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watts link bellcrank (again)

 
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Old 24 Mar 2019, 03:27 pm
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Default watts link bellcrank (again)

Been getting an annoying noise coming from the rear the past couple of weeks as the vehicle rear suspension flexes going over uneven pavement. Sounds like a loud creak.

Had an opportunity today to have a helper flex the suspension with myself investigating under the rear of the car. Could detect no visible motion at the watts link bellcrank pivot point but we both could feel and hear the creaking at that point as the suspension was flexed.

So, it looks like the bellcrank is bad (again). This is the third or fourth replacement (lost track) in 82k miles. Just installed a new bellcrank along with both lateral arms last summer... only 6000 miles ago. The some of the roads around here are in poor shape but IMHO 6000 miles is too soon for replacement of this part. Been getting the replacements at the auto parts store. Would the OEM Mopar part be a better way to go ?

btw... replaced the rear shocks also last summer and had to replace them again (last week), the ride improved but it did not cure the noise issue described above

Last edited by Carl48; 24 Mar 2019 at 03:34 pm.
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Old 24 Mar 2019, 05:10 pm
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

Seems unusual for that many in such a short time. Doubtful if Mopar would be any better. I installed the whole set up on my '02 years ago but only 15,000 miles ago and the bell crank had a grease fitting. Make sure the suspension is loaded on jack stands like it would be with rear tires on the ground when you torque everything down.
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Old 24 Mar 2019, 06:04 pm
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

I installed a cheapy bell crank and it failed after only a few thousand too. Those cheap ones are sold by most of the parts stores too as their house brand or whatever are the same junk just a different box.

The replacement I used this time is a Mevotech branded part. It is not expensive either but it is the only one that I have found with a grease fitting on it. This one has been on the car for several thousand kilometers now and is still working normally. Hopefully it stays that way. I have a feeling it will last a while because it is greaseable but time will tell I guess.

Here is the link to the one I bought at RockAuto. It fits 03-06 cars and some early 07:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...412468&jsn=416
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Last edited by myckee; 24 Mar 2019 at 06:06 pm.
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Old 24 Mar 2019, 09:35 pm
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

I use Doorman or HELP (cheap inexpensive bell crank) for many customers. What I have found having changed now at least about 50 or more of these over the last several years the important thing is to replace with the bell crank is the bolt that holds the bell crank. Failure to do this will most likely results in a premature failure of the bell crank.

The whole design of the watts assembly is technically antiquated but very cost "champion" for Chrysler given what the PT Cruiser was original meant for.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 24 Mar 2019 at 09:38 pm.
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Old 25 Mar 2019, 08:44 am
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

Ditto with Nitro!

I installed the DORMAN on mine about 30,000 mile ago.

Side note, lifetime warranty.
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Old 25 Mar 2019, 11:06 am
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

The rear I just pulled for my car has a fairly solid bellcrank, but the link arms are horrifically floppy.
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Old 26 Mar 2019, 11:42 am
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl48 View Post
bellcrank is bad (again). This is the third or fourth replacement (lost track) in 82k miles.
We all should start keeping track of the manufacturer of these crumby parts. Tell us the brand if they fail prematurely. Often price is no indicator.
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Old 26 Mar 2019, 12:35 pm
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

Quote:
Originally Posted by circus View Post
We all should start keeping track of the manufacturer of these crumby parts. Tell us the brand if they fail prematurely. Often price is no indicator.
I experience just the opposite with the MOPAR parts that get put onto my PT.

After the factory warranty expired on my PT, I then bought an extended warranty, which covered an additional 5 years/100,000 miles, for $2300.

During the duration of that warranty, many items were replaced on my PT and I think somewhere around $4900 the warranty ccompany paid out for repairs.

Most shops used genuine MOPAR parts for the covered repairs.

One shop ripped off the warranty company and billed them to put on OEM parts, but then they substituted after-market (cheaper grade) parts.

Those parts failed and rather than deal with that rip-off shop again, I had MOPAR parts reinstalled.

The second round of MOPAR parts has held up much better than the original MOPAR parts that my vehicle was built with. Whenever possible, I get MOPAR parts for my PT.

With shopping online, many times I can find the MOPAR parts at very reasonable prices.
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Old 26 Mar 2019, 04:03 pm
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

I know this is always going to be a debate about the quality of OE parts vs aftermarket...but I will try to input none confrontational comments.

To preface, the shop I work at to manage occasionally, looking at the records I could find about bell crank replacements for PT Cruisers in the last 3 years was 7. NONE were MOPAR NONE have return because of premature failure. They were all aftermarket bell cranks mostly Dorman. ALL had the bell crank bolt replaced and a couple also had the arms replaced also were NOT OEM MOPAR. What does this mean....nothing really except a shop that has 5 star reputation no BAR complaints and none of those PT Cruiser customers return because of those watts link parts failing...YET!

As for another comment about listing parts that work... wellllll!


Anyone in the aftermarket or even the auto manufactures parts end of the industry I am sure would support my response below.


It would be an impossible task.

First IMO by observing and participating on dozens of car forum like this one, the DIY is not always experienced enough in many cases to do the best installation or servicing of any particular parts. This can effect the service life of any part and what could cause premature failure which seems always blamed on the quality of the part?

Any given part can have a single part number assigned to it and manufactured in several different countries and different times and all using what ever is available for the latest materials or latest specifications all of which changes more often that a human or the Pentagon computer system could possibly keep track of for any real unsaleable data on the service life or quality of the part.

There is the members on forums like this that have only very limited part experience of which there are several manufacture choices available for the same part.

The common sence that there is the limited experience with a single part that has multiple available option of manufactured pick from and no one really buys all the choices and tries them out!
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Old 27 Mar 2019, 08:39 am
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Default Re: watts link bellcrank (again)

The Mevotech brand I mentioned before, the only one with a grease fitting, that I have come across, also has a lifetime warranty. That factored in my decision to try it.

As far as whether a new bolt is used or not and, I fail to see the correlation between a bell crank which passes or fails because of the bolt. If the bolt is in good condition and is installed and torqued per Chrysler specs, then the bolt is not going to play any part in the bell crank's life or death.

That is not to say a new bolt isn't a good investment, since a lot of load is applied to that bolt, but I have never replaced it on any of my PTs. I have a high risk tolerance I guess.
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