WR450 Transmission Problems

On this forum and others I have seen that the 3rd and 5th gears take a dump in these machines specifically the '03 and '04 models. Is this a case of not if they let go but when? Is it an inherent design flaw or a case of the rider abusing the transmission somehow? I really gotta know. I can't stand to ride a bike I can't trust.

Don't worry about it mate.

5th gear is the weakest, being smallest and all.

If you do lots of flat out riding in 5th, then keep an eye on your oil when you change it for metal shavings / teeth.

These bikes take lots and lots of abuse, personally I wouldn't be worried about it.

3rd gear is an issue, but it takes a while for it break.

I read of an 05 WR 450f owner on another fourm where his 3rd gear took a dump him after 5,000+ miles of track riding. Guess what gear he was in most of the time? Thats right, 3rd. For a trail rider that uses all the gears all the time, it shouldn't be too big of an issue.

Why would someone ride a WR on the track? The track was on a county run OHV park (metcalf in Santa Clara county) and the guy needed the green sticker to use the track all year round.

Here is the thread


what i have also read on this forum, is when people have replaced the worn gears etc, the bike only lasts another 1500 or 2000km before blowing the gears again.

Should i fix my bike then sell it after its done about 1000 kays?

The transmission issues have primarily been seen in bikes that have been dual sported and have seen a lot of street miles. The tranny doesn't like high speed, single gear driving. These are competition style bikes that were designed to be moving up and down the gears. This is the reason I would never dual sport a WR. To me, it would be like buying a Ferrari to use as a commuter car...SC

Clark, how in the world would keeping a bike in one gear be hard on the gears? if there is oil in there it should be no difference shifting between them or staying in one gear till the cows come home. I have seen people with dual sported wr's here with 20 and 30 thousand miles on them. I would think people abusing the tranny would be much harder on the tranny then cruising down the road at light throttle. Back on topic though, I have also heard lots of 04's losing gears so im thinking it's a weak point in those years forsure.

Clark, how in the world would keeping a bike in one gear be hard on the gears?

One word...heat.

It's the same thing that was going on with the CRF's people were dual sporting. In comparison with the Honda's, the WR's tranny problems were once in a blue moon, but it happens. The common thread is that many people who dual sport these types of bikes start treating them like street bikes, with much longer intervals between oil changes. As we all know, that's bad ju-ju for a hi-po 4-stroke with about a 1 quart oil supply. If you're dilligent about changing the oil every 150 miles or so, then it's no big deal. When you street a bike though, you hit that kind of mileage very quickly and lots of folks will just blow it off. I wouldn't want to be going through the oil change ritual every couple of days either...SC

IMO I don't think it has anything to do with being dual sported but rather the shifting habits of the rider. The Yamaha has a pressurized spray bar lubrication system as opposed to the splash lubrication system in the Honda. All of the current generation performance 4 strokes have transmissions that are built for reduced weight and therefor not as robust as their predecessors. Add to that the vastly increased torque of the new generation of motors. If you get sloppy with your shifting habits you may pay a price. Particularly if you downshift without the clutch and don't keep the engine/wheel speed well matched. If it were a matter of lubrication you would expect to see bearings/bushings seized (ala the Honda) instead of broken gears. Bottom line is there have been a huge amount of Yamaha 4xx's produced and this seems to be a very limited problem. BTW I have thousands of miles on my dual sported WR450 as well as the three other WR4xx's I've owned/own with no issues. Maybe I'm just lucky.

I must agree since i DS my bike i did leave the oil changes a little longer, but I think i will change that back to more often again forsure. Just bought a case of oil and filters so i have no excuses to change it out.

What about riding desert? I'm constantly in top gear for many, many miles in west Texas...we're talking 200 in a day. I thought this bike was designed for that? They race and win WR's in Dakar. I'm not sure of all the mods and am wondering if they change the tranny or oiling system.

Not to start another oil thread...but is there a recommended oil for running desert/high miles? How long between changes? I've gone 750 miles before changing the oil...just because that was the earliest I could.

Just for the record...I've used Castrol Act-evo for the life of the bike. I don't trust Rotella. But I'm thinking about trying Valvoline VR...that's been recommended to me by a few people.

I race harescrambles and hardly ever get into to 5th gear on my 03wr450 but my 5th went out. :thumbsup:

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