I know there are two ways these bikes can have starting failures, and both are caused by a backfire/kickback while trying to start:
- When the starter is under power and the engine backfires, and the damper assy fails (not slipping). This is known to commonly shear the woodruff key, crack the left side case, or break a gear somewhere between the starter and the flywheel where the opposing forces originate and terminate. This one is easily fixed with the 2004+ damper assy. I have no questions about this failure or solution.
- The other failure is caused when the bike kicks back while being started with the kick starter. When this happens, sometimes the kick starter slams into the kick stopper hard enough to break it off. The broken stopper can bind up any number of gears in the right side case and crack the case while damaging gears. I have not read about a fix for this failure. I want to know how to fix this.
Info about my bike: It is a 2003 with what looks like about 3000 miles on it maybe, and not a lot of maintenance done. It has a repaired right side case (the typical crack on the inside of the kick starter portion of the case. You can see it when you look in front of the rear shock from the clutch side of the bike). It was welded, and the work looks like it was done very well. I really want to avoid having this problem in the future, as i hear the cases are very expensive.
Normally on a 2003 with no 2004 damper assembly, I would just use the kickstarter exclusively to start the bike. But this bike has a history of failing at the kick starter, so I now feel that there is no safe way to start the thing.
NOTE: Please do not post unless you have something constructive to add. Saying "the 04 starter is better, no more broken woodruff keys" is not going to help.