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Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

 
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Old 15 Apr 2010, 09:51 am
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Default Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

I had a loud clunk sound coming from the rear end of my 02 LE woody I just bought. I found the Watts link was bad. Its located attached with a bolt to the center of the rear axle it has 2 arms that attach to it that run to the rear tires. The ends of the arms that attach to the link have what looks like tie rod ends. To inspect it to see if it's bad crawl under the back end and locate the Watts link have someone or yourself rock the PT side to side, if the bearing on the link is bad you will see it wobble some and make a clunking noise. Before replacing it check to make sure it's not just loose.
The tools I used were 18 mm and 22mm wrench. 5 mm allen wrench. 22mm deep well socket and tie rod end removable tool, a propane torch and of course a big hammer..lol


I started spraying a few days before, the nuts I need to remove with PB Blaster this helped. I jacked the PT up and put in jack stands first. Next used the 22mm deep socket or wrench on the nut you can see on the top on the axle the bolt head on the other side it takes a 18 mm wrench. I loosened the nut until it was almost off. I used the torch to heat up the nut to help it come off that helped alot. I left the main bolt in still because it helps for leverage to get the other nuts off the ball ends. The top ball end has a plastic cover over that that needs to be removed to get to the nut. This takes an 18mm wrench or socket to remove the nut it's a nylon lock nut. The bottom one has the nut on the side as the axle so I used the 18mm wrench to take that one off. If the nut seems to spin and not loosen up there is a 5 mm allen head on the end of the bolt on the same side as the nut to hold it from spinning. That shouldn't be a problem taking off because it's wedge into the link, but remember that when your reattaching the ball end back on. You just have to slide the link back towards the front of the PT to get at it. Leaving the main bolt in helps to secure the link in place to wrench the nut off you might have to loosen the main nut to the end so you can get the wrench on. After the nuts are off the ball ends I used the tie rod removal tool to get the bolt out of the linkage. This was a struggle cause ther is not enough room to get a good swing at the tool to pop off the ball end from the link. Either the tire seemed in the way or the jack stand seemed to get in the way of getting a good swing. After it's all apart loosen the nut the rest of the way and remove the main bolt and the watts link.

There is a certain way that the Watts link has to go back on make sure the link gets put on right. There is a mark on the side that says top and back this you can read from the back of the PT when your look at it. The top and bottom holes have a cone shape to them to fit on the ball ends so make sure its on the right way. From there its just a matter of screwing the nuts and bolts back together. Remember when putting the nuts back on the ball ends the bolt will spin, Use the 5mm allen on the end (same side as the nut) to hold the bolt while tightening in on. You can also use if for some reason the allen is stripped a pair of channel locks or vice grips to squeeze the ball end to the link so you can tighten it up. Don't forget to put the plastic cover back on the nut on the top I think thats so incase of rear impact the nut doesn't rupture the gas tank. It took me under 2 hours after screwing around while I was doing it. Now the clunking sound is gone... I hope this helps anybody out there who has this problem.
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Last edited by twress; 15 Apr 2010 at 10:33 pm.
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Old 15 Apr 2010, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

A good write up twess, this could be a "sticky" for someone who need to replace those parts.
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Old 15 Apr 2010, 01:19 pm
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

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Originally Posted by Hooligan View Post
A good write up twess, this could be a "sticky" for someone who need to replace those parts.
Thanks Hooligan, I have a few pictures but they wouldn't load from work I'll put them on tonight.
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Last edited by twress; 15 Apr 2010 at 01:36 pm.
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Old 21 Jun 2010, 03:56 pm
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

hi, awesome post indeed! the only bettter way woudve been a walktrough video lol...but i wa wodnering can you do it with out the tie rod end removal tool? Extremly expansive around here.....thanks a lot!
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Old 02 Sep 2010, 08:55 am
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

I just did the Bellcrank replacement on my 2001 PT LE with 125K, I think it was overdue. I tried to use a hammer to get the tie rod ends off, I loosend the nut to the ends of the thread and started banging on it but I started getting dents in the nut so I borrowed a puller tool from a friend. They popped off pretty easy with the puller tool. Once I got the tie rod ends off the job was pretty simple. I got the Bellcrank from my local NAPA, they had it in stock, it even included instructions.
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Last edited by ovityons; 02 Sep 2010 at 08:57 am. Reason: was missing something
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Old 04 Sep 2010, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

I attempted to replace the bell crank today on my '05 PT (107k miles)

The nuts came off easy enough after soaking them with Liquid Wrench. Except, I couldn't get the links off the bell crank. ARRRRRGH! I was under the car banging for hours (off and on). They just don't budge. Now the bigger issue... One of the seal boots is now torn. If I choose to "take another whack" at it tomorrow, and make some progress, can I replace these rubber boots without buying new stabalizer bars?

Suggestions?
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Old 05 Sep 2010, 12:31 am
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

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Originally Posted by NIL8r View Post
I attempted to replace the bell crank today on my '05 PT (107k miles)

The nuts came off easy enough after soaking them with Liquid Wrench. Except, I couldn't get the links off the bell crank. ARRRRRGH! I was under the car banging for hours (off and on). They just don't budge. Now the bigger issue... One of the seal boots is now torn. If I choose to "take another whack" at it tomorrow, and make some progress, can I replace these rubber boots without buying new stabalizer bars?

Suggestions?
I don't think the boot is replaceable, you might be able to replace just the tie rod end part. The puller I borrowed was called a small 2 jaw puller. I was surprised at how easily it popped off especially since banging with the hammer didn't seem to do anything.

Good luck with getting it apart.
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Old 05 Sep 2010, 09:08 am
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by ovityons View Post
I don't think the boot is replaceable, you might be able to replace just the tie rod end part. The puller I borrowed was called a small 2 jaw puller. I was surprised at how easily it popped off especially since banging with the hammer didn't seem to do anything.

Good luck with getting it apart.
when i didt it, i used a small puller like this one.... http://www.dialmfg.com/HighDefPictur...02006%20HD.JPG went super great!! it was so easy to change!! Compared to installing the bloww off palte loll
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Old 05 Sep 2010, 03:18 pm
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

superpug666, That's a three jaw bearing puller. I also thought about trying that later last night. But now that I've damaged the boot, I guess the whole control arms have to come off anyhow. Having them off the car may make it easier to remove the bell crank anyhow. Another day...
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Old 10 Oct 2010, 09:39 am
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Default Re: Watts-Link or Bellcrank Replacement

Are the bushing where the watts links connect to the watts/bell crank replacable? If so a link for ordering a crank and bushings for both ends of the links would be helpful.
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