Picked up an '03 450- Best way to get it in shape?


20 replies to this topic
  • mrgem

Posted January 15, 2014 - 08:39 AM

#1

Some of you may have been following my recent verbal hand-wringing thread on whether or not I should buy a first-gen WRF450. Well, after getting advice from some of you (THANKS!), I took the plunge and bought a low-hours 2003, that had not been registered since 2011. As I said in the other thread -- it clearly had some problems from sitting all that time. I need your help in making the best decisions on how to proceed with this bike in order to get enough confidence in it to sell my tried and true (but portly) 2008 DR-Z400.

This is how I see my worklist:

1) Get the bike to start and run well -- This is gonna take a thorough cleaning and rebuild of the carb. Since I got the bike to start using ether, I'm fairly confident that the bike simply has a gummed up carb. 

2) Lower the bike -- I am only 5'9" and cannot even come close to flat-footing this bike. This makes the bike difficult to ride in rough technical sections which are common here in the Rockies. I know that some of you believe that I'll be screwing up the bike's handling by lowering it -- but my DRZ experience with a lowered bike tells me I'm better off with a bike that is 1-2 inches lower than stock. Also, one of my riding buddies has an 05 WR that he's lowered by adding bar risers so the fork tubes can be dropped. He's also taken some of the preload off the rear shock to give it more sag. He's about 1/2 inch taller than I am (and about the same weight) and he likes the lowered bike. I've ridden his bike and it seems to work just fine for me as well. If dropping the suspension a bit still doesn't work, I'll cut the seat foam modestly and see what that does. If that doesn't work, I'll go the Yamalink route. Expensive, but effective, according to the reports I've read. As a last resort, I'll send the suspension components out to a chassis expert to have them customized -- although that will completely blow the entire concept of a low-dollar replacement for my DR-Z. All comments on this subject are welcome.

3) Make sure the bike doesn't have the "woodruff key shearing" problem some 03s have had. Understand there are improved parts and although the original owner never had any problems with his starter, I don't want to tempt fate. I'll buy the parts and do the upgrade. 

4) Make the bike reasonably quiet. Non-bikers don't like loud bikes and I don't wanna give the anti-OHV folks (of whom there are plenty around here) any ammunition to hasten shutting down my favorite trails. The guy I bought the bike from had the dealer install an FMF "Titanium 4" muffler (no longer available from FMF) and a "Power Bomb" stainless Head/intermediate pipe. He confessed to me that he pulled the spark arrestor/end cap from the FMF in order to gain power and now he cannot locate the part. I know these exhaust components are quite expensive and are lighter as well as power enhancing. As I see it -- I have 2 choices -- either quiet down (and restore the arrestor on) the FMF or go back to a stock exhaust. He gave me the stock tailpipe + muffler, but he could not find the stock head pipe. How do you all suggest I make the bike quieter? It was jetted by the selling dealer for the aftermarket exhaust. And anything that saves weight is a good thing -- as I see it . But I don't want it too loud. Your ideas?

5) Install an effective radiator guard. There's a reason they call these mountains the Rockies and even a modest fall in the rocks will trash your radiator. Devol makes a guard, but my Suzuki experience with Devol guards has been less than satisfactory. Suggestions?

6) Go riding and enjoy thebenefits of riding a bike that is 45-lbs lighter than my old Suzuki "Pig of Iron."

 

Finally, I have one more question about carrying a tool kit on the WRF. I noticed that the bike doesn't have a full rear subframe. How do you all carry tools and spares? I am doubting that I can mount a tool bag on a rear fender without any support.

 

TIA for your help!



  • electricme

Posted January 15, 2014 - 09:08 AM

#2

I have a stock Muffler that was basically never used if you are interested...  I cant see any reason to keep it.  the original owner of my bike took it off almost imediatly it has less than 8 hrs on it from what I am told and it loks the part.  youll have to allocate a stock head pipe though.

 

Nevermind  just re read... you have the stock pipe haha


Edited by electricme, January 15, 2014 - 09:09 AM.


