Vorshlag worked with Whiteline USA to test a prototype version of their bolt-on Watts Link kit and it worked exceptionally well on our 2011 Mustang GT street/race car. The change from an already aftermarket Panhard Bar (PHB) to the Whiteline Watts Link kit transformed the car. None of the other single changes we made over the past two years of development with this car has been as noticeable as this Whiteline Watts Link. On any serious track or autocross S197 Mustang we work with at Vorshlag, this is the first upgrade we do!
The Whiteline Watts Link kit is a 100% bolt-on affair, but it is still lightweight at 29 pounds. However, the factory PHB, support brace and differential cover are replaced and weigh 13.3 pounds. This kit only adds an additional 15.7 pounds and it is worth every bit of that! This kit is a slick, simple, beefy Watts unit that attaches in all the right places and uses the right materials. Since it is made with Whiteline's well developed elastomer bushings, it is SILENT during street or track use, and the kit fit around our custom dual 3" exhaust with plenty of clearance. Will this bolt-on design hold up to the lateral forces of big R compound tires? We were skeptical at first back in 2012, but we put this kit through FIVE YEARS of autocross and NASA Time Trial events on 345mm Hoosier A7 race tires in our red 2011 GT shown here. We racked up dozens of wins and set 16 class track records with this Watts Link. Bulletproof. So yes, we have full confidence in their kit in both street and racing environments.
The build quality on this kit is unlike much of what we see made for the Mustang market - it is top of the line, with perfect welds, the right materials, and an all-new differential cover that was cast just for this kit, not adapted from another car or bolted to the stock diff cover with a bunch of fiddly bits. Rock solid, beefy, and over-engineered. It has none of the "copycat design" aspects from some other options out there for this chassis either. This Watts Link kit is 100% made in the USA, built by real craftsman, using the renowned bushing designs and suspension know-how from the experts at Whiteline. We at Vorshlag were working on our own Watts Link kit for this S197 Mustang... right until we saw what Whiteline came up with. We scrapped our in-house design, bought and tested their kit, and became a Whiteline dealer soon after. It is just that good.
Installation Instructions: You can see our instruction/picture gallery for the Whiteline Watts Link kit here. Whiteline also offers a complete installation guide (Doc Word format) with pictures, tips, and a list of tools. It's available for download from Vorshlag here.
Watts Link vs Panhard Bar
What is a Watts Link kit? This is a series of bars and cranks that laterally locate a solid rear axle relative to the chassis, while usually adding some adjustability with regard to ride height and axle centering. What makes a Watts Link better than the more commonly used factory Panhard Bar design? This is a subject we covered in detail in this thread post, which we welcome you to read. Basically, a Watts is better than a Panhard in every performance aspect, but is just a bit more costly to produce and difficult to package for the automakers, so they usually save time and cost and use the Panhard Bar design. It's a perfect place for an aftermarket upgrade. The advantages of a Watts over a PHB are amplified when the car is lowered (many cars), has a lot of suspension travel, sees a lot of transitional use (autocross), and has a lot of tire/grip (many cars). Lateral axle locaiton is a lot more linear than a PHB, which travels through an arc as the suspension moves up and down. The rear Roll Center stays much lower and static with the Watts, unlike the PHB which moves the roll center up/down with the suspension articulation. This makes the car more predictable and loads the tires better - for more grip.
We recommend this Watts Link kit for any enthusiast-owned or competition prepared S197 (2005-2014) Mustang owner - it is perfect for autocrossers, HPDE drivers, Time Attack racers, and wheel-to-wheel road racers. It is one of the few Watts Link kits that works well in all of these performance arenas AND on the street, being dead silent in use. So many other PHB and Watts kits (any that use rod ends) are just big janky, clanky messes. You can use the Whiteline Watts Link kit with any stock or aftermarket rear swaybar (including the revolutionary Whiteline "rear-mounted" swaybar, available from Vorshlag), almost any off-the-shelf or OEM exhaust, and any shock & spring combination. It takes about three hours to install and initially setup this Watts Link kit and having a lift definitely helps.
The price on the Whiteline S197 Watts Link kit is very reasonable considering all of the custom parts it comes with - a new cast aluminum differential cover with integral bearing loading studs, the bracket and bearing in the differential mounted "Football", the inlet/outlet ports on the differential cover (for a potential upgrade to a differential fluid cooler), and the various arms, brackets and hardware needed to mount all of this. The Watts Link kit also includes with a rear lateral chassis support brace, which is normally a $99 option when purchasing the Whiteline Panhard Bar. Note, the Watts Link kit's support brace is different than the optional brace that is available with the PHB, but the functionality is the same.
Click the thumbnails to enlarge. All pictures © 2017 Vorshlag