Step-by-Step ATV Steering Stem Replacement

Sep. 06, 2013 By Rick Sosebee
A bent steering stem is something more garage mechanics can tackle. Check out our step-by-step process below.

Hopefully there are just a few times in your riding adventures when you damage parts that can be a little complicated to replace. Now if you are an experienced mechanic then you might think there is nothing you cannot fix yourself. I know this kind of guy and gal, but if you’re on the other side of that coin and need help understanding the process to some of the more technical repairs, I think we can help you out.

The steering stem in our 2007 Honda TRX450ER was bent pretty well, and unfortunately it was right at the top and out of view. It was noticeable that the bars were a little stiff but they were otherwise straight. Here is a 10-step project to replacing the steering stem/shaft on your sport quad.

Clean out a space in the shop or shed so you have plenty of working room. You will need a selection of metric sockets with a 3/8ths drive ratchet, needle-nose pliers, flathead screwdriver and metric wrenches. The gear head wrenches work great and fit most of the tighter spaces, but you can get by with typical metric combination wrenches.

Remove the plastic center cover in the middle of the handlebars using a 10mm socket and ratchet. There is only one screw and the plastic dash should pop off by pulling up on it. This will expose the bar clamp bolts.

Use a socket to loosen the four bolts and separate the bars from the steering stem.

Once the four bolts are loosened, simply lay the bars back onto the gas tank. This will allow you to remove the plastic nose cover.

The plastic nose cover on the front of the TRX450ER is held in by two rubber bushings closest to the steering stem and can be lifted out by simply pulling on the top near the bars. The cover is semi-hinged on the very front so be careful to not break the plastic tips off the nosepiece. This will help you see what you have to fish the stem through to get it out. You can then lay the bars forward onto the nose of the machine for a more open workspace.

Under this plastic nosepiece on the steering stem are two bolts that hold the steering stem against the frame. These are tricky to get to but a small extension on your ratchet will make it easier. Remove these and move on to step six.

Optional: You may want to jack the front of the machine up off the ground. Some might say its not needed but it sure does make the work a bit easier. It also allows you to turn the bars left or right when you get into step six.

The tie rods are held onto the steering stem by tie rod ends using 14mm castle nuts on the bottom of the stem foot. The castle nut has a small cotter pin slipped through it to keep the nut from backing off. Using your needle nose pliers bend the cotter pin as flat as possible so it can be fished through and out of the castle nut.
After removing cotter pin, then use your socket to remove the nut. This step could require you to hold the top of the tie rod end with a second wrench.

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