S197 Mustang Lowering Spring Installation

Need help installing lowering springs on your 05-14 S197 Mustang? Check out our tech article to help with your install!

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We recently added a couple of new suspension kits by Ford Performance, and Jarrod could not wait to get one on his 2013 Mustang GT. Jarrod went with the nonadjustable Ford Performance 2005-14 Mustang strut, shock, and spring Kit. This kit features Ford Performance shock and struts, Ford Performance Progressive Rate Lowering Springs (K Springs 1.5" drop), and Ford Performance GT500 strut mounts. Jarrod chose this kit because the "K" springs offer a slightly lower drop versus the kit that uses the Ford Performance Progressive Rate "P" Lowering Springs (1" drop springs).

Installing a set of lowering springs, shocks, and struts on an S197 Mustang is easy enough to complete in your driveway with simple hand tools. For the most part, which kit you choose will determine how long this installation should take you. With just the spring install you are looking at just under 2 hours, whereas with the shocks and struts you need to allow roughly an extra half hour for the rear shock install.

Tools Required:

  • Jack stands
  • Floor jack
  • Wheel chocks
  • Ratchet
  • 21mm deep socket
  • 18mm deep socket
  • 18mm open-end wrench
  • 15mm socket
  • 13mm socket
  • 10mm socket
  • Wheel lug sockets or 4-way
  • Friend/Helper (not required but makes life easier)

Front Removal & Installation

Start the installation by "chocking" off the rear tires and jacking up the front end of the Mustang. You will want to place the jack stands under the front of the car (k-member) for safety, and you will need the jack later during the strut assembly removal. With the wheels removed and front on jack stands, you can now position your jack directly under the outermost part of the front lower control arm and jack it up just until it puts some pressure on the whole assembly.

Now move to your engine bay. If you have a strut tower brace, you can remove it using the 13mm socket. Set the strut tower bar aside for now. You can remove the upper strut thread protector if you still have one on your car.

Next, you will free the brake hose bracket and ABS sensor wire from the strut. You will remove the 10mm brake hose retainer bolt from the back of the strut and carefully pull the plastic push pin of the ABS wire free from the strut assembly.

Now move onto the upper sway bar end link. You will need to use your 18mm deep socket on the nut and the open-end 18mm wrench on the back to keep the bolt from spinning. Remove the nut, push the threaded rod back, and let the sway bar end link fall and hang loose.

Be sure you have placed your jack under the spindle and lifted the control arm just enough to relieve the tension from the strut bolts. You can now loosen the 18mm strut bolts. Fully remove the strut retaining bolts. You can slowly let down the jack with the bolts and nuts removed. This will allow the lower control arm to drop, and the strut/spring assembly will now be hanging by the two upper strut mount bolts. You may want to have a helper hold the strut/spring assembly so that you can remove the two remaining upper strut mount 13mm nuts, and the spring assembly will fall free from the car.

Now is a good time to assemble both sides' front spring/strut assembly. When you look at the new strut assembly, you will notice that the strut is designed for the front spring to sit only one way. Before setting the spring on the strut, place the dust boot over the strut shaft. Once you have set the spring into place, you can take the new GT500 strut mounts included in the Ford Performance suspension kit and set them on top of the spring. You'll see that because the Ford Performance springs are shorter, no spring compressor is required for assembly. With the spring, strut, and strut mount all lined up, you can now hand-tighten the included strut mount nut onto the threaded part of the strut shaft. Once the nut turns a few turns, you can now take an air impact or ratchet with a 21mm socket and tighten the nut down all the way. Repeat for the other side's assembly.

S197 Lowring Springs Install

NOTE: 2011-2014 Mustangs have a slightly different strut mount than the 2005-10 Mustangs. You cannot use an 11-14 strut mount with 05-10 shocks due to slight differences in the shaft diameters. If you only install springs on a 2011-14 Mustang, you can reuse your factory strut mounts with your factory struts. If you are installing just springs on your 05-10 Mustang, it is highly recommended that you replace your factory strut mounts with the GT500 strut mounts. If you do not replace the worn factory strut mounts, your suspension may have the infamous "s197 front suspension pop" after installation.

