Tech: Bob’s S197 Lower Control Arms

S197 Lower Control Arms

Strong Arms

Stopping the hop in the SVTP GT with a set of lower control arms from Bob’s Auto Sports

By Steve Turner

Photos by SID297 and StacyStangz

Even we are guilty of it. It is easy to get swept away in the excitement. We don’t judge.

Yes, you get a new Mustang project and you run headfirst into the power mods without regard for the other facets of the car.

These billet lower control arms ($219.95) from Bob’s Auto Sports are works of billet beauty and will really clean up slop allowed by the flimsy factory lower control arms (and their soft bushings) on the SVTP 2012 Mustang GT project car. If the natural aluminum is not your style, Bob’s offers powdercoated in gloss black, matte black, gloss white, grabber blue, and silver for a $20 up-charge.
These billet lower control arms ($219.95) from Bob’s Auto Sports are works of billet beauty and will really clean up slop allowed by the flimsy factory lower control arms (and their soft bushings) on the SVTP 2012 Mustang GT project car. If the natural aluminum is not your style, Bob’s offers powdercoated in gloss black, matte black, gloss white, grabber blue, and silver for a $20 up-charge.

It’s especially easy to catch the power-modding bug with modern Mustangs. They are far more well-rounded than those of generations past. They have adequate brakes, a robust chassis, and, yeah, they really respond to bolt-on power mods. It’s only natural to go right for the low-hanging fruit.

Still, as you add power, the car’s other foibles will start to surface. The more power you add, the more apparent those weaknesses become. Such was definitely the case with the SVTP GT, our 2012 Mustang project. We won’t admit to getting carried away, but we will say that it was easy to get addicted to the power as we added a Magnuson supercharger and tuned the car up to 576 rear-wheel horsepower.

Start the project by jacking up the rearend and supporting the axle with jackstands. Our own SID297 gained a bit more clearance by pulling the front of the car up on ramps and securing the front wheels with tire chocks. Unless you are lucky enough to have lift at home, this is a great setup for a DIY install. Just be sure you safely secure the vehicle before you get to work.

At this power level, aggressive launches would definitely yield the dreaded wheel hop, where the solid rear axle bounces around while desperately grasping for traction. Yes, we kept our heads under the hood and left the stock lower control arms in place. That said, we finally saw the error of our ways and decided to try out the beautiful billet lower control arms from Bob’s Auto Sports, a company born right here on SVTP.

After removing the wheels, the first step is to remove this retaining clip and pop out the parking brake cable. This is necessary so that you can divorce the cable from its entanglement in the stock lower control arm.
After removing the wheels, the first step is to remove this retaining clip and pop out the parking brake cable. This is necessary so that you can divorce the cable from its entanglement in the stock lower control arm.

Like us, Bob’s main man, Steven Pelini, was in the market for new control arms for his Mustang project. Instead of just buying a set, he decided to build his own.

Now we are getting serious. Unbolt the factory lower arm using an 18mm socket. Be sure to hang on to the factory fastener and its retaining nut with arm, as you will re-use this hardware to install your spiffy, new Bob’s lower arms. Be sure to remove one arm at a time, otherwise the rearend will shift forward, making it difficult to install the new arms.
Now we are getting serious. Unbolt the factory lower arm using an 18mm socket. Be sure to hang on to the factory fastener and its retaining nut with arm, as you will re-use this hardware to install your spiffy, new Bob’s lower arms. Remove one arm at a time, otherwise the rearend will shift forward, making it difficult to install the new arms.

“My family owns a manufacturing and fabricating facility for performance boat accessories. I was always the car guy of the family and when I purchased a GT500 in 2010 I knew I wanted to make some parts for it,” Steven explained. “After posting a set of LCAs I made for my personal use on SVTPerformance, I had so much positive feedback I decided to mass produce and sell them.”

Now, he didn’t just make control arms for the fun of it. Steven was looking for specific characteristics, and simply didn’t find those amongst the throngs of lower control arms already on the market.

“I didn’t see a unit that had the proper durometer bushing, with correct sleeve thickness that also had a nice design machined into it,” Steven said. “It seemed all of the brands were trading off one thing for another—either having a great-looking unit that isn’t strong, or a strong unit that is heavy and ugly. This was the first item I produced and really just wanted something that was perfect combo of go and show.”

As it turned out, Steven’s quest was well worth the effort. Customer response has been positive. “Customers have said they help fix that floating/washing rearend feeling, reduce quarter-mile times, and reduce wheel hop,” he said. “Also many have said how great they look—you never realize you can see them through the rear wheels until there is something worth looking at!”

They definitely look and feel great on the SVTP GT.

Which lower control arms would you want on your supercharged, 576rwhp Mustang? Easy answer, right? Clearly the Bob’s lower arms—carved from a solid, 1.25x2.5-inch chunk of billet 6061 T6 aluminum—are far more rugged than stock lower arms. The stamped steel stockers just scream flex and that give means lost traction.
Which lower control arms would you want on your supercharged, 576rwhp Mustang? Easy answer, right? Clearly the Bob’s lower arms—carved from a solid, 1.25×2.5-inch chunk of billet 6061 T6 aluminum—are far more rugged than stock lower arms. The stamped steel stockers just scream flex and that means lost traction.
Like the arms themselves, the fluted polyurethane bushings greatly reduce the slop allowed by the soft factory bushings. So even any performance bushing will sacrifice a bit of noise, vibration, and harness. Besides, the arms feature grease fittings so you can maintain squeak-free suspension movement. Bob’s recommends that you grease the bushings with Mobil silicone-based polyurethane lube and re-apply it after 500 miles. From there, simply re-grease the fittings at each oil change interval.
Like the arms themselves, the fluted polyurethane bushings greatly reduce the slop allowed by the soft factory bushings. Any performance bushing will sacrifice a bit of noise, vibration, and harshness, but these arms feature grease fittings so you can maintain squeak-free suspension movement. Bob’s recommends that you grease the bushings with Mobil silicone-based polyurethane lube and re-apply it after 500 miles. From there, simply re-grease the fittings at each oil change interval.
With the factory arms on the shelf, you can install the Bob’s beauties. Be sure that you grease the surfaces of the bushing before sliding the arms into place. Also, ensure that the grease fittings are facing down.
With the factory arms on the shelf, you can install the Bob’s beauties. Be sure that you grease the surfaces of the bushing before sliding the arms into place. Also, ensure that the grease fittings are facing down.
With the rear of the arm bolted to the axle housing, you can snake the parking brake cable back into place and re-attach it.
After bolting the rear of the arm to the axle housing, you can snake the parking brake cable back into place and re-attach it.
With the arms installed, it’s time to torque the arms’ fasteners to 130 lb-ft of torque. It’s best to do this with the chassis loaded so we put the wheel in the trunk to more closely simulate a full weight car before final torquing the arms.
With the arms installed, it’s time to torque the arms’ fasteners to 130 lb-ft of torque. It’s best to do this with the chassis loaded so we put the wheel in the trunk to more closely simulate a full weight car before final torquing the arms.
Here is the finished install. All that’s left is to reinstall the wheels and go have some fun. Sure the Bob’s arms look great, but we could definitely feel that the rearend was far more controlled when we aggressively applied the SVTP GT’s supercharged power.
Here is the finished install. All that’s left is to reinstall the wheels and go have some fun. Sure the Bob’s arms look great, but we could definitely feel that the rearend was far more controlled when we aggressively applied the SVTP GT’s supercharged power.

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