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Installing front struts...

I'd like to get a some opinions on 2 procedures for replacing front strut
inserts on an 87 5kcsTQ.

1) The "manuals" describe the replacement by first removing the entire strut.
Then r & r the insert and replace.

2) I've received procedures from 2 list members describing strut cartridge
withdrawl and replacement from the strut housing, while the vehicle is on the
ground, without removing the entire strut assembly.

The second method seems tooooo easy, what's the catch? A mechanic friend
(U.S. cars) claims that without removing the entire strut, the cartridge may
not be installed correctly, cause it should be "pressed in".

This will be my first shot at this, and I want to do it without finding out
things the hard way. Any opinions on the "right" way?

Mike Aiello