Lowering a Cougar


1987 Mercury Cougar

This is the car I have to work with, so I am going to try and make it into something. It is a loaded anniversary edition in excellent shape with a 302 V8, so I will try to turn it into a fun ride. I would like to lower it an inch or two, but I’m not sure of the total impact. Can I just cut down the coil springs, and if so, will this require changing a lot of the rest of the components such as the strut length and steering mechanism? There is not a lot out there about these cars—only the Mustang Fox Bodies. Appreciate your input on this.


The ’87 Cougars & Thunderbirds have not yet been fully embraced by the aftermarket, but in time that is sure to change. On many cars, spring coils can be cut to lower a car’s drive height, although caution should be exercised in doing so. Never use a torch to cut springs, as the heat will relax the spring tension in the rest of the spring. A cutoff wheel and an air blowgun work best for simultaneous cutting and cooling. It is best to cut a little and test; you can always cut more.

NOTE: When shortening springs, the ride will become stiffer and harsher, as there is less spring to absorb road bumps. NEVER use a torch to lower suspension components. Many garage enthusiasts have simply placed a torch on coil springs to relax them; however, you have no control on how much is lowered, and the springs become more brittle once cooled.

Once your springs are cut, no additional work to the rear of the car is needed; however, the front will need a front-end alignment. I would encourage you to discuss your project with your alignment shop before cutting springs to address any of their concerns during the spring-shortening process.

Wrench Safe, Mark

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7 Responses to “Lowering a Cougar”

  1. Edward C. Greenberg

    Leave it alone. Never cut the springs. Did I say never...sorry, I meant NEVER. I owned a 67 Cougar for years I now own a 68 XR7 for 20 yearswith 131k, mint and changed the leaf springs at 130k. Coil springs were fine at 130k. If you are convinced you need springs, buy a new or used set in great shape. Don't cut what you have. NEVER.

  2. Phil

    A better option to consider would be dropped spindles in front.

  3. doug

    Keep the original springs in case you want to restore it back. Get some used or aftermarket and mess with them. It give you options in the future for very little cost.

  4. Mike

    There is not much support out there for the Fox platform generation Cougar or Thunderbird. I had a 1986 Thunderbird and while some parts interchange between the Mustang, Thunderbird, and Cougar the selections are definitely limited.

  5. Dave

    Dont cut the spring. Take measurement of you spring diameter and find a comparable spring that has a shorter compressed height. It takes a little more research but tons of companies and cars used similar springs. You may find that the Fox body spring is the same measurement but with more options. You can even call around to companies like hyperco and Espo and have custom springs made for very little based on your measurements and needs.

  6. Tom Bell

    Cut the springs--another nice restorable car bites the dust.

  7. tim miller

    How would you lower a 1965 ford 1/2 ton short wheel base pick up with the eye beam front end can you add power stering to this truck. thanks