I did it with the shaft in the car. It was a PITA, but I think it would have been moreso for me if I had dropped the tank or differential. Just visit the gym for a week or so and build up your forearm stamina.
Actually, while you're down there, might as well do the rear joint at the same time. It's a piece of cake, especially compared to the front one...
1994 Super Coupe ('93 5.0L swap), 1990 Tbird 3.8L, 1982 Honda CB900F, 1972 F-100 SportCustom 4x4, 1970 Chevy Custom Camper / 20