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Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 01-17-2009
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Watts Link?

I've been looking around, trying to learn about different suspension setups. Has anyone used a Watts link in an SAS, or to locate their rear axle? I see a lot of people use a Panhard set-up for simplicities sake, and from what I've learned, a Watts is similar, just more moving parts. What is the advantage/disadvantage of this system?
Right now I am just doing research, but down the road, there will be an SAS. I am starting to collect the parts now, I have a D44/explorer rear sitting in my shed. I just need the money to go further. I am probably going to just run leafs front/rear for simplicities sake, and I've seen them flex pretty well if setup right. I am not going over 39's, probably 37's to 38's. The only thing that is going to be a challenge, is getting the time/space/tools to do the work lol.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Ive not heard of many people using them for Offroad use. I know they are a great setup for street and track.
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Old 01-17-2009
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not many vehicles use them. i'm fairly sure that newer durangos use a watts linkage to locate the rear axle.

i think that you have in fact stated it's biggest down fall, it's complexity compared to a panhard bar makes the pahard bar more appealing.
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Old 01-17-2009
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if you have leaves thats all you really need, you can run a panhard bar but there's really no need.
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Old 01-17-2009
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just think of adding this



instead of just a panhard/trac bar setup.
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Old 01-17-2009
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I see, thats a hell of a lot more complex=more things to break on the trail. Why wont I need a panhard? Will the leaves act like one, in terms of it will keep the axle centered?
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Old 01-17-2009
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yes, leaf springs will keep your axle under control, nothing more required.

if you decide to run fairly soft springs, you may experience wheel hop, in which case you will want to look into traction bars, but that's a different story.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Yeah, I plan on running fairly soft springs for max flex, and running something like this guy

[IMG][/IMG]

Will there be any issues running this setup on the front?

Last edited by chainfire; 01-17-2009 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 01-17-2009
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i'm pretty sure stockcars run a setup like that?

what will the longevity and lubrication requirements be on a setup like that?

i don't know how they will stand up to hard articulation.

any particular reason a standard shackle won't do?
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Old 01-17-2009
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Your guess is as good as mine on the longevity portion. I dont think that there will be an issue for lubrication, it looks like a hard plastic, and that with a smooth surface (the metal tracks) I dont think that it should be a problem.

For the articulation, when the leaf gets to the end of its track, it isnt the plastic bit that is the stopper, it is the bolt that will take the brunt of the force.

Well first of all, a standard shackle wont due because, 1) I have never seen it before, 2) It will give me better flex offroad, while on-road, I will keep stock geometry.

It is kind of like this:




But it is something that hasnt really been done very often. I assume, that is fairly durable. The rig that it is on has competed in King of the Hammers, and various other comps. Cool thing is, It was his daily driver for a while.
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Old 01-17-2009
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i would not use that shackle style shown in the last couple pics for a street driven truck. the though of it unloading is scary.
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Old 01-17-2009
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If you keep up on maintenance there should be no reason for them to break. They are exactly like a regular spring hanger, but with an extra hinge. The problem with them, is you HAVE to get the right angle for the shackle. To high and it wont return, to low of an angle, and it defeats the purpose of the extended shackle. From what I have read, they are very finicky.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Your over thinking "flex". if your dead set of leafs, which with you so focused on flex doesnt make much sense, but thats a different coversation, run an ordinary leaf and shackle setup. The front end isnt the place to get fancy with leafs. Revolver shackles tend to unload creating weird handling characteristics, the slot design is better but I still wouldnt run it in the front end.
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Old 01-17-2009
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i've seen panhards on leaf springs, but only on huge mud and show trucks..

i'm thinking about running some with quick disconnects because on the road i can feel the truck kinda floating around making it unstable.. but offroad there's no need.


traction bars are a good thing to look into for the rear axle, mine will be getting one pretty soon.. its a good way to break something, maybe as minor as a u-joint or as major as snapping the yoke off the pumpkin, snapping a shaft, ring gear... nothing good comes from wheel hop and axle wrap.


