Electrical or Starter issue?


I know that the '03 WR450 Starter issue has been beat to death, but this bike is new to me and I need some help sorting out a problem before the weekend.

I had a dying battery - took it out and load tested. pretty dead. Got a new AGM battery and installed. When I hit the E-Start button, I can hear real rapid (relay-like) clicks under the seat - that's all - the starter never engages. If I put my hand on the starter unit and hit the E-Start button, I never feel anything trying to engage there.

The bike starts OK when kicking it.

The issue is after coming back inside the house, my clothes smell like an electrical fire. I never held the E-Start button down for more than a second or two. I don't want to be stranded this weekend (going on a very long trail ride) because of a short or anything, and since I know very little about electrical stuff, I thought I'd come here to see if there are rudimentary steps I can take to isolate the problem.

The previous owner had the "Woodruff Key" mod done to it, but I think the starter is the original ('03) unit.


Edited by ack1961

Here's best guess from the info. you gave. Did you have this problem before replacing the battery? Other thing could be the starter solenoid or possibly a wiring issue.

Perhaps.........What I gather from reading about the '03 starter problems, it is a mechanical issue where part of the starter gear mechanism would bind up. I would recommend checking out the gears between the starter motor and the fly wheel. It sounds to me like that could be your problem. Makes sense to me that if gear is binding up it's keeping the starter motor from turning. That's where you are getting the electrical burnt smell, the starter is getting hot when you hit the button because it can not turn. Don't try starting the bike with the button again before you get this figured out. If you haven't already, you run the risk of burning out the wiring inside the starter motor, which can get very expensive.

Where you at in NC? Send me a PM. If your close enough it's much easier to troubleshoot in person, with the bike.

Oh yeah, rudimentary step to try. Remove the starter from the bike leaving all the electrical hooked up. Hit the button. If the motor turns then the problem is likely mechanical and not electrical. If the motor does not turn then start by checking the solenoid.

Edited by ur2silly

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