Preliminary data on woodruff key failures

Just thought I'd let everyone know that the rotor has been superceded with a new part # (don't have it with me).

Hey you guys. I am recieving my 03 wr450 tuesday and this key has me shook up. I haven't rode all summer and i want to ride/race bad but I was just thinking this dang key my stop me. The bike I'm getting has the Vin# of JYAC04303A001237. I don't know the motor # yet. O-yea it has 32 miles on it to, all dirt road miles. Do you guys think I sould be worried. I'm going to give my local dealer a call for sure. Thanks alot for all your knowledge.

Andy Kraus

01 WR 250F (FOR SALE) Free mods, 03 cam (great!!), stock timing, stock exhaust, yz rear fender, ufo all blue plastic, pirrelli gar-cross rear tire, dunlop 739 front, ironman sprokets, did x-ring, homemade aluminum skidplate,BBR kick starter (like new), ims tank, sdg seat, twin air filter, enduro enginnering handgurads, seal savers, Fresh rebuilt motor!!!!

74’ XL250 (me and dads)

82 ‘XC430 Husky being restored

82’ WR250 Husky (dads trail bike)

83’ XR100

01’ TTR125L (Brothers ride)

4 stroke B Mid-South Hare Scrambles

4 Stroke C GNCC

To Andy Kraus. My vin is 1276, and in spite of everything I could do this 03 WR 450 has come apart 3x's. The dealer has had it for over 45 cumulative days, and finally split the cases and put in a new crank and rotor, with a different taper. I have had not much help from Yamaha Motor Corp. Dealing with Owens in their customer service has been a very disatisfying expierence. The key to this whole thing is the new gear in the end of the starter motor. Replace the gear and you will probably have no problems. "Butter Bean" had this rite 4 months ago, while the Japanese enginneers were still scratching their collective asses. I am trying to get Yamaha to send me the new gear. It's a $60.00 retail part, and maybe 5 minutes of installation. So far I have heard nothing but excuses.

This is the first time I have checked into this site in a few months. I am disappointed to see that the woodruff problems have not gone away but are getting worse. I haven't had the problem yet but baby it every time I start. Almost always use the E-start...

I don't think its got any worse, if anything a little better, not a lot because we still see a failure about every other weekend. Before we were seeing several a weekend.

I have been riding my WR 450 about once a week since Jan '03

and the just had my first problem.

the six - 6mm bolts (8mm heads) that go through the flywheel sheard off. has anybody else had this problem?

Also how do you get the flywheel off ?

I got the nut off with an impact gun but dont have the correct puller to pull the flywheel.

:) any help would be a ppreciated

Yamaha sells the puller all the dealers got one, they can order you one it's less than 20 bucks.

First I've heard of the rotor to starter clutch bolts breaking.


"I haven't had the problem yet but baby it every time I start. Almost always use the E-start..."

how do you baby the button softly? :)

I'm a new guy.I posted earlier today about WR450 woodruff keys.Perhaps I should have posted here instead.But I want you all to know that I bought a new 450 in August and it sheared the key at about 100 miles.I had a long push and now have little confidence in my new bike.My buddy,who bought a 450 at the same time has trans problems...his bike won't downshift out of 3rd.My bike has been fixed by the dealer,his is in there now.What is going on with Yamaha? We paid alot of money for these bikes and now I'm afraid to go riding alone.Should I have bought a Honda?(I would have, but they don't have a woods bike like the WR)This isn't right=a brand new top of the line bike and a tow rope...!!!

Any comments?

I feel your pain. I have not been stranded but my starter is junk and dont use it and because of all the problems I figure my resale value is not too good. But I love riding the bike.

Per Yamaha I got my flywheel done about 4 months ago and I pound on my bike mercilessly. No problems, yet. My bike wasn't broken when I had it fixed (?). That may be the reason it hasn't broken yet. :)

Is this the last four digits of the serial number?

ive had wr450 since 2/03 no problems at all! took it in for the recall a month after buying it, they said they just retorqured the nut, thats it. 1,000 + miles no worries anymore, i electric start the hell out of it too, i didnt even know it had a kickstart : :)

Well the problem goes on I've got about 750 miles on the 450 and the starter clutch went tits up. (of course it's my fault cause I let the bike roll backwards when stalled on a hill, I should have pulled in the clutch) That was a quote from my dealer. When I got the bike back after the starter clutch repair I made it 10 miles before I had to push it out 2 miles. Woodruff key failure bike # is 2534. So after reading every post on this I'm still unsure... Is there a fix from Yamaha??? Do I need new gears??? Do I dare take this bike to Baja??? I'm just not sure if their is any agreement as to the status of this problem as of 10/1/03.. Can anyone help me out as to what's up with this problem now.. Jim

I love the bike but they don't push that well in rough terain!! :):D

fix it,sell it.sorry to hear all this

Wrench, always come to a complete stop before using the E-start. Stay rich. On cool dry air days increase pilot gas. This problem would be very easy for Yamaha to fix if they wanted to. Woodruff Keys have been around for a long time and are reliable when properly sized. When mine goes I am going to redesign it and machine a new one.

You still don't get it, the key doesn't have to be a certain size! The taper holds the parts together, the woodruff key is for alignment only. Get your facts straight before you post!

Redesign a new one, come on give me a break. Why would yours fail anyway if you have tapers that are matched? Have you even done the TSB, it seems you are playing with fire so you can say to all of us, I told you so or so you can keep up the hypothetical "what if".

Good to hear from you ICE! You were one of those who couldn't handle it when I informed TT about this problem in February. Know all about taper and keys. Yamaha hasn't sent me anything about a service requirement or recall. Dealer doesn't know anything about it either. I had mine checked anyway when I picked up the bike. Chill out. It is Yamaha's responsibilty to notify us if there is a problem.

Where do I begin? I got a slightly used wr because a customer spun his flywheel twice in 30 miles, so the dealer gave me a great deal, and the crank was replaced. Then a flywheel bolt backed out and took out a couple of wires on the stator (I happened to be riding alone that day). Now the starter motor has a dead spot on it, and the new one is backordered. I guess I should have kept my 99 400. It was friggin' bulletproof!

WRSTU glad to hear the woodruff key isn't an issue on your bike now, since that what this thread is about.

I would bet you could sell your WR450, buy a used 99 400 and have a bunch of left over money. That would make me happy as a lark to have what I want and extra cash.

I got 200 miles on this fix, but only had to walk 4 miles out this time.. I just posted suggesting a class action lawsuit.. I'm not there yet but I'm closing in on that point and if I get there I will raise so much hell that Yamaha will have to spend $100k to undue the bad press.. Why the Hell don't they fix this problem or at least aknowledge it exists.. My next call is to Yamaha directly, I may not be able to get through but I've got a lot of patience and a little experience at consumer relations.. And I can't sell this bike to anyone else at any decent price, I'd be just like Yamaha is being.. "Sorry buddy, I had a big problem with the scooter so I passed it on to you"" That's not the way I am...Any advice or direction on ways to proceed would be appreciated..I'm getting pissed!!!!! Big Jim :D:):D

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