This page was last updated: March 10, 2010

Replacing The Watts Link In A PT Cruiser

Like every car, PT Cruisers have a few well-known trouble spots. Sway bar bushings, front wheel bearings, and the watts link in the rear suspension.

The Watts link is mounted to the rear axle. The bearing goes to hell, and the link produces a loud, annoying clunk when you go over bumps. Best way to check this: have someone rock the car from side to side while you look at the Watts link on the rear axle. The free play will be noticeable.

I looked around on the Internet for the part, and you can get a Dorman aftermarket part, or a Mopar part. Unfortunately, NOBODY had them in stock when I was looking. Nobody except the biggest Chrysler dealer in the area. So, I ended up with the Mopar part. I don't know how quality compares, but the factory part was obviously not that great to start with!

To do the job, you'll need jack stands, some metric wrenches, and either a "pickle fork" or a tie rod remover.

Here's the rear axle viewed from the rear. Soak that nut - a little heat doesn't hurt either.

I removed the nut from the upper link, but I couldn't get the fork up there to break the joint.

I removed the center bolt. That bolt is pretty tight, and the rust doesn't help. Be advised. Once they were apart, and cleaned up, they're more cooperative. Then I could move the whole works down to get access to the nut on the lower joint.

Once the lower joint was apart, I flipped the Watts link over so I could get the fork on the upper joint.

Factory original and Mopar replacement.

The new link is a piece of cake to install.

The tie rod ends use a locknut, so it will just spin the tie rod stud rather than tighten up. There is a hex in the end of the stud for an allen wrench. Good luck with that. I used a vice grips and put just enough squeeze on the joint to wedge the stud in the whole and keep it from spinning.


Don't forget that dopey plastic cover, which I presume is there to keep the joint from piercing the gas tank if you get rear-ended.