(approx) 4 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
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Hey, guys. Adam here with americanmuscle.com, and today we're taking a closer look at and installing the SR Performance Complete Rear Control Arm Kit in black, available for the '79 to '04 Mustang, excluding the Cobra models with the IRS. You should be checking this out for your solid rear axle SN95 or Fox Body if you're looking to upgrade your rear, lower and upper control arms all in one shot without picking them up separately, to improve your wheel hop, rear end traction, and your cornering abilities.Now, upgrading your rear, lower and upper control arms is going to reduce that wheel hop by giving you a sturdier, more solid rear end, thanks to an upgraded control arm, lower and upper, as well as upgraded bushings. Now, the bushings here are gonna be a lot firmer and more stiff than your factory soft rubber. This polyurethane bushing here is gonna allow for less of that flex, keeping your wheels planted at the ground among turns and giving you better traction and less wheel hop, like I said. Now these, again, are painted in black. They're a tubular steel as opposed to the box steel you'd find in some of the other options in the category. No matter which way you go, you're still gonna get an upgrade over the factory stamped steel control arms. These are overall just gonna improve that traction no matter which way you go. The SR Performance one, however, the complete rear is going to be a much more affordable option. Some of the other options out there that are complete will run you 300 or even more for some of the more premium options, but if you're looking to save money at the bank, getting these for right around 120 bucks all in one kit is gonna be your best option.Now, of course, some of the more premium options do offer some of the extra bells and whistles like a more upgraded bushing here, but this one being a budget-friendly option is a great entry level to the category.Now, given that these are powder coated in black they are gonna be a lot more rust and corrosion resistant, but if you're not feeling the black they're available in red, too, to stand out a little more at the rear end. Now, of course, that's strictly based on appearance. Black one's gonna blend in a little more. Red just sticks out a little.Now, when it comes to installing these, guys, all of the new hardware is included in the kit. You're not reusing any of the factory stuff here. All of the bushings do come with lubricant to make sure that you can easily install them along with the bolt sleeve that'll go through as well. So install, I'm gonna give two out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. It is gonna be a little bit more of a difficult install for the beginner guys but you can tackle it in the driveway at home I'd say with about four hours from start to finish. What you do on one side you're just gonna repeat on the other, and we'll talk a little bit more about that in just a little bit.Now, for that install I'd recommend having a floor jack and a couple of jack stands on deck to make sure that you could easily install these in the driveway. Other than that, simple hand tools are gonna be required. I'm gonna take you through every single step of the process. We're gonna start with the lower, then work on our upper. So what do you say we get started?Tools used in this install include a cordless impact, an air impact gun, half inch and 3/8 ratchets, variety of extensions and swivel sockets. For the 3/8 ratchet, we use a 13, 15, short and deep 18, 19, and 21-millimeter sockets. For the half inch we used 18, 19, 21, 22 and 13/16 sockets. Also needed would be an 18, 19, 20, and 13/16 wrenches. Recommended would be a breaker bar, a variety of pry bars, a cutting tool, eye protection, WD-40 or something similar, a microfiber, hammer, and needle nose pliers, as well as a flathead screwdriver.First step here, guys, of course. You wanna get your wheels out of the way. We're gonna be showing you guys how to do this install here on our driver's side but know that it all applies to both sides. You wanna get your wheels up and out of the way and have your car supported on jack stands. We've got ours on our lift. I'm gonna get these [inaudible 00:03:37] off and take our wheel off.Next step here. You wanna go to your lower control arm. What we're gonna do is disconnect this brake line here from this bracket tab just because when we start to lower this down, we don't wanna put too much pressure on this. So we wanna give it a little bit more slack. Repeat that for the other side as well.Next step here, guys. We're actually gonna put a pole jack and support our rear differential. Now, this is a good opportunity for the guys who are working on the floor to use a hydraulic jack. You wanna make sure you're taking some