How Do I Change the Lower Control Arms on a PT Cruiser?

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The PT Cruiser lower control arm holds the steering knuckle in place, along with the stabilizer bar that keeps your vehicle straight as you drive down the road. The control arm is held in place by bushing-to-cross member nuts, two bolts, and a ball joint and retaining bolt and nuts. Replacing it is an involved procedure. Special tools are required for assembling the parts to torque specifications, which vary depending on your car's model and year. With enough preparation and the right tools, you can replace one or both control arms on your PT Cruiser.

Things You'll Need

  • Lug wrench
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wrench set
  • Socket and ratchet set
  • Ball joint fork
  • Torque wrench
  • New control arm
  • Find a level place and jack the vehicle up. Place jack stands under the frame. Take off the front wheel on the side where you are working.

  • Remove the stabilizer link by taking the bolt and nut off the control arm on both

    sides. Take both the stabilizer bar and the retaining bracket from the frame, and remove the stabilizer bar. You will need a socket, ratchet and wrench for this task.

  • Take off the ball joint retaining bolt and nut which hold the ball joint to the steering knuckle. Using a ball fork, remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle.

  • Take off both the front and rear lower control arm bushing-to-cross member nuts and bolts. Remove the lower control arm and lay it aside. You will need a socket, ratchet and wrench to remove the bolts and nuts.

  • Place the new lower control arm into the front suspension cross member. Replace both front mounting bolts and nuts and tighten them finger tight. Install the ball joint stud in the steering knuckle. Take a new pinch bolt and nut and put them in place. Torque the nut to 70 foot-pounds.

  • Torque the rear control arm bolt and nut at the suspension cross member to 185 foot-pounds. Torque the front bolt and nut at the suspension cross member to 125 foot-pounds.

  • Put the stabilizer bar in place, replace both retainer brackets to the frame and tighten all four bolts with a socket and ratchet. Replace both stabilizer links, making sure all the bushings are in place. Tighten with a socket, ratchet and wrench.

  • Replace the wheel and all lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts. Jack up the vehicle, remove the jack stands and lower vehicle. Tighten all lug nuts again and replace the hub cap. Use these same steps to replace the other side's control arm.

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References

  • "Chrysler PT Cruiser 2001 thru 2009"; Robert Maddox; 2010
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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