1980 GL1100 Front Brakes Bled, Still Spongy - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New Jersey
Year: 1980
Make: Honda
Model: GL1100
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1980 GL1100 Front Brakes Bled, Still Spongy

Original problem was brakes stay engaged after lever released. Calipers were sticking.

Completely disassembled both calipers, cleaned them up. For completeness I also replaced the master cylinder plunger, seals, washer and snap ring.

There are no leaks. The calipers no longer stick. I bled both calipers until no bubbles (probably flushed 3/4 of a quart of fluid).

But the brakes are still spongy as if there is air still.

If I clamp off either rubber brake line (left or right) one at a time the lever is firm and does not pump up at all.

But as long as both lines are unclamped the lever is spongy and pumps up, then when released immediately is soft and goes all the way down.

Any ideas what to try next?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 12:14 AM
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Are you bleeding by hand, or do you use a pump?

Did you try tying the lever to the bar overnight?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 05:43 AM
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Take the calipers off 1 at a time and hold them up as high as the line will allow with the bleeder straight up and see if you get any air from them.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Bled by hand. Tried gravity bleed but no flow. Tried vacuum but drew air from around nipple.

Did not tie lever to throttle, nor raising calipers one at a time. Will try both next (one at a time starting with lever since that is easiest).
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 07:41 AM
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Bad idea clamping the rubber lines. The old lines may be brittle and the rubber inside the lines will crack and restrict the flow, or act as a check valve not allowing the fluid to flow in one direction. I had this happen on an older Oldsmobile after front brake service, laying the caliper on the frame, bent the hose. When I pulled out the brakes worked one time, then locked up.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 09:27 AM
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How old are the rubber brake lines? After 40 yrs they get old and tired. The pressure when you apply brakes, the lines give and brakes feel spongy.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 09:57 AM
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Consider replacing the rubber lines with braided stainless steel lines.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for these comments. Indeed I worried about clamping 40 yr old rubber lines. But figured if they split that was their way to tell me to replace. They are still in good condition (at least from outward appearance).

None the less replacing lines might be appropriate as recommended.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bike...and Dennis View Post
Are you bleeding by hand, or do you use a pump?

Did you try tying the lever to the bar overnight?
Dennis, what is the theory behind this? I've been rebuilding the brakes on my 1100. I think the front still has a little air in it.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 02:33 PM
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Dennis, what is the theory behind this? I've been rebuilding the brakes on my 1100. I think the front still has a little air in it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry%27s_law

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