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It certainly helps. There's three popular methods -

factory (separate the ball joint)
San Diego (unbolt lower control arm from hub)
Long bolt (unbolt upper control arm from chassis)

I recommend the long bolt method.
 

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You could also monkey around the with spring compressor to compact the shock/spring assembly enough to remove it but this is a PITA.
 

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A tip on the rear shocks: when both upper nuts and lower bolt are removed step down on the hub/lower control arm and pull the bottom of the shock out away from the car. Don't try to push the lower control arm down far enough to tip the top of the shock out first. There really isn't enough room to do it that way but you'll try and get pissed off figuring out that you can't.
 

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I've done the lower control arm bolts and the spring compressor methods. Spring compressor method is a pain but saves the alignment settings if you replacing same for same (or equivelent) as far as shocks/springs are concerned. The lower arm method was a snap for when I changed springs to lowering springs and afterwards I just got an alignment which was easy too
 

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hi oc. i just did the same. suspension change.
look, i had trouble and was consider the long bolt route like freedom had in mind and all other method...but really, i just ended up dropping the lower A arm... whats the difference? why did i go thru so much trouble? my mystery lowerin springs gave me too much toe and i had to align it anyways. so fu#k it. it just makes sure you have a proper setting right away instead of waitin to resolve in future.
 
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