How to Remove CV Joints in a PT Cruiserby Mike Aguilar
The PT Cruiser melded classic panel van styling with current technology. When the Cruiser was first introduced in 2001, it set the auto world ablaze. Various iterations of the PT Cruiser have included a wagon, the original two-door coupe and a two-door convertible. The PT Cruiser is a front-wheel drive vehicle, which means that the engine is backed by a transaxle that drives a pair of axle half shafts. These half shafts utilize constant velocity joints to allow them to rotate at any angle as you drive the car. When a CV joint fails, replace it or the half shaft.
Block one rear wheel front and back. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel being worked on by turning them counterclockwise with the lug wrench without removing the lug nuts.
Place the jack under the frame behind the front wheel and raise the vehicle until the front wheel clears the ground. Place the jack stand under the frame behind the front wheel and lower the car onto the stand. Remove the front wheel.
Straighten and remove the cotter pins from the axle shaft and from the ball joint nut using the long nose pliers.
Remove the hub nut lock and spring washer from the hub, pulling them straight out by hand. Set these aside for reuse.
Remove the hub nut by turning it counterclockwise using a large socket and ratchet. If equipped with ABS brakes, remove the speed sensor by depressing the locking clip and pulling the connector straight off the sensor. Secure the connector out of the way by wrapping it around the lowest strut coil.
Remove the ball joint retaining nut by turning it counterclockwise with a wrench. Insert the pry bar between the lower control arm and steering knuckle. Pry the control arm down while pushing up on the steering knuckle with the pry bar. Use the wire to support the axle half shaft from the lowest strut coil.
Pull outward on the steering knuckle and hub assembly while pushing inward on the axle shaft until the steering knuckle clears the end of the axle shaft stub.
Remove the axle half shaft from the transaxle. For the passenger side shaft, place the drift punch against the tripod joint, between the joint and the transaxle. Strike the punch sharply with the hammer to remove the joint from the transaxle .For the driver side axle shaft, insert the punch in the groove on the inner tripod joint and strike the punch sharply with the hammer to dislodge the joint from the side gear. This process is facilitated by pulling outward on the axle shaft while striking the punch. Remove the axle shaft from the vehicle.
Insert the tripod joint splined shaft into the transaxle axle opening and align the splines of the axle shaft with the splines of the side gear. Push the axle shaft firmly into the transaxle until properly seated. Test axle shaft snap ring placement by attempting to remove the axle shaft from the transaxle. If the snap ring is properly installed and engaged, you will be able to remove the shaft.
Clean all dirt, debris and moisture from the hub splines of the steering knuckle and hub assembly. Pull the knuckle out far enough to insert the axle stub through the hub opening. To finish installation, reverse Steps 1 through 6. Torque the ball joint nut to 70 foot-pounds. Torque the axle stub nut to 180 foot-pounds and lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds.
- Edmunds.com: PT Cruiser Review
- "Mitchell 1 OnDemand 5; 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Halfshaft Removal and Replacement Procedure; Mitchell Repair Information Company"
- "Chilton Pro; 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Front Drive Axle Removal and Replacement; Chilton Automotive Publications, Inc."
- Although it is possible to rebuild the CV joint yourself, it is more efficient to replace the axle shaft as an assembly.
Things You'll Need
- 2 wheel blocks
- Lug wrench
- Jack stand
- Long nose pliers
- Wrench set
- Socket set
- Pry bar
- 2 foot piece of wire
- Drift punch
- Torque wrench
- Park your PT Cruiser on level ground and firmly set the parking brake prior to beginning this type of work.
Mike Aguilar is a freelance writer with over 30 years of professional experience as a mechanic and over 10 years experience in the construction and home-improvement fields. He also attended an electrical apprenticeship for two years in Santa Clara, Calif., becoming a licensed low-voltage technician.