Jim Smart
February 14, 2011

The '05-'11 S197Mustang is the best ever produced in this legendary nameplate's 46-year history. Aside from good looks and a fun-to-drive demeanor, the S197 is also the easiest to work on, even with its high-tech architecture. The exhaust system can be changed out in your home garage. Engine modifications like throttle bodies and cold air induction can be performed without high-tech diagnostic equipment. Now we've learned via Marlon Mitchell of Marlo's Frame & Alignment/Fly Ford Racing that suspension upgrades are just as easy and can also be performed in your garage as long as you have the front end alignment checked afterward.

For one thing, there's not much to a front-end alignment aside from toe adjustment on the new Mustangs. Camber and caster adjustments are pretty much a thing of the past with the S197, although it can be accomplished via the Eibach camber adjustment bolts available from Late Model Restoration Supply (#EIB-581260K). Some lowering kits mandate this camber adjustment kit. For the most part, front-end alignment, aside from toe, doesn't require adjustment.

However, the S197 Mustangs sit high from the factory and can also stand an improvement in handling. This is where Summit Racing Equipment and Ford Racing Performance Parts can help with a variety of options. We're going to install the Ford Racing M-5300-K spring kit from Summit Racing Equipment on a '10 V-6 Mustang coupe to both lower ride height and improve handling. There are assorted handling options from Summit aside from this Ford Racing spring kit. The Handling Pack from Ford Racing costs more, but it includes the entire handling package along with ease of installation because struts and springs are already assembled. Replacing a strut assembly is easy and can be performed in your home garage.

When replacing springs, it is advisable to replace the M-18183-A upper strut mount and M-5570-A jounce bumper kit, along with the M-18000-A shock and strut kit. It is also advisable to get the M-5490-A sway bar kit as well. This makes your suspension upgrade complete and cohesive. Another issue to keep in mind is fasteners. Ford suggests replacement of some fasteners whenever you replace suspension components. A front-end alignment is suggested.

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