of the excess pressure off of this guy. Because we're on a lift, we're gonna use the pole jack.The first thing we're gonna focus on here between the upper and lower control arms is our lower control arm where our spring is seated. Now in order to get that off, we do have to remove our sway bar from both sides. As you can see, they're bolted together using two 13 millimeter bolts. Just grab your socket, get those off. And the second one is right through the tab where we just disconnected the brake line. All right. Repeat that on the other side and we'll be able to remove it.All right. Now we're gonna do the same thing here on our passenger side but, of course, as you know, once we disconnect this, the sway bar's gonna come down so make sure you have a hand here to support it. This one's being a little stubborn so we just gotta break her loose. As you can see, it starts to drop down. I'm gonna switch over to my impact gun and finish the job. From here, guys, lower your sway bar down and set it aside.At this point, guys, in order to take some of the extra tension off of the bolts on our lower control arm on our driver's side, I'm actually gonna move our pole jack from the diff to right on the axle closer toward that lower control arm, somewhere around here. Now when you do this, you do wanna leave room to take the bolt out. So you don't wanna put this too close to this bolt. Otherwise it won't be able to come out that way. So I'm gonna put it right about in the middle, giving that enough room.This will make it a little bit easier to decompress that spring and remove it. At this point, I'm gonna remove our lower shock bolt. What this is gonna allow us to do is give us the articulation up and down in order to lower this down and remove our spring. So let's put the 15-millimeter socket on the bolt head, 18-millimeter wrench on the nut. We're gonna back this guy off.All right, with that up and out of the way, our shock is free. We can lower this guy down and relieve the tension off of our spring. Be very careful when doing this because it is under a lot of tension. You don't want it to shoot out. You don't wanna do it too quickly. And as you can see, it's starting to lower down.Next step, we're gonna remove the 15-millimeter bolt holding on the bottom portion of our quad shock. That's sort of maxing out every time we try to lower this down low enough. So I'm gonna disconnect that. We should be able to lower the axle far enough to remove our spring, which would then allow us to remove our lower control arm. So it's a lot of removing this and then that and then this and then that. So let's get that bolt out of the way and we'll be able to move forward.When you're doing this you still wanna make sure you have that pole jack or that floor jack supporting the axle weight. Definitely have something there before you disconnect it. All right, so we've got our brake line off the bracket. We disconnected and unbolted the bottom of our shock and we unbolted our quad shock. You wanna repeat that one the other side. Like I said earlier, repeating these simultaneously will make life a lot easier, especially if you're replacing all of your rear control arms.So at this point, we're gonna lower down our jacks on both sides to evenly bring down that rear axle. That way we can remove our springs and then finally unbolt our lower control arm. All right, at this point we're gonna pull down on our driver's side and push our spring out of position. It may be a little tight but you wanna make sure it's pretty loose, at which point it is for us. We're just gonna work this guy out. It may fight you a little bit, but once you get your spring out on your driver's side you, of course, just wanna repeat for the other side.All right, next step, we can actually unbolt our lower control arm here on the driver's side. So we're gonna grab a 13/16 wrench to hold our nut side here for this bottom bolt connecting it to the axle and we're gonna use an 18-millimeter socket on the bolt head. I've got my air gun here. Let's get this guy off.All right, now we may need to adjust this pole jack in order to get this tension off of this bolt. Looks like we can back this guy out now. I'm gonna keep my hand here because it is gonna wanna swing down. And there you go. Now we can focus on that top bolt.All right, so next step is gonna be the top bolt holding on the top of our lower control arm to the body of the vehicle. Now, this nut on the bolt here is going to be a 21-millimeter. The bolt head on the opposite side is a little more difficult to see and it's right in front of this muffler, that's gonna be an 18-millimeter bolt head. So I've got my ratchet here. I'm gonna put that guy up into this hole to hold the bolt head. I know you guys can't see this but it's literally the other side of that. Now I'm gonna take a 21-millimeter socket. I'm gonna put it on a