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I'll be removing my lower a-arm to have it re-coated from ugly teal/green to white. Can anyone tell me how to compress the shock when I re-install the a-arm and need to fasten the lower part of the shock to the arm?

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You shouldn't have to compress the shock. Just raise the vehicle up from the center high enough for the wheels to go to full droop. Then lower just enough so the tires touch the ground. If shocks are already removed, you will want to just lift the control arm with another jack (or a helper) to the point where you can insert the lower shock bolt.
 
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