Greetings leatherneck and first let me thank you for your service to our great country! There are lots of great threads about rear struts and the dreaded broken springs on here, so many in fact that you could spend days reading it all. I would recommend at least doing a search and checking out a few threads just to give you some background.
I've always done as much mechanical work myself as I can but I am no expert. I just recently replaced the springs and struts in my '00 Taurus and I've just got a few comments then I'm sure others will offer more advice also.
- It's definately do-able for you to do that if you're a little mechanically inclined.
- You will save a lot of money and you can easily justify any additional tools you might have to pick up.
- Do it as soon as you can, broken springs can destroy a tire at the wrong time.
- You can remind your wife often how much money you saved
- Get a can of PB Blaster at Wallmart and start soaking those dreaded pinch bolts. A lot of people will also recommend a better home-brew mix of 50/50 ATF
and acetone that is supposed to be the best penetrating mixture.
- If you live in the rust belt assume the pinch bolts will break and you'll have to drill them out. If they don't break you can crack a beer and celebrate! I was able to get mine out after a lot of PB Blaster, patience, long breaker bar and elbow grease but I still drilled out the threads and used a 7/16 grade 8 bolt instead of replacing the pinch bolts.
- Don't try to replace just the springs and reuse the struts. The struts are probably due for replacement anyway. Moog and Monroe offer 'quick-struts' that come with the springs already installed and all you have to do is swap them out.
- This is a good time to also check the rear brakes (drum or disk) to make sure they are okay.