S197 2005 Mustang GT Suspension Upgrade - The Low Life
Fabian sets a new rear spring...
Fabian sets a new rear spring in place. Since Eibach's springs are shorter than the factory coils, it's important to make sure each spring is seated squarely in the spring perches on the rearend housing and chassis.
Rear shocks follow the springs....
Rear shocks follow the springs. Eibach supplies new bushings and cups for both shocks, so the same original incidentals can be discarded.
Shock placement is easier...
Shock placement is easier if done by two people. The shocks' bodies have a tendency to spin when the upper nut is tightened, so having a second set of hands to hang onto the tube is strongly advised.
The new chrome-moly, adjustable...
The new chrome-moly, adjustable Panhard bar that Fabian is adjusting goes by the fancy name of Eibach Pro-Alignment Kit (PN 5.72045K; $165.83 MSRP). Fabian initially adjusts the length of the bar to match that of the OEM piece, and then bolts it in place. Final adjustments will be made when the 'Stang goes to the alignment rack.
"The stock bar looks like...
"The stock bar looks like it came off a Honda," says Fabian, comparing the 'Stang's original sway bar (top) and the replacement bar from Eibach. Although the new bar is non-adjustable, its thicker diameter will help keep the back of Javi's Pony firmly planted and square in the corners.
At first look, the endlinks...
At first look, the endlinks for the new antiroll bar could be mistaken as connecting rods for a small engine. The billet links and their urethane bushings dwarf the stock components. These rods easily support the new sway bar under the forces and side loads of aggressive driving.
Rear components in Eibach's...
Rear components in Eibach's Pro-System Plus directly replace the factory pieces. There is no need to modify parts or alter the Mustang for proper fitment.
Props to Brad Taylor of Latemodel...
Props to Brad Taylor of Latemodel Restoration Supply for suggesting SVE's chrome 10th Anniversary Mustang Cobra wheels for the makeover. These wheels are badass, and we're pretty sure they're going to look sharp on Javi's Pony when it's finally sitting on all fours. We're stepping diameter up by an inch for this effort (from 17 to 18 inches), and creating the street-car version of a big 'n' littles effect by staggering the front-to-rear tire sizes.
Replacing tires as part of...
Replacing tires as part of this project car was a good call, as Javi's original P235/55R17 rubber is clearly down to the wear bars. We measured tread depth for the factory Goodyears at 2/32 inch (minimum spec for all street tires is 4/32 inch). Yes, this rubber's days definitely are numbered.
For the front, General Tire's...
For the front, General Tire's 245/40ZR18 Exclaim Ultimate High Performance tires are being mounted on 18x9-inch (36mm offset) SVE 10th Anniversary Mustang Cobra wheels (PN SVE-1007CAC; $189.99). On the back, General's 275/40ZR18 UHPs will sit on 18x10-inch (43mm offset) versions of the same wheel (PN SVE-1007CBC; $199.99).
Once all of the tires are...
Once all of the tires are mounted, Victor uses a high-speed spin balancer to balance each wheel.
Check out the tread pattern...
Check out the tread pattern on General's Exclaim UHP (right). The new double-V, directional-tread tire features wide, solid tread blocks in the shoulder area for responsive handling in dry conditions. (Not that it rains in SoCal, but the Exclaim UHP's tread pattern also enhances wet performance, as well.)
At the frontside, Fabian starts...
At the frontside, Fabian starts by unbolting the OEM antiroll-bar links from the struts, moving brake lines aside, and then removing the strut/spring assembly. There are pieces from this unit (such as rubber spring isolators and antiroll-bar links) that must be reused with the Eibach equipment, so don't be too quick to throw everything away once it's removed.
Assembling the strut/spring...
Assembling the strut/spring package requires using a heavy-duty spring compressor, which is another reason why it's better to consider assigning this job to an experienced shop. Eibach includes new bumpstops and boots for both its front and rear spring sets, which must be set in place before installing the spring.
Maximum Motorsports caster/camber...
Maximum Motorsports caster/camber plates (PN MM5CC-1; $337) serve as the new covers for our strut/spring combination. These pieces are essential for Mustang lowering jobs, especially S197s, as they facilitate the side-to-side/front-to-back (caster and camber) front-wheel adjustments that are critical for correct wheel alignment and ensure the new Generals wear properly.
A second set of hands is also...
A second set of hands is also helpful for installing front struts. Maximum's caster/camber plates fit directly in the stock mounting location, so there is no need to drill new holes in the strut tower to install the struts.
When a Mustang is raised on...
When a Mustang is raised on a hoist, removing the front sway bar is a piece of cake.
This photo details the difference...
This photo details the difference between the factory and Eibach front sway bars. Eibach's sway bar features three adjustment settings: stock, midrange, and firm tension. Although urethane bushings and brackets also are included with the bar, the stock links must be reused.
We're tying the antiroll bar...
We're tying the antiroll bar to the front struts with the links positioned in the forward holes...
...which are the firm/aggressive...
...which are the firm/aggressive settings. Bodyroll will be practically nil, which is exactly what we want.
The spring change did exactly...
The spring change did exactly what we hoped it would. Javi's Mustang dropped to 26 3/4 inches in the front, and 27 7/8 inches at the rear with Eibach's Pro-Kit springs.
Measurements were taken after...
Measurements were taken after driving the car on a quick road test immediately after installing the wheels. The suspension will come down even more after a few miles of driving and sufficient settling time.
Big 'n' littles for street-driven...
Big 'n' littles for street-driven (sometimes aggressively) S197s look like this. The staggered height of the front and rear tires looks cool. Also, since we haven't changed the tires' width, steering and handling characteristics are not compromised in any way.
A wheel alignment must be...
A wheel alignment must be done whenever you lower a 'Stang. A thrust (front wheel) alignment is required on the GT because rear-wheel adjustment can only be made from side to side. Fabian puts turns in the Panhard bar and takes measurements at both sides until the rear wheels are perfectly positioned under the car.
Once the rearend is squared,...
Once the rearend is squared, Fabian aligns the front wheels, dialing in spot-on positive 7 degrees of caster (spec for S197s), and negative 1 degree of camber. The factory calls for minus 3/4 degrees of camber, but on lowered Mustangs the additional quarter of a degree is OK.
This is how it should be done...
This is how it should be done from the factory-low and mean!
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