Steering, Suspension, & Brakes

tips, technology, tools and techniques related to non-driveline mechanical components

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DonB
Don Bonar
Prairie Village, KS
(80 posts)

Registered:
09/09/2011 10:06AM

Main British Car:
1971 MG-B 95 GM 3.4 V-6

Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: DonB
Date: February 03, 2013 03:26PM

Finishing up my MG-B /V6 roadster and am totally confused on rear suspension choices. For starters... I will not be autocrossing or participating in serious track events on any regular basis. I'm simply building a fun high speed cruiser. I've fitted Vicky B tubes on the rear and Spax adjustables on the front with 7/8 sway bar. Tires are 15" mounted on 72 spoke wires.
Given the car will still be perched on leaf springs, do I even need to worry about serious lateral movement in the rear? If so, do I need to consider time/expense of installing either a Panhard bar or a Watts link. Seems like these are for serious racers or folks with coil-over springs that would require really nailing the rearend in place. If so, what do you recommend.... given "doing nothing" wouldn't bother me a bit!
Don B.


WedgeWorks1
Mike Perkins
Ellicott City, Maryland
(460 posts)

Registered:
07/06/2008 08:07AM

Main British Car:
1980 Triumph TR8 3.5 Litre Rover V8

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: WedgeWorks1
Date: February 03, 2013 03:54PM

You don't need the watts or panhard bar if your not going to be on a track or running serious auto cross. I would install a rear sway bar and that should be enough. Do you have spax on the rears?


roverman
Art Gertz
Winchester, CA.
(3149 posts)

Registered:
04/24/2009 11:02AM

Main British Car:
74' Jensen Healy, 79 Huff. GT 1, 74 MGB Lotus 907,2L

Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: roverman
Date: February 03, 2013 06:24PM

Vicky B tubes ?


WedgeWorks1
Mike Perkins
Ellicott City, Maryland
(460 posts)

Registered:
07/06/2008 08:07AM

Main British Car:
1980 Triumph TR8 3.5 Litre Rover V8

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: WedgeWorks1
Date: February 03, 2013 10:15PM

Victoria British has a kit with some who knows what tube shock conversion.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4495 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: Moderator
Date: February 04, 2013 03:49AM

Just from the fact that you're using wire wheels, I'm guessing your 15" tires will be relatively narrow. No? Therefore, it's unlikely your rear axle will be sliding side-to-side enough for your tires to contact bodywork at the fender lip or at the bump stop mount. Therefore, it's unlikely you really "need" a Panhard rod...

However, you might want one. I put one on my GT and it very noticeably changed the way my car feels. Whether or not it's a good change is a question of preference and perception. I like my Panhard rod a WHOLE LOT, but I don't think they're for everyone. It probably adds a little "noise, vibration and harshness" to my car, but on the other hand I feel the car feels more confident when cornering - even on an ordinary Sunday drive.

I recommend that you get your car running and enjoy it for awhile, and then consider a Panhard rod as a possible upgrade later. You'll probably be able to test drive a few different MGBs at BritishV8 2013 if you want to... that might be a good time to see if you like the characteristic Panhard rod feel. All Panhard rods aren't created equal. They should be as long as feasible. They should be on very stout mounts. In my opinion, if you install one you should probably try to get it as low as you can because the bar's installation height determines the rear suspension's roll center height. Panhard rods should be mounted level at normal ride height.

A Watts linkage is technically better... but it will take extra effort to install one. I can only think of one MGB with a Watts linkage. (Ref: Michael Zappa's MGB.)

In the interest of completeness: there are two other options:

(1) You can work to get compliance out of the leafsprings and their mounts. This is typically done by adding extra or tighter clamps along the leafsprings forward of the axle, by replacing rubber bushings with brass front and rear, and by installing heavier duty or reinforced shackles (or by substituting slider blocks for the shackles).

(2) If you look at Lorenz Hassenstein's How It Was Done (or peek under either of Jerry Richards' MGB GT V8 vintage racecars) you'll see that an A-frame may be substituted for the Panhard bar. I think we have some old message board threads about those...


lars49
Larry Barnes
Colorado Springs
(176 posts)

Registered:
06/11/2009 02:12PM

Main British Car:
1980 MGB GM LA1 3400 V6

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: lars49
Date: February 04, 2013 03:43PM

Curtis,

Would it be possible to digitize the Panhard Rod Fabrication (by Gordon Lee Oxford) article in Vol VII?


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(4120 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: February 04, 2013 05:33PM

Don,

I'm thinking a 3/4" sway bar may have been a better match for for you. A 7/8" bar is a bit much for a cruiser & will require a suitable bar in the rear to match.



DonB
Don Bonar
Prairie Village, KS
(80 posts)

Registered:
09/09/2011 10:06AM

Main British Car:
1971 MG-B 95 GM 3.4 V-6

Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: DonB
Date: February 05, 2013 10:18AM

Thank you all for the input... just what I needed to get started. I think I'll hold on this aspect of the project and see if I can mooch a test ride or two in Omaha to get the feel, before going further.

It's not like I don't have lots of stuff to get finished before Omaha. Better get back out to the garage and lay on that cold concrete... shoulda bought a house in Florida!

Don B.


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(4120 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: February 05, 2013 07:31PM

Throw some cardboard & old carpet under there!


roverman
Art Gertz
Winchester, CA.
(3149 posts)

Registered:
04/24/2009 11:02AM

Main British Car:
74' Jensen Healy, 79 Huff. GT 1, 74 MGB Lotus 907,2L

Re: Watts link- panhard Rod or forget it?
Posted by: roverman
Date: February 05, 2013 07:42PM

Why rear leaf springs sometimes work. When properly set up, car "rolls" into a turn, outside rear wheel moves back, inside wheel moves forward = crude but effective 4 wheel steering,(cone effect). Don't toss those springs, just yet. Cheers, roverman.


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