Re: shocks front
The axle shaft is indeed a hassle. But only because the cheap sleeve they put in the bushing that make it impossible to remove the clevis fork. For the strut you just drop the lower control arm (top ball joint and sway bar connections), remove the four top bolts and then just leverage the hell out of the strut to pull it down/out. You can then loosen the strut from the clevis fork and pull it out. It's not really much harder than doing a brake job.
But you WILL need to use a spring compressor. Otherwise there's not enough clearance to get the strut assembly out. You'll need to compress them anyway to reassemble the new one. Just make sure that when you re-compress that you don't put the compressors in a position that gets in the way when you reinstall.