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Rocky739

Getting my 2003 WR 450 dialed in

25 posts in this topic

Well after a twelve year break from riding dirt bikes my best friend from high school talked me into doing some dual sport rides with him. Obviously I would need a bike to do this so he and I started shopping around for some bikes to do these with the needed requirements of 1: Be a large bore four stroke. 2: Be somewhat easy to make road legal enough for our needs. 3: Be reliable, have decent suspension, brakes, comfort…

This became a short list made up of Honda crf450x (wasn’t sold on reliability and never been a Honda guy), KTM's all were either too expensive for my budget or completely worn out, Husky’s, same issues as KTM.

So this left the WR 450 Yamaha , it meet all the criteria and I knew the Yamaha engine was pretty good reliability wise and make decent power so that was the winner plus I didn’t hate the idea of e-start. So it was going to be my second Japanese enduro bike (first was a 1988 KDX 200). My last six bikes had all been KTM two strokes but I had raced a Husaberg for a season in 1996 plus a few races on a KTM LC4 600 way back when.

After a few weeks of watching Craig’s List and EBay we found a barely used 2003 WR450 for sale close by and in my budget. It started and sounded fine and a quick look inside the air boot showed it hadn’t sucked any dirt in so I paid for it and brought it home.

I had been lurking on here reading all I could about the bikes, as FCR carbs were new ground for me, plus having never ridden more than a few laps on an YZ, learning all the quirks of Yamahas and how to fix them. I can’t say enough for all the info I got from reading the pinned posts on here, so I made a game plan to fix some issues and tune the bike to be as good as possible. I broke it down into stages; stage one being the most important critical repairs and mods.

Stage one: Starter idle gear, jetting, road legal stuff, handlebars, free mods, water pump seals, suspension service with heavier springs.

As my luck would have it the 2003 had a poorly designed starter idle gear that could shear the woodruff key off the flywheel so to avoid that I retrofitted the 2004 parts to fix this issue, it was easy but the most expensive part of the job. I had to do some digging to find some good advice on jetting and settled on a NCVS needle (3rd clip), 45 pj, 165 mj and 50lj. I also bought a jet or two on each side of this and a NFLR needle. Stay tuned for more info on how it works but seems to be a good starting place, I also replaced the orings and seals that looked dry or were rotted plus added a KTM Acc pump spring (cheapest HD spring out there),adjustable air screw and adjusted the accelerator pump, carb done I hope. I got a wiring harness, rear break switch, break/tail light extension, YZ rear fender, mirror and horn that will get me road legal here in Indiana. I replaced the bent OE steel bars with a set of Protapers with adapters on the stock mounts while at it I put new grips and a set of big bar adapters for the handguards. I removed the gray wire for the ignition and removed the snorkel from the air box, cut two holes into the right side of the air box along with removing the backfire screen and adding a Twin-Air treated filter to take place of the screen. I pulled the stock pea shooter and replaced it with a GYRT insert. The YZ throttle stop had already been installed. I had to change the water pump seals as it was leaking when I got it, it’s a great design with a weep hole and easy to change, that should get it to where it will run as good as possible I hope. Oh I also put a manual decompression block off in the head to replace the wimpy stock plug. While doing all this I pulled the suspension and sent it off for stiffer springs and fresh seals (rear shock was leaking and had never been serviced). While I was at it I packed all the linkage and steering bearings with fresh grease.

Guess I can also include that fresh engine oil, filter, coolant with Redline water wetter and brake fluid were also changed. Whew I’d forgotten how much work a dirt bike was, but I’ve had a blast working on it!

Stage two: New battery, new tires, CR style front brake line, and new graphics. Stay tuned!

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I am about to do the same I will be picking it up next weekend. :applause: Of course I won't be able to stay off it unless I find a major prob. I forsee hours of work just to make sure I know all the quarks are worked out. What I am finding to be the worst hastle so far is the plateing of it. :banghead: I totaly agree the info on here is invaluable and the people are great. :thumbsup:

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I am about to do the same I will be picking it up next weekend. :applause: Of course I won't be able to stay off it unless I find a major prob. I forsee hours of work just to make sure I know all the quarks are worked out. What I am finding to be the worst hastle so far is the plateing of it. :banghead: I totaly agree the info on here is invaluable and the people are great. :thumbsup:

Yea there is plenty to do to these to make them trail ready for sure, guess I was used to KTM's being mostly race ready out of the box. But as a old married dude nowadays its kinda cool to have a project in the garage. My wife was leery of buyig a 2003 then she saw it was mint and thought that was cool, then I tear it down to motor and frame only and she was &%$#@! I thought it was new, and I'm like this is what I have always done to new dirt bikes... Then her comment of how do you know where all the bolts go back and I'm into the 1-2-3 rule for different metals.... and she walks away while I rattle on, I have turned into a crazy old man.

