Yes it’s those famous or infamous bushes that every PT Cruiser WILL need replacing. I have seen these bushes fail on cars less than six months old so go out and check yours now. The common failure is commonly at the joint between the rubber and the outer shell of the rear bush and unfortunately this is easy to spot, you don’t even have to jack the car up. Other car manufactures use the same design of bush with the same failure point, but the difference is that the bush is lower in height making it harder for the MOT tester to see. This “how to” covers the replacement of the bushes using polyurethane bushes, but it will be of help to people who are changing the whole arm.
The poly rear bushes consist of three bushes which are used with the original outer shell and the inner sleeve from the failed rubber bush. The top part of the new poly bush is fitted with a “dust cover” which even if the poly bush was to fail would stop the MOT man spotting it (but he should still use a pry bar to test them)
I have fitted both the standard and the poly bushes to a PT wishbone and the poly ones are the easiest to fit. As you do not need a hydraulic press (unless you prefer to change the whole wishbone which is a piece of cake……well I have changed 12 sets!).
You can fit the polys using standard hand tools with the addition of a blow torch or a little petrol, together with a bench vice (required for the front bushes
Front and Rear Polyurethane Bush Fitting Instructions
1. Jack the front of the car up and rest it safety on axle stands with the wishbones hanging free
2. Remove the front wheels
3. Disconnect the anti roll bar from the wishbones (be advised that if the car is over, three years old, these bars may snap when being removed. It maybe better to change these at the same time)
4. Starting at the OFFSIDE, undo and remove the lower ball joint retaining nut and bolt
5. Release the ball joint using a “pickle fork” or a FBH ( F#*king Big Hammer) If you are using a FBH then strike the wishbone in the area of the ball joint with one or two heavy blows, if this doesn’t work (a) try using a large pry bar to push the wishbone down as you land your blows or (b) you are not hitting it hard enough!
6. Undo the top nut of the body to sub-frame reinforcement bar (also known as the pencil strut !?). You do not need to remove this bar complete and as this bolt has been known to seize/snap, just releasing it by a couple of turns is safer. Remove the bottom nut completely and swing the bar out of the way
7. Remove the plastic inner arch (Drive-belt splash shield)
8.Undo and remove the front and rear bolts securing the Engine Torque Arm, but before you do support the engine with a jack, this will aid with refitting and stop the engine moving on its mounts. Inspect the bushes of this arm ( see “Replacing the Lower Torque Arm” if they are worn or damaged )
9. Remove the front wishbone securing bolt ( note. it will be very tight)
10. Now say a little prayer, before undoing the rear wishbone bolt! It has been known for the captive nut which holds this bolt to come loose and spin inside the chassis! . This is not unique to the PT, Ford Mondeo’s are prone to this too. If it does spin, the way to fix it is to drill a 10 or 12mm hole up the side of the captive nut from under the car and using a welder, re-weld the nut back to the sub-frame (the heat from this operation will also help with removing the bolt
11. If all goes well pull or pry out the wishbone
12. Go to the nearside and repeat the above, omitting 6.7. and 8
13.The following instructions are for fitting poly bushes got to if you are fitting new wishbones
14. Move to a safe place away from the car and using a blow torch or a little petrol, set fire to the rubber bushes. Keep them burning until the centre sleeve either drops out or you can push it out with a screwdriver (you need to save these). Carry on burning until the remaining rubber can be pushed out of the wisbone.
15. If you are fitting the FRONT ploy bushes as well, now is the time to burn these out also, you don’t need to save any of the parts as the poly bushes are supplied complete, just burn away!
Note: DO NOT BURN THE FRONT BUSHES OUT IF YOU ARE NOT CHANGING THEM !!
16. When cooled clean all traces of rubber from the wishbones and saved centre sleeves (I also repaint the heated areas with hammerite)
17. Follow the instructions that came with the REAR poly bushes and assemble then into the wishbone (I used a large socket with the aid of a FBH to”press” home the inner ring). Don’t forget to use the supplied lube, they will not last long without it
18. Use a vice and the supplied lube to push home the two halves of the FRONT poly bushes before pressing home the centre sleeve if you have chosen to replace them
Note; The lube supplied with poly bushes is horrible and very sticky, but it’s easily removed from your hands using WD40
19. As they say in the manuals refitting is the reverse of this procedure. But follow the tips below;
a. Open up the pocket in the sub-frame where the rear bush fits using a large G-clamp or Mole-grips to bend down the lower lip
b. Fit the rear of the wishbone first and start the bolt before “persuading” the front bush home
c. Grease the wishbone bolts before fitting (you never know you may need to undo then again !) and tighten them up TIGHT with the wishbones at ride height. If you hear a knocking after fitting…..they are not tight enough
I had a set of factory wishbones fitted by a main dealer and I had to go back to have them re-tighten AND they only lasted 10 months!!! After market wishbones or poly bushes are better