How to Replace the Watts Linkage Bushing on a PT Cruiser

Written by william zane
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The Chrysler PT Cruiser is a retro styled car based on a minivan platform. To help stabilise the rear end and provide better handling, the PT uses a Watts linkage on the rear suspension. While this is a good addition, it's also a common problem area on PTs. When the bushings in the centre bracket wear out, the rear end makes unsettling clunking noises when the car is driven over bumps. When replacing this part, the bracket as well as the bushings are replaced with new parts.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Floor jack
  • 2 jack stands or ramps
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Penetrating lubricant
  • Tie rod puller or pickle fork
  • Allen wrenches or vice grips

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Lift the rear of the PT with the floor jack and lower it onto a jack stand under either side. Alternatively, drive the back end of the car up onto ramps to access the Watts linkage.

  2. 2

    Spray penetrating fluid on the three bolts and nuts that hold the linkage in place. The linkage is the upright metal bracket bolted to the centre of the axle. There are two rods, one at the top and one at the bottom, bolted to the bracket on one end and to the chassis at the opposite end.

  3. 3

    Remove the plastic cover on the top nut. Loosen and remove the nut that holds the top rod to the bracket. Remove the stud on end of the rod by sliding the pickle fork or the tie rod puller between the two. The stud should pop out of the bracket.

  4. 4

    Remove the lower nut that hold the opposite end of the bracket to the other rod in the same manner.

  5. 5

    Remove the large centre bolt that holds the bracket to the axle. Withdraw the bracket from the vehicle.

  6. 6

    Install the new bracket, which will have new bushings already pressed in. Thread in the centre bolt that holds the bracket to the axle. Do not fully tighten it yet.

  7. 7

    Slide the stud for the top rod through the new bracket. Thread on the nut. The shaft of the stud will turn when you attempt to tighten it. Place an Allen wrench in the hole in the end of the stud and use an open ended wrench to tighten the nut. You can also use vice grips to squeeze the stud and bracket together while you tighten the nut.

  8. 8

    Install the lower nut in the same manner. Tighten the centre bolt. Reinstall the plastic cover on the top nut. Lower the car off the jack stands or the floor ramps.

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