RM Kick Starter Repair DIY

Just picked up an '01 RM 250 a few days ago and been having some problems with the kick starter. Seems to be a fairly common issue so I thought as my first post I would try to help a little since I've already benefited a bunch from lurking on the site.

Concern: Kick starter lever binds, sticks, no action when trying to "pivot" or "hinge".

Here is what I found on my bike: The lever is obviously a 2 part design where these 2 pieces turn inside each other. Dirt and corrosion build up inside the bore and prevent the lever from turning. So here is a step by step of how you might be able to solve it.

Subject: Kick start lever

As you can see here there are two screws/bolts. One 12mm bolt that holds the lever onto the shaft coming out of the case and a #3 hex screw that holds the two pieces together which function as your kick lever

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Step 1:

Attempt to loosen the #3 hex screw BUT BE CAREFUL so as to not strip it out. If it doesn't act like it wants to budge don't worry, that is not uncommon. If you are lucky and it breaks loose, DO NOT REMOVE IT COMPLETELY ONLY LOOSEN IT. Move on to step #2

Step 2:

Remove 12mm bolt which retains lever to shaft. Then attempt to slide lever off of shaft. It likely will not come off very easily..... IMAG0283.jpg

You may need to CAREFULLY pry on the back side in order to remove. I used a windshield wiper removal tool and it worked great. You may also be able to use a steering wheel puller which your local auto parts store may have on their "loan a tool" program.

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^ Here is the wiper removal tool I referred to which can be purchased online for less than $20.

Step 3:

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Now that you've removed the lever, it's time to disect. REMOVE #3 screw (Assuming it broke loose). If you're like me it didn't loosen upon attempt. NOW FOR THE FUN PART........ WARNING: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE EXPERIENCE USING A TORCH........ STOP. FIND SOMEBODY WHO IS CAPABLE AND ENLIST THEIR HELP. If you have a propane/map gas torch heat up the aluminum around the screw CAREFULLY. I personally tried my little mini butane torch with no success and reached for the oxy/acetylene across the shop and CAREFULLY heated up the aluminum surrounding the #3 screw. Then I took a hand impact screwdriver to it and hit it with a hammer to impact it loose.

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Impact screwdriver:

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Step 4:

Once you remove #3 screw, carefully pull lever apart from knuckle while hovering over a workbench/counter. There are 2 small ball bearings and a spring that should fall out. These are your detents which hold the lever in the closed position once bike is started. Make sure to keep these in a safe place as you will be re-using them.

This is what you should end up with:

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Step 5:

Using a tool of your choice (I used a wire wheel and a cone shaped wire brush attachment that fit on the end of a drill) clean both pieces inside and out. You likely will find dirt, mud, muck, and corrosion preventing the smooth turning of the lever. I also ran my lever over the wire wheel to kinda clean/polich it up a bit while it was off. .

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My cone wire brush:

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This is what you should end up with:

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And the lever side should be just as clean otherwise you're wasting your efforts.

Step 6:

Now that you have prepared the aluminum for mating, it's time to give attention to the spring. I don't know about you but I hate a kicker that flops out while I'm riding. So what I did is I stretched the spring slightly to make it longer, thus applying more pressure to the ball bearings/detents which hold the lever in flush to your gas tank. This can be done with a pair of wire cutters. Just squeeze the spring carefully between the coils to stretch/elongate the spring slightly. Be careful to not bend/tweak it sideways. It needs to be as straight as possible when installing In the center of the knuckle so that it moves freely. Spring is placed on the inside with a ball bearing on both sides of spring.

As you hold the ball bearings with your fingers, set the "knuckle" down onto the lever carefully while avoiding disturbing the balls. (Again, this is easiest using a vise)

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Now just bump it together with your hand carefully so as to not lose either balls or spring. Re-install your #3 screw to hold it together with a DAB of service removable thread lock and re-install lever in reverse order of removal. I also sprayed a touch of Zep lubricant inside the knuckle to help assist smooth operation since it is bare aluminum to aluminum.

I hope someone benefits from this. It's a very simple/straight forward repair that can save you over $100 (the cost of a new lever).

Since I have seen lots of posts on stuck kickers on the shaft, why dont you post a link for purchase of the winshield wiper tool. That would be most useful. I also dont run my kicker dry, I use anti sieze with copper in it. It is very water resistant and lubes well too. As a matter of fact, I coat the threads of all bolts going into alluminum and use it on my brake pins too.

Good post.

This could be added to the "How To" section at the to of the page. Same process for just about any bike. Slow_roller, PM chickenhauler if you would like him to review and add the thread.

Nice write-up, as mentioned the only thing left out is that the inside of the boss should be lubed.

Nice write-up, as mentioned the only thing left out is that the inside of the boss should be lubed.

That's what I saw missing. Definitely needs lube or you will be back in the same boat in no time. Otherwise, GREAT JOB!!

Now just bump it together with your hand carefully so as to not lose either balls or spring. Re-install your #3 screw to hold it together with a DAB of service removable thread lock and re-install lever in reverse order of removal. I also sprayed a touch of Zep lubricant inside the knuckle to help assist smooth operation since it is bare aluminum to aluminum.

Nice write-up, as mentioned the only thing left out is that the inside of the boss should be lubed.
That's what I saw missing. Definitely needs lube or you will be back in the same boat in no time. Otherwise, GREAT JOB!!

I made sure to mention that but yes, very important step. And anti seize probably wouldnt't be a bad idea. I kinda thought about lubing it once it was together and spray lube was about the only thing I could get in there at the time. I'll probly pull it back off and use some anti seize.

This is the part number for the removal tool I used: LIS54150. It can be purchased off of most of the tool trucks you might see around (Snap On, Mac, Matco, Cornwell, etc) but can also be purchase through many online retailers such as Tooltopia (my favorite), Thetoolwarehouse, Amazon, etc.

Link to Lisle puller:

http://www.tooltopia.com/lisle-54150.aspx

And thanks for the kind words guys and thanks to chickenhauler for stickying. Definitely lookin forward to my stay. :eek:

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