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Busted right front CV joint boot. Dirt got in and now "Houston We Have A Noise" especially when turning right. Wonderful.

Struts. I see some advertised with springs. What's the deal with that? Are some strut brands junk?

I can carry merely a brick in the truck without sagging. Best way to handle this? I see Firestone sells spring insert bags with tubing.

Are Monroe and Gabriel shock absorbers any better or worse than they were 20 years ago?

The car is anything but valuable, but it has only 75,000 miles on it, and still gets 28 mpg on Mexican gas (3.0 engine) Passed 2011 California smog way, way, way, under maximum emission limits. Like halfway in the scale.

This all seems depressing until I start pricing another car. Plus it may be homely but I like it. It's so ugly Mexican drivers are afraid of it and sicarios, gunmen, wouldn't be caught dead in it.
 

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You can either buy a complete strut assembly (strut, sprints, bearing plates, etc) or you can buy a bare strut and the bearing plates and spring mounts and transfer your spring to them. The bare strut seems much cheaper until you price the rest of the parts that will need replacing.
As for the rear, I'd replace the springs rather than try spring inserts.
I've had decent luck with Monroe on many cars.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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The strut assembly (strut w/spring) eliminates needing a spring compressor to transfer the spring from the old strut to the new strut. Regardless of the which way you choose (strut assembly or just the strut), the vehicle will need a front end alignment.

+1 on replacing the rear springs. I recommend Monroe over Gabriels.
 

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I bought Gabriel Ultra Heavy Duty struts several years ago, and they were defective - would not center in the coil springs.

I bought Gabriel Heavy Duty shocks once. They lasted 4 years and rotted out badly, so that the casing crumbled with just a light squeeze:

 
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