Mushy Brakes


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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SteveM
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:59 pm
Location: Altavista, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Mushy Brakes

Postby SteveM » Wed May 21, 2014 2:36 pm



I just replaced my two front rotors, brake pads and master cylinder. The right caliper was also replaced with an eBay buy that looked fairly new. I tried all the ways to bleed these that I found here and on Randakks page, no joy. I removed the last remaining old caliper and compressed the piston with a c-clamp and old pad. in this position I have perfect firmness on the brake handle and the other side holds the bike. Is there some way that a caliper can be bad that causes mushy (zero pressure) brake?

1981 GL1100 Interstate
Single piston brakes



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thrasherg
Posts: 1837
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:21 am
Location: Plano, TX
Motorcycle: 2004 GL1800, 2005 Honda Shadow 750, 2008 Yamaha R6 with RG500 engine, CRF450X, CRF230, CRF250X, XR200, CR500

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby thrasherg » Wed May 21, 2014 7:18 pm

The most common cause of mushy brakes is an air bubble trapped in the system, usually inside one of the banjo bolts. A good way to try and clear it, is to pressurize the system and putting the master reservoir at the highest point. What I do is apply the brakes as hard as I can and then put a cable tie around the brake lever and handlebar, with the system pressurized, the bubbles of air are MUCH smaller, I then put the bike on it's side stand and turn the handle bars as far to the left as possible, this leaves the reservoir at the highest position and then let the bike stand for 24 hours, this is usually enough to allow the small bubble to float up inside the brake hoses to the master cylinder. In the morning I cut the cable tie and try forcing the brake pads back inside the caliper to help flush any air bubbles back into the reservoir. This approach has worked 99% of the time for me!! What have you got to lose by trying? Just 24 hours whilst you can't ride!!

Hope it helps, worn seals on the main caliper can cause some mushyness, but 99% of the time it's just air in the system!!

Gary

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WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17050
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 22, 2014 9:37 am

My GL1100 had mushy brakes simply because the rubber brake lines were old. Swapping them out for braided stainless steel lines made the brakes razor sharp and really transformed the bike - and my confidence in them.

However, in your case where you're getting NO pressure, it really has to be down to air in the system - in which case, Gary's advice is sound. I've used that exact technique on many different bikes with great success.

SteveM
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:59 pm
Location: Altavista, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby SteveM » Thu May 22, 2014 1:00 pm

Thanks Gary, I ordered the match to my right caliper off of eBay, luckily it was still available. I should get it Tuesday. If I get any mushiness in the new one I will use your method it sounds good.

Thanks
Steve

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Wilcoy02
Posts: 726
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:37 pm
Location: Marengo, Ohio
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 I purchased 3/16

1983 GL1100I frame with an 80 engine. poor boy installed with C-5 ignition--DIED in Grande Prairie Alberta Canada 8/15


98 valkyrie sold 8/16

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby Wilcoy02 » Sun May 25, 2014 12:07 am

I just did all my breaks and could not get any pressure on the handle bar brake on the 83 gl1100. I finally bought a new oil can the kind that you pull the handle and it squirts out oil, Filled it up with dot4 and put a tube on the oil spout. Connected the tube to the bleeder valve--squirted the dot 4 into the lines and out the reservoir on top. This cleared the air bubbles and got my master to pump.

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washandy98664
Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:45 pm
Location: Vancouver, Washington
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 I
1985 GL1200 LTD

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby washandy98664 » Mon May 26, 2014 1:40 am

Had the same problem.
Bought the stainless lines and problem solved.

SteveM
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:59 pm
Location: Altavista, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby SteveM » Mon May 26, 2014 5:47 am

Replaced the caliper and it was slightly better but still no good. I then Tried the way Gary suggested and got decent bakes. Still a slight bit of mush after riding for about a half hour. I'm guessing that is the lines being softer as the fluid gets hot.

Next step will be SS braided lines. I am looking at "Galfers" on eBay Anyone have any input on those? I'm also going to see if I can find one of those old style oil cans, maybe at Tractor Supply.

Thanks for the tips guys,I got to ride for a bit last night. Taking it easy in the 40 mph range on these back mountain roads but I'm starting to feel more comfortable on the bike. I shouldn't have waited 30 years to get back on !

blackbird
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:24 am
Location: Onalaska, WA
Motorcycle: 1966 305 Scrambler
1968 Trail 90
1970 Trail 90
1995 Pacific Coast
1983 GL1100A
2008 GL 1800

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby blackbird » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:05 pm

WingAdmin: Where did you get the braided lines, and are they "plug-and-play" ready to put on?
Thanks

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WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17050
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:56 pm

blackbird wrote:WingAdmin: Where did you get the braided lines, and are they "plug-and-play" ready to put on?
Thanks


I got them right here, and yes, they're custom made for each application, so you undo the old ones and install the new ones in their place.

SteveM
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:59 pm
Location: Altavista, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby SteveM » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:15 pm

Got a quote request in on the Hel's

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JerriEric
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:23 pm
Location: Windham, Maine
Motorcycle: GL1800 '06

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby JerriEric » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:01 pm

Speed bleeders, they will purge any air when bleeding. I had a mushy rear brake. After installing the bleeders and bled the brakes, no more mushy brakes.

WalterM817
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:52 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 I

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby WalterM817 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:27 pm

Had a brake problem last year on my Valkyrie. I always read about changing the brake fluid but never did it. All I can tell you is brake fluid evidently absorbs water or something. I changed and bled the brakes on all my bikes after I did the Valkyrie because the difference was day and night. Very firm now.

blackbird
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:24 am
Location: Onalaska, WA
Motorcycle: 1966 305 Scrambler
1968 Trail 90
1970 Trail 90
1995 Pacific Coast
1983 GL1100A
2008 GL 1800

Re: Mushy Brakes

Postby blackbird » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:16 am

I got my new HEL braided lines on the bike, and it made ALL the difference in the world.




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