S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

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S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring InstallIf you have been thinking about lowering and sporting-up your late-model Ford Mustang, we here at StangNet.com are proud to present this illustrated technical article demonstrating the installation of some lowering springs from Vogtland. This write-up gives a real-world overview and interpretation on how to install the springs on a 2005 Ford Mustang GT. StangNet Staff member bigcat takes us on this journey to a lower ride with a crisper suspension response. Enjoy!

If you have been thinking about lowering and sporting-up your late-model Ford Mustang, we here at StangNet.com are proud to present this illustrated technical article demonstrating the installation of some lowering springs from Vogtland. This write-up gives a real-world overview and interpretation on how to install the springs on a 2005 Ford Mustang GT. StangNet Staff member bigcat takes us on this journey to a lower ride with a crisper suspension response. Enjoy!

Vogtland S197 Lowering Spring Install tools needed: jack, jack stands, sockets, ratchets, torque wrench, strut spring compressor.

Step 1. Raise the vehicle to a comfortable working height so the suspension hangs freely. Properly support the vehicle so you can safely work under it.

Step 2. Remove wheels. The stock lug nuts are a 13/16” standard nut. If equipped, use the locking lug key to remove the wheel lock. After the wheel is removed, check to see if the rotor retaining clips are still present. If so, this is a good opportunity to remove them.

Simply pry or cut them off and discard. They are installed to hold the rotor on the car during assembly. If you use aftermarket wheels, they can cause vibrations and other annoying steering problems. The stock wheels have a recess machined into them to accommodate these clips, while most aftermarket wheels do not. This makes the aftermarket wheel not sit flush to the rotor.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 3. I chose to start with the rear, as no special tools or steps are required. Remove the brake line bolt found in front of the axle, attached to the inner wheelhouse using a 10 mm socket. See the picture below for exact location.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 4. Remove the lower shock bolt and flag nut, as shown in the next picture, using an 18mm socket.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 5. If replacing the rear panhard bar, remove the panhard bar plastic cover along with the bolts and flag nuts for each side. On the passenger side, you may need to loosen the bolt for the upper panhard support brace to allow the panhard bar to be removed. This allows the bracket to slightly spread apart, loosening the tension on the bushings. The panhard bar bolts are also 18mm.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 6. Although I did not perform this step, it may be easier if you disconnect the rear sway bar to allow the axle to move more freely.

Step 7. Pull down on the axle housing while pushing up on the spring. It may be easier if you use your body weight to pull on the axle, while pushing the spring up and out. You need to lift the spring, so it will clear the lower spring perch. Pull the spring out. Below are two different angles of the spring perch.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 8. Make sure the rubber coil spring isolator is still on the axle spring perch. Using the same method as removal, install the new springs into the perch. It is easier to put the top of the spring in first, and then try the bottom. Make sure you clear the upper spring perch, as shown in the pictures below.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 9. Repeat Steps 3-8 for the opposite side. Here is a picture of the passenger side panhard bar mount. The lower bolt is for the panhard bar, and the upper is for the support brace.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 10. If replacing the panhard bar with an adjustable bar, set the length of the new bar to stock length. Hand tighten the jamb nuts. Reinstall the panhard bar.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 11. Reinstall the shock and brake line bolts. Torque them to the factory specs. Step 12. Moving to the front, remove the brake line bolt located at the lower inboard of the strut, using a 10mm socket. Remove the nut for the swap bar stabilizer link, using a 18mm socket. This is located just below the spring. Also, unclip the wiring from the lower rear of the strut. It is just a Christmas tree style clip and pulls straight out.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 13. If using a strut tower brace (STB), you will need to remove it. Reinstall the nuts to hold the strut assembly in place temporarily. The upper strut nuts are 13mm.