  • DeepPurplishBlue

Posted January 15, 2014 - 09:55 AM

#3


Finally, I have one more question about carrying a tool kit on the WRF. I noticed that the bike doesn't have a full rear subframe. How do you all carry tools and spares? I am doubting that I can mount a tool bag on a rear fender without any support.

 

TIA for your help!

 

Get a rack...

 

These are very nice but a bit expensive:

 

http://www.promotobi...argo-racks.html

 

I have that rack on two of my WR450s and it is very nice and hardly know it is there.

 

On a budget you could go with these:

 

http://nomadic-racks...6077&id=4114236

 

I have those on the rest of my WRs and they work very well for the price.

 

Both racks double as a handle for lifting the bike out of tricky situations...



  • mrgem

Posted January 15, 2014 - 10:36 AM

#4

Get a rack...

 

These are very nice but a bit expensive:

 

http://www.promotobi...argo-racks.html

 

I have that rack on two of my WR450s and it is very nice and hardly know it is there.

 

On a budget you could go with these:

 

http://nomadic-racks...6077&id=4114236

 

I have those on the rest of my WRs and they work very well for the price.

 

Both racks double as a handle for lifting the bike out of tricky situations...

Perfect! Thanks!



  • miweber929

Posted January 15, 2014 - 10:39 AM

#5

Some of you may have been following my recent verbal hand-wringing thread on whether or not I should buy a first-gen WRF450. Well, after getting advice from some of you (THANKS!), I took the plunge and bought a low-hours 2003, that had not been registered since 2011. As I said in the other thread -- it clearly had some problems from sitting all that time. I need your help in making the best decisions on how to proceed with this bike in order to get enough confidence in it to sell my tried and true (but portly) 2008 DR-Z400.

This is how I see my worklist:

1) Get the bike to start and run well -- This is gonna take a thorough cleaning and rebuild of the carb. Since I got the bike to start using ether, I'm fairly confident that the bike simply has a gummed up carb. 

2) Lower the bike -- I am only 5'9" and cannot even come close to flat-footing this bike. This makes the bike difficult to ride in rough technical sections which are common here in the Rockies. I know that some of you believe that I'll be screwing up the bike's handling by lowering it -- but my DRZ experience with a lowered bike tells me I'm better off with a bike that is 1-2 inches lower than stock. Also, one of my riding buddies has an 05 WR that he's lowered by adding bar risers so the fork tubes can be dropped. He's also taken some of the preload off the rear shock to give it more sag. He's about 1/2 inch taller than I am (and about the same weight) and he likes the lowered bike. I've ridden his bike and it seems to work just fine for me as well. If dropping the suspension a bit still doesn't work, I'll cut the seat foam modestly and see what that does. If that doesn't work, I'll go the Yamalink route. Expensive, but effective, according to the reports I've read. As a last resort, I'll send the suspension components out to a chassis expert to have them customized -- although that will completely blow the entire concept of a low-dollar replacement for my DR-Z. All comments on this subject are welcome.

3) Make sure the bike doesn't have the "woodruff key shearing" problem some 03s have had. Understand there are improved parts and although the original owner never had any problems with his starter, I don't want to tempt fate. I'll buy the parts and do the upgrade. 

4) Make the bike reasonably quiet. Non-bikers don't like loud bikes and I don't wanna give the anti-OHV folks (of whom there are plenty around here) any ammunition to hasten shutting down my favorite trails. The guy I bought the bike from had the dealer install an FMF "Titanium 4" muffler (no longer available from FMF) and a "Power Bomb" stainless Head/intermediate pipe. He confessed to me that he pulled the spark arrestor/end cap from the FMF in order to gain power and now he cannot locate the part. I know these exhaust components are quite expensive and are lighter as well as power enhancing. As I see it -- I have 2 choices -- either quiet down (and restore the arrestor on) the FMF or go back to a stock exhaust. He gave me the stock tailpipe + muffler, but he could not find the stock head pipe. How do you all suggest I make the bike quieter? It was jetted by the selling dealer for the aftermarket exhaust. And anything that saves weight is a good thing -- as I see it . But I don't want it too loud. Your ideas?

