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Just as an introduction, I have a 1999 XJ with a very mild 3" lift. The control arms are stock and recently I have been getting a popping noise when coming to a stop or starting out. I do understand that I will have to replace the control arm bushings. That being said, I am a part time employee at O'Reilly's so I can get all 8 of the bushings cheap. I have decided to press out the old bushings on the existing control arms due to the fact that they're in good shape. I have the necessary tools and equipment (ball joint press, come along, etc) to do the job.
If you have CV joints on your axle shafts, that could be your popping noise.

I chose to do this on my ZJ about 10 years ago, before I put on a Rubicon Express 4.5" lift. Because I had a budget boost lift, my CA's were difficult to get back in after I did what you are planning to do with yours.

My question is this, I have searched multiple forums (including this one) and the tube of you and get mixed signals. Is it best to replace the arms (I know to do them one at a time) with the vehicle jacked up and suspension unloaded, or with the vehicle on all 4 wheels? Logically to me it would seem that with the vehicle on all 4 wheels the weight would assist in keeping the axle from moving around a lot when one removes each arm. I see a lot of videos and have read a lot of posts with people doing this job with the suspension unloaded and they have to do all sorts of contortions to get the axle to line up correctly.
Regardless of whether or not the suspension is loaded you are gonna have a tough time replacing the worn out CA's. When I did this on my ZJ, I unloaded (spring compressors) & lifted/manipulated the side I was working on. Then removed the CA's and pressed out the bushings. I had very light rust on my CA's. The stamped sheet metal was very easy to deform. I used an impact and the rented press. It worked rather well. Be sure to use some torch heat if your CA's are rusted pretty good.

Make sure you doing this as safely as possible. You may consider a spring compressing tool(s) while doing this. Which themselves are very dangerous if used improperly. They will help out a ton. Especially when your trying to install the newly refurbished CA's. I recommend a couple of the compressors, wheel chucks for all wheels not being worked on, jack stands and perhaps floor jacks.

The main reason why people just replace the control arms is because you can get them with the bushings in them already at a reasonable price just above the price of the bushings. Thus not spending that much time on the actual bushings being removed. I would highly recommend you consider doing this if your CA's are rusted pretty good. It just makes life that much easier.

Plan on at least doing a solid garage alignment before driving it. Consider shelling out the dough for a computer alignment.
 

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So..... Put it on jack stands and let the axle hang? Then use jacks and come alongs to realign the axle. Seems counter intuitive. Wouldn't the weight of the vehicle over the axle help keep it in place when only removing one control arm?
You are going to have to manipulate the axle regardless of whether the weight of the vehicle is on the axle or not. Your old worn out CA's will have the axle in a different position when you go to reinstall the refurbished CA's. It may only be an inch or two, and a few degrees difference, but you will have to manipulate and pry/ratchet strap/pull the axle back into alignment with the bolt holes in the new bushings. These holes will be indifferent locations from the old CA to the new CA.
 
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