Need Help From YZ450 Owners.. thinking about buying an '03..

there's an '03 yzf450 im pretty interested in..

what should i look for?

what are the common problems on these bikes?

any info/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

my other option is a crf450

thanks in advance

I Wouldnt Waste My Cash On A Crf Go For A Yam :D

I Wouldnt Waste My Cash On A Crf Go For A Yam :D

what are the downfalls on the '03? valve problems? overheating? ..etc.

i need more info than just brand loyalty comments.


iv herd of valve problems on the crf :D . the 03 model yzf was far superior according to most of the magazines :D .

I dont think there are any known "concerns" with the 03-05 YZf's other than general used bike concerns. Just make sure the valves are properly adjusted and shimmed if needed. Use general caution when buying any used bike. Check it over real well.

My 03 YZ450F was my favorite out of the 4 I've had. I have an 05 now and I miss the motor in my 03 a little bit. It strong. Things to look for are paint chipping off the welds around the steering head which could mean some cracking going on. Run the bike until good and warm and look for coolant coming out the weep hole under the water pump cover (It is actually pretty easy to fix but can be a bargaining chip). If your lucky you can get one with the GYT clutch kit update and if your real lucky the guy will have re-routed the clutch cable down the left side of the motor for better action. Other than these things I would look for the normal things you look for on any bike.

I absolutely love my 04' and would like to try an 03' just to see what the difference is in motors. If the 03' is up to par for a well maintained used bike go for it because that engine is an absolute weapon. I am partial to arm jerking power however, take this post for what it is. The other guys have mentioned what to look for as far as used bikes go.

I have the 04 model and love it....I don't remember hearing of any issues concerning the 03 or 04. I do know that the 03 has the hardest "hit" of the 03-05 years for these models. The 03 came with the lightest flywheel, which really gives it snap, but if you ride trails consistently, you may want to add flywheel weight so that you don't stall in the tight, twisty stuff. One negative of the 03 model is that it has a slightly smaller diameter fork width than the 04 models and newer. I wouldn't let that worry me any if the bike is in good shape. Yamaha=reliability just my 2 cents worth

i ride mostly mx/sx

thanks guys.. yzf is looking good so far.. it worries me that noone has said anything negative yet!! :-)

my 03 is awesome-the only real negative is the forks dont work good stock-however i havent done a whole lot of tweaking on them either but theres somewhat of a negative for ya.

Stone stock, the '03 had two "problems", neither of which had any bearing on its reliability, which is is right up there with brick and stone.

The first one is that the engine is extraordinarily responsive right off idle, and was built almost without a flywheel. This makes them a little difficult to control at times. It's easily cured by adding either a Dr. D 6oz flywheel or the Yamaha GYT-R racing flywheel . You can get heavier ones from either source if you are going to be riding mostly woods and trails. With the Dubach ones, you can exchange for a different weight anytime without charge.

The other problem is that it had a grabby clutch. Either the Hinson or GYT-R clutch plate kit and pressure plate (all are made by Hinson) will cure this problem.

The rear shock is great, the forks could use some help. Revalve them and/or add sub tanks. The '04 was very similar, but had a better clutch and upgraded forks.

YZF's don't have valve trouble. They will eventually wear them out, but it takes a while. My '03 has never needed its first valve adjustment to this day. In fact, my sundial gives me more trouble than my YZF's do.

The CRF is a really great bike. If I thought I could trust them, I might own one. But given their record I don't think I can afford to.

i ride mostly mx/sx

thanks guys.. yzf is looking good so far.. it worries me that noone has said anything negative yet!! :-)

Ummm. They are...........ummmmm.............the cost of fuel? :D


I dont think there are any known "concerns" with the 03-05 YZf's other than general used bike concerns. Just make sure the valves are properly adjusted and shimmed if needed. Use general caution when buying any used bike. Check it over real well.

I just bought a used 03 in March and I love it. I've had no problems with it and I ride every weekend.

what are the downfalls on the '03? valve problems? overheating? ..etc.

i need more info than just brand loyalty comments.


There are no valve, overheating, or any other problems with the '03 450F.

Its the most reliable in its class, bar none. And, it has more horsepower and handles better than the competing '03 CRF450. What else could you base your decision on?

just looking for some feedback.. i tend to buy things impulsively sometimes (i am yamaha brand loyal already anyways..)

go to any mx/sx track around where i live, the crf's outnumber the yzf's 100:1

just wondering why?

There may be several reasons.

1. The deal they got.

2. What color they like.

3. What was available at the time.

4. Local Honda dealer.

It's hard to tell why the CRF's outnumber the YZ's at your track. At my track, I havent seen a CRF450 for a looooooong time.

