noddaz SuperDork
Nov. 2, 2016 9:31 p.m.

So I have acquired a free, abused 1998 Eclipse that has a manual trans and a 420A engine with a blown head gasket. It has been sitting in my driveway for about a month now. Runs, but spits up brown sludge and foam from the coolant fill. The question... Running on all 4 cylinders, is this still a boat anchor, or is it the start of a Challenge car? I guess I should tear down the engine and find out if it can be saved. So I guess I need to make a list. 1)Tear down engine and inspect cylinders. 2)Lose weight (from the car) C) Keep a better list than this. Ok, so if this works out I will start a build thread. Might take some time to get to that point. But in the meantime, are there any Challenge priced upgrades that can be done to this car and engine? Or since the car also has a bad clutch master cylinder, should I just forget about the whole thing? Inquiring minds want to know.

former520 Reader
Nov. 2, 2016 9:57 p.m.

It is basically a Neon motor and transmission combo in those. Not sure what the weight difference is between the 2 cars, but drive train wise it is a Neon for reference.

noddaz SuperDork
Nov. 2, 2016 10:07 p.m.

Wiki says the car weighs 2723 pounds. Moved by 140 hp.

Stefan MegaDork
Nov. 2, 2016 10:19 p.m.

yup. SRT4 take offs and some ECU tweaking and you should be puking headgaskets with the big boys!

drdisque HalfDork
Nov. 2, 2016 11:03 p.m.

considering it was free, how crunchy is it underneath? You don't want to start a challenge build on a complete rustbucket unless you're willing to do a lot of rust repair yourself.

Chadeux HalfDork
Nov. 2, 2016 11:07 p.m.

I think the only difference between this and a Neon motor is that the head is mirrored on the Eclipse. Intake and exhaust are on the opposite sides between the 2 engines.

Vigo PowerDork
Nov. 3, 2016 8:03 a.m.

NA performance potential is pretty limited unless you're willing to go with BIG cams and rpm. People have cracked 13s in the 1/4 on NA builds but were revving close to 9k in stripped out cars. Turbo potential is similar to a neon or SRT given the same bottom end parts. Weight is similar to an SRT-4 so while it's a big disadvantage vs a 1g neon while NA, it's nearly meaningless once you start making 350+lb ft on a turbo build. Because the cylinder head is reversed from the neons, they cant use the same turbo manifolds, but 420a specific manifolds are available and all the old neon tuning/pcm solutions work the same on the eclipse.

Transmission is a t350 from a neon with the exception that i believe the case is different to accomodate a hydraulic clutch system, but it will take the same $400 helical diff and hold the same large amount of power.

Duke MegaDork
Nov. 3, 2016 9:10 a.m.
Chadeux wrote: I think the only difference between this and a Neon motor is that the head is mirrored on the Eclipse. Intake and exhaust are on the opposite sides between the 2 engines.

Yeah, the head is reversed on the Mistersquishy version.

RexSeven UberDork
Nov. 3, 2016 1:22 p.m.

The 420A engine was also used in the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring, so if you need a 420A-specific part look for those guys in the scrapyard if you can't find an Eclipse/Talon.

Vigo PowerDork
Nov. 6, 2016 11:57 a.m.

I dont know if i made this clear enough through inference but you can easily swap a 2.4 bottom end under a 420A car, including a factory turbo bottom end if that's what you want.

moparman76_69 UltraDork
Nov. 6, 2016 12:48 p.m.

The engine in my van is a 2.4 stratus block, srt pistons/rods, and a 420A head with an ebay manifold and a holset. The combo is supposedly good for 400 at the crank with high boost. It's definitely doable on a challenge budget if you source the pistons/rods cheap.

noddaz SuperDork
Nov. 6, 2016 6:15 p.m.

Interesting. Thank you all.

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