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Eric, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 1553
Experience:  MMI grad. 7 years experience in Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, as service manager and tech.
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Trouble with the starter clutch..riding..15 minutes

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I have a 2003 Yamaha Raptor 660 and am having trouble with the starter clutch. I have gone through two of them in 1 hour of riding. The first replacement shelled out in less then 15 minutes. We bought it aftermarket with a "heavy-duty" label. The second replacement was a OEM part from a dealer and it shelled out in less then an hour of riding. We already replaced the starter and the starter gear.   What other areas of the motor affect this component and may be causing it to fail? Thank you.
how does the machine run on idle? does it seem lower than normal? any other motor mods?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The quad has a great smooth idle after choke-startup. It does not seem to have any engine malfunctions or low idle. We have installed an aftermarket exhaust and K&N air filter. The head pipes are also aftermarket with the slip-on exhaust. I purchased the quad about three years ago and this problem started about a year and a half ago. It does have a lot of hours on it. Very used. I just delt with it for a while. All it would do is hesitate on starting. You press the starter button and the starter would just run without grabbing. I researched this problem to be the starter clutch. After finally giving in and getting a new one ($169 at, the fix was only temporary while it actually shelled out and burnt up the new clutch. We noticed alot of plastic on the replacement so we thought the OEM would be better. But that fried to after a little time on the bike. We ride normal wear and tear, no excessive speeds, no racing, just normal trail/dune cruising. No reason for immediate failure. Do you think the oil pump has something to do with it? How can we test it?
when you replaced the starter clutch, did you replace both the gear and the one-way clutch together?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Sir, I am certainly not ignoring your question. I have been working with my Dad who is currently taking care of the Yamaha, and has done all the work on it. I was unable to remember what gear we replaced and am waiting for his reply. I will get you the answer ASAP. Thanks for your help.

hey thats no problem. i understand. just let me know when you get some info. thanks!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We replaced the gear when the first clutch went out. We have used the same gear for the other two clutches. The gear was not warped or missing any teeth and the bearing inside the gear was not damaged. Also the starter fried after replacing the gear and clutch the first time. Hopefully that answers your question.
ok, thanks for gettin the info.
there are a couple things that come into play with the clutch.
yamaha had horrible problems with the raptor start clutch till 2004 where they changed the design a bit. unfortunatley those wont cross over to your atv. so the only thing you can do is fix it right and help prevent it as much as you can even though it may fail again because of yamahas bad design.
when the starter clutch goes out. it is very important that you replace both the gear and the one-way clutch rollers at the same time. even if they dont show much for wear. this type of clutch runs on a very very specific clearance and if it is not within that clearance it will wear abnormally and cut down service life considerably.
and when i worked for yamaha i had tried to submit many warranty claims on this and they denied them all, but they said what happens is if an idle is too low, or slightly "chugging" on idle, this will create a small back spin which engages the starter clutch for a split second wearing it prematurely just as the atv is idleing. you wont hear it, but it is happening just as the atv is idleing. so make sure the idle is nice and smooth and a little on the high side, and make sure you replace both gear and one-way clutch at the same time, this should prevent starter clutch breakdown as much as you can, thank you for your question please let me know if you have any concerns.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Wow, thanks for the information. That seems a little crazy for Yamaha not to have any recalls or replacement components for those riders suffering from this problem. I will be sure to give this a shot. Hopefully we can get more then 15 minutes of riding on it each time, because the starter clutch is not cheap. Thanks again for your help. Have a great new year.
ya i didnt think real highly of the factory service backing i needed to help my customers. they make some machines that perform great but have quirks like the one your experiences that make them bitter sweet. i feel other companies do better warranty backing FYI. but i hope you are up and riding soon. good luck! and thank you for your question.