By Bryan Harley, Cruiser Editor

Rear brake dragging again responsible

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC) filed a recall notice on approximately 126,000 of its popular Gold Wing touring motorcycles with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because of issues with the secondary master cylinder. The recall states, “…some vehicles may still experience rear brake drag after the rider releases the rear brakes. Unexpected braking/dragging increases the risk of a crash and continued riding with the rear brake engaged/dragging may generate enough heat causing the rear brake to catch fire.” This comes after a similar recall was issued in December 2011, recall 11V-567 also naming rear brake dragging. The new recall affects GL1800 models from 2001-2010 and 2012, and GL1800A models from 2001-05.

The recall notification letter Honda sent to the NHTSA states a “preliminary letter” will be sent to owners with instructions on how to conduct pre-ride and post-ride inspections so they can identify the condition. “If the condition exists, the bike should be taken to the dealer to be inspected, at no cost to the owner. When Honda establishes an updated repair to prevent this condition, a second letter will be sent to owners to let them know a repair exists or that replacement parts are available.”

Honda’s notification said it intended to begin notifying owners from Aug. 18 to Sept. 1. The gray area lies in the fact that a resolution to a problem that has arisen twice hasn’t been nailed down yet, hence the need for a second letter “When Honda establishes an updated repair to prevent this condition …”

Here’s a chronology issued by Honda of the problems with the Gold Wing’s back brakes:

Dec. 2, 2011 – Honda issued recall 11V-567.

April 5, 2012 – Honda received a claim of the rear brake dragging after the recall repair and began investigation.

June 12, 2012 – The reoccurrence claim was believed to be a result of contamination, possibly due to improperly flushed brake fluid, and an investigation was started for the contaminated brake fluid.

July-September 2012 – Precipitate within the brake fluid was confirmed and analyzed.

February 2013 – Honda sent motorcycle dealers a reminder on how to properly perform the recall repair.

May-October 2013 – Honda received four claims involving rear brake fires occurring after recall repair.

Oct. 19, 2013 – AHM submitted an updated analysis proposal to Honda in Japan.

February 2014 – Analysis found that no contaminants were present in the brake fluid of vehicles with alleged fires, and analysis into other components continued.

July 24, 2014 – Honda determined that a safety defect exists and decided to conduct a safety recall in North America. Root cause has not been determined at this time, and analysis and investigation is ongoing.