Starter Twist Problems - Earlier to 2002 V-Star 1100

By Tony Anzalone - GoldKnight67 (on the V-Star Forum)

2002V-Star 1100 Custom

I read all the chat on the V-star forum about the twisted starter bolts, but mine always seemed OK.

I first noticed a slight twist in the starter bolts on 03/20/03 with 1,800 miles and my waranty out as of  02/29/03, yep, less than one (1) month past the warranty!

It is now June16 2003 and I  have 2,867 miles and today noticed the really bad twist of the Starter Bolts.


According to Yamaha Service bulletin: One of the causes is Us. Me & You, the "dumb bikers" are causing this starter twisting because we are not starting our engines correctly. If you start your bike with any throttle twisted, the electronic ignition advances and causes the engine to kick back if it does not fire right up. (Now this could'nt be a ignition design problem or a poorly designed starter, could it?)

But Yamaha almost gives us an admission of the starter problem and has proved it by a new feature on the 2003 models. The 2003 models have a starter clucth that will slip on engine kick back, according to the Service bulletin.

But so far the earlier to 2002's owners may be hanging in the wind. I called my dealer and got a price on a replacement starter for $350.00.  Yamaha may pay for the  replacemet part, but not the labor. (BTW: Tony O At Yamaha Sports Center in Texas sells the New 2003 starter for $287.37 Phone 1 800 926 2420).

Dave Benson, (of DBAK & Maxair, fame), has been compiling info in hopes of proving to yamaha the validity of the problem. On the Dave has compiled a very detailed article on the problem and has a form to be filled out if you are having similar troubles. Maybe one day Yamaha will do the right thing.

In the mean time I have taken my starter off and to a local starter shop before it self-destructs. Hopefully he can pin it or design a support to keep it from twisting again.

Well the bad news is the Cap and Body is very thin and there is just about 1/8th inch over lap on the cap, which leaves no room to pin it. So after many helping mouths looked into it with Mike & myself, the consensus was I am screwed. The locking tab that keeps the the Starter Cap & Body locked in placed, sits between 2 bumps in the end cap. The Tab is bent and 1 of the bumps is broken off flush.

I was ready to find a aluminum heliarc welder and have a aluminum plate welded from the cap to the bottom and worry about getting it apart later, when it finally broke down. But Mike had a one other idea.

Mike wanted to try a heavy hose clamp bridging the Cap & Body to give added support. In fact maybe more support than the original tab gave. So He notched a Heavy hose clamp so it will not short the power terminal and put it all back together.


BTW: Mike at the Starter Repair shop charged me $10.00 for his time, I gave him $20 for his efforts!

I added an aluminum block between of the starter, bottom bolt and the lower engine crakcase, since the unit twist in that direction, to help resist any twisting.

I fabricated the block from a chuck of aluminum that I found in my pile of stuff. It is an aluminum spacer from an old alternator mount.


I used a piece of clay and forced it into the area I wanted to fit the block into. Then I traced it to a piece of cardboard and through trail and error kept fitting and cutting till I had a template.

I rough cut the chunk of metal with a hacksaw and a copping saw. Then with a coarse half round file I slowly shaped the chunk of aluminum to the template and finally to the starter, till it fit snug enough to be driven in to place with a wood dowel.


Now to keep vibration from moving it out of position, I drilled and taped a ¼-20 thread into the block, to screw a ¼-20 screw plus a locking bracket to it.


I  beleive this combined with the strap will work. I will let you know if it holds together enough to make it a good temporary fix. At best, it will buy me some time befor I will have to come up with $350.00 for a new 03 Starter.

***Note: I just recently read of a case of the starter gear shearing off.

The potential problems caused by a gear or tooth breaking off and the metal chunks that could possibly cause, a lot of internal damage if it gets caught in any of the rotating parts in the clutch and primary case.

Though it is hard to determine what caused the gear shear off. If it was caused from the engine "kick back" on a normal straight starter or caused by the extreme amount of twist and miss alignment.

But yet, Yamaha refused to acknowledge the problem except in a service bulletin, sighting the cause possibility being improper starting procedure?

I have talked with a few local State agencies, that all agreed that Yamaha should make this a re-call item, but only if people start to file complaints on the federal level, such as the "National Highway Traffic Safety addministration". Then pressure can be put on Yamaha.

The state can only deal with the local motorcycle dealers. I was given this address as a starting point 1-888-327-4236.

I hope that people become motivated to make the calls and file the complaints. I was told that as little a 10 complaints will start a investigation and put pressure on Yamaha.

Ride Safe

Tony Anzalone

Give the Glory to GOD

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