"WR450 Woodruff Key Problem is SOLVED" -

Jim Owen of Yamaha Customer Service (1-800-962-7926) called today and informed me that the "Woodruff Key Problem is solved". They will not help in upgrading any 03 WR450 to 04 parts, and the owner is not allowed to do it either. "Modifying the WR450 from Stock is strictly forbidden." :)

He said, "The Woodruff Key problem is solved. Since we posted the Tech Bulletin the letters stopped coming in." and "We have no plans to do anything furthur. We haven't seen any failures of any WR450 after it was serviced to the TECH BULLETIN specs"

Well either you guys on this site are all telling a story, or Yamaha is lying to us.

He also said that they count only letters. They don't count phone calls. So if you haven't written Yamaha, you can blame yourselves for their lack of response. :D

The el crapo starter still sucks. I love my 450 but I am looking forward to the day when the second run of the CRF450X shows up. Tim

I am essentially crippled, and it is highly doubt full that I can walk more than five miles. I bought my WR450 last March, and it broke and their fix broke. , and finally they had to replace the crank and rotor and related parts. My bike was down for over two months. During this whole time Mr Jim Owens tried to tell me over and over again that this was a limited and minor problem with WR450's., He lied and lied and lied. He was absolutely terrible. In the 55years I have been riding and purchasing motor bikes I have never had such shoddy treatment from a manafacturer. Next time I'll buy RED too. Yamaha sucks in relation to their customer care. They should factory recall all 450WR's and replace with 04 starter parts. How can they put up with this much "bad mouth" . Obviously they do not care about their customers.They sure don't like all this online "Chat" either. Owens said " riders on thumpertalk didn"t know what they were talking about".

Sure time solves everthing! :D

I knew what there answer was going to be. I ordered the 04 parts and will get to them on my first failure. Meanwhile I am going to keep trucking on the 03 design. :)

Indy I am betting if you got the proper torque on the flywheel nut your woodruff key wont fail. Has anybody had a failure that put 60 or more lbs. of torque on the nut before a failure? Tim

This is too funny. Read my second post in too cold to test.

I have not had the failure or the Loctite TSB service. I have checked the flywheel nut torque and it was fine. I still think that a bad backfire may damage the starter gear if the woodruf key does not brake. Yamaha would not have bothered to redesign the 04 starter if they did not know they screwed up! :)

there i was, checking out alabama's post about his contact with jim owens of yamaha. damned if the mail man didn't deliver a letter from the same mr. owens. i had written back in november but had not expected a responce since it had been so long. he was polite and did seem to address the issues i had brought up. it was not a form letter. however, he does seem to be hung up on the idea that the woodruff key is the problem. i did find it amusing when he wrote "...yamaha does not recommend modifying your unit away from it's stock configuration." he's kidding right? we're dirt bikers! it's what we do!

Indy: I had the glue job done but, before that I had checked the torque on the bolt and mine wasnt fine. It was about 25#. I am willing to bet mine would have failed if I hadnt torqued it down and I bet that low torque caused other failures. I recall others saying their flywheel nuts were under torqued. Tim

Yeah I remember that as well. Taper fit and back firing seem to be the cause for the failure. But I still believe there is a design issue since Yamaha went to the trouble to redesign the 04 starter assembly. :)

Someone said when they designed the starter ring gear onto the WR flywheel it took some room away for taper and that is why fit and torque are so crucial. And I agree with you 100% on poor design of the idler and starter. Tim

Knock on wood !!!, mine is fine. I did have to retorque the flywheel nut 3 times early on. It appears to not have moved since. Many hours and races since.

there i was, checking out alabama's post about his contact with jim owens of yamaha. damned if the mail man didn't deliver a letter from the same mr. owens." "he does seem to be hung up on the idea that the woodruff key is the problem... he wrote "...yamaha does not recommend modifying your unit away from it's stock configuration." he's kidding right? we're dirt bikers! it's what we do!

Hey mtra, Strange he sent you a letter too cause he told me that mine was the only one he had received. :D You probably figured out that Jim Owens is a marketing guy and not technical at all. He didn't know what loctite was, but he can tell us that it fixed the problem. <ul type="square"> I am tired of this BS, and if it is not addressed by the time the HONDA CRF250X comes out, I will be riding RED, HONDA RED , thats HONDA, Mr Owens.


I could see your point if you had several failures and you had done the work youself and you were very confident that the work was done properly but what is your problem? You are going to ride Red just because others have had problems. Give us all a break and stop stirring a pot that has been cold for some time now. Actually keep riding Blue and find another problem with your bike, entertain us a bit more and then threaten to wait for the fuel injected Suzuki enduro.

If you are paranoid about your bike breaking, buy some 04 parts, fix it yourself and for goodness sake, FEEL BETTER.

:naughty:Come on, take it easy on your fellow bikers. Your point is well taken, but there's probably not a single one of us who bought these bikes, thinking we were buying pretty much the best bike out there, who has not been dissappointed with this whole deal. We'd all feel better if the Yamaha solution(yes, they should be the one's to foot the bill) did not seem so "marginal".

I've had no failure yet (300 miles or so), but I cannot fault a fellow owner for feeling "shafted" for lack of care by Yamaha.

What Yamaha says: :D

What many wish Yamaha would do: :)

Interesting item in the Feb. '04 issue of Dirt Bike Magazine's article on the '04 WR450: they mention the flywheel key shearing problem on the '03 model and the '04 model has a 2mm increase in crankshaft/rotor diameter.

Your right ICEBOX, if it hasn't happenned to you, then it isn't a problem. Big companies like Yamaha luv people like you, and thats why they haven't done anything about the problem. :)

When you buy your first car I am sure you won't complain when the transmission falls out after 500 miles. A design defect is a design defect, and eventually all bikes will be effected. For some it may be 5 years from now, for others it will be sooner. Yamaha knows this. They have moles on this site, maybe you are one of them.

I am concerned that the larger crank on the 04 is the real solution for the 03. I dont know what it will take to upgrade the 03 to the larger crank. Too costly I bet. :)

Alabama_Complainer, you have purchased a high strung performance machine that only has a 30 day warranty, if you are looking for more warranty you should have purchased a different machine.

How can you say Yamaha hasn’t done anything, they offered a fix. They changed some parts for 2004. They have replaced parts on several people’s bikes after their warranty period is up. You whine about a problem that the rest of us have fixed and are very pleased with our bikes. The way you rant on and on, it is no wonder you request to Yamaha has fallen on deaf ears. You don’t have a problem, you are asking for hundreds of dollars worth of parts because you have no problem, give us all a break and put yourself in their shoes. You are going to corporate Yamaha with a story that pits your highly imprecise statistics & prices verses their engineers and technicians.

I will try to understand that your guard is up since I more or less said shut up, but what does a transmission in a car at 500 miles have to do with anything. If I had a problem, then I would address it in a professional manner, starting with my dealer and working my way up. You seem to think you can just jump over the chain of command and get answers. I am glad that Yamaha has told you there is nothing they can do for you, it just confirms that they are a corporation that won’t get rooked and drive their costs up.

Moles, I can only suspect that you are watching too much reality TV, get out and ride.

You guys should have bought DRZ's(just kidding). I can tell you guys, whether you have had the problem or not, it is affecting the re-sale of your bikes, and I'm sure it has affected the sales of '04's. Everybody that rides know's about the problem, and is worried about it if they are looking at buying a WR(like I am).


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