To anyone contemplating removing his front coil springs by himself...
I had never removed coil springs before, but was able to do it properly and safely today with information that I found by searching this forum.
I took photos of the process, and present them here...with step by step instructions...for anyone who is considering doing the job for the first time.
You'll need the front of the car supported by jack stands at the frame, with the wheels removed.
Make sure you have the jack stands extended somewhat high, because you'll need room to remove the springs.
1) First of all, the compressed springs have a lot of energy in them and need to be secured safely for this procedure.
The method I used was to secure the springs to the frame using a heavy duty chain.
I went to Lowes and got two lengths of chain, 3 feet long, and two 3/8 inch bolts with large washers and nuts...
One chain probably would have been sufficient, but I decided to use two chains to secure each spring while I removed it.
Overkill? Probably, but I'd rather err on the side of caution.
I threaded each chain through 3 coils of the spring, then wrapped the chain around the frame and secured the ends together with the bolts, washers, and nuts...
2) Next, disconnect this nut and bolt holding the anti-sway bar to the lower control arm. Doing so will allow the lower control arm to fall away free after you have everything loosened...
3) Now, you need to remove the shock absorber. There is one nut on top of it and two small bolts on the bottom of it, beneath the lower control arm.
The end of the shaft on the top of the shock absorber is flattened on each side.
You need to hold that flattened area of the shaft with an adjustable wrench while you loosen the nut with an open end wrench.
If you don't hold the shaft, it will turn while you're turning the nut.
After you have the top nut removed and the two small bolts on the bottom removed, then remove the shock absorber from the bottom.
4) Next, place a hydraulic floor jack beneath the lower control arm.
Line it up so the lifting pad of the jack is just below where the bottom of the spring is setting.
Then, jack it up until the lifting pad of the jack just barely begins to touch the lower control arm...
5) Now, you'll need to remove the cotter pin that holds the castle nut of the ball joint.
Then, loosen the castle nut until it is flush with the end of the bolt.
You can do this on either the upper ball joint or the lower ball joint.
I preferred working with the upper ball joint because it was more accessible, and thus easier to work with.
However, for the purpose of illustration, here's a picture of the lower castle nut (because it was easier to get a picture of)...
6) After the cotter pin is removed and the castle nut is loosened so it is flush with the end of the bolt, use a hammer and a "pickle fork" to break the ball joint free (a "pickle fork" is readily available at most auto parts stores)...
7) After you have broken the ball joint free, then slowly
lower the hydraulic jack...thus allowing the spring to decompress.
The spring will not go anywhere because you have it safely secured with the chain...
8) Now, all you have to do is remove the chain and pull the spring out.
If the spring is binding, you may need to jack the frame of the car up higher to give you room to remove it.
This is why you want your jack stands extended pretty high.
9) Here is the spring safely removed, thus allowing one of the family dogs to avail himself of a sniff...
Use common sense and think about what you're doing, and you'll be able to remove your springs safely.