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Need help on an A2 Jetta - friend is deployed and his wife needs her car to haul kiddos

Guys, I'm an A1 guy but I have a good friend who has been deployed to the desert and his wife has the Jetta. First the rear shocks are really bad - is there anything to changing these other than trying to get the lower bolt out? I don't have to compress the springs do I - I have done this on my Cabby twice, and if anybody knows that they are similar please post that just to give me some peace of mind.
Also, SHe says the drivers side door will not open and she has been getting in on the Passenger side of the car. She said 'the handle broke when it was covered in snow' -- Does that sound like a typical 'just replace the handle and it is good to go' type problem?
any help is greatly appreciated. And I do not have a bentley for the A2, But I do have the Chilton, and the Haynes for them.

[Modified by FlyingDubber, 4:45 AM 1-28-2003]
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