In this article, LMR covers how to install the front lower control arms for all 2011-2014 S197 Mustangs. Replacement of the front lower control arms is needed from time to time. This can include normal wear and tear and even damage from a front-end collision. Before installation of the new arm, we would like to point out the heat shield. If your factory arms were equipped with this, you would want to transfer this over. If your stock arm isn’t equipped with this, it is in your best interest to upgrade your control arms at this time. Please check out our related products for this install at the end of the article to find these upgrades.
As you can see in the article, the factory arms did not come with the heat shields, and the rear bushing is extremely close to the exhaust. Because of its location to the exhaust, the heat over time can cause premature wear and deterioration of the rear bushing. Before we get started with the install, check out our step-by-step removal guide for the stock control arms if needed. Today in the shop, we will be working on Jay's 2012 GT500. This car is nearing 200,000 miles, so it is past due to upgrade and inspect core suspension components. Overall this one should take you roughly 1 hour per side to complete, depending on your skill set.
- Lift or a jack and a set of jack stands
- Complete socket set
- 3/8" or 1/2" impact
- Breaker bar
- Dead blow hammer
- Assorted pry bars
2011-14 Mustang Front Lower Control Arm Installation Steps
- We will start with the driver side control arm on a clean work surface, take the heat shield and align it up to the tabs on the arm. Using either the stock or new hardware, you will need to cut the threads into the new arm. These will be side specific and are clearly marked "LEFT HAND" and "RIGHT HAND" on the part. Take your time here and make sure these go straight and fully seat them into the arm; the bolts will cut their threads into the tabs.
- Take a few minutes to clean off any old thread locker from the bolts. Apply new blue thread locker before reinstallation.
- Once this is complete, we can set the new arm into the K-member on our vehicle supported by the lift. Having a friend help pull up on the rotor while you set this in place will help out.
- Loosely thread the rear bolts. For the front, it may take a few hits of a dead blow hammer to tap this into the K-member.
- Once aligned, move the tie rod again to place the bolt into the hole.
- Position the spindle and reinstall the pinch bolt and nut.
- As we did in the removal article, the steering wheel will need to be turned left or right to position your tie rod accordingly to gain access to your forward bolt. Since we are working on the drive side, we turned the wheel to the left to re-center the tie rod.
- Reinstall the outer tie rod on the spindle and tighten this down to 59 lb/ft.
- Reinstall the outer tie rod boot and install the clamp.
- Reinstall both front wheels.
- To torque your new arms you will need to have your vehicle on a drive on lift or have the weight of the car on the ground to torque all of your hardware.
- Starting on the forward-facing bolt, tighten this one to 151 lb/ft.
- Torque the rear bolts to 136 lb/ft.
- Tighten the pinch bolt and nut to 85 lb/ft.
- Take this time to run the vehicle by a local alignment shop. Since we removed and replaced this many components, it is in your best interest to do this. After the alignment, test drive the vehicle, and you are all done!
We hope that this article has helped you have a better understanding of how to replace the front lower control arms of your S197 Mustang.
As always, make sure to keep it here with the Real Mustang Enthusiasts at LMR.com.