swivel and feed it up here for my impact gun, and set it over top. I find this to be one of the easier methods. All right, now we can work this guy off.All right, so let's grab a pry bar and break that guy loose. Now as you can see, the bolt was backing up into the muffler so what we're going to do is use a pry bar here. From there drop your lower control arm. There you go. Set it aside.Now before we jump into things, guys, I wanna quickly take you through some of the similarities and differences between our factory components and our SR Performance black upper and lower control arms. On the table with me I have our driver's side components, driver's side lower and driver's side upper next to the SR lower and SR upper. Now there are three big things I wanna talk about here. One is being construction, two, the bushings and, three, general appearance. So first and foremost, let's knock off the appearance stuff because it is the most obvious.The factory components are that stamp steel which has just a very plain steel construction look. Not very attractive, isn't really the most rust and corrosion-resistant. The SR Performance option here has a gloss black powder coated finish, which is not only gonna look a lot better underneath the car, but it's also gonna be a lot more corrosion and rust-resistant. Secondly, guys, the construction here, your factory stamp steel isn't known to be the most flex-resistant, it's not the stiffest, it's not really gonna improve handling at the rear. It's a very basic traditional stock component. Your SR Performance option is a tubular DOM steel, which is a lot stronger and more durable than your factory components. And compared to some of the other aftermarket boxed steel it is still on that playing field of a solid upgrade over the factory components.One thing I will say as far as similarities go with construction is these are a fixed, meaning they are non-adjustable control arms. If you were looking for an adjustable option to give you a little bit more play in driving application like if you wanna adjust it for road course racing versus daily driving, there are options available in the category for you, but this fixed option is one of the more basic ones, typically for guys just daily driving or using their vehicle as a weekend warrior.Switching over to the SR Performance option here. You're getting the stiffer polyurethane bushings, which allow for less flex and movement, improving wheel hop, and rear end handling, as well as rear end traction. So overall this kit is a budget-friendly option falling at the entry level side of the spectrum but it is gonna be a solid upgrade over your factory components. It may not have all the bells and whistles as some of the premium options out there, upgraded bushings, so on and so forth, but again being easier on your wallet, it is still gonna have a lot of impact on your daily driven Mustang.All right, so at this point we're gonna prep our new lower control arm from SR Performance to be installed on our vehicle. Now as you see on the table with me I have a block of wood and a hammer. That's gonna help us put into place our bushings. Now what we wanna do with our bushings is basically take the lubricant included in the kit. We're gonna lubricate around the exterior of the bushing and the interior of the seat inside of the control arm. So inside of here, and we're also gonna do that for both, and they're basically gonna sandwich in like that. And the bolt sleeve is gonna go between in the hole. So there's a lot of lubrication we're gonna have to do here, so grab latex gloves if you have them. It's gonna make things a little bit cleaner for you. We're gonna open this guy up and we're going to lubricate the bushings.So basically I'm gonna take a little bit of that lubrication. I'm gonna wipe that guy all around one of our bushings. Now, as you know, in the kit, there are smaller bushings, four of them, and then the rest are larger. The smaller bushings are for the upper control arm. So make sure you're using one of the largest guys for our lower. All right, so we've got that taken care of here. I'm gonna hit that. Do the same thing for the other one.All right, this is also gonna make the install a lot easier. So the bushings we have lubricated. Now I'm gonna take some of that lubrication and go to the inside here. All right. I'm gonna do the same thing on the other end. All right, and as you know, each side is gonna get two bushings. So grab two more so you can do the other side.Also, what we're gonna do is take the bolts and, of course, I'm gonna grab that sleeve. I'm actually gonna lubricate the exterior of the sleeve. This is gonna help us slide these into the bushings. So what you can do also is run it inside the bushings as well. You just wanna make the install easy as possible on yourself, and this is also gonna reduce some of that friction