Mushy rear brake

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  • Mushy rear brake

    Hello all- i noticed today when i was out riding that my rear brake feels mushy. The front seems to be just fine. I pumped the brake multiple times to see if the feeling changed but no. It seems as though the lever has extra travel before there is enough hydraulic pressure to compress the calipers. From what i see- everything is ok. Not dragging, no leaks, no dash error lights on, and i can stop. But it just feels different. Anyone have any ideas? I have never worked on my brakes- so i have no clue where to start or what to do other than take in for service.
    Thanks for any feedback or suggestions.
    Crawdaddyjc: Titanium 08 GL1800
    Northeast Ga

    96 shadow ace vt1100

  • #2
    Well, the first thing that comes to mind is either air in the hydraulic system, or moisture. How long since your last brake fluid flush and bleed? The brake fluid should be changed at least once a year or 12,000 miles (IMO). It is also possible that you could have a very tiny leak in the hydraulic system. Of course, it could be several other things related to the master cylinder, etc. This is just my first guess.
    Last edited by Cruiseman; 06-16-2015, 09:26 AM.
    GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
    Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

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    • #3
      Honda's prescribed maintenance schedule actually calls for clutch and brake fluids to be replaced and system bled every 12k miles. My Goldwing is only six months old but has already had that service done due to miles not time. It should be done on your 2008 and will probably cure your mushy rear brake feel. Even if it does not cure the problem it still should be done so you will not have wasted your money or labor.
      Harvey Barlow
      Crosby County, TX
      2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
      2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • Cruiseman
        Cruiseman commented
        Editing a comment
        I meant to say 12,000 miles (oops)

    • #4
      Crawdaddyjc...You might want to contact Rocky back in July 2012 he wrote a really good article to fix your problem...he has the wing brake (air removal) bleeding
      down to a science

      John
      John - Richmond 2013 GL1800, Level 3

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • #5
        Originally posted by JGDJR View Post
        Crawdaddyjc...You might want to contact Rocky back in July 2012 he wrote a really good article to fix your problem...he has the wing brake (air removal) bleeding
        down to a science

        John
        Agree. The "Rocky Bleed" is mainly to get rid of the rear brake shudder that is sometimes experienced on a hot day or when the brakes get warmed up well. But it will also do a good job of correcting mushy brakes.

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        • #6
          Thanks guys! Its funny- i actually found that thread last night and was reading it. The symptoms dont really seem to fit what i feel. I dont have the shudder. But i agree that i should do the clutch and brake fluids. Im also going to do the oil, filter and final drive. I may have someone do the brakes for me since i have never done that job myself. I may do the plugs while im at it. Air filter will be done eventually.
          Since it has that mushy feeling to it im thinking more along the lines that there may be some moisture or the fluid level could be low.
          Anyway- thanks for the feedback!
          Fyi- i have had the bike for less than 2 years and only have put around 5k miles on it. So an all fluid change wouldnt hurt.
          Crawdaddyjc: Titanium 08 GL1800
          Northeast Ga

          96 shadow ace vt1100

          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


          • #7
            Called local bike shop:
            $255 brake clutch fluid change and bleed,
            $155 radiator fluid change
            Final drive just cost of fluid...
            Seems to me its time to get dirty and do the work myself... Gotta learn sometime!
            Crawdaddyjc: Titanium 08 GL1800
            Northeast Ga

            96 shadow ace vt1100

            Comment: (For off-topic replies)


            • #8
              Originally posted by Crawdaddyjc View Post
              Called local bike shop:
              $255 brake clutch fluid change and bleed,
              $155 radiator fluid change
              Final drive just cost of fluid...
              Seems to me its time to get dirty and do the work myself... Gotta learn sometime!
              The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a set of maintenance DVDs from Fred Harmon and a Honda Service Manual. With those two things, you'll be ready to tackle most any job on your wing. The money you save by not having to take your bike to the Dealer will pay itself back probably ten-fold. It will also give you a great deal of satisfaction and peace-of-mind doing your own work.
              Last edited by Cruiseman; 06-18-2015, 06:25 AM. Reason: Had to remove the link (URL) to a non-sponsor's website.