Step 14. Remove the 2 lower 18mm strut bolts. Be sure to have a support ready for the rotor/hub assembly. Once you remove the strut bolts, there is nothing to hold the knuckle up. You do not want to let it hang freely on the lower ball joint. This could cause damage to your suspension parts. I used a jack stand and put it under a lug stud, as seen in the pictures.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 15. While holding the strut assembly, remove the upper strut nuts, and remove strut assembly from the strut tower. On top of the strut, there is an arrow and a notch. Note how it pointed when removed, and make sure you reinstall in the same position.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 16. Install the spring compressors on the coils of the spring as close to the top and bottom as you can. This allows the spring top compress enough to remove the spring. If you put the compressor in the middle of the springs, you wont be able to compress the spring enough to relieve the tension. They should be installed on opposite sides of the spring, to evenly compress the spring. Failure to do this can cause the spring to come out of the tool, causing injury or damage.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 17. With the spring compressed, remove the upper nut, the upper mounting flange, and the dust cover. Then pull out the compressed spring and relieve the tension evenly. Compare the new springs to the old and determine the correct orientation. Remove the lower rubber protector from the old spring, clean them off and transfer them to the new spring.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 18. Compress the new spring, making sure you have enough room to remove the tool after you install it on the strut. If you are too wide, you wont be able to remove the tool from the strut assembly. Once the spring is compressed, install it on the strut, along with the dust shield and upper mounting flange. Tighten the upper nut. You will most likely need to use a wrench on the nut, and also hold the stud to keep it from spinning while you tighten the nut. Make sure you installed the upper mounting flange the same way it came out. Check the arrow and the notch.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Step 19. Install the strut assembly into strut tower and install the upper nuts inside the engine compartment to hold it in place while you work below.

Step 20. If you were prepared, then you already purchased new camber adjusting bolts. I used new 14mm bolts from Ingalls, part number 35420, available from Summit Racing. Other alternatives are available. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer. My bolts are designed to go into the upper bolt location, if using one bolt. This allows +/- 2 degrees of adjustment. If more adjustment is needed, you can install another set of camber bolts in the lower bolt location as well, for a total of +/- 4 degrees of camber adjustment. The torque values may differ from factory bolts, so be sure to follow the instructions included with your bolts.

Step 21. Reinstall the stabilizer link and nut, the brake line bolt, and clip the wiring into place. Torque the fasteners to the factory specs. Don’t forget to torque the upper strut mounting nuts in the engine compartment as well. Remember, torque values should be read at ride height, with a loaded suspension.

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

Repeat steps 12-21 for the remaining side. Reinstall the wheels and check over your work. Measure the rear end to be sure it is centered. Measuring from the edge of the wheel lip to the edge of the rim works well. Adjust the panhard bar as necessary, and fully tighten the jam nuts. Believe it or not, you can adjust the panhard bar with the tires on the ground. Test drive and listen for abnormal sounds. Clunks are usually loose bolts, and pops are usually spring related issues. Perform an alignment before putting many miles on your car after it is lowered. Otherwise, you can prematurely wear out the tires and cause drivability issues.

NOTE: All suspension components should be loaded, and at ride height during the torque procedure. Factory torque specs (lb-ft, unless otherwise noted):

FRONT:

Brake caliper bracket bolts 98

Dust shield bolts 15

Wheel spindle pinch nut 76

Lower control arm forward bolt 129

Lower control arm rearward nuts 129

Heat shield bolts 89 lb-in

Brake line bracket bolt 15

Strut upper nut 46

Strut-to-spindle bolts 148

Strut-to-body nuts 26

Wheel hub retainer nut 221

Stabilizer bar bracket nuts 52

Stabilizer bar link nuts 85

Anti-lock brake sensor bolt 53 lb-in

Outer tie-rod end nuts 59

Steering gear mounting bolts 85

REAR:

Rear shock absorber upper nut 30

Rear shock absorber lower bolt 85

Lower arm-to-body bolt 129

Brake caliper anchor plate bolts 76

Lower arm-to-axle bolt 129

Panhard rod-to-body mount bolt 129

Panhard rod-to-axle bolt 129

Lateral stiffener bar-to-body mount nut 85

Lateral stiffener bar-to-body bolts 46

Stabilizer bar bracket nuts 52

Stabilizer bar link bolts 85

Parking brake cable bracket-to-lower arm 20

Upper control arm front bolt 129

Upper control arm rear bolts 85

Upper control arm bushing nut 129

Fuel tank strap bolt 38

Brake hose bracket bolt 15

Categories: Mustang Tech

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3 Responses to S197 Ford Mustang Lowering Spring Install

  1. StanginPerformance 05/16/2010 at 11:58 pm #

    GREAT Write Up

  2. Rob D 03/07/2011 at 11:00 am #

    simply awesome…thank you.

  3. 06GT 01/01/2012 at 11:57 pm #

    I had mine replaced but the mechanic who did it let the knuckle and brake hanging freely so do you think damage was done to the ball joint or any other suspension parts?