The leaf spring eye bolts will prob be ONE the toughest parts of the job.
There's a metal sleeve in the middle of the bushing, which over time fuses with rust to the bolt.
You may be able to back the bolt (hopefully without breaking) out of the weld nut in the frame, but often times thats as far as it goes.
The bushing and bolt will just spin together as one.
If you dont catch it at this point and keep turning you'll strip the threads in the weld nut - ask me how I know. (this is obviously bad)
I had this happen to me when I did my lift years ago, and here's the trick... (note this will destroy the bushing in the existing leaf pack)
-HEAT- Get a torch going on it, and heat everything up - basically to the point that the rubber of the bushing is either really fricking soft, or nearly melting, if not on fire ...dont burn your Jeep!
-use a long blade (sawzall would work fine, or a crappy knife from goodwill), and trim away some of the protruding/melted/soft rubber to expose as much of the sleeve/collar/bushing as you can. –this will get messy-
-if this doesn't work, get in there with a pair of large needle nose vice grips
, you may have to reset them a couple times to get a good bite on the bushing but it will happen.
-you’ll need the needle nose style, because they have a skinnier profile, and can get into the area that you wont have a lot of clearance for to begin with.
Thats the key - Get a set of vice grips on the bushing, this will keep it from spinning and will allow you to back the bolt out.
You may still have to have some force prying on the head as you back it out, but it may just come out on its own as you twist it out.
I would HIGHLY recommend replacing the bolts. A company called Jack-It sells some great replacements. That’s where I got mine from and I’m glad I did!!!
(it made things SOO much easier on the installation)
If you haven’t already, (I’m sorry if I missed this) I would seriously recommend (as will most people here) that you look into full leaf pack replacement.
Even if its OEM, it’s a way better platform to build off of.…and down the road will make a lot of things a lot easier.
The other most common issue is the upper rear shock mounts. The bolts almost ALWAYS snap off in the body.
You can TRY to drill them out or use easy outs, but often times its just easier to knock out the weld nuts, and bolt down from the top. (see my build thread for a full, pic-heavy write up on this procedure.)
Bottom line, start drenching (and I mean SOAKING) every bolt and nut that will see a wrench/socket with PB blaster at least once a day for at least a week in advance, before you begin your install.
Get your hardware for replacements in order ASAP.
Tools: a good torx set is good to have for every jeep owner. HEAT is a must, green propane cylinders and a $13 torch head from Harbor Freight works just fine. A decent socket set is a must have as well, you will alos DEFINITELY want to have a good 18"+ breaker bar on hand. Trust me you'll need it sooner or later. A torque wrench for finishing off the install properly. Pry bars are handy to have around for manipulation, at least one if not two floor jacks, these will help with manipulating the axle(s) as you work on them.
For the front of the jeep, get the body as high in the air as you possibly can, and let that axle droop. Removing the track bar from axle will help with this, as well as removing the brake lines (or just the calipers - so they dont act like limiting straps.)
-THE POINT OF THIS IS: so that you dont have to rent a spring compressor to get the new coils in.
There is a ton more, but just spend some time researching. I did 6months of research before I even BOUGHT my jeep, and another 6 months of research before I did my lift. Granted, I learned some lessons the hard way, and learned a lot
more as the years have passed. But I've done several lifts now on several Jeeps, and various other mods/projects/upgrades/etc, on mine and other Jeeps as well.
NOTE: I was where you are now a few years ago, and since then have documented everything I've done to my 99 XJ in my build thread with write ups, LOTS of pics, and links. I have had several technical write ups stickied across a few different forums.
There are a few of us who know a fair amount about the late model Cherokees, and give great advice. CJ7-Tim and TJwalker are two who I consider the most knowledgeable on here.