2003 WR450 starter problem information for a potential new owner



75 replies to this topic
  • BajaFool

Posted November 18, 2014 - 12:01 AM

#41

AJK1,
Try your friendly Yamaha motorcycle dealer. Have them order the parts from the "big parts store in the sky". Why waste your money on shipping for one $.54 bushing, two flat washers at the most costing $.50 each and a woodruff key worth at most $2. Also, check the woodruff key price at an auto parts store.

One bit of advice when ordering the bushing, your dealer may point out that the part number does not apply to your motorcycle. The part number, if ordered will provide you with the correct bushing. The part number is 90380-10002-00 .

  • mustangcobra2004

Posted December 04, 2014 - 03:31 PM

#42

Ok guys,, I have a 2004 WR450F and had this same problem, replaced with 2005 parts, works so, so . The torque limiter is slipping and still have to kick start it once in a while. This is where this problem starts now. A new issue. I found out that I kick started my bike after cleaning out the carb, and it kicked back, witch broke my kick shaft assy and cracked my inner clutch case. What a mess. So after doing research on this, Yamaha noticed a problem on this on the 03-04 Wr450f and the 05 started a different size kick shaft and inner clutch case dia to prevent this from happing.. The parts are crazy expensive but did luck out to purchase the kick shaft on Ebay and the inner clutch housing as well. But one question, if someone is a Yamaha guru, I need your help. I have a YZF450 2005 Inner clutch cover that should fit my WR450F 04. I do see a water pump nipple on the down side. I also think this case requires a oil Nozzle jet that lubes the bottom of the piston. But will check this out closely. Pictures will be posted soon. Anyone can help. Please type away.



  • nutjob

Posted January 02, 2015 - 11:34 AM

#43

ive got the 2003 wr450, just picked it up a few months ago, 1st bike ive had since 1993 or so, so yeah im not too tech savvy when it comes to these things though i do know my way around with cars/trucks, i have an issue and wondering if anyone ever had it kick back and breaking the side cover where the little gear sits inside the "starter gear assembly" hole? ive heard and read about the notorious woodruff key issue but never heard of the cover actually breaking.. id post a picture but im new to this forum and havent figured that part out yet...



  • BajaFool

Posted January 02, 2015 - 12:57 PM

#44

It was reported that the side case broke on occasion, when the engine backfired at the time the starter was engaged. There were, if I remember correctly, reports of cracked center cases also. In addition, damage over time, to the starter clutch assy attached to the crank (sheared rivets) was reported also. Some people never had a problem with the idler gear on the 2003 WR -- probably lucky. I sheared the woodruff key on my new 2003 WR upon start up after unloading the bike with the sold tag still attached in the driveway.

  • mrgem

Posted January 03, 2015 - 06:58 AM

#45

ive got the 2003 wr450, just picked it up a few months ago, 1st bike ive had since 1993 or so, so yeah im not too tech savvy when it comes to these things though i do know my way around with cars/trucks, i have an issue and wondering if anyone ever had it kick back and breaking the side cover where the little gear sits inside the "starter gear assembly" hole? ive heard and read about the notorious woodruff key issue but never heard of the cover actually breaking.. id post a picture but im new to this forum and havent figured that part out yet...

As BF said, yes, there have been reports of that cover cracking and worse. What has been commonly described as a woodruff key failure is really a design problem with the starter clutch. Sheared keys and cracked covers are just the manifestation of the problem. Yamaha figured this out pretty quickly after the bike was released and by the next model year, had improved starter clutch parts. They avoided taking full responsibility because they would only cover the loose nut (and associated loctite/re-torque) -- but not the basic design flaw. So the only service bulletin on the subject covers the re-torque.  

 

There are numerous posts here on the subject, but the bottom line is that it needs to be fixed. AS noted, Yamaha, will only cover the "Loctite Fix," so it will cost you  to get it fixed. The parts list (not including the cracked cover) in this thread are a great reference, Some have done the repairs themselves if they have a puller and other tools -- but I had the dealer do it on my 450. I think labor was about $150 and the parts were a couple of hundred.

 

I've run the snot out of my bike since getting this fix done and have had zero problems. Well worth the investment.



  • nutjob

Posted January 03, 2015 - 09:59 AM

#46

 I sheared the woodruff key on my new 2003 WR upon start up after unloading the bike with the sold tag still attached in the driveway.

oh that would piss me off!!  i knew of the 03 wr woodruff key issue before i got mine thanks to google and scanning this site a little bit before registering on here but must have missed the cracked case/cover issue that went along with it.. i will be sure to double check everything as i go to replace these parts and do the 04 upgrade.. 



  • MC361

Posted January 03, 2015 - 10:40 AM

#47

Hello, I just registered bc I am looking at purchasing a 2003 WR 450F and have thoroughly researched the topics with the starter problems thanks to the valuable information on this thread. I am a student and on a budget looking for an inexpensive WR that I can make street legal in KY and ride trails on the weekends. I found a bike that I can buy for relatively cheap that has issues and I wanted to run it by you guys and see if you could provide me with any info on whether or not it appears to be a fixable solution without spending more than the bike is worth. 

 

The seller said he would sell it for $1200. He bought the bike and said it has always ran great without issues and all the lights worked. He parked the bike 3 months ago in his basement and then this past week he got it out but noticed the lights didn't work, starter will not engage, and he said he couldn't get it to kickstart. He said it would bump start immediately and idle and run without any problems. After researching these threads I asked him about the Woodruff Key and the faulty starter issues which he was not aware of. 

