Preliminary data on woodruff key failures

234 replies to this topic
  • IceBox

Posted March 20, 2003 - 04:52 AM


I have noticed others have mentioned that but the dealer I spoke with said that has been revised. Whether that is true or not :) I will find out on Saturday.

I can't comment too much until I get a copy of what he was sent but the difference between 47-50 ft-lbs is really just a torque wrench that hasn't been calibrated lately since most have a +/- 3% margin of error to begin with. I find it interesting that at one time it might have been 61 ft-lbs and then dropped down to 47 ft-lbs with the insert you speak of.

Just my .02

  • SCJR

Posted March 20, 2003 - 07:29 PM


I just recently(3/16/03)purchased a WR450FR. I got 2.2 miles on the bike when the starter gave out. I tried kick starting it but no such luck. I took it to the dealership and sure enough, it was the woodruff key. I'm p-off and a half. I can't live with the threat of having this re-occur sometime down the line. I may just leave the bike right where it is/retract my purchase. This is very upseting. "Anyone out there had this problem professionaly addressed and still had problems afterward?" Thank you in advance of your cooperation. Serial Number 000896.

  • Alabama_Rider

Posted March 21, 2003 - 09:19 PM


This is what is known as an "engineering design error". It can only be permanently fixed by a redesign and retrofit, otherwise known as a "recall". :) It will kill the 03, WR450 if Yamaha doesn't respond to the problem. My name was on waiting list at 4 different dealers. They have all been calling the last 2 weeks with bikes on the floor unsold. You can bet Yamaha is aware of the problem and is incorporating a new design for the 04 model. As for 03 owners, you will have to live with it. Yamaha doesn't care about you they already have your money......

  • SMD

Posted March 22, 2003 - 05:32 AM


Thanks bamy for more of your alarmist drivel. :)
Now what problems have you had with your bike again?


Posted March 22, 2003 - 08:56 AM


MANXIE [color:red] [/color]

  • Alabama_Rider

Posted March 22, 2003 - 10:16 AM


Hey Thumper, the WR450 is a great ride. It is a shame Yamaha is attempting to deny there is a problem but that is typical of large corporations. It will take continuous customer and media pressure for them to deal with the problem. You can bet it will be in the trade magazines by next month. Then Yamaha will respond. Keep the heat on..... I have 225 miles on mine now without a problem. I rejetted as soon as I got the bike home, but blaming woodruff failures on jetting or torgue being off by 10% is a lame excuse for a "bad design".

  • socals

Posted March 22, 2003 - 08:23 PM


I just got my WR450F on 3/12/03 and mine just quit after 10 miles!

I wish I would have found this site before I went riding and got stranded for about an hour!

I even got the paper insert in my manual, but the stupid ass service dept at Champion Yamaha in Costa Mesa, CA obviously didn't read the insert or something.

I'll be bringing it in tomorrow to see what they say.

Has anyone had it fail again after bringing it in for service/repair?

Serial #1700

(BTW: I stalled it, then pressed the E-Start and it just spun (had used E-Start probably 10+ times before this happened)

  • endurodog

Posted March 24, 2003 - 04:45 AM


It is a shame Yamaha is attempting to deny there is a problem but that is typical of large corporations. It will take continuous customer and media pressure for them to deal with the problem

Bama, I didn't realize that Yamaha was denying the problem, how are they doing this? I thought they came out with a TSB stating a fix that some guys have commented on???????

  • adamwagar

Posted March 24, 2003 - 07:48 AM


"I didn't realize that Yamaha was denying the problem, how are they doing this? I thought they came out with a TSB stating a fix that some guys have commented on???????"

LOL. Call Yamaha Customer Service and ask them to fax you a copy of the TSB. LOL. They will only release information to the dealer. Pitty the customer who doesn't know about ThumperTalk.

  • endurodog

Posted March 24, 2003 - 07:58 AM


LOL. Call Yamaha Customer Service and ask them to fax you a copy of the TSB. LOL. They will only release information to the dealer. Pitty the customer who doesn't know about ThumperTalk

I would guess that is a company policy which is a bit different than a denial of the problem. Thats what I was curious about is the denial of the problem. Is this policy what Bama is equating to denial??

