03 wr450 e-start fail

hi all, i know of the typical failure of electric start for this specific year and havent had the woodruff key fail on me yet but something else failed probably because of kickback during e-start use..  i have all the factory parts (non 04 upgrade) and starter would just make a clicking noise like a dead battery but battery isnt dead/toast, so i pulled off the idler gear assembly cover and noticed a crack on the side cover right next to the little idler gear (see pic) and some teeth missing on the gear assembly (see pic)..  my question is, would there be more damage than this once i pull off the cover to replace it as i do the 04 upgrade, and any idea of possible crankcase damage?



Hi had the same problems myself with 2003 once I removed crankcase cover I had a hairline crack just under damper assembly cover hard to see when on bike and had to replace my starter clutch that is what the spinning sound is the one way bearing on starter clutch not working If there is a crack on crankcase you can get alloy welded to save you some £££

Hope this help

Need any more info

If I cant get this 03 WR450 running (see my threads) I might have all those parts I'll ship to you fairly cheap.

I've removed the starter and gears from mine and all of them were looking good with no visible damage when I pulled them out.


If there is a crack on crankcase you can get alloy welded to save you some £££



i know a few very capable welders and 2 very talented welders that id probably have do this if needed, would it be unwise to do the same thing to the crack on the side cover since they are pretty expensive (around $150 us dollars) im by far a wealthy man but do like to do things the "correct" way especially on critical components..

No to sure off welding inside crankcase unless you get it spot on I found once welded you have to rub weld down for new damper assembly to fit in I correctly I would take crankcase cover off 1st to see if any more damage inside then decide in my opinion if you have the money buy new crankcase if your going to do 04 upgrade you want it things to be right in there

Partzilla.com for parts is the cheapest

just thought of something.. that little idler gear inside the starter clutch assembly cavity turns the larger gear behind the stator correct? so that idler gear shouldnt spin freely like it does, honestly im kinda scared to pop off that side cover, might be something out of a horror film once opened... *sigh


anyways, as far as welding the side cover, i saw some youtube videos on people cooking the aluminum part in a bbq and brazing the parts back together, fixing holes and cracks, one guy did it on what looked like an axle housing for a car it looked like.. id like to know others opinions on this approach..


Lang4228- after thinking about crankcase damage and the possibilities of welding it the more id rather not, since it might warp or cause issues to whats around and behind the area that might need worked.. so if i go that far id probably just give up with the bike and take a loss on the deal

Yes little gear turns gear 3 which has a starter one way bolted on to it which sits behind your rotor it spins freely because your one way bearings on starter one way needs replaced part no

5TJ-15590-00 put number in to Google images

Honestly it sounds hard to do on paper but once you get started its easy I would help you over internet if you want is the bike in good condition otherwise

thanks lang, yeah the bike has a few issues besides the e-start stuff, water pump seals need replaced as well as front wheel bearings those are which i can actually afford at the moment, other than that it pulls hard no funny noises just sucks i cant get it plated so either way im gettin rid of it, gonna be looking for an older bike.. looking for something already plated like the nearby 84 honda xl600r, looks in good cond. 


just not really sure what either bike is valued at and dont wanna take a huge loss on it, already think i might have just broken even with what i traded it for after seeing the damage on my bike, just wont be able to afford to fix this thing im afraid so im losing interest really quick and motivated to sell

The other option you have is to do away with the e-start all together which means the gear you have in your hand in pics leave out put cover back on and just use the kick start the bike will still run the same it did before and you won't have to remove anything ie crankcase cover gives you money to spend on water pump front wheel bearings


So, i went ahead and cracked open the stator cover and removed the starter.. zero damage to crankcase, zero damage to the big gear "flywheel" (hope im not losing anyone with this)  starter is definitely toasted, all the magnets exploded and turned to dust.. kinda weird if ya ask me, thought the windings woulda been bad instead.. anyhow... side cover is unrepairable so i am gonna be looking for a few parts if anyones got any used ones for sale please let me know, or link me to the cheapest place for now parts.. thanks in advance, appreciate everyones input.. 


looking for 5TJ-15411-10-00 crankcase cover stator side 2004 model


                 5TJ-15560-00-00 starter clutch 2004 model


                 5TJ-81890-00-00 starter motor 2004 model


just for reference i used the parts numbers off partzilla.com not sure if their prices are competitive.. 









Hi how's the investigation into crankcase going cheers

all thats damaged is the crank case cover, starter gear assembly and the starter has magnets turned to dust.. other than that all is good, replaced wheel bearings and water pump seals today, $36 for those and was very easy to do.. cant find any used covers and cant afford it, it all works good and just got my carb dialed in perfectly, no more decel pop and less time using the choke.. might just keep it unless i can get a decent offer on it, everyone around here lowballs and flakes out

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