I'm now the owner of a collection of front-end tools. I'll explain how that came to be.
Yesterday, I started to tackle the upper control arms, but decided there was too much steering stuff to let me access the drivers side. The picture doesn't show it that well, but you can at least see that the track bar and the drag link are cluttering that area. That's the upper control arm mount on top of the differential.
As a start, I disconnected the passenger side UCR. The nut came off easily, but I had to bang the bolt out. I used a hammer at first, then used a screwdriver (and hammer) to beat it out of it's hole. The control arm flew up about 4" when the bolt cleared - wasn't expecting that.
To clear the area on the drivers side, I started to remove the track bar at the frame mount. It is attached like the tie rods and, similarly, needs to be pushed out. Sadly, my HF pittman arm remover was way too big to fit on top - kept hitting the top of the mount. A quick trip to Northern tool and I went at it with a pickle fork (see my front-end tool collection).
I beat on the thing pretty darn hard and It wouldn't budge. I was willing to beat hard on the frame mount, but the drag link has a similar connection and how hard would I be willing to beat on that - I'm thinking Pittman's arm wasn't meant to take big lateral loads. So... another shopping trip and I own the other collection of pushers and pullers shown in my tool pic. To add insult to injury, not one of these would fit on that track bar connection - not one!! So I moved on to the drag link.
Turns out that the medium sized pusher (surely not the right name) was perfect, and I quickly had the thing out. (you can move the arm around until you find a place with adequate clearance for the pusher). There's Pittman's arm after having let go of my drag link.
Here's the whole drag link, tie-rod, stabilzer gizmo after I removed It. I think I'll clean it up a bit tomorrow.
One thing I'll say about these tie-rod type connections: they don't push out, they snap out. I put the pusher on top and start applying pressure until a surprising amount of force builds up (making me wonder if I should stop). Suddenly the whole thing lets loose with a snap and the pusher falls to the floor. Doesn't seem dangerous, but can be startling.
Anyway, with the steering gizmo out of the way, it turns out that I could access the control arm without removing the track bar (on which I had wasted a considerable amount of my day, and some $$$ - oh well). So, I removed the drivers side UCA. This control arm was spring loaded also, the picture shows me finnagling the bolt out with my pliers.
Now, the only thing connecting my axle to the jeep is the lower control arms. Or so I think. So I disconnected them. Some LCA have cam-type adjusters, but mine don't so removal was easy. The LCA weren't spring loaded like the uppers.
The springs came out easy enough. I have one jack stand in the middle of the axle and I could almost remove the springs by pushing down on the axle. In the end, I lightly applied a pry bar.
I almost forgot to remove the differential case vent - the rubber tubing. Actually this picture shows the shaft connection to the yoke. The straps are out. I'm thinking a little forward pressure and the shaft will separate from the yoke and take the iron cross piece with it (I'm sure it has a proper name).
But my axle still won't come loose. I pushed it forward; The drive shaft telescoped quite a bit, which caught me by surprise; but no joy. Still stuck on the yoke.
And that's what I did on day 2. I'm gonna seek some advice on what to do about the drive shaft. I clearly don't understand how it is connected to the yoke. As I mentioned earlier, the service manual says to "remove propeller shaft", but I was hoping to just disconnect it at the yoke.
So, a day of rookie mistakes and I didn't quite reach my goal of getting the axle completely out. But, hey, a day working on the jeep beats a day at work. Every time.
I'll post up a different thread asking for help with the drive shaft question.