|The Monaco Watts System was developed through the joint effort of dozens of engineers, machinists, and early adopters on the IRV2 Monaco Owners Group, specifically through the discussion "Wandering, sway bars, alignment, ride height, oh my" and Van Williams who originated the idea.|
Van, after satisfying himself that the wandering inherent in Monaco coaches was due to H-frame instability, cured his “road wild” 1993 Monaco Dynasty 36 by adding welded-on cross braces to the trailing arms both front and rear. That transformed his coach into one that drove as if it were on rails, and made gusting winds and passing tractor-trailers almost imperceptible. Unfortunately, due to placement of the generator in all Monaco coaches after 1993, the cross braces could not be applied to the front of 1994 and newer coaches. Although rear cross-braces alone could transform a coach’s “panic lane change” behavior, and even cure some cases of wandering, something was still needed to control the looseness of the front axle H-frame assembly.
Realizing that the addition of a second Panhard bar would accomplish largely the same thing as the crossed braces, Van set about trying to find a way to add that second Panhard bar to post-1993 coaches. Unfortunately, almost any way of adding that second Panhard bar required very extensive, out-of-position welding that was frequently in close proximity to hydraulic, electric, and pneumatic lines.
When the thought of connecting the Watts linkage directly from the H-frame of a coach to the coach’s body occurred to Van, he was sure he had found a practical solution. But by that time, he had upgraded to a 2000 Monaco Dynasty which, although it wandered a bit on the highway, it was nothing like the “road wild” behavior of his previous coach. The next hurdle, then, was to find someone willing to be a Guinea Pig for the first-ever installation, and someone who was very unhappy with the wandering of his coach. Bob Nodine stepped into the story at that point. Bob, an engineer, had a gut feeling his coach should handle more responsively than it did, and he had gone to great lengths to achieve that goal. He had installed “better” shocks, changed tires and even added front and rear anti-sway bars. Still, he was disappointed in the coach’s handling, especially since he drove a lot of mountainous roads in his home state of Tennessee. Bob and Van talked, and Bob understood perfectly how the Watts linkage should work. Bob took all the measurements, and even made sketches of the special parts needed to install a Watts link on his coach. Van made the parts, shipped them to Bob, and Bob installed them. Bob’s report of his very first drive was glowing with excitement. He had found the “silver bullet” he had been looking for. Bob’s willingness to try the unproven concept, and his engineering acumen in being able to sketch his installation for Van cemented his place in Monaco history as a pioneer. Had it not been for the cooperation between Bob and Van, the Watts link would still be “just another idea”.
The rest is history…