humidity and decay, if salt and snow got up in there.

- Move along the side, look under the car below the doors, there's a seam there that run from the front to the back of the car. It's another area very prone to rusting, and very difficult to hide. If you have some thin gloves like Mechanix, put on a pair and grab the seam and pull on it. Painted rusty metal will still have a lot of give and it will flake like crazy.

- The suspension parts up front were not painted well from the factory, and will likely be loaded with rust if the car was not taken care of. From the lower control arms over to the swaybar to the k-member, really hard to hide that sort of thing. The struts and especially the springs, you can replace the struts but there's not much of a reason to replace the springs, so you can also tell sometimes there.

The car that you are looking at may very well be in amazing shape. I'm in Nebraska, and aside from the very first winter I drove the car back from California, my SRT-4 has never seen snow, and rarely ever sees rain, probably two maybe three times of driving in the rain in the last 10 or 12 years. I replaced my transmission and all of my suspension bushings at the same time and was surprised to see just how much debris and wear were all over the suspension stuff up front.

The 30+ mpg comments are not exactly indicative of what most people see with mixed driving. You are going to likely sit between 21-24 mpg mixed (city/highway). It's hard to stay out of the boost. On long trips, you can see 30, but the higher the speed on the interstate, it will eat into that. 75-80mph won't get you to 30+ mpg.

There are a LOT of knowledgeable SRT4 people in Texas, maybe you can find someone to go with you to give the vehicle a once over.

Good luck with the potential purchase.
 

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RT makes a great point. If you get on 10, just as you hit Houston...4 hours later Modern Performance is located right there. Lotsa knowledgeable Neon guys.

I cant say ive ever seen 30mpg. 16-18mpg yes.. I really wish mopar had put the cruise control code in the stage computers, but it didn't and ive got a heavy foot.

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You can go two routes and still use the factory cruise (if you install it obviously) with the stage computers. There are guys on the forum that can now program stock and stage 1 ECU to run like the 2 and 3. And I think they can also program cruise control into the stage 2 and 3 computers even with toys, but don't quote me on it. We discussed it at one point on a thread, I'll have to search when I have more time.
 
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