As far as plating I was able to search the Indiana BMV and found a PDF of the change of body form needed here simply fill out, pay 100.00 dollars then have a police office inspect and sign off then they send you a new title and you can get a plate, its been about 15 years since I've plated a bike but Indiana law hasn't changed much. Maybe you can find some info on Vermonts website or maybe a Euro dirt bike shop would know. I would also check with Enduro Engineering and Works Enduro Rider and they may have some experince up your way, and as another route harley chopper builder's have to do basically the same thing to plate a custom build I think so if your cool enough for one of them to talk to you they can probably help.

I've been shocked by how little the Yamaha dealers know about there own products, I guess when you have 100's of different models its impossible to know them all, but they were zero help to me for plating info wise or to purchase a leak jet for that matter...

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check the swing arm and linkage bearings. My 03 had corrosion and some completely rotted bearings, but could not tell until it started to squeak.

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check the swing arm and linkage bearings. My 03 had corrosion and some completely rotted bearings, but could not tell until it started to squeak.

Done, every bearing on this thing was bone dry from factory. Abused my tub of Silkolene grease pretty hard. I also anti-seized or lock-tighted every bolt and axle on it plus put tri flow into every pivot point, cable and bushing. Retorqued all the bolts when she went back together too.

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Been awhile but I finally got my suspension back (did a trade with my brother who owns a suspension shop). Fresh oil, new seals and heavier spring on the rear.He said the oil had tured to jello in the forks so if you are wondering if you should change your suspension fluid regularly the answer is YES!

Seems to run great (jetting seems spot on) and no problems so for except for some cracks in my gas tank.. I hot melted them up for now but I will be getting a larger aftermarket tank before any big adventures.

Next stop will be some singletrack, hope I can get a dirtbike through the woods without too much cussing..

I have my paper work done for getting a title, just need a cop buddy of mine to come over and do the inspection then off to the BMV and be at their mericy.. First dual sport ride is in Aug so I don't have too long to get it done.

My next projects will be a new large tank now, agghhh!! and to do the oil nozzle from a fourwheeler mod to the engine (see RS25's thread about his bike and all hes done to it, and some new tires.

I'm going to make a plastic guard for the subframe where the chain hits it also, and I still have to buy some fat kid clothes as my old pants are too small, damn beer and food!

I'd better get busy!

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Been awhile but I finally got my suspension back (did a trade with my brother who owns a suspension shop). Fresh oil, new seals and heavier spring on the rear.He said the oil had tured to jello in the forks so if you are wondering if you should change your suspension fluid regularly the answer is YES!

Seems to run great (jetting seems spot on) and no problems so for except for some cracks in my gas tank.. I hot melted them up for now but I will be getting a larger aftermarket tank before any big adventures.

Next stop will be some singletrack, hope I can get a dirtbike through the woods without too much cussing..

I have my paper work done for getting a title, just need a cop buddy of mine to come over and do the inspection then off to the BMV and be at their mericy.. First dual sport ride is in Aug so I don't have too long to get it done.

My next projects will be a new large tank now, agghhh!! and to do the oil nozzle from a fourwheeler mod to the engine (see RS25's thread about his bike and all hes done to it, and some new tires.

I'm going to make a plastic guard for the subframe where the chain hits it also, and I still have to buy some fat kid clothes as my old pants are too small, damn beer and food!

I'd better get busy!

Glad to hear it I have gone through it all now myself, turns out the plate was not all that hard. The hardest part was seeing it dissambled knowing it would be a week or two till I was able to ride it.

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Sounds like you have done just about everything. WR's are great bikes. I just went through my 05 and freshened it up. I can't believe I almost sold it to buy a KTM.

(I will eventually sell it, but only to buy another WR!)

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Thanks Maurice, I am having a blast riding this bike.. Yea I wouldn't go for the triple on a supercross tack on it but it has great power and comes on super smooth with lots of top end pull. My brother did a great job on my suspension (CSR suspension.com, shameless plug) and between here and him I got the performance sorted out. I would say the biggest downside of riding blue versus orange is lack of dealer help with performace advice. I just order part numbers online.. Dealer didn't know what a leak jet was!

I will get to test it against my brothers 2012 beta but I will have the cost difference handicaped into it so I think my bike will win! And yea even with a hookup on KTM's and Beta's I would have to really look at the 2012 Yamaha WR, they are really building a nice machince. I stopped at a Honda , KTM, Yamaha dealer in Lexington Ky that had all the machines in stock and it was a tie between the WR and a KTM on build quality with the CRFX way behind. They have come a long way from 2003.. Sigh, it does suck to be poor...

