3rd key failure...will dealer upgrade to '04 parts?

My '03 WR450 just had its 3rd key failure in under 1000 miles. I love my bike, but it's getting embarrassing (and tiring) pushing it out of the woods while everybody else rides right on by!

The dealer has fixed it twice, last time per the TSB. Will they do the same now or upgrade to '04 parts? Just wondering what my best course of action will be. I want to do the right thing now and avoid future problems.

Thanks for any info.

SUE Yamaha!! :)

I suppose they might actually replace the crank and flywheel like they have done in the past for other bikes that are constantly breaking. Three in a row with less than 1,000 miles...SHEESH!

If your dealer won't do the 04 upgrade after 3 failures, I would reccomend sueing too. That really sucks. Is your jetting OK?

The one time it happened to me, there was a backfire during estart. Did you hear a backfire?

I would upgrade to 04 parts or remove the starter gear reducer idler and kick start the bike only or trade the bike in and buy a new 04 from the same dealer. :)

small steps. be there when the flywheel is pulled. there is a chance the taper on the crank has been messed up. if it's bad the crank and flywheel should be replaced. the problem is that yamaha hasn't given the dealers much info. he may not know as much as you do about all this. have him contact the area service rep. he's the guy that has to give the okay. yamaha is being pretty ignorant about the upgrade. if your lucky your dealer may be able to work out something to get your upgrade at cost. good luck, let us know how it comes out.

SUE Yamaha!! :)

I'm tellin' ya guys...this is a good candidate for a class action lawsuit. Yamaha knows they have a design defect but choose to "band-aid" the problem and in most cases, ignore it all together. :D

Yamaha's actions regarding the new design of the '04 models speaks for itself.

TT has a lot of followers and this would be a great place to "rally the troops", as it were.

There's got to be someone on this board that know's a good lawyer...

I AM a lawyer! I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a "good" one, though. I just passed the bar here in California and I've only been working for 6 months. Luckily, I work with a fantastic firm and my supervising attorneys have all been in practice for over 30 years. I think I may discuss this issue with them and see what they think.

My general understanding is that class action lawsuits are extremely expensive to conduct. Unless there have been a lot of personal injuries or deaths and/or extremely outrageous conduct by a defendant, the cost is prohibitive.

Does anyone have a general idea of just how many TT members have had one or more key failures?

As an owner of a 03 wr450 I am concerned about a failure on my bike. I wondered what I'd do if I had a failure. When reading this I thought of what I'd do. In michigan and most states you can file a small claims suit. Cost is usually 10 to 30 dollars. You would bring suit against the dealer for not performing a proper fix and Yamaha for inferior design or workmanship. Small claims usually handle claims between $1000 to $1500. This is an aggravating suit in that Yamaha must assist in protecting their dealers and would also have to have a representative available at such a hearing. Most of the time they will just cave in and do the proper repairs at no charge.I have used small claims suits several times and have always got what I wanted. I even sued a lawer I had, it went to court and I beat him. You might want to give it a try. I suppose if you had many small claims suits settled for this problem, they might be used as a basis for a class action suit.

I'm pretty sure that Colorado has a Lemon Law. Why not look into that and see if you can just take the bike back and get a 2004 for free? :)

Jim Patterson is right. If you want quick and easy, small claims court is the way to go and would work for you. BUT if you want to file a class action suit you will have over 100 Yamaha riders who will gladly join in. :usa:Meanwhile write a letter to Yamaha Customer Service and call Jim Owens in customer service. After you explain to him what a starter is he will tell you that yours is the only FAILURE they have had in months. He will be lying. :)

The address is:

Date, 2004

Yamaha Motor Corporation USA

Customer Relations Department

P.O. Box 6555

Cypress, California 90630

Dear Yamaha,

On (date) I purchased in good faith a 2003, WR450F from your dealer xxxx, located in yyyyyy. Since that purchase dozens of Yamaha 2003, WR450F’s have reported failures due to a design flaw in the woodruff key starter system. The failure rate of these bikes has been calculated at over thirty percent (30%) within nine months from date of purchase.

Yamaha Engineering has recognized the engineering design flaw as evidenced by their complete redesign of the woodruff key starter system for the 2004 model. A retrofit to the 2004 design from the 2003 model is estimated to cost including labor around $700 list price.

Yamaha issued a “Technical Bulletin” number M2003-007, informing dealers to put the loctite 648 glue on the failed 2003 models crankshaft. Many who have had this fix have had repeat failures. This is unacceptable.

Please inform me when I should bring my WR450F to my dealer for them to do the woodruff key starter system upgrade to the 2004 model at Yamaha’s expense. I expect this will be handled in an expedited manner.

Thank you for your help. I will be awaiting your response.


My name

My address

cc: My dealer – his address


Sell it !!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk to your Dealer. He knows the bike has been in already twice. Ask him what would HE DO if the bike were his :D

My personal feeling is to show the dealer the 04 parts fix procedure to completely alleviate the problem. He may give you the parts @ dealer cost :usa:. If there is a liability issue on his end (cannot be resposible for NON OEM AUTHORIZED REPAIR :D), offer to sign a waiver to make him null and void if the 04 repair does not work. I know, this sounds like you could get screwed if he botches it up . Maybe you want to do the repair yourself w/ dealer cost on the parts...??? Burn the dealer out on options BEFORE any lawsuits. Once it starts getting ugly, people get ugly :D. Ever see the movie, "Roadhouse" w/ Patric Swayzee (my Mom's favorite movie! :usa:)? To get the best you can get in life you must "Be Nice/Ask Nice". :D

If you burn that out, then you must do what you have to do, i.e. Lemon Law, small claims, etc.

To sell the bike means YOU have to eat it :D. That is not right either.

In the end, it is all up to you! :D:)

Please keep us posted!


Trade it on a HONDA CRF250X..... :)

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now