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Old 11-15-2002, 07:41 PM
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Post Watts Linkage

Yep, got past my first post/intro & thought I'd ask one thing that's been on my mind a long time. About to run a leaf spring rear & have seen some photos of some with Watts Linkage (?) installed.
Just wondering has anyone here got one installed & how it goes etc?
Good/bad?
Cheers
ripper

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Old 11-15-2002, 09:07 PM
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Watts linkage is an alternative to a panhard bar, but functionally is superior. Drawback is that it takes up a lot of room to accomocate the necessary linkages. Whereas the panhard bar swings in an arc as the rearend moves up and down, moving the body back and forth slightly, the Watts linkage keeps the rear end perfectly centered at all times. Do you know what each of them looks like?
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Old 11-15-2002, 11:44 PM
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hi willys36,
yep seen them up close & personal but never had the luck of driving the vehicle before & after watts linkage so to speak to see the difference in handling...
cheers
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Old 11-16-2002, 10:24 AM
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The average driver will likely never be in a situation to notice the difference (Detriot always uses panhard bars), but all things being equal, the Watts is the better technology.
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Old 11-18-2002, 06:15 PM
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I built and used the watts linkage on a 71 Vega drag car, It functions perfectly, no side to side movement at all. I highly reccomend it if you have the room to install it. I am not sure why you want to use it on a leaf sprung car tho. Its used mostly on coil or bag type suspensions GK
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Old 11-18-2002, 06:56 PM
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old time gasser chassis builders used to put them into gasers, probably because they were using worn out old buggy springs and the Watts took the slop out.
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Old 11-18-2002, 07:43 PM
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Well it would surely do the job for them. I don't think there's a better setup, but thats just my opinion. Guess i'm kinda partial...GK
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Old 01-15-2005, 12:20 PM
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Rear leaf spings themselves locate the axle pretty positively. I've been thinking of a simpler solution for a "bare-bones basic" street rod, and I've tentatively arrived at this: weld/fasten a horizontal, rearward projecting solid metal pin, 1" min dia x 1.5 - 2" long, onto the back of the diff housing; this fits into a strong vertical channel, which is welded to a support at the top & reinforced at the bottom by angled braces running up to the outer frame members; no pivots to wear out, simple, and shouldn't weigh too much more than all the normal watts components. An improvement would be a bearing on the locatin pin, instead of metal to metal contact. Any opposing views on this setup?
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:49 PM
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At first blush does't sound too practical. First, any contact of the pin w/ the channel will sound like the rear end of your car is falling off! Second, w/ leaf springs the rear end describes a significant fore and aft arc as the springs compress so the channel will need to be engineered to always capture the pin. Third, the pin will be exposed to high shock bending loads and the attachment point to the differential case will need to be heavily reinforced to avoid fatigue cracks. fourth, lube would be a problem for a plain pin and no bearing they make would stand up to repeated shock pounding it would receive.

Finally, proper etiquette for suspension components is to have them securely captured so they only are free to move in the desired plane of motion, thus the prevalence of links, ball joints heim joints, clevises, bushing/shafts, etc. Rarely is it a good idea to have a suspension component free to move around and suddenly contact a frame member. Unpredictable changes in forces are literally deadly when it comes to suspensions. I'm sure Detroit has considered your idea and if it were a good one they would have used it yesterday if it could save $0.000,000,000,1/car!
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Old 01-15-2005, 05:10 PM
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First, the noise from large motors covers up a lot of sounds, but I don't think there'd be much to cover, as the pin would have a ball end (minimal contact area) & be well greased with Molyslip/similar grease. Secondly, this is intended for a coilover rear axle. Thirdly, I thought that gussets would be a given. Fourthly, again, Molylube. Lastly, I had intended that the side clearance on the ball would be minimal, so that contact would happen immediately upon any lateral movement of the axle, while allowing the axle to move up & down freely, but restricting sideways movement. I guess the only way to see what happens is to build it, which I intend to do.
You place more trust in the common sense of our automobile manufacturers than do I. In the late '60s, at a production plant of one of the "big 3", I saw a suggestion that a process "be automated" turned into a Rube Goldberg affair, with microswitches, electic eyes, air-over-hydaraulic, hydraulic-over-air, hoses and wires everywhere, with screeching and hissing ad finitum, until the total installed cost came to something like $750,000+++. I pointed out to the designer that the whole job could have been accomplished, for about $25,000, by installing small wheels on the hand levers, which could then have been activated by a series of ramps & stops; he slapped his forehead & said "Of course! I forgot about the KISS method!" Long story short, the guy who wrote: I suggest: YOU AUTOMATE THE MERRY-GO-ROUND" received $10,000, when a new 3 bedroom house with single attached garage was selling for about $22,900; the guy who had the idea of wheels, stops and ramps, but who forgot to put the suggestion it the box some 2 years prior (me), got an escorted tour of the final installation!
The moral? 1) ALWAYS submit your idea in its simplest form. 2) Just because something is simple, and the Einstiens of the world haven't done it before, doesn't mean it won't work. SOMEONE has to be first. I do appreciate opposing views, as it often helps clarify descriptions, as it did in this case.
I also apologize for the lengthy answer.
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Old 01-15-2005, 05:25 PM
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Back to Watts vs. Panhard: Some of the oval builders use very short Panhards (or "track rods," as they would call them) mounted at steep angles. I disagree with the philosophy involved, but that's beside the point. The point is, if you avoid this unusual arrangement and use a Panhard of reasonable length and mount it horizontal, there isn't a driver in the world who could detect the difference in lateral movement, during even the most "rigorous" driving, between that setup and a Watts. With a 30 inch bar, you're talking less than a quarter of an inch!

