98 taurus half shaft replacement

my 98's half shaft grenaded because my wife was stupid... well, i cannot fix the wife but i can fix the car.
I went to harbor freight and got the front end tool kit for 49.95 less
20% off coupon in the paper. This allowed me to get the tie rod end and ball joint separated. with some persuasion, i finally got the ball joint separated from the lower control arm and got whats left of the half shaft out. There was NO balls left in the outside CV joint. Guess my wife left my balls on the street somewhere...
got the new half shaft positioned in the trannie and in the bearing. but now, i cannot seem to get the upper suspension (still connected to the strut) back into the lower A arm. If i jack it up, it pulls out and i need it to go in to be able to mate it up with the hole in the lower A arm.
So, whats the easiest way to do this? do i need to compress the strut springs to get this to line up?
any tips appreciated.
also found loose tie rods and shot brake pads.
and to top it off, i did not remove the brake line bracket from the strut and think i might have pinched it taking the lower ball joint separation from the A arm. Live and learn. Looks like a trip to the U-Pull is in my future...
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