Interesting...To throw my $0.02 on the pickle fork matter
There is a trick I read about using grease with the pickle fork so you do not destroy the boot. So if the hammer is not working and you need to get it apart use some grease to help reduce the damage.
Info from here: Tie Rod End Swap — revlimiter.net
Yes I know that is a tie rod end but it has a boot and its similar enough.
Learn something new every day... :muknow: