This article focuses on removing and installing front shock absorbers on a Mustang. The info found here can also be used on other small Fords, such as Falcons and Comets, with a minor difference at the top of the shock.
The old shocks that are being removed are Summit brand racing shocks, which are also available under the CE brand name. Manufactured by Deutsch Tech, they are 3 position adjustable. Appearance wise they look just like any shock absorber found on the front of the Mustang.
The replacement shocks being installed are Calvert Racings (the developers of Caltracs) new “true” 90/10 drag racing shocks. They are non-adjustable and recommended for drag race only.
Here is a picture of both shocks together. The Summit/CE on the top and the Calvert on the bottom:
The Calvert shock has the same T shaped mounting bracket as the Summit on the bottom. At the top, the Calvert shock uses a straight shaft instead of a T. This is so that the Calvert shock can fit a wider range of vehicles, such as Falcons and Comets or any other Ford products with a similar design. Also included with my shocks was a special bracket and other hardware that takes the place of the T, so that the shock can be adapted to the Mustang.
Now on to the shock absorber removal. Below is how the factory shock is mounted in a Mustang:
Note that there are 2 bolts holding the shock to the shock tower bracket. These must be removed. In order to fish the shock out of the bracket, you will also need to remove the 3 nuts that hold the bracket to the shock tower. If the wheels are still on the ground, it should be easy. If not, jack up the appropriate wheel to make it easier to fish off the bracket. Here is the shock tower with the bracket removed:
The lower end of the shock is mounted to the upper control arm. In order to remove the shocks, it is easiest to raise the car and support it by jack stands:
If you look under the upper control arm, you can see the 2 mounting nuts that must be removed--they are the 2 that are located inside the big oval hole:
A jack placed under the lower control arm will help you to reach both nuts, especially the rear one:
Once both nuts are removed, you can remove the shock through the top of the shock tower.
Reinstallation of the shock is almost the reverse of removal. First extend the shock and install one rubber washer on both lower studs. Then drop the shock through the shock tower and align the studs in the same holes as before. Next fish another rubber washer, a metal washer, and a nut onto both studs from underneath the car. This can be a trying experience, but the idea is pretty straight forward. Tighten the assembly. Here is a picture of the order of parts as they are placed on the stud:
Installation of the top is also the reverse of the removal for factor type shocks. Fish the T part of the shock through the shock bracket and align the bracket on the studs at the top of the shock tower. If you need more of the shock to protrude from the shock tower, simply raise the wheel with a floor jack. Then install the 2 bolts in the T bracket of the shock.
For the Calvert shock, you will need to use the adapter on top of the factory shock tower bracket. First make sure the shock is fully extended. Next install the shock tower bracket. Now place a metal washer on the stud and then a rubber washer. Next install the Calvert bracket, with the cup part down. Then add another rubber washer, a metal washer and the nut. Bolt the bracket assembly to the top of the shock bracket. Make sure all bolts and nuts are tight.
If you haven’t done so, lower the car off the jack stands.
As you can see, installation of front shock absorbers is fairly straight forward. With the cold February weather still pounding the Northeast, I cannot give any driving/racing impressions of the Calvert Racing shocks. Rest assured they will get a good workout once the track opens in the spring.