5) Install an effective radiator guard. There's a reason they call these mountains the Rockies and even a modest fall in the rocks will trash your radiator. Devol makes a guard, but my Suzuki experience with Devol guards has been less than satisfactory. Suggestions?

6) Go riding and enjoy thebenefits of riding a bike that is 45-lbs lighter than my old Suzuki "Pig of Iron."

 

Finally, I have one more question about carrying a tool kit on the WRF. I noticed that the bike doesn't have a full rear subframe. How do you all carry tools and spares? I am doubting that I can mount a tool bag on a rear fender without any support.

 

TIA for your help!

1) Rebuild and clean it, or if you want to get it done once and for all have the local shop soak it. But do not try to split it, read about a few people ruining seals by splitting it in half and they are not meant to do that, just make sure all jets are new and all passages flow.

 

2) Go for it, your bike, your choice, screw the haters. Try a lower seat instead, though. My 5'10", 30" inseam dad rides my 04 at stock height with the seat that the PO had cut down for himself (I am 6'3" so I have a tall seat for me) which workes great for him. Again, go for it. 

 

3) Search around on here, should be about $200 in parts, easy peasy to do.

 

4) Don't dick around too long with the stock stuff or trying to cobble something and just get an FMF Q4 slip on (or a Lexx unit for around $200, though I am not a huge fan of them quality wise) and be done with it. The FMF will work with your powerbomb so its easy to setup and then sell your old FMF and stock stuff. Or search ebay for a YZ450 setup and a quiet insert, supposed to be a good thing.

 

5) Lots out there, Devel stuff is only OK, Unibiker are good, others can chime in, I don't run any.

 

6) My dad has an 06 DRZ400S and LOVES my WR, you'll have a blast.

 

Ask questions, PM people, whatever. You'll be fine.

 

Mike


Edited by miweber929, January 15, 2014 - 10:41 AM.


  • miweber929

Posted January 15, 2014 - 10:42 AM

#6

Oh yeah, I wear an enduro fanny pack for tools and spares. much easier to carry stuff than a tool pouch mounted to the bike. Or get a rack as said above.

 

Mike



  • beezer

Posted January 15, 2014 - 11:09 AM

#7

The bike prolly has a gummed up pilot jet.  Replace that and it should start.  You can get to it through the float bowl drain.

 

I never liked racks unless I was bringing a chainsaw along.  A fanny pack is all I use.

 

Flatland makes decent skidplates and radiator guards.  Yamaha radiators are over 250 bucks per side.

 

Other than the flywheel key the bike should run forever.



  • mrgem

Posted January 15, 2014 - 11:10 AM

#8

1) Rebuild and clean it, or if you want to get it done once and for all have the local shop soak it. But do not try to split it, read about a few people ruining seals by splitting it in half and they are not meant to do that, just make sure all jets are new and all passages flow.

 

2) Go for it, your bike, your choice, screw the haters. Try a lower seat instead, though. My 5'10", 30" inseam dad rides my 04 at stock height with the seat that the PO had cut down for himself (I am 6'3" so I have a tall seat for me) which workes great for him. Again, go for it. 

 

3) Search around on here, should be about $200 in parts, easy peasy to do.

 

4) Don't dick around too long with the stock stuff or trying to cobble something and just get an FMF Q4 slip on (or a Lexx unit for around $200, though I am not a huge fan of them quality wise) and be done with it. The FMF will work with your powerbomb so its easy to setup and then sell your old FMF and stock stuff. Or search ebay for a YZ450 setup and a quiet insert, supposed to be a good thing.

 

5) Lots out there, Devel stuff is only OK, Unibiker are good, others can chime in, I don't run any.

 

6) My dad has an 06 DRZ400S and LOVES my WR, you'll have a blast.

