Just did this today, you have to pull the axle out of the rear diff in order to take the upper a-arm off. I know it's a pain but it's a good idea to pull the axle's out once a year to clean them put some anti-seize on them.
it's not to bad about 2 - 3 hours to take it apart and put it back to together.
Yes, you have to pull the bearing carriage.
basically do this;
depending on which side, pull the brakes off - inspect/replace if needed
take off the castle nut and pull the hub off.
remove the bolt from the bottom and top of the carriage, hold onto the axle and remove the carriage. You can leave the bottom bolts on and swing the axle out of the carriage, but the bottom bushings always need to be cleaned so taking them apart is not a bad thing to do.
now for the fun part pull out the axle... there are several opinions about how to do this, I made my own puller to do this. basically a gear puller that I modified to fit around the inner cv casing. don't grab a hold of the axle and pull because you pull out the CV joint, then you'll have to take the boot off and put it back together (fun)
there is a compression clip on the inside of the axle that has to be compressed in order to pull it out... there are a couple of good articles here on the forum that will give you some more info
Once you have it out your in business, you'll be able to get your upper a-arms off.
Remember to clean everything up and anti-seize both ends of the axle. While you have it apart check your bearings, they are easy to change out.
Thanks for the detailed process description. I"m not sure how to get to the spring clip, around the shaft, cause it's behind the plunge joint. Probably best to put in to the service shop, cause I don't have a gear puller either.
I'm tempted to cut the bolts off, replace the bushings, replacing the bolts with the heads facing out. Not the best approach I'm sure, but might get the job done without a lot of wrench throwing.
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