Tech: BMR S197 Watt’s Link Install

0 BMR S197 Watts Link Install Featured

Watt’s Up

Locking in your 2005-2014 Mustang’s live axle with a Watt’s Link from BMR

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of BMR Suspension

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the latest IRS-equipped Mustangs, but if you are still rocking a 2005-2014 Mustang and you like turning corners, you might want more lateral control from that live rear axle. Upgrading the factory Panhard bar is one way to go, but if you want the ultimate in lateral axle control, a Watt’s Link is the move. And, there’s a new option available from BMR Suspension.

The BMR Suspension Watt’s Link for 2005-2014 Mustang offers a completely bolt-on installation and is available in the company’s signature red or hammertone coated finishes. It is available with a combination of poly and rod ends for quieter operation (PN WL005; $549.95) or with all rod-ends (PN WL006; $549.95) for maximum performance.
The BMR Suspension Watt’s Link for 2005-2014 Mustang offers a completely bolt-on installation and is available in the company’s signature red or hammertone coated finishes. It is available with a combination of poly and rod ends for quieter operation (PN WL005; $549.95) or with all rod-ends (PN WL006; $549.95) for maximum performance.

“A Watt’s Link is the superior way to laterally locate the rearend housing under the car. It’s more complex than a simple Panhard bar, but the difference in operation and the level of effectiveness between the two is about as distinctive as the differences in design,” Pete Epple, Marketing Tech at BMR Suspension, said. “A Panhard bar is designed to minimize side-to-side axle movement. But when you traverse imperfections on the road or make turns, the axle shifts slightly to one side. This is because the Panhard bar, by design, travels on an arc, allowing the axle to shift slightly to one side during normal suspension travel. For most casual enthusiast, this movement is never felt or noticed, but it can cause the car to have a slightly disconnected feel in certain situations when the axle moves.”

Learn more about the BMR Watt’s link here…

So, while BMR already offers an adjustable Panhard bar for the S197, they decided to develop a new Watt’s link for those looking for optimum lateral control for their live-axle 2005-2014 Mustangs.

Obviously, BMR had already upgraded its 2011 Mustang GT with one of its own adjustable Panhard bars. These are essential upgrades for lowered Mustangs in order to restore the proper suspension geometry. However, if you want to take lateral axle control to the next level, the first step is dropping the sway bar out of the way and unbolting the Panhard bar.
Obviously, BMR had already upgraded its 2011 Mustang GT with one of its own adjustable Panhard bars. These are essential upgrades for lowered Mustangs in order to restore the proper suspension geometry. However, if you want to take lateral axle control to the next level, the first step is dropping the sway bar out of the way and unbolting the Panhard bar.

“A Watt’s Link, on the other hand, mounts the rearend housing to the chassis with two equal length links and a center pivot. This keeps the rearend housing centered no matter where it is in the suspension range of travel. The system can be configured in one of two ways—either the pivot is mounted to the rearend housing or the chassis,” Pete added. “If the pivot is mounted to the rearend housing, the links are mounted to the chassis. If it’s mounted to the chassis, the links connect to the axle tubes; BMR’s WL005 and WL005 are this type. As the rear suspension travels, the pivot rotates, keeping the rearend housing centered under the car.”

The rugged BMR Watt’s Link crossmember features a number of mounting points for its linkage. Where you mount the linkage will be determined by the ride height of your Mustang. On most lowered Mustangs the middle holes will work best, but if your application calls for using the upper mounting holes, the mount may interfere with the diff cover. In those cases, you can lower the crossmember or raise the ride height.
The rugged BMR Watt’s Link crossmember features a number of mounting points for its linkage. Where you mount the linkage will be determined by the ride height of your Mustang. On most lowered Mustangs the middle holes will work best, but if your application calls for using the upper mounting holes, the mount may interfere with the diff cover. In those cases, you can lower the crossmember or raise the ride height.

Built from steel tubing and a laser-cut steel plate, the BMR Body Mount Watt’s Link is available with either polyurethane bushings (PN WL005; $549.95) or rod ends (PN WL006; $549.95). Both configurations offer bolt-on installations, but the poly version features rod ends at the pivot and poly bushings at the chassis mount to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. Meanwhile, the version with rod ends on both ends of the link offers maximum control and adjustability in trade for more NVH.

