2003 WR450 for cheap?

I have been looking for a WR450 locally for some time now., I was looking for one that was 07 or newer for the aluminum frame and what not. I havent had much luck lately and came across a 2003 WR450. The bike looks like it has quite a few hours on it but nothing a new plastics kit and some paint cant fix. The only known problem is that the electric start doesnt work. Is this a cheap/easy fix. Being I didnt really want the bike too badly i low balled him at $2000 from $3000 and he accepted it. Is this the route i should take? With the extra money i was planning to flip (restore) a 2005 cbr600 i found but if its not worth getting the 03 i'll keep looking for a newer one.

Thanks for any input!

You need to be careful. There was an issue with some of the 03's starter. I think it is called a woodruff key and it would shear off and metal bits would go inside the engine case. Do a search on "woodruff key". I had an 03 and it is a beast off idle. It was actually too much power for my tastes. Also, I don't think $2000 is very cheap for an 03 with a bum starter but it could be because you live way up in Canada. I bought my 03 for $3000 four years ago and it had tons of high end mods. I then switched over to a 04 WR250F with even more high end mods for only $2200. If I were you I would keep searching but all best to you and hope you find what you are looking for.

I agree. I'd advise you to buy any decent WR450F except an '03 - unless it has already had the starter gear problem fixed.

I bought, and still own, an 03. It cost me a lot of money when the bike misfired on startup one day and the crap designed starter gear caused the engine casing to crack and need replacing. Easy job but expensive.

Most people are of the school of thought where if it hasn't broken by now it probably isn't going to.

I have a 2003 WR450 myself and have put thousands of trouble-free miles on it since I bought it new.

Some people were unlucky when the 2003 model was still new but now in 2012 the occurrences of this

problem are going to be quite rare. The problem manifests itself as a backfire or hard start causing

the engine to fight against the starter and normally the result is broken woodruff key on the flywheel

and the flywheel shifting on the crankshaft enough to throw off the timing and prevent the engine from

running. The cracked case the poster above mentioned was very rare. Usually the worst effect of

the issue was you get to walk back to where you started from because the bike doesn't run now.

The bike you are looking at should not be a cause for great worry unless it was buried in a time capsule

9 years ago and just pulled out yesterday with zero miles on the clock. And even then if you are really

worried you can just put the 2004 starter clutch parts in it and problem solved forever. But with

"quite a few hours" on it I'd say the chances of it breaking at this point are low.

Having said all that, the starter motors on these bikes ARE weak and prone to failure. The fix is replacing

the starter and it is not cheap. A GOOD starter/alternator place should be able to rebuild the failed

starter motor but the issue is usually a hard to find bushing in the tail of the starter motor. Most people

give up and buy a new starter motor.

If you can live with kick starting it or can get the starter motor rebuilt cheaply I would say $2000 is a

reasonable deal if the bike is in otherwise good condition. Even though $2000 seems like a big jump

down from his asking price of $3000 I'd still try to get it down a bit more. You can get into a money pit

fast though if the machine is in questionable condition...

The starter is the same as any other year WR but the problem they had was with the starter gear drive. If the drive has been updated then the '03 is just as reliable as any WR. It's easy to tell if the update has been done. If the cover over the idler gear (just forward of the starter itself) is domed then the mod has been done. If it's flat then it's original. I put probably 10,000 miles on my '03 with the mod and zero problems. That said a word of warning about buying a well used 4 stroke. While the Yami is probably one of the most reliable 4 strokes out there like all the modern 4 strokes they are very expensive to fix if they grenade. You can easily spend $1500 or more in parts to get them going again. I think anything over $2k is too much for a well used '03 WR when you consider you might have to pour a lot of money into it down the road. Or it may run for another 10,000 miles. Kind of like going to Vegas.

After quizzing the guy some more I decided it just wasnt worth worth it. He sent me some more detailed pictures and all the plastics are in rough shape, the shifter seal is leaking, starter not working at all. Too much of a gamble and i just want a bike I can jump on and ride even if it costs me another 2500 ha ha

They do cost more incanada . I see them in Calgary for 3-4000 for an 03-06. I got my 06 for 3100 and spent some money getting it running proper at the mechanic and it's been a great bike to me (way better than my xt225 ever was)

Yea probably a good idea to walk away from it if it is as rough as you said...

you could end up spending another $1000 or more just to get it "right" and still

have to go through all the drama and do all the work. Just easier to spend a

little more now and get a better bike that doesn't need a lot of work.

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