03 woodruff key


19 replies to this topic
  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 07, 2008 - 02:40 PM

#1

Is there any way to tell if it has been fixed or not.

The seed of fear has been planted.:banghead:

  • ETP

Posted January 07, 2008 - 08:09 PM

#2

Is there any way to tell if it has been fixed or not.

The seed of fear has been planted.:banghead:


The problem was not the key. Just make sure the flywheel nut is torqued properly. The problem was the 03 starter mechanism. Upgrade to the 04 parts and potential problem solved.
Use the search engine here to learn more.

  • the_fist

Posted January 11, 2008 - 03:44 PM

#3

Is there any way to tell if it has been fixed or not.

The seed of fear has been planted.:banghead:


I heard the dealer would stamp an asterick on the VIN plate if they did the Yamaha endorsed modifications. Although the real fix is to get 04 parts.

  • BajaFool

Posted January 11, 2008 - 09:06 PM

#4

Appalachian DR,
Here is the link that will answer all of your questions about the woodruff key issue on the 2003 WR's. http://www.thumperta...ad.php?t=303319 If you have anymore questions, ask away.:banghead:

  • byggd

Posted January 12, 2008 - 11:28 AM

#5

Here is another link on the conversion
http://www.wr450.com...inals/index.htm

  • ETP

Posted January 12, 2008 - 12:56 PM

#6

Is there any way to tell if it has been fixed or not.

The seed of fear has been planted.:banghead:


Heres a little summary of the woodruff key issue the way I saw it unfold:

Very soon after the first electric start 2003 WR450's hit the stores, some woodruff keys broke because the flywheels spun on the shaft. This occurred during a backfire while electric starting the bike. Yamaha hastily put out a service bulletin to lap the shaft, and locktite the flywheel back on with a new woodruff key.

A while later, some of the guys here on this forum realized that Yamaha was redesigning the starter mechanism for the 2004 models. There was no torque limiter in the 03's. This meant that the woodruff key was shearing during a backfire because there was nowhere for the energy to go except to break the key and spin the flywheel.

Back in 2003 while all this was happening, some guys loctited their flywheels on, but had not installed the 04 parts yet. A few had their crank cases crack because the energy during the backfire has to go somewhere. The woodruff key acted as a weak link in the energy chain.

As much as I love my 03 WR450, I was annoyed that Yamaha quietly took care of the design flaw and did not offer any of us 2003 owners an upgrade.
A few guys complained loud enough and long enough where they did get some compensation.


Now a couple things to note here in summary:


Some bikes have never been modified and have never had any problems.

After 2003, nobody has had any woodruff key issues that I know of.

I would not recommend doing the woodruff key mod. Just make sure the flywheel is torqued properly and do the 04 parts upgrade.

:busted:

  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 12, 2008 - 06:10 PM

#7

Well my starter is hit and miss now. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't have the dough to do the upgrade right now but I can't stop riding:crazy: . What can I do to avoid being stranded and still keep riding? I can live with the kickstart for now.

  • VB_Racing

Posted January 13, 2008 - 05:40 PM

#8

You have a different issue than the "woodruff key" issue. If the starter is pinning , but won't engage, you probably have a bad starter clutch. If the starter itself doen't turn at times you probably have a starter issue of some kind. If you look at the starter drive cover , you will be able to tell if you have 04 parts or not. The 03 parts have a smooth cover, the 04 and up covers are bulged out to fit the torque limiter. If your bike has the upgrade parts take a look t the torque limiter too.
My 03WR brand new had serious jetting issues which contributed to the starting problems they had. My bike refused to start on the starter when I bought it new. Rejetted and had no problems.
I picked up another 03 last year, and rejetted right away. Always starts.
PM me if you have any questions!!:banghead:


Dave

  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 14, 2008 - 05:07 PM

#9

Thanks for the feedback :banghead:

So, can any of you look at this super duper high quality picture and tell me if this cover is bulged out like VB described? It looks tapered to me:excuseme:

Posted Image

  • VB_Racing

Posted January 14, 2008 - 05:09 PM

#10

That has not had the 04 parts put in it. I would order those parts when you get a chance, but I would troubleshoot your starter issue also.