Either is available in red or black hammertone finishes and can be installed in three to four hours. We wanted to see how the new BMR Watt’s installs, so the company was kind enough to document the process for us, and here we are hitting the highlights of that process.

Start out by loosely clamping on the passenger-side axle clamp as far to the outside of the axle tube as you can. Eventually you will tighten each clamp’s six retaining bolts in a criss-cross pattern, but don’t do that yet.
Start out by loosely clamping on the passenger-side axle clamp as far to the outside of the axle tube as you can. Eventually you will tighten each clamp’s six retaining bolts in a criss-cross pattern, but don’t do that yet.
Likewise, install the driver-side axle clamp as far to the outside of the axle tube as you can, but leave the fasteners lightly tightened.
Likewise, install the driver-side axle clamp as far to the outside of the axle tube as you can, but leave the fasteners lightly tightened.
As we said, the BMR Suspension Watt’s Link is a bolt-on proposition, and it uses the factory Panhard bar mounting points to secure its crossmember. However, before you install the crossmember, you need to reinforce driver-side mount with these spacers, as the crossmember fasters pass through the Panhard mounting holes, but it actually mounts in front of the factory anchor point.
As we said, the BMR Suspension Watt’s Link is a bolt-on proposition, and it uses the factory Panhard bar mounting points to secure its crossmember. However, before you install the crossmember, you need to reinforce driver-side mount with these spacers, as the crossmember fasters pass through the Panhard mounting holes, but it actually mounts in front of the factory anchor point.
Use the mounting points for the factory Panhard bar and brace to install the BMR crossmember, using the factory hardware on the driver side and the supplied hardware on the passenger side. Torque the 15mm bolts to 46 lb-ft and the sway bar end-link bolt to 86 lb-ft. The passenger-side upper bolt is also torqued to 86 lb-ft, while the lower bolt on that side gets 129 lb-ft of torque.
Use the mounting points for the factory Panhard bar and brace to install the BMR crossmember, using the factory hardware on the driver side and the supplied hardware on the passenger side. Torque the 15mm bolts to 46 lb-ft and the sway bar end-link bolt to 86 lb-ft. The passenger-side upper bolt is also torqued to 86 lb-ft, while the lower bolt on that side gets 129 lb-ft of torque.
With the axle clamps and crossmember in places, the BMR Watt’s install is starting to come together.
With the axle clamps and crossmember in places, the BMR Watt’s install is starting to come together.
Now it’s time to assemble the linkages and center pivot and bolt it to the crossmember. First you’ll need to determine the mounting location by jacking up the axle until the car comes just off its jackstands to make sure it’s at ride height.
Now it’s time to assemble the linkages and center pivot and bolt it to the crossmember. First you’ll need to determine the mounting location by jacking up the axle until the car comes just off its jackstands to make sure it’s at ride height.
After choosing the mounting locations, you can use an angle finder to set the axle clamps at 90 degrees. Then you can final-tighten the clamps.
After choosing the mounting locations, you can use an angle finder to set the axle clamps at 90 degrees. Then you can final-tighten the clamps.
With the foundation laid, you can install the outer Watt’s link mount on the axle clamp and bolt up the linkages. Before you set the length of the linkages, measure to ensure the rearend is centered in the chassis. Then you can tighten the jamb nuts on the linkage.
With the foundation laid, you can install the outer Watt’s link mount on the axle clamp and bolt up the linkages. Before you set the length of the linkages, measure to ensure the rearend is centered in the chassis. Then you can tighten the jamb nuts on the linkage.
With the installation complete, all that’s left to do is use a grease gun to lube the center pivot—and the outer bushings, if you installed the version with the poly bushings. After you drive to an alignment shop to get everything lined up properly, all that’s left is to enjoy the newfound precision of your S197’s rear suspension. We haven’t driven the BMR Watt’s—yet—but we have driven a few Watt’s-equipped cars in our day, and we can say that it’s a definite step up from a Panhard bar as you start to push the car harder.
With the installation complete, all that’s left to do is use a grease gun to lube the center pivot—and the outer bushings, if you installed the version with the poly bushings. After you drive to an alignment shop to get everything lined up properly, then you can enjoy the newfound precision of your S197’s rear suspension. We haven’t driven the BMR Watt’s—yet—but we have driven a few Watt’s-equipped cars in our day, and we can say that it’s a definite step up from a Panhard bar as you start to push the car harder.

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