How to Change Honda TRX420 Ball Joints: Part 1

Movement or play in the wheel can be an indicator that any number of parts may have begun to wear in the front end of your Honda ATV

This play, especially coupled with a tear in the boot on the upper or lower ball joint, is a sure indicator that they need to be replaced. Watch the video above and follow the steps below to learn how to change the upper ball joints on a Honda Rancher TRX420. The steps to change the lower ball joint is covered in Part 2

Tools and Parts Needed - Honda Rancher 420 Ball Joint Replacement

Tools

  • 3/8th ratchet
  • Torque wrench
  • 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm sockets
  • 14mm wrench
  • 5mm Allen
  • Ball joint separator

NOTE: Many units use the same ball joint in the upper and lower position. However, the TRX420 has the larger ball joint as the upper ball joint installed in the upper arm. The lower ball joint is installed in the bottom of the steering knuckle. Use our Honda Rancher TRX420 front knuckle diagram to see the lower ball joint (#18) and our upper front arm diagram to see the upper ball joint (#6). 

Honda Rancher 420 Ball Joint Replacement

Step 1. Lift the unit up and remove the wheel. 

Honda TRX420 ball joint replacement

PRO TIP: Use a floor jack with a big base since there’s a lot of pushing and pulling on this job. If you don’t have one, use jack stands to keep the unit stable while you work.

Step 2. Remove the castle nut in the center of the hub by first taking off the cotter pin that runs through it. 

Honda Rancher 420 ball joints replacement

NOTE: You’ll need someone to hold the front brakes so that you can knock the castle nut loose.

Honda Rancher ATV ball joints replacement

Step 3. Remove the shield behind the brake caliper, which is held in place by two 10mm bolts. 

Honda Rancher 420 ball joints change

Step 4. Remove the brake caliper, which is held in place by two 12mm bolts. 

Honda 420 Rancher ball joints change

Step 5. Unbolt the clamp holding the brake hose in place near the end of the control arm to give you more slack in the brake hose and more room to work. 

Honda TRX420 Rancher ball joints change

Step 6. Lift the caliper and zip-tie it to the spring to secure it out of the way. 

Honda TRX 420 Rancher ATV ball joints change

Step 7. Pull away the hub and brake disc assembly. 

Honda ATV ball joints change

Step 8. Manually turn the whole assembly a bit (as if you’re turning the wheels) to get better access to the castle nut holding the tie rod end in place. 

Honda Rancher 420 upper ball joint replacement

Step 9. Remove the cotter pin holding the tie rod end nut in place, followed by the castle nut itself. 

Honda TRX420 Rancher upper ball joint replacement

PRO TIP: Honda’s tie rod ends have a flat area to keep them from spinning around while you remove the nut. Use a wrench to hold the tie rod end in place while using a socket to loosen the castle nut. With the tie rod end removed, put the castle nut back on the tie rod end to protect the threads while you work.

Honda TRX 420 Rancher ball joints tie rod

Step 10. Remove the cotter pin and castle nut holding the lower ball joint in place. Next, reverse the castle nut and thread it back in place for the moment.

Honda Rancher 420 upper ball joint change

Honda Rancher ATV upper ball joint replacement

Step 11. Remove the splash guard in front of the steering knuckle, which is held in place by three 5mm Allen bolts. 

Honda TRX420 Rancher ATV upper ball joint change

Step 12. Use a ball joint separator to free the lower arm from the ball joint. It uses the torque on the bolt to separate the arm from the ball joint.

Honda 420 Rancher upper ball joint change

Step 13. Remove the upside-down castle nut from Step10. Next, use another long ratchet (or prybar) to apply pressure to keep the ball joint from spinning as you remove the nut. 

TRX420 Rancher upper ball joint change

Honda Rancher upper ball joint replacement

NOTE: You may need a pry bar to pull the joint again when getting the nut out.

Step 14. Remove the cotter pin and 17mm castle nut at bottom of the steering knuckle for the upper ball joint. Reinstall the tie rod, then hand-tighten it to hold the knuckle still while you loosen the castle nut.

Honda 420 Rancher steering knuckle ball joint

Honda ATV steering knuckle upper ball joint change

Step 15. Reverse the castle nut and re-thread it to get ready for the ball joint puller. Next, use the ball joint puller to free the steering knuckle from the ball joint.

Upper ball joint change Honda 420 Rancher

Upper ball joint change Honda TRX420 Rancher

Step 16. Pull the steering knuckle away and set it aside.  

Upper ball joint replacement Honda Rancher 420

Step 17. Pull the drive shaft out. 

Upper ball joint replacement Honda Rancher ATV

Step 18. Use circlip pliers to remove the circlip that holds the upper ball joint in place. 

Honda Rancher 420 ATV upper ball joint circlip

Step 19. Remove the 10mm bolt and hose clamp on the upper arm so you can free the arm. 

Honda TRX 420 Rancher upper ball joint arm

Step 20. Disconnect the shock, which has a 14mm bolt and a 14mm nut on the backside. Use a socket to loosen the bolt and a wrench to hold the nut on the back. 

Honda 420 ATV upper ball joint change shock

Step 21. Remove the two 14mm pivot bolts on the arm (one in the front and one in the rear). Use a wrench to hold the nut in place on the backside, then pull the arm away.

Ball joints change Honda Rancher 420

Ball joints replacement Honda Rancher ATV

Honda Rancher 420 Upper Ball Joint Replacement

Step 23. Press out the upper ball joint. 

Upper ball joint replacement Honda ATV TRX420

NOTE: You can use a ball joint remover/installer cup, but we used a piece of 1 ¼  PVC electrical conduit just large enough to catch the edge of the arm and allow the ball joint to pass through. This allowed us to press out the joint with a 32mm adapter from our Motion Pro wheel bearing driver set.

Honda 420 Rancher upper ball joint preparation

Step 24. Press the new upper ball joint into place. 

Ball joints change Honda ATV Rancher 420

NOTE: We flipped the arm over to push the joint in. And we got our 1 ¼  PVC electrical conduit underneath to hold the arm up, using a smaller piece of PVC that caught the outside edge of the ball joint and pushed it in. We also used a 47mm adapter from our driver set.

Step 25. Flip the arm back over, replace the circlip and you’re done with upper ball joint. 

Honda TRX420 Rancher ATV upper ball joint change

Next up is the removal and replacement of the lower ball joint, for which we’ll cover the written steps in Part 2. 

Watch the video below to continue with the Honda Rancher 420 lower ball joint removal and replacement segment.

 

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