2004 WR450 electric start not working

2004 WR450 purchased used about 6 months ago. Have riden it at least 5 times without any issues. Have changed the oil, new air filter, new battery etc... and everything has been good with the bike.

Two weeks ago, I road a trail that was beyond my current skill level and had to use the electric start probably a good 60 times. It started each time and that was the least of my problems. The next week I noticed that when I went to start the bike it sounded like it had a weak battery. Based off my previous ride, that made sense and I just kick started it for the whole day and was fine. I purchased a battery tender and went to charge it, but the battery showed full charge very quick. Not knowing if it was the battery or the charger, I purchased a new battery and put that in, but had the same result.

I press the ignition button and the red light comes on bright. I press the starter button and it tries a few times, but then I just hear the clicks (I think coming from the relay). If I try it again, I just get the clicks. So basing what I am hearing with how a car that is dead sounds, it sounds like the battery is dead.

I don't have a manual or any equipment to test voltage or connections but really just looking for the best educated guess on what the problem sounds like to others. If everyone says the starter itself sounds bad, then I might just purchase a starter and put that in. (if doing that is somewhat straight forward)

Thanks for any ideas.

You may of run the battery down and damaged it. What is the at rest volage, voltage at cranking, voltage at idle and at mid throttle?

A bad battery can show 12.5 V at rest, drop way down at cranking and be low at idle. At any point, less than 12.5 is a bad battery


The only reason I don't think it is a bad battery is because with my brand new Yuasa battery gave the same result and both show full charge from the battery tender. Now they both could be bad batteries, but I am thinking it is something other then the battery.

Ignore the tender. You need a voltmeter on the battery at rest, during cranking and at idle. The battery tender circuity is not that sophisticated.

You may want to double check the wires from the battery to the starting solenoid, ground and to the starter motor.

If the batteries test good, the wires and connections good, then the starter needs attention. Often, a decent cleaning fixes them or a mild service. If it is the starter motor, take it off the bike and bring it to an auto elctric place. They can make it as good as or better than new for little money.

check the starter solenoid. that many cranks in a short period is enough to heat up the wiring of the sol and cause it to have a slightly broken circuit which would do exactly what you say it is doing. makes it seem like it is not getting enough voltage so the starter solenoid is jumping in and out (due to lack of continuety (sp?) and not holding to provide full current to the starter...

Just a guess and just as good as any other with the facts given and not so much as a meter touched to a wire. Please don't just use a test light to test things out as all that shows is that you have voltage present, not telling how much is actually there.

Like others have said it's hard to tell with the limited info but if I were to guess I'd say you cooked the starter. I'm not a bike mechanic and I'm new to yamahas but I've been a mechanic for 12 years and starters are starters basically.

I'd pull the starter of and bench test it.

I understand that the info is limited, but still appreciate the information being provided. I can do the basic stuff on the bike but wanted to first see about doing as much as I could before I just took it to the shop. I don't have the manual and am not even sure where the solenoid is on the bike. Also if anyone wants to post a pic of the starter on the bike that would also be good. If it is something I can take off myself, then I am all for it. I am planning on purchasing the manual, was just inpatient and was trying to knock out as much troubleshooting as I could before hand. (a.k.a save myself some money, seeing how I am already a $100 into it so far with the new possibly not really needed battery).

I had to buy a new starter motor for my bike.

Same symptoms as yours.

If you hear relay clicks, it isn't the battery or relay.....

I had to buy a new starter motor for my bike.

Same symptoms as yours.

If you hear relay clicks, it isn't the battery or relay.....

Same here on my 04.

The starter brushes, etc were toast. Starter was simply worn out.

mine was too... took mine to an auto starter rebuild shop, they fixed it for around 60 IIRC

Is there a better manual out there then what is on the yamaha website? I mean the one on the site looks pretty good (minus the 6 other languages that are included in its 754 pages). I just want to make sure if I order something from the dealership it isn't going to be the same things I have downloaded. (Owners Service Manual).

I think I might just go a head and order the starter motor and do I also need to get a new gasket for the left side crank case cover (since I have to remove that?)

yes you do have to remove the left crank case cover.. i was lucky and did not tear gasket, but it was a chance.. from what i have seen the manual on line is pretty close to the printed version.. ran into something on mine that was not in the online version, but was in print.. it was not a big deal, but it was not in there. On mine, i think i had to pull the timing chain tensioner also to get it out.. was not a big deal at all.. had it fixed the next day and back in.. has been fine ever since.. I also have not used as long as i did the day i buried in the mud hole....... this was after riding out about 8 miles ... i was on the starter hard..... for a long time... we had to lay it down and drag it out, his went underwater..



I ended getting a new starter, crank cover gasket, cluch cover gasket (needed to be removed) and a few O-rings and I have the electric start back.

Motor was $302 plus the few other things, not to mention the new battery I purchased thinking it was just the battery on the first go around, plus the battery tender thinking maybe my new battery wasn't fully charged or that my old battery just needed a charge. Ah the cost of learning....

The old starter actually spun just fine without any resistence on it but that was all. I also noticed that one of the long thin screws that run down both sides of the starter motor was loose and with it loose, the end cap was no longer seated 100%. So it probably allowed something to get in and with it not being seated perfectly and aligned, it probably didn't help the starter.

The bike is back and for each time I rode the bike and had to use the kick start, I was reminded that I would never purchase another bike without electric start.

Thanks for the ideas and help.

Kevin in VA

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