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Mustang Watts Link System by Evolution Motorsport
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100% of reviewers $725.00 5.0
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5EVM-Watts-mid.jpg









Description: The Evolution Motorsport subframe mounted Watts Link System is designed to reduce rear suspension lateral compliance and lower the rear roll center height. The result is a more tuneable and predictable vehicle on all road and track surfaces.

Options
Standard Version Links - The standard watts link system contains a pair 1020 DOM mild steel links which have a polyurethane bushing on one end of each link and a 3 piece teflon lined spherical rod end on the other end of each link.
Optional Links - The option 1 watts link system contains a pair 6061 - T6 aluminum links which have 3 piece teflon lined spherical rod ends on each end of each link (one LH thread, one RH thread).
Production Lower Control Arm Kit - Included in the Watts Link System is a stabilizer bar relocating kit that reinforces the production lower control arms.
Boxed Lower Control Arm Kit - Included in the Watts Link System is a stabilizer bar relocating plate (allows for stabilizer bar to Watts crank clearance).

For more information visit: http://www.evolutionmsport.com/
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2,717
Registered: February 2002
Location: St. John's



Author
Review Date: 11/10/2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Fit, finish, design, effectiveness
Cons: Some minor interference with non-stock exhaust systems

Alright, letís get to what you really want to know: How does this thing drive? Before we get to the heart of that, letís establish my baseline for answering that question.

First, weíre dealing with a 94 Mustang with just shy of 90,000 miles on it. Although the car is in excellent shape as regards the cosmetic appearance and drivetrain, the suspension needs work; the components are not only well past their prime, but past their expected service life as well. The rear was pretty bad; the lower control arm bushings have seen better days, the springs are stock, off-road-ride-height pieces, and both the quad and standard shocks were done, as in, finished, kaput, no more. The front end is a mess; Iím sure the struts are wasted and the upper strut mount on the driverís side likes to announce its existence once in a while, the springs are stock, the LCA bushings are typical-94-Mustang blown out, the ball-joints may still have some life in them but the tie-rod ends likely donít. In short, itís the perfect platform to rip it all out and try something new. The wheels and tires are pretty good though; 17x9 R58 Cobra R wheels and 275/40/ZR17Dunlop SP8000 tires.

Second, Iíve only tried the Watts-Link on the street thus far, so track testing will have to wait until the rest of the car is done and I can make it to the track next Spring. To some degree though, street driving around here is a pretty good test of things; after the winter we had, the paved infrastructure in this part of the world is beyond being in need of repair whether youíre on the local streets or the highway. Moreover, given the general lack of road manners evasive maneuvers are the rule rather than the exception; if you travel at anything more than 5 mph above the posted limited on a regular basis, you get a pretty good idea of what your car is capable of pretty quick.

One of the first things I noticed was the carís improved behavior over bumps. Anyone of us who has driven one these cars long enough knows that you develop a reflex to correct the carís direction over any kind of bump that would upset the rear axle. After the inevitable THUMP under the rear, thereís that little flick-oí-the-wrist to get the car lined up again as the rear tries to step-out on you; it just doesnít happen much, if at all, any more. The car is now so much better controlled over disturbances and significant bumps, that the sensation is that the car rides better overall; not softer, just better. The corrections I used to make by reflex are no longer necessary to keep the rear straight; the front end, of course, is another matter, so Iím learning a new set of responses. In fact, the rear is so well located, that itís really showing the vagueness and other short-comings up front, but more on that later.

Next, on hard shifts, the rear-end of the car really goes straight; none of that youíre-gonna-get-outta-shape-real-fast-and-loop-this-thing feeling at all. All you get is the sensation of the car shoving you hard and straight in the back and taking off like you made it angry. My car isnít the strongest, but it does make 330 horsepower, and the EVM piece has no trouble dealing with it whatsoever. Once the control arms I intend to use (í82 Mustang, round, high-durometer front bushings) are installed, I can only imagine that this is only going to get better as a considerable amount of fore-aft compliance is going into the trash along with the stock LCAís.

As for the carís new overall ďroad mannersĒ, Iím forced to talk about this from a stand-point of ďfeelĒ, as innocuous as that may be. The general sensation is that the car just feels more substantial. I had often questioned the value of rear shock tower bracing in the later cars because of their additional rear floor cross-bracing and coupe design (as opposed to the Fox carsí hatchback and overall more flimsy set-up). Not anymore; I know the Wattís design has a number of bends in it, but it sure makes the car feel better. You literally notice this the instant you take the car off a steep driveway apron and out into the street; Iím not the only one who said this, so I know it isnít just me. Consider it a side benefit of the design.

Out on the highway, clipping along at a steady 80 mph or so, you can feel the rear doing its thing, wanting to go nothing but straight until you tell it otherwise, but the front end in my car just doesnít want to co-operate more than it absolutely has to. The situation is nowhere near as bad as it was but the Watts really makes you feel how much correcting you want to do for the front endís mistakes. Not to be confused with a true push or understeering, the rear end is clearly more competent now and wants to over drive the front and shove it around; Iíve really got change those bushings up front, and soon. Even still, lane changes are much less dramatic and require less input and subsequent correction.

