ahh i think i sheered the key finally

well it ran about a year and 4 months without any big fuss. I was riding track with the wr and it was actually doing pretty well, i could hit a 70foot table top and barely bottom, so i took a break, went out for the last moto, i land a double in the back and all i hear is backfiring, and the bike dies, (backfired from about 6000 rpms), i know that couldnt be good at all, so i tried to kick it 2 times and gave up because i knew it was going to be useless, i pulled the top off the bike back home and all the valves are in spec except from the one intake by the cam chain, but about 3 weeks before i rode the track i checked the valves and this valve was tight anyways. So that only makes me look towards either the carb or the timing, and i highly doubt that it would be the carb because it was running strong and spot on that day. So that makes me look towards the woodruff key, the fly wheel, and ignition timing, which i hope it is, btw i took out the battery about 3 months ago because the bike needs a new armature with that stupid click problem... so it might be going in to the dealer for 2 things, maybe under warranty (i bought the 2 year extended warranty). but any other places i might have overlooked? thanks again dudes :thumbsup::lol::awww:

Once it's fixed if you want to run without the battery just remove the idler gear in the starter drive. That will prevent any future occurances. If your planning on using the electric start I highly recommend updating to the '04 parts (~$250).

Yo pbdblue,

I have a 03'wr450 and have not had any problem with the woodruff key,I don't really care about the electric start if I remove the idler gear are you saying that I will not have any problems the the woodruff key?Any info on this would be great...Thanks donnie

If you take the idler gear out then the crank can't kick back against the starter which was the real cause to the key shear problem. To remove it just take the small cover off, remove the gear and replace the cover. Now the bike will be kick start only.

And you can ditch the batery and save about 4 lbs way up high. Been runnin mine like that for almost a year. When you ditch the battery the on off switch still works. If you look close you will see the little red light still glows as you are kicking the motor thru and goes out after it starts.

Thanks guys,

This whole starter thing has been making me alittle crazy.I can't go out and ride with out it being on my mind the whole time,also I won't go very far from the house for fear of it shearing the key and me having push this big heavy azz bike home in the Phoenix heat.I feel so much better,do you think I should "lap" the crank and rotor too,or is that overkill?Thank god for "Thumper Talk".


If you yank the idler gear I don't think lapping the crank taper will make any difference. Pull the gear and go ride!!!

Might check the torque on the flywheel nut. Mine was at 25 when it rolled off the showroom floor and I cranked it to 55.

A friend pulled his starter and battery. 8 pounds saved. You will need a plug for the starter hole though. He turned one out on a lathe.

One thing though. The starter can only be the cause of a sheared key while starting. If you don't have the button pushed then the starter motor will turn either way. Sheared keys from backfires or other reasons while riding had to come from incorrect taper fits or too light of torque on the rotor nut. The book specifys 47 ft lbs. I have checked mine a couple of times just to be safe.

I don't think that just removing the torque limiter gear and/or starter gaurantees you won't shear a key. If you haven't checked the flywheel nut torque, you might want to. :thumbsup:


well heres the timeline... got the bike then the dealer torqued it down to 47... electric start and everything worked fine... then it goes back to the dealer for valves... and at the same time they did the fix (clean up mating surfaces and loctite).. shortly after the electric start did not work anymore (clicking)... and now this... so you guys think its defenitely a woodruff key/flywheel/timing matter? by the ways when i checked the valves, the notch on the flywheel and the indents on the intake cam did not align with the top of the cylinder head.. eeekk :thumbsup:

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