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OK, It's been awhile but work and family keeps me busy. I got to do my first real ride on the WR last weekend, The Buffaloe 500 dual sport. We did about 70-80 miles with about 40% of that being single track. It was a blast!!! Perfect weather and trail conditions after so many weeks of heat and drought felt awesome!

The weeks before the ride I had some good and bad luck with the scooter, first the bad..

Gas tank cracked! Yep, I noticed what were small cracks in the tank one day then a few days later BAM it looked like a road map, after a few curse words I found a great deal on the Acerbis 3.3 gallon tank that I actually wanted anyways (Motosport.com 209.99) it comes with new petcocks, fuel line and cap..Its a great tank, fit and finish are super. I did have to move the kick starter back one tick and the choke isn't visible but its not a big deal plus I got the see through so now my bike has a fuel gauge! I did have to replace the shrouds with YZ ones but seems all the aftermarket tanks are that way.

Starter bushing is toast, Aggh will the torture never end? I ordered the needle bearing I found on a post to try a cheap fix first.

Third, Getting a plate. I have been battling the BMV for a title for the last few months. I finally found a BMV employee that was helpful and got me the right paperwork to apply for a new title. My honesty is the best policy rule was thrown out in favor of some white lies about no paperwork and a missing title application approach. I'm still waiting on it to show up but I have been told by friends that it usually takes a month or so to get it, gotta love the goverment!

If you are trying to plate a bike in Indiana I can share my experince..

Now on the the good news!

I slipped and fell into some mad money so I was able to get all my goodies I'd been dreaming of!!

1: Shorai battery, awesome battery incredibly light and plenty of power to let you notice the starter is worn out!

2: CR style brake line, just looks better, this was bothering me for some reason, I just cut the guide off the fork protector guide thing for clearance and alls good now. Oh and the brake lever is firmer now, score!

3: Acerbis tank and new shrouds with BNG's.

4: New tires, didn't put them on for this ride as it was hero dirt and woulda been a waste of new tires.

I had been playing with jetting and think I've got it pretty good,

48pj

168mj

NCVS needle 4th clip

50lj

I'm going to play with a NCVQ needle and a larger main jet to see if there are anymore ponies to be had outta the old gal on 1/2 to WFO, but as is there is no popping, no bog, no studder, and easy starting hot or cold, VICTORY!

Suspension worked great, thanks to my brother at CSR suspension, the bike woulda been a handful with the stock rear spring, I thought the 5.8 spring he installed was soft and cushy, I couldn't imagine the stock wimpy one. Only thing I can say is the front end did seem to push a bit so I will be moving the forks up in the triple clamps to quicken up the steering (I have them flush now).

Well it's been a Rocky road getting a 10 year old bike that was suffering from some neglect and the ravages of time fixed up into something that I was able to keep up with guys on modern bikes with but its been a lot of fun too, and as long as I don't ride a new bike I recon I won't be disappointed with this bike!

Now I'm ready for some more adventure style rides in the U.P., Ky, W.V. and Tn...

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If you haven't replaced the stock decomp plug yet a 18mm freeze plug will work just fine.

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If you haven't replaced the stock decomp plug yet a 18mm freeze plug will work just fine.

Thanks, but I couldn't resist an ADA racing billit plug, I'm a sucker for some bling

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plate.JPG

Best part yet, I finally got my plate and and I got a damn picture to upload to this damn site!

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I just had to change the rear tire on mine. I bought the bike w/a new Dunlop 756 that tire now has less than 1/4" center tread and many side knobs missing. I put on a Maxxis Dessert IT. I have never had such a fight trying to put a dirt bike tire on a rim...man they are stiff side walls.

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I just had to change the rear tire on mine. I bought the bike w/a new Dunlop 756 that tire now has less than 1/4" center tread and many side knobs missing. I put on a Maxxis Dessert IT. I have never had such a fight trying to put a dirt bike tire on a rim...man they are stiff side walls.

Dang! Did you get the dessert one for a reason? I've got a new set of Maxxis tires for whenever I give up on the original OE dunlops!

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A rider of the same terrain as me had just put on one on his a month prior to me picking up the bike. he has done more riding than me and his is still over 1/2" of tread on the center with no lugs missing from the sides. a few good cuts and small chuncks but for the most part they are all good. The spaceing between knobs is a little tighter but it cleard better then the 756 with our mud. I was sold by watching his tire work and wear.

