Brake issues.....


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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zeoran
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Brake issues.....

Post by zeoran » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:51 pm



Ever since I bought my 1999 Aspencade, I noticed that the brakes (front and rear) were mushy. I just got through doing a full brake bleed on all 3 systems doing a full flush using speed bleeders to help make it quicker/easier and using Dot 5.1 fluid to replace it with in both cylinders. The pads currently on the bike are OEM Honda and all 3 have at least 50% wear left on them and none are unevenly worn. But when I did the bleed, I didn't notice any major bubbles and the calipers seem to be working fine. I don't own a micrometer (but I'm borrowing one next week) to measure the rotor thickness but even after the bleed, they're still mushy, especially when compared to my 2002 ST1100 and a 2020 Goldwing I borrowed while the shop did an inspection on mine yesterday.

Does anyone have any information on what might be causing the brakes to be so mushy? Also, both the handle and pedal have to travel at least 50% before any biting occurs whatsoever. As far as I know, there's only two possible culprits left, the rotors and the calipers, both are expensive, although calipers is something I could at least do myself. (I don't think I could do the rotors, I don't have any way to lift the bike up nor do I own any breaker bars, etc to loosen the large bolts holding the wheel/rotors in place)

I'm not expecting it to behave exactly like my 2002 ST1100 or the 2020 Goldwing, as I know those braking systems are vastly different (although the 2002 ST1100 shouldn't be too different, although it's not linked like the Goldwing) but they just don't feel right and I don't have any confidence in my stopping power. I know with the ST1100, one of the things they suggested on the forums there was replacing the brake lines from the master cylinder to the caliper with steel braided lines because they said the originals tended to expand and cause the brakes to not work well. Is that also a possibility on the Goldwing? If so, is the solution the same?

Stay safe, God bless,

~Mark



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Rednaxs60
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by Rednaxs60 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:55 pm

The front brake - right side is activated by the brake lever. The left side front and rear are linked. Need to bleed front caliper first then rear. My linked brakes - right front and rear - are not bad but not as good as some. Front is good. Thinking that the rear MC may need to be rebuilt but that is for another maintenance period. Good luck.
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zeoran
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by zeoran » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:03 pm

When I bled them, I did the front-right first and then the front-left and then the rear. There weren't any bubbles in any of them and they didn't improve much. Maybe 10%.

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bluthundr31
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by bluthundr31 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:15 pm

Only reasonable cause now is the rubber hoses could be an issue if they "balloon" up with the pressure of the fluid.

Steel braid brake lines made a difference on my beast, , , not a MAJOR difference, but it was noticeable. They are a bit "spendy" but for peace of mind, you should probably check em out.

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zeoran
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by zeoran » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:24 pm

How hard was it to change out the lines on your Goldwing?

When I was considering doing it for the ST1100, it's very straight forward and the lines are easy to get to. The Goldwing is a VERY different animal with all the extra 'stuff'.

I also know that because the brakes are linked, there's some kind of valve that goes off the rear master cylinder to both the front left and the rear calipers. Is it possible this valve isn't working properly and needs replacing?

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by AZgl1800 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:37 pm

I had a '94SE that exhibited that behavior.

No amount of flushing / bleeding would solve the problem.

Close inspection revealed that the brake lines were swelling when I squeezed the brake levers/foot pedal hard.

I had the local shop do a full install with Stainless Steel lines.
Problem solved.
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by Rambozo » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:24 pm

Calipers or rotors would not cause mushiness. The common things are bleeding or hoses. You can search here about hoses. I remember one thread but I don't remember if it was for the four cylinders or the 1500. But it said that Honda must have put down the rear line under the gas tank then built the bike around it. So not an easy change. I'm sure someone else can provide more info.