that can tear apart bushings. Perfect.Now what we can do is start for the install. So we're gonna take our block of wood, and this is gonna help us hammer. Now we're gonna have to hammer these bushings into place but what you don't wanna do, you don't wanna hammer directly on the bushing. That can start deteriorating the bushings as well. Don't hammer directly on the bushing. Use a block of wood. So we're gonna take this guy, we're gonna insert it into one side.Seat that guy all the way down. On the other side we're gonna take that sleeve and put it through. Push that guy all the way down to the end. Take another bushing. You're gonna insert that over. Now this is where it might get a little harder, so we're gonna grab a block of wood and put it on top and hammer this guy in. Just like that. As you can see, the bushing is seated all the way and that metal sleeve is all the way through. That's kinda got our bolt all the way through as well. Repeat this on the opposite side.Now that we have both sides taken care of in our lower control arm, you can repeat this exact process on the other one. And then what I recommend doing is taking a microfiber or something similar to clean off the lower control arm because we did touch a lot of that lubricant. We don't want that all over the control arm. So grab that, maybe some WD-40 or something similar to help clean it off.All right, now before we install that lower control arm here on our driver's side I'm gonna recommend just cleaning up the areas where the factory bushing is connected just to make sure we're getting rid of any of the extra residue or extra, you know, stickiness from the polyurethane. So just using some WD and as you can see, it pulled a little bit of that surface. Do the same thing on the axle.Once you have that cleaned up here, guys, let's go get our lower control arm. All right, so at this point I'm gonna pull up our lower control arm, and as you can see, the spring seat is offset to one side. You, of course, want that closer to the axle itself. Don't have it flipped the other way. So I'm actually gonna start by putting the bolt through the top end here just because our bottom looks like it's gonna require a pry bar and a little bit more effort. So I'm gonna put this guy up through this gap and align it to our holes. All right, so I'm gonna take the bolt included in the kit, one of the larger ones, and I'm gonna put this through the bolt hole. Now if you remember, we did have to pry away this muffler to get our bolt out. Same case going back in. So I've got this guy stuck up in there so it ain't moving. So what I'm gonna do now is just pry this guy back in order to seat our bolt. That one goes through. Now we can work on our nut.Right, so here on the opposite end you can see, just kinda wiggle to get it to line up and push all the way through. Now on this end I know it's a tight squeeze, but grab that open washer and get it on over that bolt, and then nylon locknut as well. We're just putting this guy on by hand right now. We are not tightening it down. Get the other side in by the axle, and then we'll come back and tighten it.Right, so now we're gonna swing this guy up. And again, grab a pry bar and work it back in. Now this might be a game of up and down just to get it to line up, but once you pry it upward, pry it down, and you'll actually get those bolt holes to line up. All right, so now we're bringing it back down. You can see it's starting to line up there. Let's grab our bolt and put it through. Now with that in place you can still use this pry bar to make sure that the holes are lined up properly. It looks like ours are looking pretty good. I'm gonna put the bolt in through the inside going out. If we go the other way, we can do that. It's just gonna make it harder to put an impact gun here because of the brake assembly. So we'll put the bolt on this side. And again, you might have to wiggle straight through. Now let's grab the washer and the locknut for the other side.All right, so next up we're gonna put our washer here. Obviously, it's a lot easier to get to this bottom one. Put our nylon locknut there. At this point, guys, we're not gonna tighten down the upper and lower bolts just yet. If you tighten down these bolts all the way and torque them down before putting the load of the vehicle back up, you're going to start contorting those bushings more than you want to and that's how they start deteriorating ahead of time. You wanna tighten them down and torque them down while there's some load on the vehicle. Now we're not gonna tighten them down on the ground. What we're actually gonna do is get everything else assembled, then jack this guy all the way up where we can, putting a little bit more load down, then we'll torque everything back down.All right, next step. We're gonna put our spring back in place. Now I'm gonna grab our factory