According to American Honda, as of today its dealers have ceased selling Gold Wing GL1800 motorcycle models until they can be inspected for the existence of an out-of-tolerance part or parts that can cause the rear brake to drag. Moreover the company has launched an official recall of all GL1800s to have this inspection performed, from the initial 2001 models through some of 2012 production (2012 bikes built after a certain date in September 2011 are not affected). So far only 26 cases of dragging brakes have been reported as a result of the defect, and no crashes or injuries. In a phone call Honda reps also told us that among all of the GL1800s on the road, it expects less than 5 percent will actually require parts replacement.
As soon as the letter that will go out to owners has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration–a process that can take 2-3 weeks–it will be posted on Honda’s website and begin mailing. In the meantime you should see your dealer for more information, especially if it feels like a brake is applied on your GL1800 or it seems to have less power. Since the recall is by VIN number, you can also wait for the letter from Honda to see if your bike is affected (if it’s out in the garage on a Battery Tender waiting out the winter, for example).
Here’s the text of the release that was sent to Rider magazine regarding the recall:
Torrance, CA: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that a potential defect relating to motor vehicle safety exists in the secondary master cylinder on certain 2001-2010 and 2012 model year GL1800 motorcycles.
The compensating port hole inside the secondary master cylinder (part of the combined-braking system) can become blocked due to (1) stacking of tolerances in manufacturing and (2) sufficient swelling of the primary pressure cup inside the master cylinder. If the compensating port hole becomes completely blocked, the rear wheel brake caliper can drag after the rider releases the brake input. If this occurs, the rear brake temperature and pressure progressively increase. Unexpected braking increases the risk of a crash and continued riding with the brake engaged can generate enough heat to cause the rear brake to catch fire.
Inspection and Repair:
Honda motorcycle dealers will inspect the secondary master cylinder of all affected motorcycles in dealership stock or sold to customers (consumers and commercial entities). If an inspection indicates that the compensator port hole can become blocked due to this problem, the dealer will replace the secondary master cylinder. Registered owners of affected motorcycles will be contacted by mail and asked to take their motorcycle to a Honda dealer. The dealer will inspect the motorcycle, and if necessary, replace the secondary master cylinder, free of charge.
Honda motorcycle dealers will immediately receive a transmittal of complete repair instructions. Replacement secondary master cylinders in the U.S. will initially be made available through American Honda’s dealer technical support hotline. Upon approval by NHTSA, American Honda will mail a letter to all registered owners, and also post a copy of the letter on the Honda Brand website: powersports.honda.com. Target dates for website posting are before the end of December 2011, and mail receipt by registered customers should occur before the end of January 2012.
Honda apologizes for any inconvenience this creates, but feels the safety of our customers is the highest priority. Honda encourages every customer to contact their dealer to schedule an appointment upon receiving the SAFETY RECALL letter.