I was hoping to get some help diagnosing a kickstarter issue I'm having, so I can figure out what my next steps should be (if any) on the 1981 Yamaha XS400 I'm attempting to rebuild.

When attempting to move the kickstarter down (on any gear including neutral), it stops after traveling about 30 degrees, like it's hitting a wall. No amount of pressure makes it budge. If I back up to the very top, and try again, it will still stop at the same point. If, however, I back up only a few degrees and try again, it will pass the point where it first stopped, and hit another block after another 30 degrees or so. There are 3 or 4 of these points in the full travel of the kickstarter down to the bottom.

I should mention that this is a new motor and transmission, I swapped out the last pair because I came to the conclusion that the last engine lacked any sort of compression (could be wrong).

I have tried checking the oil for brass shaving, after researching this issue online, but no luck. I've drained and replaced the oil in the engine soon after buying it.

Previous owner said engine did turn over before being pulled. If it's the engine/tranny itself that's trashed, are there parts I could swap from the old engine/tranny to make something that worked? Did not have this kickstart issue on last pair.

1 Answer 1


Most Kick Starters Have a Relative Position They Need To Be In

What I mean by this is, you can get your kickstarter into the system and mount it up bet if you do not put the shaft in at the correct degree it won't operate properly. Think of cam timing. Perhaps a poor analogy but....

Look at this parts diagram

On shaft 9 and gear 11 you need to have them set up relative to one another. The spring holder tab at the end of the shaft needs to be pointing at approximately 90 degrees up when the shaft and gear are inserted into the case and gear 11 meshes wit the outer clutch basket idler gear. When you have the relative position correct you will be able to depress the kick starter all the way down. If not, the tab will the bottom of the cover when you install it.

Be sure to have good pliers for the springs or spring pullers (much better). If you don't have a spring puller and you are a motorcyclist, get one. It's super handy motorcyclist tool and you will be working with a few quite brutal springs.

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