The A-Arms on your ATV are what hold the shocks into place and give your wheel the ability to move up and down when riding over bumps. The A-Arm is a very important part of your machine keeping your quad stable on the trail.
The A-Arms don’t typically wear out due to wear and tear over time. But they have been known to take a big rock and get bent out of shape or snap and crack. If this has happened to you, it’s best to replace the A-Arms before you do more damage to the machine.
Another reason a lot of people will change their A-Arms out, is to upgrade to higher performance parts, or upgrade to longer A-Arms to widen the ATV. In either case, the steps will be the same.
To get your replacement A-Arms check with your local ATV parts store or search for ATV A-Arms from Amazon here. A lot of times you can find parts cheaper online, just make sure you’re buying the right parts for your year, make, and model.
Steps To Replace A-Arms On An ATV
1. Raise And Remove Wheel
Raise the side of the quad you are going to be working on with a jack and place the ATV on jack stands. The jack stands are optional if you have a sturdy jack you feel confident in, or an ATV lift.
There won’t be much prying or pulling on the ATV itself while it’s jacked up, but still a good idea to make sure it’s sturdy. The next part will be easier if you loosen the lug nuts on the wheel before jacking the quad up.
Take the lug nuts off and remove the wheel where you want to change out the A-Arm. It’s best to focus on one side at a time, but you can jack up both sides to make one swap after another.
2. Disconnect Tie Rod
You will need to remove the tie rod from where it connects to the tie rod ends. You do not need to remove the tie rod ends from the steering components, just the tie rod itself. Loosen the lock nut on the tie rod and unscrew it until it is disconnected for the tie rod ends.
3. Remove Ball Joint Castle Nut
If this step is hard to do because the brake caliper is in the way, you can remove the brake caliper to make it easier. Rest the brake caliper out of the way so it is not pulling on the brake line. You could even zip-tie it up and out of the way if you need to.
Take the cotter pin out of the ball joint castle nut and remove the castle nut. The spindle will rotate freely at this point because we disconnected the tie rod. Just put a piece of 2×4 or something like a hand tool up against the A-Arm and spindle to keep it from moving while you remove the ball joint castle nut.
They do make a special tool designed to remove the ball joint easily. It’s called the Universal Ball Joint Separator found here on Amazon. But you could also use a pickle fork or strong screw driver to pry the ball joint out.
4. Remove Shock From A-Arm
Remove the shock from the A-Arm removing the cotter pin if there is one and removing the bolt holding the bottom of the shock to the A-Arm. You should be able to remove the A-Arm from the ATV pretty easily now.
Make sure to clean the spindle where the new ball joint will go. This makes the install step easier, and it really should be cleaned out anyway since you have it all apart.
5. Remove Ball Joints
This can be done a few different ways, and it might depend on what type of ball joint setup you have as to which way you remove the ball joints. If you’re new A-Arms come with ball joints already on them, you may not even need to do this step.
Some ball joints have a c clip holding them in place on one side of the ball joint. You will need to remove this c clip if you have one.
I’ve even seen people spray some WD-40 in the ball joint and hit it out from the other side with a hammer. Sometimes, the ball joint will easily just pull right out, either way, if you need that ball joint, you need to get it out of the old A-Arm.
6. Install New Ball Joint
If your A-Arm didn’t come with new ball joints or you are using your old ones from some reason. You will need to install the ball joint into the new A-Arm. Clean the ball joint and A-Arm up real nice before pressing the ball joint into the new A-Arm.
If you do have to do this step, you will probably need a ball joint press to get this done. Here is an example of a ball joint press. ABN Ball Joint Press Tool Set from Amazon. Or you could try using a rubber hammer or something to get the ball joint in, just be careful not to damage the ball joint.
I prefer to use new A-Arms with ball joint already installed to avoid doing the ball joint removal and installation steps. Besides, if I have it all apart, i want to put new ball joints in anyways.
Once you have your new A-Arms all set up and ready to go, you can start putting everything back together. Reinstall all the parts in the revers order you took them off.
Put the A-Arm back on the machine, reattach the shock and the ball joints to the spindle. Put the castle nut back on the ball joint with a new cotter pin, and reattach the tie rod.
Don’t forget to put the brake caliper back on if you removed it earlier to make the job easier. Put the wheel back on and tighten up the lug nuts, and you’re good to go. Do these steps for both sides if you’re changing out both sides A-Arms.
Anytime you do a job like this that requires you to mess with the steering parts of your quad, like the tie rod. It’s always a good idea to an alignment afterwards. To do a proper ATV alignment, follow the steps in my article, How To Do A Front End Alignment On An ATV.