WR400F kickstart problem

I was riding the other day and coming up to a corner the bike stalled. kicked it over ran for a few seconds then stalled again and would not start.

I got the bike home and checked the spark plug (hard plenty of spark) then took out the carb and all seemed fine. it wasn't full of dirt and the jet worked fine. and the bike kicked over properly it just did not start


the bike was recently rebuild but had ran perfectly for 5-10 hours since being rebuilt


I left the bike for about a week. flushed out the old fuel and put new stuff in and tried to kick it over.


pulling the compression clutch in the kickstarter goes all the way down like it should no problems


when I let the compression clutch out push it down 1/4 of the way let it back up then go to kick through it to start the bike (how I have started the bike for the last 9 years and it always fired 1st or 2nd kick)  the kickstarter stops about an inch short of where it should and it stop hard like I am kicking a rock.


any ideas of what could have caused the bike to stop in the first place and why now after a week the kickstarter is not working




1. You might have a bent valve. Possibly kicking the motor over and it's knicking the valve with the piston. (Doubtful though in your situation.)


2. You're kicking it over and it's at TDC so it feels like you're kicking a rock because of all the compression.


3. Compression clutch? You mean the de-compression lever?

Try kicking it like I do mine... Push the kick lever with your foot til you come to the " hard as a rock" spot... This is TDC... Now pull in the decomp lever and just barely push the kickstarting lever, maybe one inch or so. Let off of the lever and bring the kickstarting lever back up to full kick, and give it one solid kick all the way down (kick it like it owes you money) I have to do this with the bike leaning on the kickstand otherwise setting down I'm not tall enough to give it the full kick it needs... I've stalled mine before and it is a bitch to get it stared again. But what I do when I do stall it is hold the decomp lever in and kick it through 4-5 times to clear the cylinder of everything. Then try to start it like I just mentioned.., if that doesn't work try pulling in the hot start lever, or even the choke lever when kicking it to see if it will start.., I've had to try a everything after stalling it, but usually letting it set for 10 minutes or so and it will fire up like normal

Thanks guys. I'll give those a try.

I have stalled it a few times I've had the bike about 9 years but it was just dead after it stalled like there was no spark.

I can usually kick it over with 1 or 2 kicks but I'll try your ways and see if that helps.

I also have tried turning the crank manually. And whn I do this it goes all the way around so I don't know if that means it can't be a bent valve that's hitting the piston.

Could it be a problem with something with the kick start gears

Still no luck...

Try the same thing but with the throttle slightly open. Don't blimp the throttle but just have it open just a tad with choke and hot start OFF. Keep the throttle slightly open while you kick it over is what I mean.


If all fails you can always bump start :thumbsup:

Edited by dchooo

From your original post you said when you kick your kick-starter all the way down, it stops an inch short from where it would previously? So does the kick-starter still hit the footpeg at the end of its stroke when you kick it over?

I wrote a big paragraph on a wire to the ignition coil capacitor disconnecting but realized you said you had spark...

Maybe the timing chain jumped some teeth?

You positive it's not a fueling issue? Do you know for sure the engine is getting gas? Does it even try to start?

Edited by fdme

It doesn't really try to start at all now I think timing may be off

Does it have spark? Thats should be number 1 thing to check. Even if timing is off, the bike will run. It may misfire but it will still run.

If its has spark maybe compression. I dunno from what Ive read something isnt right. Rather you assumed something or we're missing some infirmation.

sorry I probably haven't been very clear with what has happened with the bike. I really appreciate all the comments and help so I will try to be as specific as I can with my limited knowledge of bikes.


Riding a few weeks ago now the bike was running fine. I was riding on the rose as it is a registered bike. Coming up to an intersection the bike stalled when I backed off the revs. I kicked it over again and it fired but stalled again straight away and would not start again.


I tried to kick it over but nothing was happening. It was completely dead. after a few more attempts it backfired really loudly. and on one occasion it kicked back and nearly broke my foot


I put the bike on a trailer and got it home. first thing I did was check the spark. it was sparking and it was a strong spark and there was/is still good compression. I then left it for a week or so and took out the carb to see if something there was blocked. the main jet was working fine I am yet to check the other jets.


I was getting impatient and put the carb back in after giving it a bit of a clean and went to kick it over. when I had the decompression lever pulled in it would kick thru fine all the way down (stops just behind the footpeg). I followed my normal starting procedure: decomp lever in kick thru a few times let it out, push kick starter down til its at the hard as a rock spot pul in decomp lever push kickstarter down an inch or 2 let the decomp lever out bring kickstarter up and kick thru. I've done it this way for the 10 years I've had the bike and it always starts 1st or 2nd kick. This time however when I went to kick thru to start the bike the kickstarter was stopping an inch short of where it normally would (behind the footpeg) and felt like I was kicking a rock.


I thought maybe the piston was hitting a valve or something when when I turned the engine over by hand the piston was going all the way up and down with no issues.


As I said I dont have much knowledge about bikes so any help is much appreciated. I'm going to check the other jets as soon as I can and hopefully that could be the problem

Wish I could help you more, I can only really comment on the kickback. Mine will usually only kickback when it is getting too much fuel when I'm trying to start it. Get some boots when your trying to kick it over if you don't have any... The kickback can seriously injure your foot, ankle or leg. You probably already know since you've owned the bike so long.

Anyways, I would place my bets on it being a fueling issue. Maybe somehow some way, something has become clogged in your carburetor. Your hot and cold start knobs seem ok? Like not stuck?

You could try having someone spray starter fluid into the intake while your kicking it over and see if it wants to run. If it seems like it wants to, that would lead me to believe it was a fueling issue. This method helped me diagnose some carb issues on an old Honda quad I was dealing with.

I don't however know why the range of your kick-starter arm would change though... Hopefully someone else can give you better advice.

Good luck.

Edited by fdme

I put the bike on a trailer and got it home. first thing I did was check the spark. it was sparking and it was a strong spark and there was/is still good compression. I then left it for a week or so and took out the carb to see if something there was blocked. the main jet was working fine I am yet to check the other jets.



The main jet has nothing to do with starting the bike, you need to check your pilot  jet and pilot circuit.


What I find with carburettor related problems or suspected carburettor problems is that you have to do a couple of things to make sure you really rule it out. If you work with the flow of the fuel it can almost rule it out 100%. There is most likely a good online guide for your specific carburettor but in general this is how I trouble shoot them.


1. Pull your tank off and clean it and the little filters inside/replace any inline ones as well. (I’ve  had recurring problems that was microscopic partials in the fuel rebocking the jets over and over, so frustrating)


2 Pull the carbie out of the bike check the intake boots are sealing properly clean the outside of the carburettor until its spotless so dirt cant fall back in.


3 Disassemble the carburettor completely removing all rubber seals and diaphragms before you attack it with compressed air and carburettor cleaner as it will eat rubber. Check all diafraghms by holding them up to a light to look for small holes, replace if found.


4 Clean through all the circuits with carburettor cleaner (safety glasses on this stuff hurts bad in the eye) then compressed air not just the jets those pathways that feed the jets are just as likely to block or hold material that will reblock your jets. Let it dry


5 Repeat step 4 again


6 Check you float level and needle settings (you cleaned the seat right? with a cue tip until it was spotless)


7 Chuck it back in the bike.  


Unless you really get in there and go to town on the carbie you can be chasing your tail thinking it can’t be that because I’ve checked that already, I had a similar problem on a KLX recently drove me nuts good luck!!

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