S197 Ford Mustang Lower Control Arm Install

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Ford Mustang S197 LCA installIf you have wondered how to reduce bushing deflection and have less wheel hop on your late-model Ford Mustang, StangNet.com is proud to present this illustrated technical article demonstrating the installation of a set of J&M rear lower control arms. This write-up gives a real-world overview and interpretation on how to install the lower control arms on a 2005 Ford Mustang GT. StangNet Staff member bigcat takes us on a journey to getting a little more push from the pony’s posterior.

Rear Lower Control Arm Install tools needed:

  • jack
  • jack stands
  • 18mm shallow socket
  • ratchet
  • torque wrench

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 and remove the wheels.

Step 2. Remove the hand brake cable from the rear brake assembly. To do this, simply make sure the hand brake is off, and pull the cable up and then out of the brake assembly. Pull the retaining clip from the cable and remove from the bracket. Next, pull the cable through the lower control arm and position out of the way.

S197 LCA install

S197 LCA install

Step 3. Remove the two bolts that attach the lower control arm. One is located at the front of the arm, at the frame rail. The other is located at the rear, on the axle near the shock mount.

Step 4. Remove the lower control arm from the car, and compare to your new control arms. Notice the offset on the arms. The offset goes toward the rear of the car, pointing inward. This will make the grease fittings point down, allowing for future lubrication. If installed improperly, you will not be able to grease the bushings.

S197 LCA install

Step 5. Use the supplied grease and generously lubricate the bushings, sleeves, and the inside of the bushing housing on the control arm. Install the bushings into the arm. For the rear bushing, the ball portion goes in the middle, and the outer portions go in next. Then slide the metal sleeve into the hole. For the front, install each side, then the sleeve. The front bushing is not designed with a ball portion, only the outer portions. Correct bushing assembly is shown in the picture below.

S197 LCA install

Step 6. Install the grease fittings into the arms by tapping on them. Be sure to tap straight down so the fitting gets installed properly. They are press fit, so once they are tapped into place you are finished.

S197 LCA install

S197 LCA install

Step 7. Select the proper arm for each side and install it. You may need to push the rear end a little to line up the mounting holes with the arms. The offset goes to the rear, pointing inward. If you have it installed properly, the grease fittings will point down. Use new factory hardware, as Ford uses one time use fasteners. Anytime you remove or loosen the suspension fasteners, they should be replaced. The bolts should be torqued to 129 lb.-ft. To properly torque the suspension components, Ford specifies that the car should be at ride height with a loaded suspension.

S197 LCA install

Step 8. Once the bolts are torqued, you can reinstall the hand brake cables. First, insert the cable into the bracket, and slide the retaining clip into position. Then, pull the cable up and through the brake assembly. Position the cable so it properly sits in the brake assembly.
S197 LCA install

Step 9. Reinstall the wheels and lower the car. Take the car for a test drive and listen for any noises. If any noises are detected, check over your work.

The new lower control arms are quiet, and under normal street conditions, ride just like stock. During spirited driving, the rear of the car is more predictable with less bushing deflection. Wheel hop is also greatly reduced with the new control arms.

Categories: Mustang Tech

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