At any rate, you have had plenty of feedback from the sources that count, THE YAMAHA YZ450F OWNERS! What more do you want? You have gotten the most honest, owner evaluated feedback you can get.

I went from an 03 CRF450 to my current 03 YZF450 after owning a YZF400 and then a 426 after that. The main differences I have noticed as far as riding goes is the CRF is a little lighter in the corners but I have gotten use to the YZF and now I don't think I could go back. I took the flywheel weight off my YZF (it was used and came with one already installed) and I don't think the engine is unmanageable at all. The bike rips but is still very ridable, even on trails. The CRF engine was never close to this. The primary reason I went back to Yamaha was because of engine issues that lurk on the horizon for alot of CRF450's when it comes to valves. The YZF valve train is bulletproof compared to the Honda's. My wife's CRF250 is pretty wore out at 50 hours and in need of rebuild as it burns 1/3 of it's engine oil in 2 hours, and it's being ridden by a woman who never hits the rev limiter. I wish I had never bought that CRF250, I should have stuck with Yamaha. Now I have to work on a thumper like its a 2 stroke but costs 3 times as much for the parts...

Ok, I'm sure some will disagree with me, but here is my skinny on my 03' yz450.

1)As long as maintainence is performed, like regular oil changes, top ends, etc., the motor is as reliable as a stone. No problems what so ever.

2)The power comes on hard, a friend rode it and said it felt like a cr500. While this is nice on a well prepped track, it is a handful at the end of a moto when the track is dry and hard and you are wasted. Add a heavier flywheel, you will be pleased. If you like to pivot off the back brake, you will love the heavier flywheel.

3)I'm not sure why, but some are sensative to fuel. Around here we have a summer and a winter blend of gas. Mine will suet foul plugs on winter gas at an alarming rate, hesitation on a jump face is not a good thing. None of my buds, crf,cr,yz250smoker, had a problem with the same gas.

4)Mine came with a grabby, noisey clutch. The wrench report fix was a simple swap of a fibre plate/w a flat spring out of the 02' 426, drilling extra holes in the basket for oil flow negated the need for a Hinson. The pull seems to be stiffer than a crf, but I have yet to put a clutch in it.

5)I prefer a bit stiffer suspension, but I like it better than the crf. Race Tech fixed both ends. While you are looking at the suspension check out the fork seals and shock seals for leaks. Fork seals are cheap and easy to fix, but can also cost you a set of brake pads. Shock seals are cheaper, but the labor to replace it will get you in the wallet. The stock shock fluid is junk, if it has any time on it at all you will notice a big difference just changing the fluid.

6)Ridden back to back, the crf feels at least ten pounds lighter. I think the 03'crf was actually 2 pounds heavier, but it carries it's weight much better, stays down in the cornor, and is easier to move in the air.

7)It is only a four speed. Hey, Yamaha listened, the 06' will have 5.

8)No matter what brand of bike, a used bike is only as good as the care the owner provided. Don't be fooled by pretty graphics, or the, "never been raced" sale banter. Most avid racers will have a cleaner, better maintained bike than any weekend warrior.

9)Reason #6 and #2 is why I'm selling and going red this year, plus a good local dealer that is involved in the sport, I am at the age,(old),that I prefer smooth power and a lighter feel.

If you have questions pm me.

thank you for the honesty.. thats the kind of feedback i was looking for!

i heard about the drilling holes in the clutch basket trick.. only thing that has me worried is the talk people seem to echo about the suspension.. i have a full race-tech gold valve setup in my yz250.. so i guess as long as i look for a bike with a rebuilt/revalved suspension, i should be on the right track? theres no way to tell what the engine looks like on the inside tho.. no matter how clean or dirty the bike is.. that i know.

i just dont want to buy a bike thats going to need a top end in 30-90 days.. that would kill me.. ;-)

Don't worry about the suspension. The forks tend to have a slap to them, they're not really that bad stock, plus you can always play around with the oil weight, height, clickers, even preload washers. You may find a setting that works great for you.

This might sound dumb, but take the bike for a test ride, get it really muddy, then offer to clean it up. You will be suprised at how much you will find out with a good hand washing. Things that you would never have seen till after you got it home. Worn pads, leaky seals, missing frame paint, nuts, bolts, etc. Also might see if he would let you drain a little oil, or take a peak at the filter. Could be some clues to the internals in there. Maintanence records written on the owners manual?

No matter what brand, a used bike is only as good as the previous owner maintained it.

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