 

He said he charged the battery and when he hits the E start he can hear the starter turning but it will not engage. He also said that he charged the battery, bump started the bike and rode it several miles. When he put the charger back on the battery it read 30%. So it is not charging the battery either or the battery is just dead. 

 

My main question is, is it reasonable to buy this bike for $1200, plan to put a new battery, starter, and stator on it and potentially fix the problem or am I getting in way over my head with too many problems without any answers? 

 

Also, if the woodruff key is sheared and starter is bad will the bike not kick start either?  I also read another thread about the kickstand sensor being an issue that prevents it from being kicked or E started.  I know this is hard to diagnose over the phone without seeing the bike but if I can get it cheap enough I would not have a problem with putting some money back in to fix it. 

 

Any help is greatly appreciated as you all are very knowledgeable about these bikes.



  • BajaFool

Posted January 03, 2015 - 07:25 PM

#48

If the Woodruff Key is sheared, the bike ignition timing would be off and the bike would not start via the electric starter or the kick start lever.

  • MC361

Posted January 03, 2015 - 07:39 PM

#49

BajaFool, 

 

Thank you for your response. If the woodruff key is sheared would the bike still be able to start and run via push start?



  • nutjob

Posted January 03, 2015 - 07:45 PM

#50

nope, timing would be off and not allow it to start.. 



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  • MC361

Posted January 03, 2015 - 07:53 PM

#51

nutjob,

 

Okay, well I guess there must be something else going on if it will push start and run fine but not start via kick or E start.



  • mrgem

Posted January 07, 2015 - 08:03 AM

#52

nutjob,

 

Okay, well I guess there must be something else going on if it will push start and run fine but not start via kick or E start.

Start by replacing the battery. If that doesn't fix it move on to checking and replacing the starter motor. They have a history of failing. If you buy the bike and it hasn't had the starter clutch fix (AKA woodruff key) done, factor in about a 350 buck upgrade, That may serve as a great bargaining chip on price. 

In any case -- I'd insist on hearing the bike run and go through the gears. If the bike runs withouth smoke or funny noises, I'd say 1200 bucks is a good deal -- but again, you might ask for a couple hundred off to offset the cost of fixing the starter clutch. 



  • MC361

Posted January 07, 2015 - 08:05 AM

#53

mrgem,

 

Thank you for your response! I appreciate it. I've been in touch with him so i'll see what I can do about working a deal. Thanks again.



  • nutjob

Posted January 07, 2015 - 01:25 PM

#54

if the motor doesnt turn over with kickstarter and just feels like nothing while pushing down the kick lever then you might have a kickstart idle gear issue like i had with mine, also if starter clicks but doesnt seem to be enough power to turn the motor, check battery, if battery doesnt hold a charge then replace, if it holds charge and starter clicks pull off the elec starter gear assembly cover and inspect for a possible idle gear failure or a crack in the case where the pin is for that gear (like mine has) also inspect the gear assembly.. either way you will want to upgrade that assembly to a later year to keep from having costly/reliability issues..  IF ANY GEAR OR PART IS BROKEN BE SURE TO NOT RUN THE MOTOR TILL ALL PIECES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR AND THE OIL AND FILTER ARE CHANGED, i cannot stress that enough, if it has been ran (which it does sound like) i would probably stay away from it

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  • MC361

Posted January 07, 2015 - 02:26 PM

#55

nutjob,

 

After all this analyzing I called him today and he sold it! Man I either dodged a bullet or missed a great deal. Oh well, onto finding the next one.



  • nutjob

Posted January 07, 2015 - 03:19 PM

#56

nutjob,

 

After all this analyzing I called him today and he sold it! Man I either dodged a bullet or missed a great deal. Oh well, onto finding the next one.

we will never know lol, if you were near me you could look at mine cause im in the process of selling, if i dont sell by tax time im fixing all the issues and gonna "attempt" to plate it, i fixed the kickstart idler gear already, now just need to replace the side cover and upgrade to the 04 style starter setup..  also need to replace the front wheel bearings as theres some slop.. if i wasnt living on unemployment at the moment these things woulda been done yesterday...  however i was offered a trade for a 2001 KTM 520 exc just last night, if i knew those were platable here in oregon id be all over it but im unsure



  • toten

Posted March 19, 2015 - 06:34 PM

#57

I'm talking to someone who is parting out a 2006. Is there any reason I can't use a used damper? I don't want to use bad parts but if I can get the single most expensive part for a lot less I'd like to save money. As is I just kick the bike, but it would be nice to have a button that I'm willing to use. 

 

Are there any other parts I should consider using off an 06? Will the tank work with my seat? I know it uses different shrouds.



  • Bugger926

Posted April 29, 2015 - 04:23 PM

#58

ok so here is my issue. I have replaced every single part for the electric start. All new flywheel,starter,starter clutch. EVERYTHING. Press the button and it just spins. Nothing happens at all. I have checked and made sure the flywheel was torqued correctly. Kick start and bike fires right up. Checked and even put in a new woodruff key. I cant figure this thing out for nothing. By the way Its a 2003 I bought it off the original owner and only has 250 original miles on it. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!



  • cb0y1

Posted April 30, 2015 - 06:30 PM

#59

The side cover is not on correctly, remove all the side cover bolts and lift it off, then put it back on and tap it with a rubber mallet over the starter motor, the oring on the starter will keep it from seating without a little force right above it.

  • markjo2013

Posted August 27, 2015 - 06:31 PM

#60

I have wr450f 2003 no woodruff key problems but have starter problems put new starter on starts a few times then seems like dead spot in starter would kick back damage starter will 04 torque limiter fix starter issue hit starter button it clicks




 
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