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GL1800 Front Breaks Sticking

4343 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  dizzy
Recently I had the clutch and brake hydraulic fluid replaced on my 1800. When I rode the bike home all seemed fine - it was ever shiftin gears smoother. After a week of rainy weather and having the bike parked in the garage, I started pulling it out to ride. I noticed that the hand break lever would not budge. I pressed it a few times and got it to move slightly. The bike was also hard to move, so I put it on the center stand and lifted the front wheel off the ground. I pulled on the front wheel to turn it, but it would only turn a few inches. As I pressed the hand break lever I felt both break calipers. I felt a very slight movement on left one, but no movement on the right caliper. After having a different mechanic work on it, the front wheel started spinning again, but the brake lever was almost as stiff as before. The mechanic assured me everything was alright. A few days later after a ride with many starts and stops, the lever felt very stiff again. So I again raised the front wheel but it would barely turn. Finally, I bled some brake fluid from the lower bleeder on the right caliper and the front wheel started spinning again. Does any have any ideas as to why a break fluid change done by a Honda dealer with the proper fluid, would cause this problem or what could have happened. Sorry for the long story.
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What brake fluid was used. I think the 1800 calls for DOT4 but most others will not cause an issue except DOT5. Dot 5 is silicone based and is not good especially if it has ABS. Just because Honda did the change does not guarantee it was done right....unfortunately. A mechanic might have grabbed the wrong bottle. I know there are at least some Harleys that use DOT 5. In one particular situation the owner used DOT 4 and it melted all the seals, even the rubber on the reservoir cap.

Also and more likely look at the anti dive valves. The 1800 had so many issues that some owners cut the plungers. Read the links below.
DOT 5 is NOT compatible with DOT 3 or 4, but DOT 5.1 is...... And you put brake fluid in brake systems. If you don't then they become breaks.
maybe unrelated but there was a recall from honda for sticking brakes,it was the rear,but with a linked system????
Bleed your brakes!
Bleed your brakes!!
Bleed your brakes!!!
Stiff brake lever and sticking brake sounds like air in the lines to me.
I agree that someone put the wrong fluid in it, possibly engine oil which will ruin every rubber part in the system.
Remove the master cylinder cap and check the rubber "diaphragm". If the fluid has become contaminated or wrong fluid added, the diaphragm will most likely have swelled or become distorted. If the diaphragm is compromised, guess what your piston seals look like.
I appreciate all responses and suggestions. I read the service manual again and it made reference to the brake lever. It so happens that I've been using the chromed levers since the bike was new in 2004. The only problem I had was about three years when I had to replace the clutch lever - I don't remember what the problem was. So, having read the responses and tried re-flushing the brake system with no improvement, I removed the chromed brake lever and found that the front tire rotated without struggle. I cleaned the lever, put it back on the bike and went for a short ride, pulled back into the garage and lifted the front wheel. Well, I could barely turn it. Again, I removed the chromed brake lever and the front wheel spun without hesitation. I replaced both chromed levers with the original factory levers, went for a short ride, returned and lifted the front wheel - it spun without hesitation, and the lever pressure felt normal, not stiff as before. I have to conclude that something happened to the chromed lever that made it bind and prevented it from properly releasing the master cylinder. It seemed the more I applied the front brakes the worst it got. So far I've had no problem with the factory levers - so much for chromed levers. Thanks for all the suggestions
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Thank you for letting us know about your fix!!! Glad it was an easy inexpensive solution.
I've had the same issue with many chrome levers. If you tighten the collared pivot bolt to what it should be, the lever sticks. If you want to use the chrome levers (I wouldn't) you can leave the pivot loose enough so the lever can work freely and put a 6mm locknut, or locktight the bottem nut. BTW...I've also had problems with the 'cams' on some chrome levers not activating the cruise switches properly. So they make the cruise not work unless you push out on the lever after using it.
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