Help in Mexico -- 2003 WR450 Starting Issues

3 replies to this topic
  • the_fist

Posted February 14, 2008 - 05:11 PM


Arrived in Urique this was running perfect....get into Urique and I shut off the engine to wait for other riders....Not more than 5 minutes later, I reach for the e-start....a strange noise preceeds the starter going out....I hear a buzz...but the starter is not engaging.....I use the kick-start...nothing....then I try a downhill bump start...a brief bit of ignition, but nothing lasts....BUT..the starter is now working I try to e.start the bike and get a HUGE gunshot of a backfire....still nothing...

So, any diagnosis? Am I one of the lucky 2003 WR450 owners who has just experienced the woodruff key failure? Can the bike still be started without causing further engine damage even if this woodruff key issue is what´s wrong? Where should I check to see if this damage has occured?




  • grayracer513

Posted February 14, 2008 - 08:51 PM


To check the key, remove the tank and the spark plug. Probe into the plug hole with something that you won't leave in the engine to find TDC. Compare actual TDC with the mark on the flywheel. They should agree. If they don't, the key's gone.

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  • WR_Dave

Posted February 15, 2008 - 05:00 AM


Seeing that it's and '03 , my guess would be the woodruff key. I would use grayracer's advice and determine if in fact it has sheared,because if it has any further starting attempts may just do valve damage(piston contact). My old '02 WR did the just died trick and the gunshot type backfires when trying to pull start it and it turned out to be the CDI ignition. If it happens to be the CDI replace it with the Vortex X10 and then change out your woodruff key anyway. Good Luck----WR Dave

  • grayracer513

Posted February 15, 2008 - 07:41 AM


any further starting attempts may just do valve damage(piston contact).

Since the crankshaft timing chain sprocket is cut directly on the crank, that shouldn't be an issue unless there is a tensioner problem. Only the ignition timing depends on the key.

CDI, or other ignition failures are, of course, a possibility.


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