bottom isolator and pop that guy on the bottom seat here on our lower control arm. Also going to take the top isolator and sit it on the top of the pigtails on our spring. So now what we can do is start seating this guy in, and it looks like we're gonna have to pull down on our axle, lower down the pole jack here just to give us enough room to work with.Next step, we can start lifting our pole jack, jacking this guy up to compress our spring and line up the bottom of our shock to the mounting bracket here. Once we have the bolt through there, we'll be able to move on to our quad shock. Of course, we're gonna start putting a lot of tension on this spring so you wanna go slowly just to make sure it's still seating properly. As we get up closer here, you wanna make sure you're guiding that shock into position. You don't want it to start jacking up and make contact here. You want it to go in between. We're getting close. Once you start getting close here, grab the bolt, and we'll put it through. All right, so if you remember, the bolt head is on the inside, there you go, and then the nut.All right, now before we tighten this guy down let's do our quad shock. All right, at this point we can get our quad shock back in position. As you can see, we just gotta expand this guy a little. So just pull out on it. Get it to seat in its bracket. All right, as you know, the nut is welded onto the bracket so we don't have to worry about a nut. Put this guy through, and once that lines up start, threading it in. All right, once you have that guy in there, you can go back and start tightening our bolts down.All right, from here I'm gonna grab a 15 socket and hit our bolt head here at the bottom of our shock with an 18-millimeter wrench. We don't wanna over torque this just yet. We wanna torque it down with the actual torque wrench. For now we're just gonna get it nice and snug. We're gonna hit the top of our quad shock next. All right, so we're doing the same thing to our quad shock.Now, for the bottom bolt for our lower control arm here, we have this guy jacked up. We're gonna tighten it down with our impact gun and then come back with a torque wrench. Twenty one millimeter socket on the bolt head and a 22-millimeter wrench on the nut. Again, we don't wanna over torque it. We'll come back with the torque wrench.All right, so now for the top of that, we're gonna use our 21 socket and our ratchet to go in from the back to grab the bolt head and I've got my 22 socket for the nut here. Again, we're not torqueing her down. Just getting her snug.Next up, guys. We do have to break out our cutting wheel because we have to cut the tab off of this brake line bracket simply because this is going to go right back onto where the sway bar mounts, but with that tab there it won't sit flush and we won't be able to get the bolt through. So we're gonna cut that guy off. Now, I will say if you wanna avoid cutting, you can. There are other ways to get around it. I would definitely recommend cutting simply because without cutting you would just have this line dangling, which is absolutely not what you want. So we're gonna do it the proper way and grab our pliers just to keep our hand as far away from it as we can. We don't want it to be close to the wheel there. I'm gonna cut just this tab off.Now, as you can see, without that tab in the way, we'll be able to get this to mount flush and have the bolt go straight through without a problem. At this point, guys, you wanna repeat every single thing that we've done up until this point on the other side if you haven't done so already. And then we'll be ready to put our sway bar back on.Now we can put up our sway bar. You may need a helping hand to hold the other side while you get it up into position and, of course, you wanna remember to swing that brake line bracket over and you're gonna put the bolt straight through the bracket into the nut on your sway bar. Might be a little tricky. It's definitely a tight squeeze. All right, once you have the bolts threaded through, just repeat on the other side.Next step, guys. Grab your 13 socket and tighten down the 2 bolts on the sway bar on both sides. All right, now repeat that on the other side. Next step, reconnect the brake line to that bracket here. If you remember, that was one of the first steps that we did in the very beginning. Slide this guy back down. And now we're done with our lower control arm.Next step, guys. We're gonna focus on our upper control arm. Now that we have everything on our lower control arm bolted back up this one's gonna be a lot easier. The only difference is, the top bolt is a little bit harder to get to. We're gonna focus on this bottom one here connecting right to the differential or the pumpkin. There are two 18 millimeters so you're gonna do an 18-millimeter bolt head and an 18-millimeter nut. Grab your 18 wrench and