 

Ask questions, PM people, whatever. You'll be fine.

 

Mike

Mike -- Thanks. This is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to get.

 

I've continued researching and found that for about 50 bucks, FMF sells a new end cap with the arrestor built in. For about 25 bucks, they'll also sell me a "quiet core insert". So for 75 bucks, I'll have a quiet (relatively) Titanium 4 system. Tell your dad that I feel his pain. The DRZ is incredibly durable and forgiving -- but it is too darned heavy to try and keep up with the orange, blue and red bikes. It is time for me to move on!



  • 1trackmind

Posted January 15, 2014 - 11:57 AM

#9

I have the 03 and love it. I have used it and abused it, it is still running strong. 

 

1-Carb kit- I bought a carb kit for a 2004 YZ450 off of ebay for under $20 that had jets, float needle, main needle, gaskets... I the seller is bosspowersportsoutlet. Of course the jets probably won't do you any good with the exhaust you have.

2- Your bike, do what you want to the height. I'm 6'3" so I don't have that problem, just had to re-spring it.

3- The starter is done by putting in some 04 parts. You should be able to find the info in the "Sticky" in this forum.

4- I am still running the stock exhaust with the GYTR insert. I had to change my head pipe due to damage. I used a head pipe of of a YFZ450. But you have the exhaust covered.

5- I haven't done the radiator guards, should have though. I would recommend getting a good skid plate. I got the Recochet and have been pleased. It has taken a beating.

 I don't have a tool kit on the bike. I ride with a hydration pack with a few emergency tools in it. 

I would suspect with the upgraded exhaust and jetting etc... that the free mods have all been done.

It sounds like you have a good handle on it. enjoy it, it is a great bike, even though it's older.


Edited by 1trackmind, January 15, 2014 - 11:59 AM.


  • mrgem

Posted January 15, 2014 - 01:11 PM

#10

I have the 03 and love it. I have used it and abused it, it is still running strong. 

 

1-Carb kit- I bought a carb kit for a 2004 YZ450 off of ebay for under $20 that had jets, float needle, main needle, gaskets... I the seller is bosspowersportsoutlet. Of course the jets probably won't do you any good with the exhaust you have.

2- Your bike, do what you want to the height. I'm 6'3" so I don't have that problem, just had to re-spring it.

3- The starter is done by putting in some 04 parts. You should be able to find the info in the "Sticky" in this forum.

4- I am still running the stock exhaust with the GYTR insert. I had to change my head pipe due to damage. I used a head pipe of of a YFZ450. But you have the exhaust covered.

5- I haven't done the radiator guards, should have though. I would recommend getting a good skid plate. I got the Recochet and have been pleased. It has taken a beating.

 I don't have a tool kit on the bike. I ride with a hydration pack with a few emergency tools in it. 

I would suspect with the upgraded exhaust and jetting etc... that the free mods have all been done.

It sounds like you have a good handle on it. enjoy it, it is a great bike, even though it's older.

Yeah -- Due in large part to the advice I am getting here, I suspect it will be an outstanding bike. I imagine that its lighter weight will enable me to ride a few more years.

 

Not sure if I mentioned it, but the bash plate came with the bike. Think it is a flatlander. They are an absolute necessity in this part of the world. My DRZ's plate has plenty of scars to attest to its value.

 

Regarding the tools: Seems I am usually the pack animal of our riding group...I carry tubes, compressed air cartridges, tire spoons, bailiing wire, wrenches and an assortment of small bolts. Over the years, we've had to use some of just about everything. You don't want to get 15 miles away from your truck and have no way to get back -- other than pushing or towing.

 

But that is how a 320-lb-wet bike becomes a 340 lb bike.

 

I also wear a hydration pack with a few other emergency items. 

 

Thanks again for all the advice.



