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daniel said:
are shocks and struts the same thing? if not, how are they related to each other location wise?
I think it's safe to say that a strut is an assembly that contains a shock, among other things.

A "shock" is a device designed to dampen suspension movement and that's basically all it does. One end of the shock would bolt to the suspension arm and the other to the body of the car.

A "strut" does several things. One, it contains a shock which serves to damp suspension movements. Two, it serves to transmit braking forces from the wheel/hub assembly to the chassis of the car. Third, it serves as an active member of the suspension system, providing mounting for the spring (the spring "perch"), a bearing on top for turning motions and provides the link to the chassis to keep the caster and camber angles correct.

There are variations of course (like the "modified MacPherson" suspension used on older F-bodies for instance that moved the spring off the strut...) so nothing is as black and white as I make it out to be, but I think I've outlined the major differences.
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