S197 Mustang Lowering Spring Installation

Posted 6/3/2013 by Jeff Jimenez

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 new suspension kits by Ford Racing and Jarrod could not wait to get one of them on his 2013 Mustang GT. Jarrod went with the nonadjustable Ford Racing 2005-13 Mustang Strut, Shock And Spring Kit. This kit features Ford Racing Shock And Struts, Ford Racing Progressive Rate Lowering Springs (K Springs 1.5" drop), and Ford Racing GT500 Strut Mounts. Jarrod chose this kit because the "K" springs offer a slightly lower drop versus the kit that uses the Ford Racing Progressive Rate "P" Lowering Springs (1" drop springs).

Installing a set of lowering springs, shocks and struts on a S197 Mustang is easy enough to complete in your driveway with simple handtools. For the most part, which kit you choose will determine how long this install should take you. With just the spring install you are looking at just under 2 hours where as 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 install 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 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 outer most 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 now remove it using the 13mm socket. Set the strut tower bar aside for now. You can also 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 endlink. 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 endlink 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. With the bolts and nuts removed, you can now slowly let down the jack. 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 and you can now 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 the front spring/strut assembly for both sides. 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 make sure you place the dust boot over the strut shaft. Once you have set the spring into place you can now take the new GT500 strut mounts that are included in Ford Racing suspension kit and set them on top of the spring. You'll see that because the FRPP 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 you have the nut turned 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.



NOTE: 2011-2014 Mustangs have a slightly different strut mount compared to the 2005-10 Mustangs. You cannot use a 11-14 strut mount with 05-10 shocks due to some slight differences in the shaft diameters. If you are only installing springs on an 11-13+ 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 you may find your suspension to have the infamous "s197 front suspension pop" after your installation.

With your newly assembled strut/spring assembly, you can now insert the assembly back into the place. Having 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 upper most section. There will be an arrow pointing at the notch. This notched section and arrow will need to facing 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 just 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 upper sway bar mount with 18mm nut.
  • Re-install all brake line retaining hardware.
  • Repeat of 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!

Included with the struts & shocks is new retaining hardware. Part of that hardware consists of camber bolts from the front. Take these with you to your alignment appointment as they may need them to correctly align your car.

Rear Removal & Installation

The rear installation and removal is 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 tension on the shock bolts to ease removal. With these removed, you can now press down on the brake rotor enough for the rear spring to removed by hand. Install the new spring. If you have the spring oriented correctly, you should be able to read the FRPP model number on the spring and the pigtail end of the spring should face the rear of the car. You can now repeat for other side.



To remove the rear shock you will need to pull back the inner trunk liner. 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 what is happening. We had access to an impact gun and this helped back the nut off without the shock shaft spinning. 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 FRPP shock. Tighten the upper shock bolt and replace the trunk liner. Repeat for other side and you can now move back to the underside of the rear. Using the jack to help with the lifting and alignment, re-install the lower shock bolt and nut. Next, re-install the upper sway bar endlink bolt and nut. After ensuring everything is tightened into place, you can now 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
You will need to have your front end alignment corrected after installation of this kit!

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 upper fender - 1.5 Inch Drop
  • Rear- 28 1/4 inches ground to upper fender - 1.375 Inch Drop

Before Picture

After Picture


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