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ct1500
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by ct1500 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:25 pm

There was a fellow on the Forums some time back that was advocating folks flush seafoam through their brake system. :shock: Brake systems 101 teaches us never to introduce a petroleum product into braking components which will cause rubber components to swell. Might be you got his ride. :cry:

Your rotors would have nothing to do with a spongy feel especially if machine was static, same pedal/handle feel moving or stationary, like warped rotors when spinning would. Your valve for rear brakes is not likely the cause either because your handbrake for the front also does not feel right you report.

Easiest repair that I would recommend is rebuild front master, R&R front handbrake hose and rebuild caliper. If this restores a good hand brake feel then do the same to the much harder to do linked rear system.
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bluthundr31
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by bluthundr31 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:39 pm

IIRC the lines I got were by HEL brand and both front lines went in relatively easily, , ,took the better part of an afternoon though.

There are 2 "clamps" on the frame just up from the lowest part of your fairing that need to be "opened" to get the new cable on. They're welded on one side and just bent over the cable to hold it in place. The SST lines will come with rubber grommets that should be moved on the cable and positioned at the "clamps" so when you bend the clamp to the proper position, it will hold the grommet tight to the frame and the SST line will stay in place. I had decent luck with tying a string around the OEM line when I removed it so the new line was "routed" in the same place. A straightened coat hangar might work well too. The front rotor covers have a two piece "mount" that the cable goes through and another grommet is used in the mount to keep the line in place.

The rear part of the left front brake line mates with a "connector" on the right side below the center shelter on the frame. It is on the "engine" side of the frame and is a bugger to get wrenches on it to disconnect/connect the line. You'll let out a few cuss words for sure on this connector, , , but its do-able as long as you keep your patience.

The rear brake line is a bugger to get to due to the tight quarters with the rear wheel and gas tank but I found it easier to remove the bags and rear tire for better access.

***NOTE*** Hindsight being 20/20, , I would suggest you examine that rear brake line REALLY REALLY closely and see if it shows signs of "ballooning". I wouldn't have replaced my rear line if I had looked closely at it before tackling the job. That rear line only has about 12" or so of rubber line, , most of it is already metal tubing and was in good shape.

Bottom line: The job takes the better part of an afternoon but if you have mushy brakes, the difference will be VERY noticeable. It's not a difficult job, just full of cuss words (haha).

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by Happytrails » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:58 am

Its probably a cumulative kind of thing thats adding up to mushy brake feel. For replacing the brake lines you really have to disassemble a lot to get to them. The brake lines themselves are only rubber at the ends (maybe 10" of rubber hose). You could replace them with braided lines and see if it makes a difference. My brakes were mushy too when I first got my bike, I think it was maybe age and what brake fluid does to rubber parts over the years make it a big difference. My master cyclinders were crud filled and my calipers were hanging up (rear brake was dragging). It was hard to get the pistons out and they were pretty corroded, ended up replacing them. In the end I replaced the brake lines with OEM but went with braided for the rear. Even though I spent a fortune buying all the parts to replace the rear ssytem it still bled air. There are so many connections. Only thing that worked was a braided line. Fortunately Honda still sells a lot of parts for 1500s. Good luck with sorting your brakes out :)

Getting to the rear master cylinder is a torture :)


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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by CrystalPistol » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:59 pm

Responded on other forum.
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by RobsTV » Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:24 pm

Switched from a '93 ST1100 to a 2000 GL1500SE, and exact same experience. While the 75,000 mile GL1500 is in excellent shape, well maintained and ridden regularly, the brakes (new) are very poor when compared to the 57,000 mile ST. I just chalked it up to the extra weight and OEM pads. (just did a quick check and ST fronts have larger contact area than GL1500 pads, so that would help make the ST stop better as well, 102x38 vs 88x41).

On the ST1100 went from OEM to DP hh++ (short life) and then EBC HH Sintered (longer life), with both being a big improvement over Honda OEM in stopping ability. Rotors still like new after 50,000 aggressive miles and a couple sets of those HH pads. You might want to try them on the wing. I know I'll be switching. Just keep an eye on wear. Like the ST, most will say stick with Honda OEM, but the huge difference in stopping power is worth it to me to give up a little shorter pad life.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by pocketchange » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:43 pm

Index then remove the front rotors. Locate someone with a media machine (blaster) and
de-glaze the rotors. (Fresh) Heavy aluminum oxide @50/60 lbs. @10/12" should do the trick.