With your newly assembled strut/spring assembly, you can now insert the assembly back into place. A helper available to align the strut mount bolts in the strut tower can speed up this part. On the GT500 strut mount, you will notice a notched cutout on the uppermost section. There will be an arrow pointing at the notch. This notched section and arrow will need to face away from the motor toward the fender. Once everything is aligned and you push the strut assembly into place, you can hand-tighten two of the 13mm strut tower nuts into place to hold the assembly in place. Once both sides are in, place your Strut Tower Brace back on and install the final two nuts per side.

Now repeat the removal instructions in reverse to install the new assembly.
  • Place jack securely under spindle and raise control arm and spindle to strut assembly.
  • Align spindle and strut assembly. Install both 18mm bolts and nuts.
  • Jack up the full assembly and re-install the upper sway bar mount with an 18mm nut.
  • Re-install all brake line retaining hardware.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Install wheels, lower vehicle, and re-install strut tower bar if you have one.

Front Torque Specs:

  • Upper Strut Mount Nuts - 26 lb-ft
  • Strut to Spindle Bolts - 166 lb-ft
  • Anti-Sway Bar End Link Nuts - 85 lb-ft
You have now completed the front removal and installation!

Recommended Parts

The following parts are recommended for the front of your Mustang to correct the alignment after lowering your 2005-14 S197 Mustang. 

Rear Removal

& Installation
The rear installation and removal are very simple. If you haven't already done it, jack up the rear of the Mustang and support it with jack stands so that the rear suspension hangs loose. Disconnect the upper sway bar end link bolts and lower shock bolts (see pictures below). Place the jack under the axle housing to relieve the shock bolt's tension and ease removal. With these removed, you can now press down on the brake rotor enough for the rear spring to be removed by hand. Install the new spring. If you have the spring oriented correctly, you should be able to read the Ford Performance model number on the spring, and the pigtail end of the spring should face the rear of the car. You can now repeat the same procedure on the other side.

S197 Lowring Springs Install

You must pull back the inner trunk liner to remove the rear shock. With this pulled back, you can now access the upper shock 15mm bolt. When loosening this bolt, you may have the shaft of the shock spin, so if you are loosening the nut and not noticing the nut backing off the shock, this is happening. We had access to an impact gun, which helped back the nut off without spinning the shock shaft. If you don't have access to air tools, we recommend that you have a helper hold the shock and shaft steady from the underside of the car. Remove the factory shock and replace it with the new Ford Performance shock. Tighten the upper shock bolt and replace the trunk liner. Repeat for the other side, and you can move back to the underside of the rear. Re-install the lower shock bolt and nut using the jack to help with the lifting and alignment. Next, re-install the upper sway bar end link bolt and nut. After ensuring everything is tightened, you can install the wheels and lower the car back down.

Rear Torque Specs:

  • Shock lower bolts - 85 lb-ft
  • Shock upper nuts - 30lb-ft
  • Anti-Sway Bar End Link Bolts - 85 lb-ft

Required Parts - Adjustable Panhard Bar 

When lowering a 2005-14 Mustang, you will experience a shift in the rear axle due to the 3-link suspension setup. Once the Mustang has been lowered, the geometry of the suspension pushes your Mustang's axle out to one side. Adding a Mustang panhard bar as a lateral suspension link between the rear axle and the Mustang chassis can correct this issue. The simple design precisely controls the side-to-side location of the axle to eliminate rear steer. The unstable and unpredictable feeling typically associated with the Mustang 3-link suspension is gone, making your car safer and easier to drive! Installing an adjustable panhard bar is required when lowering your 2005-2014 Mustang! Shop S197 panhard bars to get your rear axle recentered! 

Before Measurements:

  • Front - 29 1/2 inches ground to upper fender
  • Rear- 29 5/8 inches ground to upper fender

After Measurements:

(numbers may change after suspension settles)
  • Front - 27 5/8 inches ground to the upper fender - 1.5 Inch Drop
  • Rear- 28 1/4 inches ground to the upper fender - 1.375 Inch Drop

Before Picture

S197 Lowring Springs Install

After Picture

S197 Lowring Springs Install

About the Video

Mustang Lowering Spring Installation - SVE (2005-2014 S197)

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Published on 2013-06-03
Need help installing lowering springs on your 05-14 Mustang? Follow along in this video as Jmac shows you how to lower your S197 Mustang. The installation process is the same for all other lowering springs from popular brands such as Eibach, Ford Performance, H&R, and more.