When Chris Daley of Totally Polished called and told me he was building a new style of Watt's link, I'll have to admit I wondered if he was trying to reinvent the wheel. Watt's links became pretty popular around the '50s as a more effective alternative to a Panhard bar on race cars mostly, but the Watt's link is actually named for James Watt, the very same Scottish inventor that the electrical unit of power (watt) is named for. He devised this straight-line mechanism to support the piston rod of his beam steam engine around 1769. And what do you know, the name stuck! So why is the Watt's link suddenly becoming popular again? In discussing the Watt's link, some people think that it is overkill for your average truck. But with the popularity of adjustable suspensions, not to mention 20- x 10-inch rear wheels, precise control of the rear-axle geometry is more important than ever. Where an axle with a Panhard bar would travel left to right in an arc under heavy load, the TP Watt's link travels no more than a quarter-inch throughout the entire suspension cycle of Old School. No more burnt paint on the inner wheelwells.
The Totally Polished Watt's Link kit does require some skilled welding (a broken mount could spell disaster on the highway) and installation on some trucks is easier than others, but the basic kit is a universal one and the length of the link bars and configuration of the outer mounting tabs needs to be determined (which you can do with a few measurements). The center crank and support bracket are both milled from solid aluminum, polished, and engraved at TP's CNC facility. The dual center bearings and races are from an S-10, so replacement will never be a problem. The four high-grade heim joints are also included along with all of the other necessary hardware. Follow along as Chris and Brad outfit Old School, and use the info in the source box for any questions regarding this killer new Watt's link.