SN95 Mustang Spring Install Tech 1979-2004

Share this Post:

Aftermarket springs will dramatically improve the look of your Stang, while giving it better road handling ability. For Project Sundance, we chose the Steeda Sport Springs. The springs drop the car 1.75″ in the front, and 1″ in the rear. By doing so, it gives the Stang a slightly angled look reminiscent of the muscle cars from long ago. This install is pretty straight forward, anyone with basic knowledge of cars and tools should be able to complete it in 4-5 hours. In short, if Spreadman can do it, so can you.

*Note – All though this is a 99 Mustang, the basic instructions can or will apply to Mustang years 1979-2004 as they all use the FOX body chassis.

Note, torque figures given are from the official 1999 Ford Mustang Shop Manual (Mustang GT) published by Helm.

Tools required:

  • Another warm body
Haynes manual ($11 at AutoZone)(for pictures)
  • 10mm socket
  • 15mm socket (deep well)
  • 19mm socket (deep well)
1/2″ socket
  • 13/16″ socket
  • ratchet extensions
  • ratchet
  • breaker bar
  • 2 jack stands (although 4 are recommended)
  • 1 hydraulic floor jack (if using 2 jack stands, get another jack, or use the one that came with the spare)
  • prybar (or REALLY big screwdriver)
  • small pliers
  • utility knife
  • small flathead screwdriver
  • rubber mallet
hammer
  • one wire coathanger
  • zip-ties
  • Red Loc-tite
PB Blaster (not really needed, but helps)
  • torque wrench (if you got one)

Preface:

It helps to have another person help. If using 2 jacks, it will come in handy. Also, grab a bucket or crate to sit on while working on the fronts. You’ll thank me for it. And TAKE YOUR TIME and do it right the first time. ;-)

OK, let’s get started.

REARS

spring1

1. Jack up the rear of the car, and place 2 jacks stands on the frame in front of the control arms. (see picture). Jack it up as high as it can go….again, you will thank yourself for doing it.

2. If you have 4 jack stands, jack up the differential about 5 inches and place the other jack stands under the axle housings. This will keep the differential from rotating up and down. If not, jack up the differential under the solid metal plate just in front of the pumpkin….and jack it up about 5 inches.

3. Remove the 4 bolts (1/2″) that support the rear sway bar, and set it aside. There are 4 speed clips that the bolts anchor to on the bar, try not to lose them. You won’t, but I’m just warning you.

4. Now that you have the differential supported. Take the remaining jack and pre-load the right side, under the A-arm, jacking it up about 4-5 inches.

5. Remove the bolt supporting the A-arm to the axle housing (13/16″). It will help if you have a breaker bar for this….these were a little tough to get undone, but you can do it.

6. VERY SLOWLY, lower the A-arm until the spring falls out.

7. Transfer any rubber isolators to the new spring, and place the new spring in the A-arm (remembering which direction the pigtails were facing), jack up the A-arm and bolt back into place (13/16″ : 111 ft-lbs). I recommend using red Loc-Tite on these bolts…just as a precaution. (NOTE) If you do not put jack stands under the axle housings, or use a jack in front of the pumpkin, the holes will not line up, the diff. Rotates from top to bottom…BE WARNED! As you try to line up the holes…you may have to jockey around the jacks to get it right.

8. Do the same thing to the left side…and re-install the rear sway bar (1/2″ : 41 ft-lbs). (NOTE: if you have a torque wrench, use the specs found in the Haynes manual….if not, get them as tight as you can without stripping the bolts).

DONE WITH THE REARS!

FRONTS

1. Again, jack up the car as high as it will go, and place the jack stands under the frame (subframes), and remove wheel.

spring2

2. There are 4 bolts on the backside of the brake caliper….2 long ones towards the sides (do NOT remove these), and 2 small ones directly in back of the caliper (see illustration). Those 2 small ones hold the caliper onto the rotor assembly. Unbolt those (15mm) and remove the caliper. You might need to decompress the caliper a bit by squeezing it up top. Pull it off, and you will see a tiny hole on the caliper, bend the coat hanger so it pulls through, and hang the caliper by a nut in the wheel well. You’ll see it when you look. And make sure it doesn’t interfere with the lowering of the strut and spring. (you might have to get creative with zip ties for this.)

spring3

3. Remove the bolt that holds the brake hose bracket in place. (see picture) If you don’t, when you lower the suspension, it will pull/stretch/screw up your lines….and that would be bad. 10mm socket for this one. Once you unbolt it, you can just let it hang down.