As for a simple performance rear suspension, I don't know how you could beat quarter elliptics, mounted solid front AND back with a single upper link forcing the quarter elliptics into the secondary (S-shaped) bending mode.
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by edwardskakie
Rear leaf spings themselves locate the axle pretty positively. I've been thinking of a simpler solution for a "bare-bones basic" street rod, and I've tentatively arrived at this: weld/fasten a horizontal, rearward projecting solid metal pin, 1" min dia x 1.5 - 2" long, onto the back of the diff housing; this fits into a strong vertical channel, which is welded to a support at the top & reinforced at the bottom by angled braces running up to the outer frame members; no pivots to wear out, simple, and shouldn't weigh too much more than all the normal watts components. An improvement would be a bearing on the locatin pin, instead of metal to metal contact. Any opposing views on this setup?
A similar locator is used on some street rod front axles with a cross spring, and works good. It will also work in the rear with a cross spring, or with coil over shocks, but is not a good idea with parallel leaf springs.

When a vehicle goes over a bump on the street, it seldom affects both wheels the same. As one wheel or the other moves up and down, with parallel leaf springs, the axle moves side to side slightly from center, which is normal, and not a problem unless you are driving as the very edge of control as in racing.If you use a center locator pin, this will force the axle to move only straight up and down, which will force both springs to bend sideways, a very hard thing to do. This will bind the suspension, making it very erratic, and the bind will most times be released by the wheels losing traction with the pavement, a bad thing.

For this reason, a Watts linkage, a Panhard bar, or any other side locator is not a good idea on the street, with a parallel leaf rear suspension, unless the rear springs are floated, so all they do is carry the car's weight, with other links to control wrap up and side to side movement. And if you are going to that much trouble, coil springs are lighter, and more compact, with lower unsprung weight.

As far as making a center locator, on the slotted guide on the frame, use a UHMW plastic block, with a slot milled in it for the pin, and it will be self lubricating, without having grease there to catch dirt.
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Back to Watts vs. Panhard: Some of the oval builders use very short Panhards (or "track rods," as they would call them) mounted at steep angles. I disagree with the philosophy involved, but that's beside the point.
I also like loner panhard rods on longer tracks but the short and angles steer the rear a bit and transfer weight a bit on short tracks. Tested with a lot and you can feel it in the seat of your pants...NOT FOR THE STREET. Also not for leaf springs,, It will bind at some point (no matter how long a rod it still goes in and arc) Plus no gain just extra tubing and in the way of things like exh.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:16 AM
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If you want the ultamate in techno geek complicated suspension, check out a Mumford Link. With this one you can place your roll center just about at any height. Not a big deal until you get into the twisty stuff.

Joshua
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by L7Man
If you want the ultamate in techno geek complicated suspension, check out a Mumford Link. With this one you can place your roll center just about at any height. Not a big deal until you get into the twisty stuff.

Joshua
Being away from autostuff for years and years, I'd forgotten all about the Mumford Link, so thanks for the posting. It's interesting because it also functions, somewhat, as an anti-roll bar. I think the ultimate in techno geek would probably be the Formula 1 front suspension that somehow quasi-adjusted frt susp geometry in relation to body lean; if I understood it correctly, it used some sort of frame in frame design.
Going back to Panhard rods, one of the objections was that it accentuated body roll, but if one were oval racing, I suppose changing the attachment points would help counteract this effect, would it not?
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