Braking; this is interesting, and just about where we get to the limits of my understanding of suspensions and how they behave, but I noticed a thing or two. First, braking is more controlled laterally; the car is much straighter and I donít have to worry about the rear fighting me to stop where I want to. As expected, however, the front still sucks it pretty hard. No complaints with the Watts there. Second, Iím not sure how this thing could contribute to reducing front end brake dive, but it certainly seems as if it has. Iím reluctant to get into this, because Iím still not certain if itís just a perception on my part, or something quantifiable, but the bottom line is that the car doesnít seem to nose-over as much

Alright, enough with bumps and straight lines; letís talk about cornering. Well, OK, but I can only tell you so much with local testing under my belt.

Around town, the turn-in isnít so much what I notice since the front end wonít, but coming out of even the most mundane corner the car is so much improved it isnít funny. The rear of the body just doesnít want to swing out too far over the tires, snap back and then wriggle a little until it settles down anymore. More importantly, you romp the gas coming out of the corner, and while I can break the tires lose easily, the axle will not dance any more. Highway ramps are almost too much fun now, even with the front end; weíve got a couple of nasty, bumpy decreasing radius clover-leafs on the older highway interchanges around here, and on the recent occasions where I rolled the dice and went faster than I should have a couple of things are clear. First, the rear of the body isnít trying to float out beyond the outside tire; attribute that to the Watts. Second, body roll is much improved; attribute that to the Watts and the stabar. Third, bumps donít upset the thing laterally and make it feel like the rearís going to come around on you anymore. Fourth, these three things combine to make the car a ton oí fun, and as bad as it has been it was still an E-ticket amusement park ride.

Lastly, NVH; I was having a tough time evaluating this initially given the amount of exhaust interference I was experiencing immediately after the install. Based on last limited testing, however, I donít detect any. It doesnít hum, click, clang, no clink , clank, jingle, jangle, squeak or bump. Will this continue once I break it in a bit? Who knows?

The one problem with the installation was the exhaust. On the driver's side, it turned out that the upper bend of the exhaust (where the pipe curves over the axle) was butted up tight against the bottom of the cradle. On the right side, the same problem existed, and the axle tower would THWACK against the downward portion of the pipe on full jounce. The fix, while not the most complicated in the world, certainly took some work and creativity. On the drivers side, we cut the exhaust just short of the muffler, and sectioned out about 1 inch of pipe. Thanks to Ford's generous exhaust clearance tolerances (I was using a hitherto stock '98 Cobra exhaust in the car), this pulled the entire exhaust from-the-muffler-back forward, pulled the pipe off the cradle. It should also be noted that this was not entirely EVM's design problem; I've known for a while that my X-pipe design was a bit long, and this was going to have to be addressed sooner or later. This just turned out to be "when". It should also be noted that EVM is now offering a modified tail pipe section to avoid these problems on earler SN95 cars.

On the passenger side, we cut the exhaust off just behind the muffler, sectioned out about 3/4" of pipe, and had plenty of room off of the bottom of the cradle. We heated and dimpled the pipe where it had been contacting the tower, and on the way home, I only had contact when I deliberately took a set of RR tracks way too fast; even then, it was extremely slight. Nonetheless, I can see that this routing will still need to be further addressed (but just on the driver's side) once the car is lowered any appreciable amount. Stay tuned on that one.

In all, with a leisurely dinner break, we started work about 6:30 and finished about 9:15 or so; not too bad when you consider the nature of the modifications. Is it more work than I would have liked? Sure, but we're not just changing oil here. When you consider that we're essentially changing the car's design, I think of it as a small, expected, price to pay.

For more details on this part and its installation, complete with photographs, I recommend reviewing my posts at corner-carvers.com here http://corner-carvers.com/forums/sho...&threadid=9450 and here http://corner-carvers.com/forums/sho...threadid=10328
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phooka
Rookie

Registered: November 2003
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 2
Review Date: 11/17/2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $725.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Improved cornering, straightline - excellent packaging and engineering
Cons: some exhaust fitment issues, some added NVH

My car has a stock engine, just some exhaust modifications, a set of pulleys - and not pretty much sums up the engine modifications. Brakes have been improved, some safety devices, and other modifications suiting the car to open track days. I have pictures and descriptions here: http://www.highrpm.net/p51-gt

The Watts link is GREAT! *First noticable difference out of the driveway is the NVH, just a slight vibration. This of course is due to having the competition model with rod ends at both ends of the watts links. Not even a
minor issue in my opinion. *Of course a good bit of this may be due to my exhaust issues. Fitment with my Magnaflow cat back was incompatible and I'm currently running turndowns - but will simply switch to side exit, as I really enjoy having all that extra space to work under the rear of the car.

Second very noticable difference is the car actually tracks better even in straight line driving, and something as mundane as changing lanes is more fun - the response is instantaneous and car 'feel' is vastly improved. Road imperfections and bumps that used to jostle the car are now non-existent.

Cornering is where it really shines. *No more through-corner wander, the rear end stays planted in position and has been particularly fun with on and off ramps to the interstate *big grin*.

Oddly enough, straightline braking is very much improved, and like JonnyX I have no real reason as to why... I'm more of a driver, not a tuner.

The instructions included were incredible.. very professionally done with plenty of detail for installation. Plan on the full 4.5 hours to install this package. Some tips to make it easier would be to use long HD tie wraps to help guide the blind nut plates into place in the frame rails (will make more sense when you are installing). Another thought is to put some duct tape on the frame rail spacers to use as tabs for moving them into position more easily. I'd also personally add rod end seals ala www.sealsit.com - although EVM is on the fence on this because it can cause as much dirt to be trapped as kept out. Your call.

I can't wait to give it more rigorous testing on an autocross course before taking it to a track day for serious fun!
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