BMRFIXIT is right. There are two radios that have a 100 percent failure rate. They are built by Chrysler and have a microprocessor built by North American Philips, (NAP), the same company that builds the really crappy Magnavox and Sylvania tvs and other cheap products. I have the equipment to replace the microprocessor, but then the software needs to be "burned in" so it will function properly for the given application. They will never sell me the equipment to do that.
The two models are # 56038518 for the cassette player, and 56048567 for the cd player. For the cassette player, there is a direct replacement made by Mitsubishi that looks the same, has the same three lighted tone controls, mounts the same, and will run the same remote cd changer. That model number is 4858584. It does have one extra button for "Scan" on the lower right side. That's how they can be quickly identified in photos. Most salvage yards do not inventory their radios by model number; they go by car year and model. To my knowledge, the 4858584 was only used in 1999 Neons, not in any other car models. Not sure about other years. It's a rather expensive radio to find on eBay because used car dealers all over the country are looking for them to put in their trade-in cars.
If you have the cd player, I recommend looking for a cd / cassette combo radio. Almost all of them are built by Mitsubishi and are very high quality. Their supplier number is 28046 and is listed on the model number sticker. There is one Chrysler-built cd player that, of course, is very cheaply made, model # 5064354, but it does seem to work pretty well. All the other cd players without cassette are made by Alpine, supplier number 26777. Stay away from those. Alpine radios have a lot more problems than the Mitsubishi-built radios, and Alpine is the only company that will not allow the authorized repair centers to sell us parts or service manuals. Can't support a company that won't support its customers.
When you look for a replacement radio, there are two different plug styles to look at. The older style, used from the early 1980s through 2002 on a few models, uses two 7-pin connectors, one black and one gray. A few 1999 models, and by 2003, everything uses a single rectangular connector with two rows of pins. Not sure which year the Neons switched over, so you'll have to pull your radio out and look at the connectors. Or you can holler back with the model number that you have.
All of the model numbers I listed are the round-face style that use four mounting screws. There are multiple versions of each radio, and there will be something with the correct plug style available. The two suspect radios have three tone controls with yellow leds in them. The most common problem is the tone control lights flash on and off, and there's a thumping noise in the speakers, but otherwise, the radio is dead. Some radios cut out for five seconds when any control is adjusted; some cut out when only certain controls are adjusted. There are some other models with two non-lighted tone controls that can develop the same problems, but those model numbers do not appear to have the 100 percent failure rate.
It's also very common for these radios' problems to show up right after you get the car back from having other service work done that required disconnecting the battery. The actual problem developed weeks or months ago, but the radio will continue working until it is powered down and back up. (Think of a computer that works fine until you turn it off, then it won't boot up properly). Many mechanics have been wrongly blamed for causing a radio failure, when all they really did was to make an existing problem appear.
There is one other common problem that causes a radio to go dead, and it has a cheap, easy, permanent fix, but it applies to the older square-face radios with and without cassette from the mid 1990s.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 AT 4:47 PM