Dave

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  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 14, 2008 - 05:19 PM

#11

Thanks VB

  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 15, 2008 - 05:20 PM

#12

I would not recommend doing the woodruff key mod. Just make sure the flywheel is torqued properly and do the 04 parts upgrade.

:banghead:



I took it to the shop today for a valve adjustment and he said he is going to do the factory bulletin upgrade (for the w-key) and they have the parts in stock. Is he talking about loctite only? Should I tell them not to do it?

  • ETP

Posted January 15, 2008 - 06:52 PM

#13

I took it to the shop today for a valve adjustment and he said he is going to do the factory bulletin upgrade (for the w-key) and they have the parts in stock. Is he talking about loctite only? Should I tell them not to do it?



My biggest concern, as I mention above, is that if you loctite the flywheel on to the shaft, as per the service bulletin, and get a bad backfire for any reason, that something else may break instead of the simple and cheap woodruff key. The energy has to go somewhere. Remember that the service bulletin came out before Yamaha fessed up about the starter mechanism design flaw.
I don't know of any other bikes which must have the flywheel loctited.
I would have your shop perform all the work of the SB except for the loctite. That would assure that the flywheel fits securely on the shaft, with a new woodruff key, and that its torqued properly. And upgrade the starter, of course.

I'm not a seasoned mechanic, but this is what I'd advise based on how I remember it all playing out back in 2003.
Maybe some of the guys here can back me up on this. Or if you have the time, use the search engine. Everything I recommend is based on old posts. Its all in the archive.:banghead:

  • BajaFool

Posted January 15, 2008 - 08:35 PM

#14

ETP is correct. The energy resulting from the backfire has to go someplace. In some cases, it resulted in cracked side cases. The Loctite fix is not a good idea. I suggest that you follow the guidance that I provided in my earlier post to this thread. I was in on the ground floor of this controversy in 2003 along with PBD BLUE. I was one of the first to upgrade to the 2004 idler gear and new cover. I know it is expensive, but you can shop around for prices. Installing the upgraded 2004 parts is the only way to ensure that you do not have a problem with your 2003. It could be a long walk back to the truck when that fatal backfire occurs.

  • VB_Racing

Posted January 16, 2008 - 07:36 AM

#15

Here's the deal...You would be best advised to put the 04 starter parts in, BUT the woodruff key issue on the 03's will NOT cause a starter that only works some of the time. It WILL cause the bike to quit, and will not start until you replace the key(The flywheel spins free). If you install the 04 parts, there is no harm in putting loctite on the crank, but as others here have said , there is really no benefit to it either.
If you just get the TSB done and install the 04 parts, you are still going to have a starter that only engages part of the time. You have to diagnose that problem separately.


Dave

  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 16, 2008 - 01:15 PM

#16

Got it:thumbsup:

I should have been more clear in my post. I asked about the woodruff key, then asked about the starter, and then back to the key again. All under the same post.

I knew the w-key wasn't the problem with my random starter but I failed to make myself clear.

Would unhooking the battery and not using the starter at all avoid the possibility of being stranded?

Thanks for your help and patients guys

  • VB_Racing

Posted January 16, 2008 - 04:37 PM

#17

Actually no, the starter is still there and on a backfire it can still shear the key.
What you CAN do is remove that little cover you posted a pic of, and remove the idler gear inside, then reinstall the cover. The idler you removed is the cause of all the problems, and was replace by a "torque limiter" in 04.
Your starter will not operate, but you will have no danger of shearing the key either.:banghead:


Dave

  • Appalachian DR

Posted January 19, 2008 - 01:29 PM

#18

If I just pull the gear and put the cover on would it cause any problems if someone hit my starter button unknowingly?

  • SPLATT

Posted January 19, 2008 - 03:41 PM

#19

If I just pull the gear and put the cover on would it cause any problems if someone hit my starter button unknowingly?


The starter wouldn't be engaged to anything so it wouldn't do anything but free spin.

Steve

  • DFW_Warrior

Posted January 19, 2008 - 05:05 PM

#20

Dang it. It looks like I'll have to get the 04 parts swap done to. You guys have planted the seed in my head too. But it's a good thing seeing as I don't really like the idea of being stranded somewhere.




 
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