Please Note: Never re-surface MC Rotors. pc

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:57 pm

RobsTV wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:24 pm
Switched from a '93 ST1100 to a 2000 GL1500SE, and exact same experience. While the 75,000 mile GL1500 is in excellent shape, well maintained and ridden regularly, the brakes (new) are very poor when compared to the 57,000 mile ST. I just chalked it up to the extra weight and OEM pads. (just did a quick check and ST fronts have larger contact area than GL1500 pads, so that would help make the ST stop better as well, 102x38 vs 88x41).

On the ST1100 went from OEM to DP hh++ (short life) and then EBC HH Sintered (longer life), with both being a big improvement over Honda OEM in stopping ability. Rotors still like new after 50,000 aggressive miles and a couple sets of those HH pads. You might want to try them on the wing. I know I'll be switching. Just keep an eye on wear. Like the ST, most will say stick with Honda OEM, but the huge difference in stopping power is worth it to me to give up a little shorter pad life.
The brakes on the 2000 GL1500SE (which is what I have) are more than capable for the bike. You can (and I have) lock up both the front and rear wheels. It's a heavy bike, so it takes longer to stop, of course. Stainless braided brake lines help brake feel immeasureably.

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zeoran
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by zeoran » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:01 pm

What's everyone's opinion on sticking with OEM pads vs EBC?

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:06 pm

zeoran wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:01 pm
What's everyone's opinion on sticking with OEM pads vs EBC?
I've tried both. EBC pads last about half as long, and produce about twice as much dust, covering wheels, calipers, and everything else. Both perform just as well when it comes to stopping the bike.

I went back to OEM pads, and never switched again.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by minimac » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:26 am

^ That's been my experience also. I found to EBCs to be very 'dirty', and not worth the few dollars saved over the O.E.M. pads. While metalic pads seemed to stop better, they do a number on the rotors, which are not cheap to replace.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by RobsTV » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:59 am

WingAdmin wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:57 pm

The brakes on the 2000 GL1500SE (which is what I have) are more than capable for the bike. You can (and I have) lock up both the front and rear wheels. It's a heavy bike, so it takes longer to stop, of course. Stainless braided brake lines help brake feel immeasureably.
I agree the GL1500 brake system is fine for that bike. Someone coming from a Sport Touring bike will notice a big difference though. Front brake lever on the ST is adjustable, and here it has almost no play with only slight movement from release to full on, even though it works two calipers. We are used to diving hard into corners with a lot of front braking beforehand. Avoid touching the rear brake to prevent highside. Besides the actual front brake pads on the Wing being smaller than the ST pads, with less contact area, having the front lever only control one front caliper is a big change. Now, we have to learn to heavily use the pedal that controls the rear and other front brake caliper.

Locking up the wheels is not an indication of how well brakes work, but more of an indication of how bad tires are. With the ST, switching from the OEM Dunlop bias ply tires to Avon Storm radials instantly cured the tire losing traction when braking. Not saying to do that with a Wing as it is different and seems bias ply tires are the way to go, but perhaps a better tire would help.
Last edited by RobsTV on Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:23 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by RobsTV » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:14 am

minimac wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:26 am
^ That's been my experience also. I found to EBCs to be very 'dirty', and not worth the few dollars saved over the O.E.M. pads. While metalic pads seemed to stop better, they do a number on the rotors, which are not cheap to replace.
Like many manufacturers, EBC makes different versions of stuff. The cheap EBC brakes are not the same as the good EBC HH brakes. Good EBC brakes cost more than Honda OEM, and they do not last as long, so real cost might be twice as much as OEM. Money should not be the deciding factor when choosing brakes. For myself, it is worth paying more for better brakes. I do not notice any extra brake dust, but I do wash bike frequently. Honda makes a good brake compromise, with good stopping power and long life. If you want better stopping power you must expect them to not last as long. Also, the brake pad is the part you want to wear out, not the rotor. 50,000 miles using EBC HH and no noticeable rotor wear here. None of this may matter to the typical Goldwing rider, but for someone coming from a Sport Touring bike to a Goldwing, the braking experience is a bit different.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by WingAdmin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:05 pm