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  • gloft

Posted March 24, 2003 - 09:20 AM


OK guys, here is the latest straight from a senior Yamaha field mechanic on the pending TSB as I understand it. If you've been following thread 'Woodruff faulures after lapping' which I can't seem to find anymore, you'll remember that I've had 3 key failures in just over 100 miles. Yamaha sent a senior factory type to my dealership to fix the bike and he then brought it to me for a heavy testing session yesterday to see if we could break it. I wrung it's neck for around 35 miles over every imaginable condition including fast stuff (5th flat out), nasty single track (trials type stuff with river crossings up to the tank), hill climbs and intentonally stalling exercises and abusing the e-start. So far no problems although I did remove the baffle half way through the day and it really freed up the bike throughout the power band especially down low. Anyway, the fix was to 1. replace flywheel 2. replace woodruff key 3. lapp to rotor ensuring a 100% contact patch 4. remove flywheel to ensure no contact patch distortion was encountered while doing initial install 5. reinstall flywheel using RED loctite - let cure for 24 hours. I was told this will be detailed in the upcoming TSB but that it is not currently official so don't tell anyone :) If anyone else has had this procedure done and is still having problems, I'd sure love to hear about it as I'll be continuing to provide feedback to Yamaha on this.

I will say this, while I'm not happy to be working on bugs I consider to be pre-production type problems, Yamaha has made every attempt to get this resolved so I'm giving them the benefit of doubt for now.

  • endurodog

Posted March 24, 2003 - 09:29 AM


Wow sounds like Yamaha is working on the issue pretty well if they are sending you on a test run with it. Thats great to hear!!!! Is the fly wheel you got different or were they worried that the original one had been damaged in the failures?? Glad to hear you got some good miles on the bike!

  • adamwagar

Posted March 24, 2003 - 09:57 AM


gloft ,
sounds like they got you dialed in. Thats cool. :)

I still wonder why it's taking so long for the TSB... And why not send a letter to customers warning of possible problems.

Does JD Powers rate motorcycles??? :D

  • SMD

Posted March 24, 2003 - 10:43 AM


I don't understand. A senior Yamaha tech takes the time to supervise a five step TSB personally.Then lets the owner do his own shake down/test all followed by a post ride consultation with continued feedback!
Damn and to think this is just some "lame excuse" for a "bad design" and they only want my money :)

  • socals

Posted March 24, 2003 - 11:10 AM


I brought my WR450F to my dealership, and they told me that they didn't know about the problem until recently... But I did have the insert in my manual. Funny enough, on the service paper it stated "Recall for rotor nut" at no charge of course.

I called Yamaha and asked them about this, and they told me there wasn't any "recall" on the WR450F. They didn't even seem to really care about anything or give me any information at all about the problem. They did tell me that my dealership needs to get information on how to fix this from Yamaha directly.

After I get my bike back, I'm gonna ask them what they did to my bike to fix it, and i'll post it later.

To think people on the Internet have been talking about this since Feb, yet people today are still riding and getting stuck!

Wish we could take the people at Yamaha responsible for this and make them push our [@#$%&*!] bike back!


Posted March 24, 2003 - 12:26 PM


Sounds like there is not enough taper surface to hold the flywheel (for all possible encountered forces) with the 03 design, unless everything is perfect - that's the main problem. All bikes will backfire sooner or later regardless of jetting, and red locktite is a band-aid way of increasing the bond that should be the sole responsibility of the taper fit. LOL guys, I wouldn't buy one if I could wait till next year. This is what sometimes happens with new designs - :) Has anyone weighed the 03 and 02 WR flywheels to see if there is a difference?

  • endurodog

Posted March 24, 2003 - 12:50 PM


I got the impression the lock tight was to hold the nut on. It sounded to me like the nut was backing off and allowing the flywheel to spin, in addition to the contact surface issue.

  • adamwagar

Posted March 24, 2003 - 01:47 PM


My dealer yanked the flywheel,lapped it,and used red Loctite to hold it in place. I'll bet you could throw the nut away now.LOL. :)

  • Jim_bo

Posted March 24, 2003 - 01:55 PM


Apparently, it sounds like the problem is less with the rotor nut backing off and more with the flywheel itself. I think that if my key fails (it hasn't yet) I am going to ask for a new flywheel. I hope I don't have to fight this battle.


  • endurodog

Posted March 24, 2003 - 02:16 PM

flywheel,lapped it,and used red Loctite to hold it in place

So they are putting the red loctite on the mating surface of the rotor and crank? I got to get this all dialed in cause I'm suppose to pick mine up next Monday and I'm gonna do this stuff before I even start the thing.


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