Originally posted by Huskinhano
I've been reading a book on suspensions. IMO, you should REALLY understand the function of either before going foward. On a WATTS linkage, you should find the role center of the rear axle and have pivot point of the WATTS match. A Panhard bar also has it's unique characteristics. For instance when the body rolls in a turn the Panhard bar exerts a lateral force on the body. Depending on which side it's mounted to the body, it'll either plant or lift that side of the axle. In some situations, it can actually lift the wheel you really need the weight on.
Whith a Panhard bar you need to be mindful of front spring bushings. you need to have compliancy or things will bind.
I agree that hotrodders should have an understanding of suspension function, but there are books and there are books. Just because someone has taken a lot of pictures of the undersides of cars and published a book doesn't mean the book is of any value.
But, good books aren't cheap! Why not buy the book that many automotive engineers had to buy as they went to school? Race Car Vehicle Dynamics
, by William and Douglas Milliken, is used as a textbook in many engineering colleges around the world. It's published by the SAE and is available through the SAE or from amazon.com. It's a bit cheaper through amazon, but, in either case, you won't have much change left from a century note. It's not something you can read as you watch "Gilligan's Island," but the value is proportional to the effort you expend.
Your comments on the Panhard reflect the thinking of some oval racers (mentioned in an earlier post). It's the vertical force component (when the bar is mounted at an angle), however, which provides the loading and...and this is the important part...it only affects loading as the car sets up for the corner (while the chassis is being accelerated either up or down). In other words, once the car is settled into the corner, it doesn't matter where and how the Panhard is located (so long as the roll center height is not affected). Personally, I believe there are better ways to achieve the same oval track performance, but they don't involve the Panhard bar, which is the subject here.
So, again, if the Panhard is as long as possible and mounted horizontal, you don't need to worry about the complications of a Watts linkage.