hold it on the back side. Grab your 18 socket, get it off the front. All right, so I've got my 18 wrench reaching back around to the other side. Pretty easy to get to this one. Just gonna work this guy off. You still wanna make sure that you're properly supporting that diff.All right. Once you have that unbolted, just pull the bolt out. All right, so now we could focus on the upper bolt, which is pretty difficult to get to here. I'm gonna use an 18-millimeter wrench on the bolt head side, which is up by our exhaust hanger bracket. I'm gonna hang that guy on the bolt head for right now. On the opposite side I'm using a couple of extensions, a swivel and an 18-millimeter to seat on the nut. So you'll see just working my way on there trying to get the best angle out it as possible. Swivel socket is definitely gonna be your friend here. And then we're gonna work it off.Not enough torque. You might need a breaker bar to break it loose. So I've got my half inch ratchet up here. Ratchet's gonna break this guy loose. I might be able to just work this guy all the way off. All right, so the nut's off. Now we've just gotta back the bolt head out. So bolt's coming out the other side just like that. Now we can lift up on the upper control arm and set it aside.All right, so you remember on the table earlier we assembled our lower control arm with the bushings and some lubricant, we're gonna do the exact same thing here for our upper control arm. Now keep in mind the bushings for these are smaller, so grab the two smaller ones included in the kit. You'll see because you can try to test fit and the bigger ones won't work. So what we're gonna do is grab the lubricant and, again, wearing latex gloves to minimize the mess. Just gonna lube up the inside here. I'm gonna lube up the sides as well. The same thing for the other one.Once that's taken care of, we can seat one of these through. Push them down. Flip her over. Now, of course, you wanna grab the smaller hardware included in the kit and we're gonna install the sleeve for the bolt. We wanna lubricate this a little bit as well to make it easier to slide into each one of the bushings. Doesn't take a whole lot either.Now you can also do the inside of the bushings. Seat that all the way through. All right. And then, finally, take the other bushing and put it over. Push that into position. All right. Now we can take that wooden block, put it over top and hammer it on. Next step, we can take our upper control arm and set it into place here. You wanna make sure you have a bolt in hand. Basically, you're gonna push this guy into position. You may need a pry bar to bring that guy down. So let's go grab our pry bar and work it down. Now we can grab our bolt and, if you remember, the bolt head was on the inside. So we're gonna work this guy up here, slide it through.Once you get that bolt through, grab a washer and put it on the other side, and then finally thread on by hand that nylon locknut. All right. Now we can bring down the front and connect it to the diff. So it might be easy to use a pry bar here just to get everything to line up. Flathead screwdriver going through will also help.And so now we can grab our bolt, tap it through. Next up, take your washer, put it over the stud. Nylon locknut, thread it on the back here. At this point we can go back and tighten it all down. Next step. Grab a 19 wrench for the nut and an 18 socket for the bolt head and tighten them down.Next step, we're gonna tackle the upper bolt on our upper control arm. I'm gonna use an 18 wrench for the bolt head here, which is really tough to see, and then I'm gonna use a 19 socket here on my ratchet for the nut.With that said, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the SR Performance Complete Rear Control Arm Kit in black, available for the '79 to '04 Mustangs, excluding models with the IRS. If you wanna pick this kit up, you can do so exclusively right here at americanmuscle.com.
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Features, Description, Reviews, Q&A, Specs & Installation
Correct Bushing Sleeves. This SR Performance Rear Control Arm Kit comes complete with sleeves for bushings for both the 1979-1998 and 1999-2004 model year Mustangs. The sleeves are easy to install, just choose the correct sleeves for your model year and insert them into the control arms with the supplied lubricant, its that simple.Quality Construction. Manufactured from tubular DOM steel for superior strength to reduce control arm flex, these SR Performance upper and lower control arms are completed in a durable gloss black powder coated finish for long lasting corrosion resistance.
SR Performance 389003
CA Residents: WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
(approx) 4 Hours
Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
What's in the Box
10 More Questions
Does not fit IRS equipped Cobras