4. Pre-load the suspension under the A-arm about 5 inches with the floor jack.

5. Sway bar (see picture). Unbolt the sway bar (15mm deep socket or open faced wrench). Remove the bolt and upper rubber bushing (remember which way the bushing was sitting).

spring4

6. Tie rod end (see picture). Remove the cotter pin from the nut using a flathead screwdriver and mallet to straighten it out. Use the pliers to get a good grip on it. Then remove the nut (19mm) and set aside. If it is a newer stang, you should be able to hammer the tie rod loose by hammering on the bolt. If the rotor guard is in the way, just bend it. But trust me….it seems like it won’t come loose….keep hammering. It will. Once you pop it loose, swing it out of the way.

7. Strut. Remove the 3 bolts on the strut tower to remove strut. (see picture) (15mm) Once you have removed the bolts, GENTLY lower the jack, guiding the strut down, making sure it doesn’t hit the inside of the wheel well. Now, there is a plastic/rubber lining in the wheel well. The strut may get caught up on it….just maneuver it around until it pops loose. I ended up jiggling it and pushing up on the liner to get it done. Keep lowering the jack until it won’t go down anymore, taking care to have your buddy hold the strut as it’s coming down. (you will hear a POP, that’s the sway bar coming off of the sway bar end…don’t freak. Now, the spring won’t pop out YET. Once the A-arm is all the way down, use a prybar to pop the spring out of the arm. Be careful, use a series of quick tugs and it should come out no problem.

It’s possible for the strut to get hung up on the threads at the top. The first strut I did got bound somehow at the top. I giggled the strut, and it popped out and drop pretty violently. If it looks like the strut is not lowering as you lower the jack, giggle the strut before the jack is all the way down.

spring5

8. Remove the rubber isolators from the top and bottom and place them on the new springs (for the tops, I used zip-ties to keep them in place). Remember which way the pigtails are facing!!!! It will help if you spray some WD40 on the new spring to get the bottom isolator on (snake like sheath). Worked for me.

9. Now, place spring in a-arm (shouldn’t be too bad since the spring is shorter than the stocker). Have a friend hold the strut as you jack the suspension back up. Use one hand (while friend is holding strut) to jack the jack, and the other to guide the sway bar end into the sway bar. Carefully line up the holes of the strut to the tower (you may have to wrestle with the liner again….I found if you pull down on the strut to compress it, it helps). Once you got them lined up, jack it up and bolt in the strut. Don’t worry about the stock strut (C&C) plates, on the newer stangs, they should be riveted in, but since you will be in need of an alignment, I wouldn’t worry about them moving. The alignment shop is gonna move them for you. Bolt the strut back up at the top (15mm : 30 ft-lbs).

spring6

10. Re-install the sway bar bushing and bolt (15mm : 14 ft-lbs), then re-install the tie rod end to the tie rod (19mm : 41 ft-lbs). (don’t forget the cotter pin!)

11. Take the utility knife, and scrape very carefully along the edge of the rotor where the caliper goes. Remove any rust and metal burrs that would scrape the pads. Reinstall the calipers (you may need to press the pads into the calipers to get it to sit right). Once you get it started on the rotor, the rest is easy. Then, line up the caliper bolts on the rear, and bolt ‘em in (15mm : 85 ft-lbs). It helps if you are lying on your back from this one.

12. Bolt the brake hose retainer bolt back into place. (10mm)

13. Recheck to make sure everything is tight and secure. Stand up, stretch, drink a beer (better make that a couple). And go do the same to the other side!

My Dad and I performed this task in 4 hours…learning as we went. If my pictures aren’t helpful enough…look in the Haynes manual…they have great pictures, but I think mine will get you through the hard parts. If you have any questions, e-mail me at [email protected]

It took me about 4 hours as well. [email protected]

You will need to wait 2-3 days for the springs to settle, then go get an alignment. Trust me….you’ll need one.

Good luck!!!!  ~Spreadman

spring7

Categories: Mustang Tech