Yamaha V Star 650 Common Oil Leak Fix

Where to look on your Yamaha cruiser if you’re always seeing oil on your garage floor

Who doesn’t like the idea of getting a decent motorcycle for under $2,000? That was certainly the case for our friend Kenny, who recently purchased a pretty neglected 2003 Yamaha V Star 650 for even less than that. But, being the great pals we are, we decided to go through it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything was kosher. It desperately needed a good washing, a general service, and some tender loving care, but all in all was in pretty darn good shape for a completely ignored 15-year-old cruiser with 20,000 miles on it. The plugs were shot, and the air cleaner almost completely clogged, as was the oil filter (probably still the original unit, was my guess). Final-drive fluid was low, the engine oil was low, and the clutch plates were smoked, but this determined V Star still ran. Even with all the fixes the bike needed, we were able to get everything up to spec and happy again for a total bill that was still under $2,000. One nasty thing that stood out to us though, at first glance, was the oil leaks that appeared to be coming from the engine case halves. If it was serious, it would be a job that cost more than he paid for the entire bike. But first glances can be deceiving, and with a little research on the old Google machine, we saw that a common problem kept cropping up on this model.

t-handle set
You will only need one size for this job, but why not be prepared for future jobs and get the whole set?Klein Tools

The neutral safety switch, hidden behind two covers on the left side of the engine, is a plastic piece mounted to the engine case by three bolts. Yes, I said plastic—so you see where this is going. Over time, the heat, vibration, and just plain old age makes the plastic brittle, and cra-a-ack goes the structure. And with that you'll often get a nice trail of oil, especially on the kickstand, come trickling down onto your nice clean garage floor.

Luckily the fix is cheap and extremely easy. For around $20, you can get a replacement piece with a new O-ring. Installation is quite easy as well. First you remove the rear cover, followed by the cover directly next to it, and, lo and behold, you are at the heart of it. Remove those three Torx bolts holding the now-broken and feeble neutral safety switch to the bike, and swap that sucker out. Now the bike should be good to go for another 20,000 miles—that is, if Kenny decides to keep it for that long! Seems like a pretty good deal, right? Less than two grand and Kenny’s got himself a nice, reliable little cruiser to get him from point A to point B.