Spring Install Part One

Fox-body Mustang Spring Install

This is the procedure I’ve used to change front springs in a Fox-body Mustang without the use of a spring compressor, which due to packaging of the front end components is often a source of frustration. And unlike other methods that require disconnecting the struts and actually prying the springs in and out, this one lets the spring completely decompress so that no unsafe prying is required. Bear in mind that compressed springs contain a lot of stored energy. I am documenting the steps I took to perform this operation and although I am comfortable performing this task you should know that as with any job if you do it you do so at your own risk.

Required tools:

  • Floor jack
  • A 2nd jack, A bottle jack is preferred (and cheap) but a small floor jack will suffice
  • 2 Jackstands
  • Some blocks of wood or other stand for the bottle jack
  • A roofing bar (preferred) or other crowbar-type thing
  • A good socket wrench is preferred, with the following sockets mandatory, box wrenches a less attractive alternative.
  • 21 mm deep
  • 24 mm deep
  • 15 mm deep
  • Penetrating oil
  • A "persuader" made of a roughly 12-inch length of roughly 2-inch pipe. Slipped over a wrench and used to effectively lengthen it, it is invaluable when it comes to applying real torque to really tight bolts.
  • A small hammer
  • A medium sized flat blade screwdriver

Now on to how I've done the install:

Block the rear wheels, raise the front, and place jackstands in the inboard ends of the K-member, inboard of where the control arms attach. Keep in mind you'll want all available floor space to place the jacks under the inner side of the A-arm so the stands will need to be pretty close together.

Remove the front tires. Undo the lower swaybar end links (15 mm deep).

Spray some penetrating oil on the nuts and bolts that attach the inner end of the A-arm to the K-member.

Loosen the inner a-arm bolts but do not remove the bolts yet. You won't be able to, but don't even try. Breaking these loose will require a lot of torque on the 24mm. The bolt on the other end is 21 mm, put a wrench on that for leverage.

With the nuts loose, place a floor jack at the inside lip of the A-arm, between the mounting ears.

Raise the jack until you can see the tension taken off one of the bolts (probably the rearward one first). Punch the bolt out with a small hammer and jockey with the jack until you can remove the bolt. You may want to insert the screwdriver to keep things roughly centered while you remove the other bolt, just don’t forget to remove the screwdriver before lowering the assembly.

Place the second jack so it will raise the other ear of the arm while you position the rest of the arm with the first jack. The arm will bend a bit if unsupported so you need the second jack for the second bolt.

Notice that the spring is in a perch and can't squirt out. Notice it's in a perch at the top too. Notice that when you lower the jacks, the spring will decompress vertically and that thanks to the strut and the tie rod still being attached it is very unlikely the spring will ever squirt out. But don't have your head in the wheelwell nonetheless and if you're the real nervous type tie it to the K-member with a piece of rope or something. Lower it until the spring is fully decompressed, which will happen well before the jack gets to the bottom of its travel.

With the jack lowered and out of the way, swing the A-arm to the rear and the spring will practically fall out.

Spring Install Part Two



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