RobsTV wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:59 am
WingAdmin wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:57 pm

The brakes on the 2000 GL1500SE (which is what I have) are more than capable for the bike. You can (and I have) lock up both the front and rear wheels. It's a heavy bike, so it takes longer to stop, of course. Stainless braided brake lines help brake feel immeasureably.
Locking up the wheels is not an indication of how well brakes work, but more of an indication of how bad tires are. With the ST, switching from the OEM Dunlop bias ply tires to Avon Storm radials instantly cured the tire losing traction when braking. Not saying to do that with a Wing as it is different and seems bias ply tires are the way to go, but perhaps a better tire would help.
When I mention locking up brakes, I'm talking about panic braking in an emergency, EXTREMELY hard braking - on Avon tires, incidentally. I don't normally lock up wheels, but have done so in an emergency under extreme braking. I've locked up wheels on a race track in a race car, and there is a tremendous amount of traction there. Anytime your braking force exceeds the coefficient of friction for the tire, it will lock up. My point in making this statement is that the brakes themselves are more than capable of stopping the bike in a hurry. There's no appreciable fade on the OEM pads, either.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:07 pm

Whoa. I missed that you had used DOT 5. You're going to have two potential problems there.

First, if the original brake fluid was not COMPLETELY flushed from the entire braking system (i.e. not even the slightest remnant of DOT3/4 fluid anywhere), then adding DOT5 will cause you problems. This means removing all master cylinders and calipers, flushing all brake lines, cylinders and calipers with solvent.

Second, the rubber seals in the GL1500, depending what they're made of (they likely aren't original) may be (and probably are) incompatible with DOT 5. If so, you're likely going to have problems, and eventually, leaks and seal failure.

DOT 5 is actually more compressible than DOT 3/4, so it's possible that could be responsible for some of the sponginess you're feeling.

Unfortunately, to fix this you're going to have to flush every tiny bit of 5 out of the system and replace it with DOT 3/4. You might end up having to replace seals as well.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by Rambozo » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:58 pm

DOT 5.1 is glycol based and can mix with DOT 3/4 fluids. It is only DOT 5 that is silicone based and can't be mixed. This is a great example of a really stupid naming convention. They get the "What the hell were you thinking?" award when coming up with 5.1 instead of using something like 4.1 that would actually make sense.




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zeoran
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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by zeoran » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:19 pm

I went ahead and ordered the full replacement hose kit from Hel. It includes 3 cables for the front and 1 for the rear. I'm going to just do the front-right caliper/hose first to see how it goes and how much of a difference it makes. From all the available evidence, it should make all the difference in the world. I also have a full service manual now (damn that thing's huge!) which should hopefully help with finding all the hose locations. I searched the forums but couldn't find a thread where anyone had previously done a hose replacement on a GL1500 with step-by-step/pictures.

I pray everyone is staying healthy. God bless,

~Mark

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by Rambozo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:51 pm

zeoran wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:19 pm
I also have a full service manual now (damn that thing's huge!) which should hopefully help with finding all the hose locations.
Now you can see why everyone recommends the factory manual over the aftermarket pamphlets.

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Re: Brake issues.....

Post by DenverWinger » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:51 pm

I have the 1500 Haynes manual which is no small tome, handy to have nearby in the garage, but also refer frequently to the FSM. It's only some 90,000,000 bytes of PDF. Thus the old computer in the corner of the garage.... :lol: :lol:


♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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