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Note: WE have the whole gambit here. sand, loam, clay, roots, rocks. and combinations of all wet and dry. The 756 while new outperformed the IT only in the wet loamie clay but it quickly lost that edge as it wore down. (wet loamie clay= decaying swamp muck on top of a hardpack clay) very slippery even to walk on reminds me of crusty snow on ice.

Edited by allterra

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Good to hear. I always used michelin tires but thought I'd try the maxxis it's as they were cheaper and had good reviews for durability. I like the looks of the rear but not as sure about the front. I'll see how the regular non dessert ones mount up.

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stock.jpg

Finally did the oil nozzle mod to lube the wristpin, thanks to the artist formerly know as RS25 (now xzibbit?) for this tip, see his thread for more details but it entails adding a nozzle that slides through a slot into the crankcase from the clutch cover and sprays oil onto the wristpin (it's simple splash lube in stock form) you also add a high volume oil pump at the same time along with a gasket with a cutout to clear the nozzle, these parts are for a 2007 and newer YFZ 450 fourwheeler. There is plenty of info out there about doing this mod on the fourwheeler motor, I guess those guys are better at blowing stuff up than us non-balance challenged!

I had a big issue to overcome though as my bike is a 2003 and the clutch cover is cast without the boss for the nozzle (this was added to 2004 model WR and YFZ along with a larger kickstart shaft). I looked at changing over to the newer cover which would have been ideal but cost was simply too high for me to do this (I'd have to buy a new kickstart assembly and lever plus the case) so I set out to make it work. I searched the web for someone who had done this before but no dice. J&T products said they didn't have an option either (they are the ones who do this mod if you send them your case).

So I looked at the case and came up with a fix, luckily my close friend and riding buddy is a tool maker so I have access to his skills and a machine shop! We came up with a boss to hold the nozzle that would press into the case and hold the nozzle just like the newer cases do. I measured and drew up a rough sketch, my design and drafting skills were about maxed out with this.

draft.jpg

I dropped off my case with him and the drawing of what I wanted. He was able to make the part and machine the case in about two hours worth of labor (sure I get the bill for that soon in the form of a trip to WV to ride). The only measurement I struggled with was the hole location but a guesstimate of 7.5 mm below the top of the case and it slid right into the slot in the crankcase and the piston clears by a mile. Whew! if it hadn't we would have been making a new widget with a different hole location.

machined.jpg

Case drilled and machined off flat ready to have the widget installed, I wish there was more material there to work with but there isn't any stress besides the oil pressure on that area so it should be OK, or fail at the worst possible time... Could go either way I recon!

finished.jpg

Widget installed and nozzle put in, I pressed it in and put red locktite (I would have used green locktite but I didn't have any) on all the mating surfaces to hold it in place. You can't see in this pic but it has a slot machined into it accept the nozzle similar to the way the stock boss looks. Biggest downside to this was the fact we had to shave off 1.5 mm of the nozzle end to give enough clearance and create a void so oil can get through the offset holes in the widget, nozzle has to set below the centerline of the oil passage line in the case. (Don't worry the red stuff around the nozzle is just some grease to lube the o ring). Nice snug fit..

I'm not 100% happy with it and always a bit nervous doing a mod that could feed my motor a healthy dose of metal if it fails along with starving the top end of the motor for oil but hey I love to tinker and no risk no reward right? The nozzle itself seems like such a afterthought on Yamaha 's part but if it keeps the wristpin from welding itself to the rod it's a bit of time well spent and I will feel better every time I have to do an extended pavement section now plus with the addition of the high volume oil pump I figure the motor is way safer than before, I sleep better.

Next mod I'm looking at is a Magura clutch before my left arm starts to look like Popeye's!

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my bike is a 2003 and the clutch cover is cast without the boss for the nozzle (this was added to 2004 model WR and YFZ along with a larger kickstart shaft). I looked at changing over to the newer cover which would have been ideal but cost was simply too high for me to do this (I'd have to buy a new kickstart assembly and lever plus the case) so I set out to make it work. I searched the web for someone who had done this before but no dice. J&T products said they didn't have an option either (they are the ones who do this mod if you send them your case).

So I looked at the case and came up with a fix, luckily my close friend and riding buddy is a tool maker so I have access to his skills and a machine shop! We came up with a boss to hold the nozzle that would press into the case and hold the nozzle just like the newer cases do

That sounds like a big hassle... your pictures look good though, nice work... but I took the easy road and paid the $189 for the clutch cover for the 2007 quad... no mods required!

The kickstarter is a problem, but I found one for a 2005 WR450 on ebay at a reasonable price. At least now I don't have to worry about the kick shaft breaking as easily as the 2003 ones can!

Like you said time will tell if it helps any but it sure can't hurt... Yamaha would not have made the effort to do the oil nozzle if there were not some benefit to be had.

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