Hard to Kick Start, Starts easy with Estart

I've spent a good amount of time searching for an answer in the search feature with no luck, so I apologize if I am missing somethign....

I have a 2006 WR450 that I just checked the valves on and shimmed. It appeared that the shims had never been replaced based on the sizes that were installed. One intake and one exhaust valve were just outside of spec (.001-inch too tight), but I went ahead and reshimmed every valve back to nominal. I have no idea how many miles are on this beast, but I'm sure it is quite a few...

With that out of the way, I've never had trouble kicking the bike over. Now that I put it back together, it is very difficult to kick. It starts very easy using the electric starter, and it turns over easily with the spark plug out when turning it over using a socket on the crankshaft. Before putting the valve cover back on, I turned the engine over quite a few times with the socket on the crankshaft to verify everything moved easily and that there wasn't any valve to piston contact. I also checked the decompression cam while it was apart, and it moved nice and smoothly. Then, when I put it back together, I just fired it up using the electric starter and it ran great.

I did a 50 mile ride with it yesterday, and it ran great all day. However, I tried kicking it a few times, and it was really hard to turn the engine over with the kick starter. I don't remember it ever being this hard, as before, I could pretty much just easily push the lever down unless I got it stock at TDC. Now, every kick is a bear to do. Before, after the bike was warmed, an easy, full stroke kick or two would start it every time.

It seemed like it might be getting a little easier to kick, but I didn't want to damage anything, so I stuck to the electric starter for the whole day.

Any thoughts on where I should look for improper assembly, damage, etc. that would cause the bike to be really hard to kick?

If you pull the plug is it still hard to kick over...it should just move completely freely.

If it is still somewhat hard to kick over, maybe the problem is with the kickstart mechanism. Did something get jammed in there in your last ride maybe?? or something just broke and it happened to be after you just did the valves etc.

If it seems to be business as usual for the engine (running and estart) except when kick starting...I would check out the kick start itself.

How is your kick starting procedure? Do you have it down? Can you kick through an entire cycle?

The piston, when at the top of the compression stroke will have a lot of pressure and the kick starter should be a little hard to move at that point. But, that's normal on my 05 wr. When I am kicking, I get to the point where I can hardly move the kick starter (at the top), then I push just a little past that point. Then I go up and down on the kick starter in a steady and full motion (not fast) and my bike starts right up.

I what I describe is not what you experience, then I would check the valves again. When I shimmed my valves (rarely), I have to spin the engine with the estart to get the shims to setting correctly inside of the springs. Otherwise, the measurement may be a bit off. Did you do that?

Thanks for the reply.

I was thinking of doing that too... pull the plug and then try kicking it over. Like you said, it should turn over pretty easily like that. I'll have to give it a shot after work tomorrow.

Well, I don't know what the deal is, maybe I was just being a wuss yesterday, but I just gave it another shot, and it seems better. I pushed it through a few cycles by hand and it went through smoothly. Then, I gave it some kicks and it felt better. I swear it was harder to kick yesterday. I got it started with the electric starter, since the bike is cold and can be a pain to start that way. It only took a second or two and then fired. After it warmed up for 30 seconds or so, I managed to kick start it and it fired right up.

Yesterday, it was definitely warm, but kicking it just didn't seem to work.

Part of my problem is that I'm only 5'7", so kicking any bike can be a pain in the arse for me, which is part of the reason I was shopping for the WR.

Maurice, I did not turn the bike over with the estarter after shimming. I did turn it over by hand at least 5 full cycles and then checked the shimming. At that point, the measurements were exactly where I expected them to be based off of the math. If the shimming were off, wouldn't it be hard to start with the electric starter, too?

I still would like to have a smoking gun as to what the problem was, so I can make sure to remedy it... any other ideas? Maybe it was just operator error... but I had a buddy try starting it, and he said it seemed harder too.

I totally appreciate the ideas so far...

Glad it worked. Everytime I think something is wrong with my WR, its not! It just needs to be ridden! :thumbsup:

This is a long shot but some people forgot to reset the cam chain tensior when checking the valves especially if it's the first time you have checked the valves. If you put the cam chain tensior back in the motor without resetting and its fully extended it can make the cam chain too tight and make the bike really hard to kick over. I did this once with a yz 450 and it was super hard to kick over, luckily the bike didn't start and retraced my steps and corrected the problem. Do you remember resetting the cam chain tensior correctly?

Should have been as follows with tensioner off the bike by removing the end cap bolt, wind the rod with a small screw driver fully closed and lock the spring into place, bolt the tensioner back into the motor ensuring the tensior is still wound closed, tighten the two bolts onto the motor that hold the tensiorsnug but not torqued, release the tensior rod with the small screwdriver and you should feel the tensior release and tighten the cam chain, replace the end cap bolt, and torque down the two bolts. I'm sure you did it correctly but I know of few people who have overlooked this step when checking valves cuz they're eager to put the bike back together.

Hi Joel. I appreciate your comments. I did remember to reset the cam chain tensioner, but I can see how it could be easily overlooked.

Just thought that I would update this thread in case anyone searches and finds it in the future...

Quick recap, the bike started easily using the electric starter and it ran great. However, when trying to kick start the bike, it was physically difficult to kick it. I could bring it to TDC, then ease it past TDC and kick. But when kicking it would try to stop again before going all of the way down.

I finally decided to figure it out. When I pulled the valve cover, it looked like the exhaust cam was advanced one tooth. I reset the cam timing in relation to the crankshaft's indicated TDC. Now it starts easily with one kick.

On a side note, it sure is frustrating when you get the cams installed and then check the crankshaft position to find that it rotated while installing the cams... then you get to try again... Anyone have any tricks?

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