problems PLEASE READ!!!!!

starter went tits up, mechanic at dealer said I needed to pull in the clutch when the bike stalls on a steep hill so the starter won't run backwards.. I'd like to see him do that while he's tumbling down the hill.. Replaced starter and bearing and gears, So far I've paid for this repair even though I told the dealer of the problem lonf before the warranty was up and was told the clanking sound was "normal" Took bike for a ride today and the woodruff key sheared and I pushed bike 2 miles out of woods. The key had not failed before the starter was "fixed" Am I going nuts or should I just get rid of this bike, it's one thing after the other...Jetting, starter, flywheel. I want my 426 back!! My blood is getting less blue by the minute!! :):D :D

Get it fixed and sell it. They are probably just going to lead you on untill you go away. What kind of bike is it?

Major bummer. I think I would get on the phone to Yamaha and explain the situation. I would be suprised if they don't take care of you. Your dealer doesn't sound to slick.

... have to pull in the clutch when going down hill. Yeah, right. :):D :D

It's a WR450F and it's really an awesome bike when it's working. I really don't know of another bike that will work as well. If Honda would come out with a WR tranny with the 450 engine in a trail bike configuration I'd get one tomorrow, but they are seriously dragging their feet on that. The only other bike that I think compares is the 450 KTM but the Yamaha is still better in the desert.. I'll take it in to the dealer tomorrow and see what he has to say, he's really a pretty cool guy. Endurodog: give me some encouragement here, I'm starting to lose it!!! :):D :D

What did they mean the clutch needed to be engaged to prevent this damage? Are they saying that if I put my WR450 in gear and push it backwards the starter gear/motor will break? Maybe an Auto clutch will help the situation? I have stalled on hill climbs before but never had this problem.

Damn I'm sorry to hear about your problem. Wonder if they pulled your flywheel when they made repairs or did you do it yourself? I would think Yamaha would make the repairs to the bike for you on the woodruff key issue.

I would lean towards getting it repaired, cutting loss, and getting an 04 or something else but not totally sold on that. Honda needs to get off thier butts and get us an estart 450.

I would be ready to push it over a cliff. Good luck with it. Keep us informed.

Well indy450 that's exactly what he was infering. I told him he was out of his mind, you're stalled on a steep section, you pull in the clutch the bike rolls backward and tumbles down the hill totally trashing it... What kind of design is that for a dirt bike??? I guess I should have read all the posts on the starter/flywheel/woodruff key issue before I bought this bike, I just assumed that if Yamaha had a design flaw in one of their products they would step up and take care of it. I'm starting to think that's not the case. Thank God for Thumper Talk cause we all wouldn't know about this stuff without it. No wonder they don't want use getting advice on the "internet". I'm sill counting on them to come up with a fix for this problem. I'm not bad mouthing them now but if this doesn't get resolved I going to start a one man crusade to let everyone know how they handle "THEIR" problems.. My jetting problems were my own fault, the starter/woodruff thing is their problem.. :D :D :)

Endurodog: I have a lot of problems thinking about an 04 with these kind of issues on the 03. Screw me once shame on you........blah, blah, blah. I don't even care about Honda having the E button, just make one that has a Wide Ratio tranny and lights etc. Maybe I'll get the bike fixed and all these problems will go away...Hope you guys are getting some good Fall riding.. Jim WR450F :)

Hey Jim, While you are chasing Yamaha on this see if you can find out if there are different parts on the 04 that solve this issue and if we can order them to retrofit the starter drive train in the future or is there an engine case difference that will not allow it. Thanks, Indy.


> mechanic at dealer said I needed to pull in the clutch

> when the bike stalls on a steep hill so the starter

> won't run backwards

am i missing something completely obvious here?

on electric start engines that i've worked on, the starter

pinion is either spring loaded and is "driven into" the

flywheel (or some other rotating part of the motor) by the

rotation of the pinion, OR there is a sliding shaft which

pushes, via a soleniod, the pinion into engagement only

when the starter is operating.

in either case, the starter pinion is not in contact with

it's mating gear while the engine is running. so if the

engine "goes backwards" the starter does not turn. nor does

it turn if the engine goes forward for that matter. in fact,

in most engines once the flywheel speed exceeds the pinion

speed, the pinion is automagically disengaged to prevent

damage to the pinion and/or starter motor. remember that

the pinion to flywheel ratio could be 20:1, so if the motor

is going around at 1000 RPM the starter would then be

spinning at 20K RPM. not good -- things could fly apart.

the automagical disengagement is done by what is called

a "bendix drive" or an "overrunning clutch" (see pics).

these mechanisms prevent the engine from spinning the

starter once the engine speed exceeds the starter speed.

bendix drive:


overrunning clutch:


(note that some engines, especially on older tractors, have

"starter-generators" that as the name suggests apply torque

to start the engine but then remain turning to recharge the

battery. this setup is not common these days.)

does the WRF's starter actually remain engaged when the

engine is operating?



jim aka the wrooster

'01 wr250f

I believe the starter does stay engaged because there have been several times where pulling the bike backwards on an incline (with the motor off) you can hear the starter motor spinning backwards.

bilreff, I'm sure you know this, but I believe that the new starter gear (part# 5TJ-15512-01) that replaces the stock one has about half as much sticktion. This would/should give way before the key or any other gears take the hit. I'm going to install the new ones in mine asap but in the mean while I removed the starter gears and used to large channel locks and turned the inside and outside gears in different directions for about a 1/4 turn. This will allow them to move easier than it would from the original press fit.


Great Idea Dave! Let us know what the parts cost and numbers are so we can all get to swapping it out this winter. :)

wrooster: Yes it does!!! It does not have a bendix, if it did it would be a lot heavier. No it's always engaged, the starter :D clutch is supposed to keep it from turning backwards. BUT anyone who has backed the WR out of their pickup with the clutch in can tell you that if they let the clutch out while backing down the starter will make a ugly sound as it goes backwards. Hence one of the sources of the problems that we are trying harder to solve than Yamaha is.. (DO I sound bitter????) Jim :D:)

Starter went on mine too after only 50 hrs. I'm getting a new one under warranty, but I'm sure the same thing will happen again. MAybe I'll try not stalling it anymore on hills :)

Well mine is fixed and running and I have to say when this bike is running it "RULES" :):D.. I just love the way it performs and handles and I'm hoping that my problems are over. I only use the E starter when stalled on a hill or when I've dropped and flooded it, otherwise I bump start or kick cause I KNOW the starter clutch will fail again .. The thing that makes me mad is that when my dealer talks to the Yamaha RTA, he tells him he has no idea what Yamaha has done to change things on the 04. They are going to be here in 2 weeks.. Come on now!!! I'm pretty darned sure Yamaha has done something to address this problem and if he doesn't know what it is why is he the service rep. Oh well, Honda or Kawasaki will come out with a comparable bike soon and Yamaha will have to eat some of this bad press they could have avoided very easily with a little honesty. Big Jim

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now