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'01 Front End (Rebuild?)

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 28 Jul 2011, 05:16 pm
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Default '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

Anyone have any input on the expected lifespan of front end parts on a PT?

I've got two noises I have yet to ID - one is a creak that appears while turning and the suspension is loading or unloading, such as going out of a driveway or doing crazy Dukes of Hazzard jumps. It sounds like it's coming from the driver's side, but it's hard to tell since it's a brief, inconsistent noise. The second is a thrumming sound while in motion that also seems like it's coming from the left side. It's louder when the left side is loaded, but also audible when it's very much unloaded. It's not something you'd notice around town, but when hustling it around freeway interchanges and offramps it's fairly apparent.

I don't think one thing up front would cause both noises, but what do I know? I'm leaning towards a wheel bearing and a ball joint. But, 130,000 miles seems pretty young for either or both to fail. The wheel doesn't wiggle when it's off the ground, and none of the bushings look damaged nor the ball joints leaking. So, I have no idea, open to suggestions!
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Old 28 Jul 2011, 06:56 pm
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

130,000 for a PT isn't young on the PT's front end, especially the bushings. Check them out, they are all over the front end and yours probably need replacing. I think they were made from spare/used car tires that were laying around the Mexican highways.

Ha, your probably laughing and I'm dead serious.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 28 Jul 2011 at 06:59 pm.
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Old 28 Jul 2011, 08:02 pm
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

I would go with a full Energy Suspension kit: Energy Suspension 5.18108 HyperFlex Master Kit Chrysler PT Cruiser

Along with Moog ball joints and tie rods, both inner and outer...

Have you replaced the shocks and struts yet? Might be bad strut mounts...
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Old 28 Jul 2011, 08:59 pm
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

Sounds like lower control arm bushing's are bad , just did mine .at 85.000 miles
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Old 29 Jul 2011, 12:00 am
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcktpwrd View Post
I would go with a full Energy Suspension kit: Energy Suspension 5.18108 HyperFlex Master Kit Chrysler PT Cruiser

Along with Moog ball joints and tie rods, both inner and outer...

Have you replaced the shocks and struts yet? Might be bad strut mounts...
Energy is more than this car is ever going to get. I have a fantastic mess of other cars that get the hi-po stuff, all I want from the PT is some quality commuting action and room to take the dog or lot of supplies. I have systematically ruined the ride on virtually every car I own save the '67 Fleetwood, and I don't want o add the PT to the list.

I have not replace the shocks & struts, and I seriously hope I don't have to. Sounds to me like you think 130k is about time to do that, though, yeah?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LNBNDN View Post
Sounds like lower control arm bushing's are bad , just did mine .at 85.000 miles
Well, after tonight I can at least agree to that. I replaced the front swaybars bushings and endlinks and saw quite clearly that the rear bushings on the LCAs are destroyed. The front looks good, the balljoints good, but the rear bushings are a massacre.

I see that several people including Dorman and Moog offer new LCAs with bushings & balljoints for not much more than just the bushings & balljoints, and it saves me from having to press the balljoints in, so I'll probably go that way.

We'll see next weekend or so how that clears up my issue.
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Old 30 Jul 2011, 10:59 am
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LNBNDN View Post
Sounds like lower control arm bushing's are bad , just did mine .at 85.000 miles
Yeah, this would likely cause the creaking when loading/unloading. I started noticing this toward the end of the winter, but it's gone away in the warmer weather. I have new control arms ready to be installed, just need the time to do it.

As for the groaning, I have the same issue now. Thinking drivers wheel bearing.
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Old 30 Jul 2011, 02:40 pm
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

The new swaybar bushings and endlinks cleared up a surprising amount of noise - the creaking is gone, and the thunking over big bumps virtually eliminated. I used a Moog kit for the endlinks, and while the quality of the parts are good, I don't think the endlinks are a great part. It's just a generic endlink kit with a spacer to make the generic bolt fit properly. Functionally it's fine, but even at $10/side I expected more. The Moog bushings are nice though - really nice!

All the swaybar parts were completely destroyed - the endlinks were falling apart and the bushings compressed and cracked. Totally worthless for handling, though great at making noise!

Still going forward with new Moog LCAs next weekend. That should remedy the rest of the suspension noises, leaving only what probably is a wheel bearing or two. They aren't quite bad enough to address yet as it's only noisy when the suspension is pretty heavily loaded, and I've put $1700 into this thing in a month. I'm spent! Literally. Seems like the wheel bearings require some tools I don't own, so when they get really noisy I'll probably just have a pro do it. Or maybe try and source some spindles from a junkyard and try my luck them while actually enjoying the car!
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Old 10 Aug 2011, 11:21 am
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

Thought I would follow up on this...

Last weekend I installed a pair of new Moog LCAs. After a careful cost analysis it seemed like the price difference between new parts for my existing LCAs and entirely new preassembled LCAs was pretty low - about $75 total. Since buying them prefab meant not worrying about pressing in ball joints and such, I went for it. FWIW, Dorman also sells a prefab LCA for quite a bit less than Moog, but I didn't wanna mess around.

Installation took about an hour per side, plus or minus. Driver's side is quite a bit harder since it requires removing the splash shield, a pencil strut and the lower engine torque strut. Passenger side requires no additional disassembly. I have a compressor and impact tools, and that dramatically sped up the work - the rear LCA mount is torqued to 185 lb ft, which is not trivial to undo with basic hand tools even in California with no rust down there.

Installation was more difficult than removal, since the new bushings and ball joints are quite a bit stiffer. I used a jack under the brake rotor to lift the steering knuckle to a point I could slide the LCA into the body and still have room to fit the ball joint into the knuckle. The ball joints came with new pinch bolts but no other hardware. Also, interestingly, the Moog ball joints are have grease fittings, which I find completely odd for fairly inexpensive parts in 2011. Seems like not a feature the average PT Cruiser owner is going to benefit from. My personal concern is that the fitting extends downward from the balljoint and is now, essentially, the lowest point on the car. It seems quite low to the ground - a danger for snagging IMHO. I suppose time will tell if it lasts.

The LCAs that came out were destroyed. The rear bushing was in two pieces, the inner piece easily removed by hand from the outer with the LCA off the car. Not ideal. The new LCAs are like magic. Car goes down the road quietly and clunk-free. Drives quite well now, in fact. Also, the noise I had pinned on the wheel bearings is almost entirely gone. It's still there, but barely audible. I have a feeling wobbly LCAs led to bad front geometry and was putting unexpected stress on the bearings. Hopefully with this repair, I can stave off wheel bearing work for a while!

I've got two things left to do on this car - repair/replace my driver's side back adjustment lever, and retap the oil pan to fix the stripped drain plug threads. Exciting!
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Old 10 Aug 2011, 11:27 am
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

I have heard nothing but bad stuff about any replacement control arms, mainly the ball joints being crap, except for the Moog ones. Glad you went with them and that the car is driving better than ever! I think the Moog parts are light years better then the factory stuff...

When I changed out the inner and outer tie rods on mine with Moog parts the difference in quality was quite obvious! I still have to do the ball joints, I have them in the garage just need to find time to change them...

I have seen that some of the ball joints have a fitting with either a 45* or 90* bend to make them a bit shorter.
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Old 10 Aug 2011, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: '01 Front End (Rebuild?)

I'm glad too you went with Moog...never had a problem with them.
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