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Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

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Old 29 Nov 2010, 09:42 pm
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Unhappy Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...


I own a 2002 PT Cruiser, 98,xxx miles. I just replaced the rear shocks and the front struts because I noticed that it rode a little too 'bumpy'. After all of these repairs, the car STILL rides too hard... in addition, I'm noticing that when I turn my steering wheel counterclockwise, I hear a 'click click click' sound. This did not occur until after I had my struts done.

I had the struts and shocks done in hopes of it enabling my car to ride more smoothly, and nothing's really changed. I keep on throwing money into this car for 'maintenance' issues, and honestly my old, beat up, malfunctioning '95 Monte Carlo POS didn't cost me half the money this 2002 is costing me.

I'm getting really frustrated and I can't figure out what else I'd need to replace as far as the front end goes in order to not have my car feel like it's going to fall apart every time I hit a wrinkle in the road.

Also unsure of how the turning noise could be related to the new struts.

The car just passed inspection and I was told that every thing on the front end was tight; I also had the car up on a lift from a really good mechanic that I trust, and he stated to me that he couldn't find anything and suggested that I replace the struts, which I have now done... which didn't seem to help the problem.

I would get rid of this car tomorrow but I'll need it for another eight months apparently, so looks like I've got a bumpy ride ahead of me :/

Please give me advice, or offers on a 2002 PT Cruiser with new EVERYTHING lol
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Old 29 Nov 2010, 11:07 pm
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

Without me reading through all your other posts, did you buy your car used? My guess is that the first owner lowered the PT by putting lowering springs on it. Once you do that, no mater what struts and shocks you use, it will always ride harder than the normal PT.

The clicking sound usually comes from the clock spring inside the steering wheel. Not sure why it started after the change in struts so it could be something else besides the clock spring. I'd have someone check the left wheel when it's up on a lift. Spin the wheel and see if it's hitting something to make it click.
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Old 29 Nov 2010, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

I did buy it used... I don't know if the person put lowering springs on it or what, all I know is that when I first got it, it rode a LOT smoother than it does now... and I've put new struts on the front and shocks on the rear... I can't begin to understand why it's riding so rough.

The person that put my struts on claims that the noise may be coming from this rubber piece on the strut that's doing something (?) and that it should calm down when I put some more miles on it.

Still making me angry that the car rides as hard as it does. I'm not putting another dime into it; I'll get a bike... I just don't understand HOW the suspension is this bad.
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Old 30 Nov 2010, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

I'm wondering how long it's going to take to break these in (if the newness of the struts is the problem)... I'm having to go on a roadtrip in a few days; wanted to load my car down with bricks to break the struts in haha...
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Old 30 Nov 2010, 12:35 am
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

Do you have a picture of your PT that you could post? That would help us figure out if there are aftermarket springs on it.
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Old 30 Nov 2010, 07:58 am
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Smile Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

Hey their thinkinboutit,

Sorry to hear your having so much trouble with your ride. I agree with 808, do you by chance have a picture you could post so we could try to get a better feel for what might be happening hopefully? There are only a handful of things that could potentially have that much of an impact on your ride quality.

First off, are your coil springs a different color other than black, and are the coils wound close together, or spread apart? Here are a set of my custom drop springs next to OEM stock ones to give you an idea of what the OEM's look like.



Drop Springs will have an effect on the ride quality due to compressing the amount of suspension travel from stock specs. The lower you go, the less ride quality you will have as a whole. Most Aftermarket Coils are progressively wound to try to better absorber impact, and help soften the stiffer ride, but you can only do so much to compensate for the less travel.

Next would be the Struts. You mentioned that you had replaced your struts already. Do you by chance know what the replacement strut are? Are they OEM Factory Replacements, or possible the much better Tokiko Blue Struts which are blue in color, and are the much preferred replacement struts available for the PT? The Tokiko Blues as they are called should give a better ride quality over the stock suspension, and especially if you have been having issues with ride quality, those would have been the preffered choice for replacement.

And then their are the tires. Do you by chance have aftermarket wheels, and if so what size? Do they have skinnier performance tires with shorter side walls? The side walls of a tire have a direct impact on the ride quality of a vehicle. The shorter the side wall, the worse the ride will be, and the bumpier it will feel. The more side wall you have, the more cushion, the better the ride quality. So for example if you have a 17" - 18" wheel, your ride quality will not be as soft and smooth as a 15" wheel with a much larger tire side wall to help cushion the ride better. A cheap tire could also have some play in ride quality as well.

And out of curiosity, are you sure its the suspension that is the primary cause of your rough ride? Could it possibly be something else causing a potential vibration that might be mistaken for having an effect on the ride like a wheel out of balance, or something else that might be making it feel like it is riding rough but from an unrelated vibration? I am just thinking out loud here hopefully in an attempt to try to help you better diagnose the problem. Like I say, their are only a few things that could potentially cause that much of a problem so in theory it shouldn't be that hard to figure out.

As previously mentioned, if you could please post a pic of your PT it might help us try to help you figure something out hopefully and then we can try to work from there. No matter what, I will try my best to see if I can help you figure it out if I can.

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Last edited by Candyman; 30 Nov 2010 at 08:00 am.
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Old 01 Apr 2013, 02:33 pm
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

I have a 02 Touring Edition Ive been driving a couple years now. I ran into an 01 Limited Edition for 1400. needed head gasket. so i fixed head gasket and changed water pump and timing belt while i was at it. drove it around a little and it made me realize WOW!!! my 02 drives like a tank. I only bought the 01 to flip so i decided to swap some parts. took the new looking leather and swede interior they were the same interior colors. why not lol. anyways: swapped the struts because i wanted to have the same ride. and it made no difference on either car. looked at the 02 a little better noticed the motor mounts were blown out. check you motor mounts. fixed mine.
Peace good luck
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Old 01 Apr 2013, 03:00 pm
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

The tires can have a huge part in the ride. The higher the psi rating the harder the ride.

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Old 02 Apr 2013, 07:20 am
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
The tires can have a huge part in the ride. The higher the psi rating the harder the ride.
True. And usually, 15" will ride better than 16" and 16" better than 17", because of more sidewall with smaller diameter tires, but then comes the tire compound into the equation...
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Old 02 Apr 2013, 07:30 am
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Default Re: Replaced shocks and struts; PT still rides like a tank...

I don't know about going to 17"'s but when I went to 16" from 15" I noticed no ride difference at all. It rides just as smooth as ever.
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