the watts link is used more on like race cars where people have opted not to go to a 4-link with coils or coil-overs if i'm not mistaken.
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Old 01-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by got-dirty View Post
just think of adding this



instead of just a panhard/trac bar setup.
Just out of curiosity, How is a ' watts link ' going to stop leaf spring wrap?
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Old 01-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99ranger4x4 View Post
i've seen panhards on leaf springs, but only on huge mud and show trucks..

i'm thinking about running some with quick disconnects because on the road i can feel the truck kinda floating around making it unstable.. but offroad there's no need.


traction bars are a good thing to look into for the rear axle, mine will be getting one pretty soon.. its a good way to break something, maybe as minor as a u-joint or as major as snapping the yoke off the pumpkin, snapping a shaft, ring gear... nothing good comes from wheel hop and axle wrap.


the watts link is used more on like race cars where people have opted not to go to a 4-link with coils or coil-overs if i'm not mistaken.
Yes for sure, I plan on getting a set of James Duff ones as it is. Is there any way of eliminating axle wrap in the front? OR is that like a radius arm type setup, in which case I might as well have coils.

The reason I want to do a leaf set-up, is for simplicity. I dont have to worry about link ratios, spring rates(not as much) mounting and cost. That is one of the bigger factors. It is alot cheaper for me to make my own bastard pack of leaf springs from, the junk yard, than to fool around with coils.
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Old 01-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D. View Post
Just out of curiosity, How is a ' watts link ' going to stop leaf spring wrap?
I dont think it does. From my understanding, it locates the axle like a panhard. It corrects it Left to Right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watt%27s_linkage
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Old 01-18-2009
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Originally Posted by chainfire View Post
Yes for sure, I plan on getting a set of James Duff ones as it is. Is there any way of eliminating axle wrap in the front? OR is that like a radius arm type setup, in which case I might as well have coils.

The reason I want to do a leaf set-up, is for simplicity. I dont have to worry about link ratios, spring rates(not as much) mounting and cost. That is one of the bigger factors. It is alot cheaper for me to make my own bastard pack of leaf springs from, the junk yard, than to fool around with coils.
its really not that much easier after having gone through with it.. and look at 2002fx4, he's gonna swap coils in, i'm gonna swap coils in eventually... just get some radius arms..

Quote:
Originally Posted by chainfire View Post
I dont think it does. From my understanding, it locates the axle like a panhard. It corrects it Left to Right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watt%27s_linkage
andddd axle wrap is front to back

its way too complex for a rig, simplicity is your friend by far..
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Old 01-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D. View Post
Just out of curiosity, How is a ' watts link ' going to stop leaf spring wrap?
a watts linkage will only control side to side forces, not front to rear, or axle wrap. it really is an over complicated panhard bar.

interstingly enough, you could run a similar setup to that turned perpendicular to the chassis for a variant on a four link setup, with two links ahead and two links behind the axle. i think skyjacker sells a kit like this for the front end of newer super duty trucks.

chainfire:

if you want to go a different route for you leaf springs (other than a shackle) i will applaude you, that is how innovations become mainstream. be prepared for mistakes, and don't be afraid to wipe the slate clean. there may come a time when you have to completely trash an idea that you have alot of work into.

there may be funtionality or reliability issuses that you would have never forseen on paper or in theory.

best of luck!
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Old 01-18-2009
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chainfire:

if you want to go a different route for you leaf springs (other than a shackle) i will applaude you, that is how innovations become mainstream. be prepared for mistakes, and don't be afraid to wipe the slate clean. there may come a time when you have to completely trash an idea that you have alot of work into.

there may be funtionality or reliability issuses that you would have never forseen on paper or in theory.

best of luck

Thanks alot!
Yeah I plan on doing this very slowly, I have time, as I will be going to school full time in September for Welding, and then back to school after that for fab. This probably wont get done for another year or two, but I figure I might as well start acumulating parts, so when the time comes, it will be quick and painless(doubtful). I always want to do something different, and I have never seen this before, so why not?
They wont be done in the front, I am still researching and learning about coils, coilovers. If it is not going to be done for a while, I might go all out and do coilovers. I dont like to do things twice, and it looks like everyone who has done leafs, are going to coils.

Hmm maybe a 3-4 link front???
Damn this is getting dangerous lol.
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