Electric Starter Problem

I bought a new '03 WR450F in early 2003 (obviously), and ever since I've had the bike, the magic/happy button will not start my bike execpt one out of 20 tries (no joke). I love the bike but the electric starter is a piece of junk. Does anyone know if there is a recall on this, or is there some trick to getting this thing to work? The kick starter works awesome, and it usually starts on one kick.

Assuming the motor keeps turning over and will not fire; I have found with the magic button my '03 will start with one slight twist of the throttle when the engine is warm..... usually every time when it is cold, with the cold start pulled. Kicking works everytime. I just try to save the battery and the starter an kick when it is cold.

My happy button stopped working once.

I know this sounds like a no brainer, but make sure your battery is fully charged. My battery was not fully charged,when I bought my bike, but had enough to kind of turn it over. I charged it overnite, and boom, there it was. Other than that, my happy happy button always works. :cry: :cry: :cry:

I have heard of a few bad starter motors on 03's. But in general jetting is the key to making the e-start work.

Stock jetting is so lean and the e- start motor is just on the edge of having enough grunt that everything has to be just right. Get a battery tender to keep your battery in top condition. Jetting. 48 pilot, 2 turns out on fuel screw and a 72 starter jet for the choke circuit will most likely fix your problem. My e-start has held very well and with stock jetting you can expect it to only start if it is 90 degrees or hotter outside. :cry:

I've had starter issues on my 03 450 since last spring but it kick started so easy I never got around to fixing it.

My bike would just click when you hit the button or turn over very slowly when it did work. Sound familiar anyone?

I just thought it was a weak battery. A while ago I decided to look into all the starting issues.

What I found was the starter itself was no good. I took the starter apart and checked it as per the manual. Checking with an Ohm meter I found that the commutater had 3 dead spots. Great I need to buy a new starter!

Being cheap I thought maybe I could fix it. When I looked more closely at the starter core it didn't smell or look like burnt wiring. Next I checked where the wires were crimped onto the commutater strips. Each strip has a little tab of metal folded over a wire in the windings. I wiggled the tab for one of the dead spots and voila, conntinuity again! So I decided to scrape clean and solder the connection points for each commutater strip (about 14-15).

I put everything back together again and now the starter spins over faster than it ever did when new!

If your starter turns over slow or doesn't work give it a try.


Congrats on finding that one!

What did you use to solder? A regular solder iron isn't hot enough to do the job, is it???

thats the way to fix otherwise expensive repairs :cry:

I'm glad some one else had this problem. I've prayed my way thru a couple of hare scramble starts, had it fail once so I had to kick it. I will try it. If it doesn't work I'm going to have to join the sea or Orange next year.. :cry:

What kind of starter problems are you having?? Does the starter turn the motor over? Does nothing happen when you push the button? Does it make a clicking noise? Does it make grinding noisse?

All of these sysmptoms would be different problems. :cry:

My bike had starter problems, but it was not related to the battery or jetting, it just started making some grinding noises one day. I had to replace the starter with a new one to fix the problem.

Good luck with yours.

The windings in the starter motor have been found defective on some 03's. Replace the motor and it should work. There is no easy fix for the motor that I am aware of. :cry:

Congrats on finding that one!

What did you use to solder? A regular solder iron isn't hot enough to do the job, is it???

I used a regular solder iron and solder. It's still working for me a couple of months later. I ride my bike to work everyday and haven't kick started it since.

I probably should have silver soldered it for a proper job.


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