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              • #9
                Click image for larger version

Name:	brakeweight.JPG
Views:	90
Size:	67.8 KB
ID:	55613

                Leave a 10lb weight hanging from the rear brake lever overnight.

                Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                • #10
                  Z-Man...I have heard of doing that before...never needed it or tried it yet...I don't see an image ???

                  John
                  John - Richmond 2013 GL1800, Level 3

                  Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by JGDJR View Post
                    Z-Man...I have heard of doing that before...never needed it or tried it yet...I don't see an image ???

                    John
                    The photo is back.
                    I tried this approach years ago and it fixed the mushy brake issue for me. YMMV.

                    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                    • #12
                      The 10lb weight fix would seem to be a stop gap measure. I don't think that is going to replace the need for fresh brake fluid and bleeding the system.

                      It should be noted that with age, brake fluid will attract moisture from the atmosphere, which will in turn, break down the effectiveness of the fluid. In addition, the moisture can cause irreparable damage to internal brake parts that are extremely expensive to replace.

                      You should replace your brake fluid at least once a year (I have a video on how to do this using Speed Bleeders or the Motion Pro Micro Bleeder). and more often if you ride more than 12,000 miles per year. I replace my brake pads and fluids every year (typically in December) whether they need it or not!

                      Your brakes are the most important safety feature your bike has and you should not ignore proper maintenance.
                      GOLDWING AND F6B MAINTENANCE VIDEOS
                      Save $1000 a year in labor by doing your own maintenance!

                      Website | YouTube | 2001-2017 Videos | 2018+ Videos

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • wingleader09
                        wingleader09 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I too think this weight method is just a band-aid and not a more permanent solution. It may firm up your brakes for a period of time, but I don't think it will last for long. Nothing works as well as a brake system fluid flush and a properly done brake bleeding.

                      • Cruiseman
                        Cruiseman commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I am also not sure what impact on the pistons and other components would be by keeping a constant pressure on the brake pedal. May not harm anything, but those components were not designed to be under constant pressure.

                    • #13
                      A 10 lb. weight suspended on the brake lever sounds as effective as wishful thinking but probably more harmful to o rings and seals.

                      How could a weight accomplish anything? The likely cause of a soft rear brake is air bubbles, moisture, or contaminants in the brake system. Holding a constant pressure on the brake system will do nothing more than hold a pressure on the system. Unless a bleeder valve is opened air bubbles can't escape and pressure certainly won't improve dirty brake fluid containing moisture or particles.

                      I prefer a fluid change every 12k miles.
                      Harvey Barlow
                      Crosby County, TX
                      2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                      2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • #14
                        I have no idea what it does to resolve the issue but it did for 10k miles. I do know that I've replaced the brake fluid twice since then and the rear brake lever is firm. YMMV

                        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                        • #15
                          It seems that hanging the weight would just allow the system to be open and under pressure allowing any bubbles/air to move to the highest point- maybe to one of the locations to be bled from. I could see that working for me if i was going to bleed the system the following day. But since this is my first wing- and i am responsible for the wifeys safety- i think i will get the fluids changed and the system bled.
                          I plan on getting the speed bleeders and the correct tools so i can do the work myself. Unfortunately i dont have the maintenance records on my bike so i dont know when/if/what maintenance has been completed prior to me purchasing. And before i put too many more miles on it- i need to make sure its good to go. Especially because people in atlanta are horrible drivers. Need great brakes for sure around here!
                          Thanks for all the feedback! Ya'll are awesome!
                          Crawdaddyjc: Titanium 08 GL1800
                          Northeast Ga

                          96 shadow ace vt1100

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • #16
                            Hi crawdaddyjc, I'm new to the Honda GL1800. I see that this post is from 6/2015. Were you able to fix your brakes? I purchased my bike used last week (2006). Honda has a recall on the rear brake master cylinder, have you received the notice yet? I would definitely bring it to the shop as the recall will replace the rear master cylinder.

                            Comment: (For off-topic replies)

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