KTM 450 - 530 Won't Start With E-Starter

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Difficulty Beginner

Expected Time 1.5 hours

March 11th 2011

Originally published on

KTM 450 - 530 Won't Start With E-Starter

Around the 50hr mark my '09 530 EXC developed a problem with the E-starter. The starter would turn the engine over fine but it wouldn't fire, it would fire right up with the kick starter though. After doing a lot of reading on the net it sounded like the torque limiter was slipping just enough that the engine would turn over but not quite fast enough to light. I ended up removing the limiter, tightening it up a bit and re-installing it again. Problem fixed! Now my bike would even start in gear with the clutch in! I now have 130 hrs on the bike and the E-Starter is working like a charm. I posted all this in another thread a while back but have had several people contact me with questions on exactly what was involved with tightening the torque limiter... Fast forward to today...

My friend's 530 recently developed the same problem with the E-starter... it would turn the engine over OK but wouldn't start, and would start just fine with the kick starter. He ordered the parts and we decided to take pictures this time so people could see what's involved if they are having the same issue. Now that we tightened the limiter on this bike the E-starter is working like new again!

Consider upgrading your oil pump gears at the same time.

If you own a 08-10 model 450-530 upgrade the oil pump gears and O-ring while you have the engine open to fix the torque limiter, it will save you from having to open it back up again.

KTM 450 - 530 Oil Pump Upgrade

Tools You Will Need

  • Torque wrench in both in/lbs (for the smaller bolts) and ft/lbs
  • Clutch basket Holder Tool (Like this one. Note: This tool works, but not correctly on our baskets. You have to use the tool on the inside of the basket to make it work. Demonstrated at the end of the article.)
  • Misc hand tools; wrenches, sockets, breaker bar
  • Impact Gun is nice to remove the Clutch Basket Nut but not a necessity, you can use the Clutch Basket Tool and a Breaker Bar as well.

Parts You Will Need 
(2008 530EXC Referenced on Part#'s)

KTM Part NoDescriptionNotes
78030025000 Clutch Cover Gasket  
77332018000 Retaining Plate
Lock Tab For Clutch Basket Nut
Reinstallation is possible, but 
replacement is recommended.
0936181505 Hexagon Nut DIN0936-M18X1.5 R.
Clutch Basket Nut
Reinstallation is possible, but 
replacement is recommended.

Additional Supplies

  • Your favorite oil to re-fill the transmission with
  • Your favorite coolant to re-fill the cooling system
  • Shop Manual. Nice to verify you have everything in the right spot and order upon re-assembly. If you don't have a manual you can use the parts diagrams as reference.

Handy Torque Values

Screw, Torque Limiter 7.38 ft/lbs M6 Apply Loctite 243
Nut, Inner Clutch Hub 59.01 ft/lbs M18x1.5  
Screw, Clutch Spring 7.38 ft/lbs M6  
Screw, Clutch Cover 7.38 ft/lbs M6x25  
Screw, Clutch Cover 7.38 ft/lbs M6x30  
Screw, Kickstarter 18.44 ft/lbs M8 Apply Loctite 243

Start by draining the coolant and the transmission oil. Next let's remove the clutch.

Here's a shot of the Retaining Plate "Yellow Arrow" and clutch basket nut that lives under the clutch pack. Bend down the ears on the plate till they are flat so you can remove the nut. If you don't have a impact gun you will have to use the clutch basket took to hold the basket while you use a breaker bar to remove the nut. The Tusk tool won't work on the outer part of the basket but will work if you place the tool on the inside of the basket at the Red Arrows.

Next remove the kick start lever, loosen the hose clamp on the water pump hose connection, and remove the rear brake lever.

Now remove the clutch cover. Here's a shot of the inside of the cover. You can see the water pump drive gear in this shot. Note: When re-installing the cover don't force it. The plastic water pump drive gear has to line up and mesh with the other drive gears inside the case for the cover to go completely on. If the cover isn't wanting to slide on easily reach behind the cover and turn the water pump drive gear slightly, then try to slide the cover on again. Repeat this until the gears line up and the cover slides on smoothly.

Almost to the Torque Limiter. Now just slide the clutch basket off and place it to the side. Be careful to keep track of the order of washers etc as the parts come off.

OK… with the clutch basket out of the way we can now see the offending Torque Limiter. Remove the bolt holding the limiter in place and remove the limter. Note: There is a thin shim behind the limiter, keep track of it as you remove the limiter and make sure it gets re-installed during re-assembly.

Removing the Torque Limiter. The yellow arrow is where the thin shim goes.

A side shot of the Torque Limiter. I've added the numbers 1 & 2 to help explain the tightening process. KTM says the Limiter is "Non-Adjustable" and is pre-set at the factory, if the Limiter is slipping just replace it at $130 a pop. The Limiter is installed in the bike so if the bike backfires it will slip and prevent damage to the starter and the engine case....knowing this we now have to decide how much we want to tighten the limiter? From what I've read people have just snugged them down until they are fairly tight and called it good....this is the method I used on my 530 and it's worked great for me. You can decide how tight you would like to tighten yours, just need it tight enough where it will transfer power to the engine with out slipping.

You will see three holes in the front of the Limiter "Area 2 in the picture above", you can build a spanner wrench that fits these holes or use the channel locks method to tighten the limiter. Place a piece of leather around the teeth "Area 1 in the picture above" and clamp "1" lightly in a vice. Then use the channel locks to tighten "2" a 1/8 or 1/4 turn. I normally would take the time to build a correct spanner wrench but nothing touches area "2" once the Limiter is re-installed so any teeth marks from the channel locks won't hurt anything.

I've been asked a couple times about how the clutch basket tool works when torquing up the inner clutch hub nut. Some people use a impact gun and just rattle down the nut… I prefer to torque the nut to proper specs using a torque wrench.

I purchased a TUSK brand clutch basket tool from RockyMountainATV but it doesn't fit the KTM properly. The tool can still work but you have to install it on the inside of the inner basket instead of on the outside like it should work. The red arrows show where to place the TUSK brand tool.

Use the foot peg to back up the tool (red arrow) while you torque the nut down with the torque wrench.

That's it! Now just re-assemble everything, re-fill the oil, re-fill the coolant and enjoy having your E-start back again.