I decided to take pics of the most recent time working on the shocks. The other sticky looks a bit expired so here it is...
I imagine not everyone has done it this same way, but I have done it several times now and this seems to go pretty smooth with no bloody knuckles.
Some of the wrench sizes may be a bit off, Im loading these up at work and cant double check.
Here is what you start with...
Of course jack it up and remove the wheel. Brace it up so no chance of getting crushed. I use jack stands and a stack of wood for backup to the backup. 21mm for the lugs i think.
First thing is to loosen up the sway bar. 17 mm.
Now detach the sway bar from the spindle arm. If it spins grab the metal area on the ball joint side with some channel locks.
With the nut removed it should just pull right out. Its not tapered or anything. Just push it to the side and be aware of it binding against anything for the rest of the operation.
Next will be the steering linkage. Loosen the adjustment nut (not sure of the size, i used a crescent) and the castle nut, 19mm I think. Oh yea, of course remove the cotter pin. Back it off till it is near the top of the bolt.
Now while the nut is still on but backed off to the top of the nut (to protect the threads) you are ready to remove it. Forget about the pickle fork, thats a pain. Just hit the metal right where the flat mark is, and like the picture shows. It will take a few hits, perhaps 10 or 12, but it will slowly come out. Once it falls you can remove the nut and pull it out. You dont have to hit it super hard but enough to shock it. Put the arm to the side but either be careful of the orientation or tighten the adjustment nut again. You dont want to loose your setting.
Viola. By the way, i think the marks on the boot and grease are from Big-O using the pickle fork to get them out for my alignment. Suckers!
Next pry up the tabs holding the line on the upper control arm (UCA). Then move the wire to the side. The next two pics show the difference.
Now remove the bolt on the bottom of the shock seen in the next two pics.
Ok, now its time to remove the UCA from the spindle. Take the pin out and back the castle nut off 1/4 inch or so.
Next give it a tap again on the flat spot and it will pop up till it hits the nut, just like in the picture. The UCA is spring loaded so it is gonna have a bit of tension on it, thats why I leave the nut on.
Now before you remove the nut what I like to do is use something to tie the UCA and spindle up so that the spindle doesnt dangle around and put stress on the cable and everything else its connected to. You can use zip ties or whatever, in my pic I use a coat hanger.
To remove the nut what I do is put a bar or something (I use the handle of my breaker bar) above the UCA wedged into the coil of the strut and pry down on the UCA till it relieves the pressure on the nut. You may have to have someone hold the lower arm/spindle assembly or put something underneath it. Then just remove the nut by hand and slowly lift up on your prybar till the UCA is out of the spindle.
Should look something like this...
Now remove the top 3 mounting nuts. DONT Remove the middle one, thats holding the shock in the coil.
With it looking like this you should be able to pull the shock out of place and bring the bottom end down toward the pavement in next to the steering linkage and then pull it up and out like so...
Now that you have it out you can either put the new ones in or if you are making the changes on the shock yourself you can hook up the spring compressor and get to work. An impact is a necessity for this operation, forget about doing it with a wrench unless you are super patient and have a few hours to do it (and popeye forearms). Im not going to go into detail on this part but be careful and never put yourself or a body part on either side of the shock in case something goes wrong. It will propel out both ends at a pretty good velocity. Just tighten little by little on each side till the tension is off the shock then disconnect the nut at the top and put the new shock in or whatever you want to do. If uneasy about this part have a shop do it.
To reassemble just reverse the process till it looks like this picture. The only tips I have for this are to use the prybar method on the UCA to get it into the spindle and I would recommend locktite on the bolts that dont have cotter pins. Also it probably would be easier to put the sway bar mount back on with the skid plate off but I dont. Make sure everything is back together good, you dont want to realize you forgot a bolt while driving down the street.
And that is that.