03 WR450 updates

I need to get a summary of all problems and updates for the 03 WR450. Things like starter problems, shearing keys, etc. I just bought the bike and would like to go through and check things before I ride it and get stranded in the woods. Thanks guys for any suggestions you can give.

There are many posts on these topics. I would suggest using the search feature and take notes. Congrats on the new bike.


Call your local dealer with your serial number to see if the recall needs to be done. If there is a small punch mark at the end of the serial number on the steering head it was already performed. If not and it is an affected serial number have it done. Don’t frustrate yourself by asking your dealer anything about what you read on Thumper Talk or a 04 upgrade. Trust me on this; just get the service bulletin performed.

Even if it was done pull the cover of the starter idler gear cover (now called the torque limiter). It is a small round case held on with two small bolts. Same side of motor as the shift lever and on one end of starter motor. Once small round cover is off pull out gear and look to make sure CASE COVER (still attached to bike) is not cracked or broken. The case sometimes cracks / breaks at the cast boss that carries the smaller idler gear (now visible that cover is off) shaft at bottom of round hole that the gear just came out of. On the outboard side towards you. Mine was broke and I didn’t even know it. Found it at end of year maintenance. Others have had same problem even after having the dealer do the service bulletin, me included. Do a search for more info. New case cover if needed approx $90.00 U.S.

Now that you have the old 03 style gear out you can tap the bushing from the 04 upgrade in. It is a split bushing from Yamaha and will tap in no problem. Once the bushing is in throw the old 2003 gear as far as you can into the nearest lake, cow pasture, or crack house. It will eventually cause you grief and failure!!!!!!!!! Install new torque limiter that only will fit on one way. Replace the small round cover with the new 04 cover and your set.

If you have a 03 you will have a rotor or case failure. Just do the 04 upgrade and take advantage of months of TT member’s frustration and experience. The upgrade is really SIMPLE to do. Enjoy your new bike they are awesome!!


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