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  • Brayden450

Posted January 16, 2014 - 11:10 AM

#11

I have an 03 wr, love every min of it. DEFINATLY put in the new starter, although It may have already been done. I have an FMF pipe and header on my bike with Hinson clutch and yz cams. Also, do the free mods like the throttle stop and grey wire. I race harescrambles on mine and there are times where I wish the bike was lighter, but sense I'm also pretty tall it doesn't bother me. For you I would say set the sag or lower it. You may have already said this but what type of riding are you planning on doing with it?? All in all I love the bike

  • mrgem

Posted January 16, 2014 - 04:56 PM

#12

I have an 03 wr, love every min of it. DEFINATLY put in the new starter, although It may have already been done. I have an FMF pipe and header on my bike with Hinson clutch and yz cams. Also, do the free mods like the throttle stop and grey wire. I race harescrambles on mine and there are times where I wish the bike was lighter, but sense I'm also pretty tall it doesn't bother me. For you I would say set the sag or lower it. You may have already said this but what type of riding are you planning on doing with it?? All in all I love the bike

Thanks for the response. I've already spoken to the dealer about the starter component upgrade. He says Yamaha has a TSB on the problem and will do it for free. We shall see.

 

Loosened and rotated carb today (not a trivial job -- would have almost been as easy to pull the carb) and dropped bowl. Sprayed carb cleaner  and blew compressed air up every passage I could see, but needle valve appears to be stuck closed as no gas is flowing into the carb -- even when the floats are dropped all the way. Will leave the bike for a couple of days with the dealer, have him do the starter fix and clean the carb while he is at it. 

 

What kind of riding do we do? My riding is typically with a bunch of younger guys (I'm in my 60s -- so just about anybody is younger than I am) and is best described as "brisk trail riding." Our group always has at least a couple of orange bikes, a couple of blue, a red bike or two and the odd yellow machine (including my two DR-Z400s, which is what I historically ride). I am hoping the loss of 40+ lbs will make me a bette/More competive rider and extend my riding years. We ride everything from tight woods single track (at which my Suzuki sucks) to wide open desert. Whether we are riding in the mountains or the desert, there is always quite a bit of technical riding through rocks. Colorado has it all!

 

By the way...I am assuming the WR uses shims/buckets for valve adjustment. Can you confirm that and tell me how often you get your valves checked?


Edited by mrgem, January 16, 2014 - 04:58 PM.


  • miweber929

Posted January 16, 2014 - 08:19 PM

#13

Be wary of the TSB which I believe is simply loctite and over torquing the flywheel, NOT the actual fix which involves starter gears and a few other things.

Do it right, don't let the dealer do the no-cost "solution".

Valves are shims, I do it every other year but there is an interval in the manual. If you don't have one, get one or download one following instructions in the pinned threads.

Mike

  • eRRmmm

Posted January 16, 2014 - 09:25 PM

#14


2) Lower the bike -- I am only 5'9" and cannot even come close to flat-footing this bike. This makes the bike difficult to ride in rough technical sections which are common here in the Rockies. I know that some of you believe that I'll be screwing up the bike's handling by lowering it -- but my DRZ experience with a lowered bike tells me I'm better off with a bike that is 1-2 inches lower than stock. Also, one of my riding buddies has an 05 WR that he's lowered by adding bar risers so the fork tubes can be dropped. He's also taken some of the preload off the rear shock to give it more sag. He's about 1/2 inch taller than I am (and about the same weight) and he likes the lowered bike. I've ridden his bike and it seems to work just fine for me as well. If dropping the suspension a bit still doesn't work, I'll cut the seat foam modestly and see what that does. If that doesn't work, I'll go the Yamalink route. Expensive, but effective, according to the reports I've read. As a last resort, I'll send the suspension components out to a chassis expert to have them customized -- although that will completely blow the entire concept of a low-dollar replacement for my DR-Z. All comments on this subject are welcome.

 

Whatever you end up doing with the suspension, at least pull it apart and check the bearings.  Mine ('05) were rusted solid when I bought it, I was lucky to get it all apart without damage.



  • electricme

Posted January 17, 2014 - 04:56 AM

#15

I forgot to say before PICTURES!  or it didnt happen haha.



