Starter/Kickstart noise: starter clutch?


I have a 04' WR450.

On my last hot ride, I was getting a pretty terrible noise from my bike when I restarted. It's sounds like low dog bark - arrr - arrr - arrr. It's very apparent when I use the starter but I also can occasionally hear it when I use the kick start. I also could sometimes hear it during stalls. Other than that, the bike is running tip-top.

Based upon other's descriptions of noises, I'm suspecting the starter clutch but I'm un-sure if this would normally be heard when using the kick starter. Does anyone know for certain? Looking at the schematic, I see a idler gear/bearing and torque limiter. Could it be one of these instead?

Parts Diagram

Tear down pics

Any help will be appreciated.



I has a similar problem on my 03' WR450 when using my e-start and when the bike stalled. I had previously completed all of the modifications to install the 04' starter components (idler gear, torque limiter, side cover). The problem was fixed when I replaced the starter clutch.


i had the excact same problem.. after occasional startups the bike would make a constant grinding noise and i had to shut the bike off and kickstart.

I took the side cover off and found very few fine metal grindings inside the flywheel on the magnet, when i pulled the flywheel off about 20 cresent shaped metal pieces fell to the ground along with a ground pulverized spring that would hold the other pieces in place.

My guess is the spring on the one-way-starter assy went and the starter got stuck engaged and the engine was allways turning the starter over even when it was off.. i came to this conclusion because occasionally when i would kick the bike over i would hear a noise that sounded like a bunch of gears meshing.. which it turned out to be.

I Think if i left it any longer the metal pieces would have eventually made its way throughout then engine and would result in a blown motor.

The part i am talking about can be purchase for 46$ off oem thumper talk and is number 8 STARTER ONE-WAY ASSY 5TJ-15590-00-00

Thanks for the replies guys. I do think it is the starter clutch. That's my best guess. I will do the work this week - seems pretty straight forward. I don't hear any grinding or's more like a dog bark. The other day I started it in the garage and I heard no noise at all - perfect... Seems to happen when hot. I don't want to risk anything so no riding for me until the starter clutch is replaced. I will post my findings after I do the repair. Thanks.

Last year I had a similar problem though it only happened with the electric start. I had previously done the 04 starter clutch upgrades but one of the bushings on the starter motor failed. Unfortunately I was unable to source just the bushing and had to replace the entire starter motor.:ride:

I am old enough to remember when rebuilding starters was pretty routine for the old Ford (insert your favorite relic here). I am pricing out a new Toyota to haul the bike around and it is going to be more than my first house. This is progress?:thumbsup:

wow wish i knew of the 04' upgrade before i spent 60 on a new assy for my 03'

what are the advantages of the newer model starter clutch?

also carl i would suggest waiting until you open the case and inspect before ordering the part, a good way to tell is by looking at the largest diameter starter sprocket that sits directly behind your flywheel ( the one-way assy is bolted to the flywheel ) there will be a round extrusion in the metal for the one way clutch to grab on to, inspect this and chances are if your assy is bad there will be grind marks on the contact points between the starter one way assy and the large starter gear. In my case i didnt have to inspect anything, as soon as the flywheel came off about 50 or so metal chunks and a ground down spring flew out on the ground..:eek: it was on the verge of flying around my engine but i caught it just in time.

dont forget to get some sand cloth and lightly sand the metal if there are any grind marks, this will keep your new starter clutch from any future failure.


The main advantage is the redesign of one-way starter clutch. The 04 design eliminated any possibility of shearing the flywheel key if the bike backfires.

I have a 06 yamaha wr450. My starter sounded like a dog barking or a duck dying. I was going to replace it because that is what i have seen to do on alot of forums. So, i took it off and figured i would take it apart to see what was wrong with it. Whats the loss? I cleaned it and lubed up the bearing in the starter itself and it fixed the problem. Maybe temporary but saved me $300 dollars for now. Just to throw out that idea before buying a brand new high dollar starter.

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