Upgrading your S550’s stock sway bars with aftermarket ones is a great way to improve your handling. Most aftermarket sway bars are adjustable, which lets you change the stiffness as your needs evolve.
This guide will walk you through installing a front and rear sway bar. You can opt to upgrade just the front, the rear, or both. Drag racers often upgrade just the rear track bar, while most other driving styles benefit from upgraded front and rear sway bars.
Before You Get Started
When working under your vehicle for any reason always use a well-functioning jack and jack stands. Never go underneath your vehicle with a jack alone. If you're using a lift, make sure the vehicle is properly on the jacking rails and use pole jacks to prevent motion when pulling on parts underneath.
There are separate step-by-step instructions below for the front sway bar install and the rear sway bar install. If you’re installing just one or the other, you can skip ahead to that section.
- Jack and jack stands
- ½” ratchet/impact gun
- 3/8” ratchet
- ¼” ratchet
- 18mm socket
- 13mm socket
- 10mm socket
- 8mm socket
- 6” extension
- 18mm wrench
- 17mm wrench
- 13mm wrench
- 6mm allen key
Front Sway Bar Install
Step 1: Remove Factory Airbox
To access the front sway bar mounting brackets, you must first remove the factory airbox. Remove it by pulling upwards to remove the studs from the grommets on the inner fender.
Step 2: Remove Front Sway Bar Brackets
With the airbox out, you’ll have access to the driver's side sway bar bracket bolts. These can be removed easily with an 18mm socket and a 6” extension.
The rear bolt is a tad tricky to reach, and will be easier to get from your wheel well. Remove your wheel and use an 18mm box wrench to unscrew the bolt.
Step 3: Disconnect Front Factory Sway Bar End Link
Using an 18mm socket and box wrench, remove the upper sway bar link bolt and nut. It’s located right next to your upper strut assembly.
On the passenger side, the sway bar bracket bolts are a little harder to reach. The rearmost bolt can be accessed from the inner fender well. You’ll need around 12-15” of extensions to reach the front bolt through the engine bay.
Pro Tip: When removing nuts and bolts, make sure to store them in a safe spot. If they can be reinstalled by hand into the part being removed, keep them there. This will save you time and ensure you use the proper hardware when re-installing that part.
Step 4: Remove Sway Bar Assembly
To remove the front sway bar, it’s best to work the assembly out from the driver’s side of your vehicle. Bring the assembly behind the strut while maneuvering downwards.
Be mindful of wiring or other pieces when removing the sway bar to avoid catching and damaging connectors or other parts.
Pro Tip: A second set of hands will make this step easier. If you don’t have help and aren’t able to make progress, you can remove the lower control arm for more workspace.
Step 5: Prepare Front Sway Bar for Installation
Grease the bushings of your new sway bar, and also apply grease to the part of the sway bar the bushings will rest on. Install the greased bushings onto the sway bar.
Step 6: Install Front Sway Bar Assembly
Check that the orientation of the bar is correct. Then, place the entire assembly back into your Mustang the same way you removed the factory sway bar.
Step 7: Remove Factory Sway Bar End Links
Remove the sway bar end links from the factory sway bar. Use an 18mm socket and a 17mm box wrench to hold onto the flange on the other side of the stud.
Pro-tip: Doing this on the floor makes it much easier to hold onto the assembly as you remove the nut from the stud.
Step 8: Insert End Links Into New Sway Bar
Depending on your sway bar, you may have multiple mounting positions. Generally the frontmost hole will give you the stiffest ride, and the rearmost will give you the softest ride. Only hand tighten the hardware at this point so it’ll be easier to install the brackets up top.
Step 9: Install Front Sway Bar Brackets and Bolts
Place the brackets over the bushings you previously installed. It helps to maneuver these through the wheel well and bolt them into place.
Step 10: Tighten Hardware and Reinstall Air Box
Tighten all hardware on the sway bar brackets and end links to factory torque specifications. Reinstall your factory air box.
Rear Sway Bar Install
Installing the rear sway bar is even easier than the front.
Step 1: Remove Rear Brake Line Brackets
Use a 10mm socket to remove the bolt securing the brake line to the rear sway bar link bracket.
Step 2: Separate End Link From Rear Sway Bar
To separate the end link of the rear sway bar from the mounting location, use an 18mm box wrench and 6mm allen key. The allen key will go into the stud of the bolt and the wrench will turn the nut free. Remove the sway bar link from the sway bar assembly and push this to the side.
Step 3: Remove Factory Rear Sway Bar Brackets
Use a 13mm socket attached to a 3/8" ratchet to remove the sway bar bracket bolts from the upper subframe. There are 2 per side and 4 in total to be removed.
Step 4: Remove Rear Sway Bar Assembly
Once the mounting bolts are out on both sides, the sway bar will simply pull out towards the driver's side of the vehicle.
Step 5: Grease and Assemble Bushings
Grease the inside of your bushings as well as the bar where the bushings will rest. Install the greased bushings onto the rear sway bar and place the provided brackets on.
Step 6: Install Rear Sway Bar Assembly
Place the sway bar in through the driver’s side the same way you removed the factory assembly. You can use your exhaust pipes as a second set of hands to hold the sway bar until you’re ready to grab the bolts and install them into the brackets.
Pro Tip: Make sure your Mustang has not been running recently and that the exhaust pipes are cool to the touch. A hot exhaust pipe can severely burn you and damage your equipment.
Step 7: Reinstall Factory Hardware on Bushing Brackets
Install all 4 of the factory bolts into place. Only hand tighten until all 4 are installed, then tighten them to factory specifications using a 13mm socket.
Step 8: Install Factory End Links in Desired Mounting Hole
This step allows you to select the preload on your rear sway bar. Only hand tighten the hardware to make the brackets easier to install up top.
- Frontmost Hole = Stiffest Ride
- Center Hole = Stock Ride
- Rearmost Hole = Softest Ride
Step 9: Install Brake Line Bracket Over Stud
Once the end links are secured, slide the flat plate over the stud so you can mount the brake line bracket. Reinstall the 18mm nut you previously removed.
Step 10: Reinstall Brake Line Hardware
Use the original 10mm bolt which held the brake line to the factory bracket and place the bolt through the flat plate. Use the included nut and tighten the bolt and nut down to the indicated specifications.
Enjoy Your New Sway Bar
Once your S550’s sway bar is installed, you should notice an immediate handling improvement. If you’d like to increase your steering’s responsiveness even more, check out these articles for other suspension upgrades.
S550 Suspension Modifications
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