  • mrgem

Posted January 17, 2014 - 07:12 AM

#16

Whatever you end up doing with the suspension, at least pull it apart and check the bearings.  Mine ('05) were rusted solid when I bought it, I was lucky to get it all apart without damage.

Understood. This is a common problem with Japanese off-road machines. 

 

I have 2 DRZ-400s, and when my 2001 "Kicker" model, developed a clunking and roughness in the steering, I pulled the steering head and forks to find a lower bearing that just fell apart when the steering stem came off the bike. There was almost zero grease in there -- and no Zirk fitting to add grease. I'm told that swingarm bearings often suffer from the same condition. At least that bike has a grease fitting on the wingarm pivot bearing set. 

 

For some reason the factories neglected to pack those bearings sufficiently even though they understood that these bikes would be subjected to mud, sand and brutal encounters with rocks and terrain. 



  • mrgem

Posted January 17, 2014 - 07:22 AM

#17

Be wary of the TSB which I believe is simply loctite and over torquing the flywheel, NOT the actual fix which involves starter gears and a few other things.

Do it right, don't let the dealer do the no-cost "solution".

Valves are shims, I do it every other year but there is an interval in the manual. If you don't have one, get one or download one following instructions in the pinned threads.

Mike

The dealer actually showed me the TSB on his computer. It included a list of 6 or 7 parts. I had the service manager AND their most experienced tech there while we went through it and they were surprised that Y was willing to replace all that stuff on an off-road-only bike.

 

I think someone musta lit a fire under Yamaha's rear end in order to get them to step up and accept responsibility. The fact that they improved the 2004 is a tacit admission that the 2003 design was blatantly inadequate. Having managed a  Yamaha/Honda (as well as other brands) shop back in the 70s, I can recall a couple of instances where the manufacturers got tired of lawsuit threats and just fixed something they designed poorly. They certainly aren't going out of their way to advertise this TSB.

 

Thanks for the advice!



  • eRRmmm

Posted January 17, 2014 - 01:44 PM

#18

Understood. This is a common problem with Japanese off-road machines. 

 

I have 2 DRZ-400s, and when my 2001 "Kicker" model, developed a clunking and roughness in the steering, I pulled the steering head and forks to find a lower bearing that just fell apart when the steering stem came off the bike. There was almost zero grease in there -- and no Zirk fitting to add grease. I'm told that swingarm bearings often suffer from the same condition. At least that bike has a grease fitting on the wingarm pivot bearing set. 

 

For some reason the factories neglected to pack those bearings sufficiently even though they understood that these bikes would be subjected to mud, sand and brutal encounters with rocks and terrain. 

 

According to the service manual all these parts should be inspected, lubed and retightened after break-in and then every race, so I guess they put enough grease in for break-in but then a lot of owners don't do their part with the follow up servicing.

 

That's the beauty of buying a used bike, you can always blame the previous owner....



  • mrgem

Posted January 22, 2014 - 08:48 PM

#19

Be wary of the TSB which I believe is simply loctite and over torquing the flywheel, NOT the actual fix which involves starter gears and a few other things.

Do it right, don't let the dealer do the no-cost "solution".

Valves are shims, I do it every other year but there is an interval in the manual. If you don't have one, get one or download one following instructions in the pinned threads.

Mike

Mike - I now stand corrected. Spoke to the dealer today, and he says that the ONLY thing Yamaha will pay for is the loctite/re-torque....They recommend that I upgrade to the later model starter clutch -- but it would not be a warranty fix. From what I am reading -- the loctite fix may make things worse. So -- What I am faced with is spending 200+ bucks and paying the dealer for an hour's shop time - unless I want to do the work myself.

 

Are you aware of a YouTube video that explains the starter clutch replacement? 



  • flyingtexan1

Posted March 11, 2016 - 07:51 AM

#20

Can anyone provide the starter TSB number to me, dealers are playing stupid down here in North Mexico.






 
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