An Update on the GL1800 Brake Secondary Master Cylinder Safety Recall

Click on the image for an enlargement

Although Honda have not published details of the inspection procedure in UK a copy of Honda America’s Service Bulletin has appeared on the internet and can be viewed by clicking here.

It’s a bit difficult for non-engineers to grasp what the inspection is about from this technical bulletin but it appears to involve rotating the secondary master cylinder (by inserting a special tool in place of one of the mounting bolts) as far as it will go in a clockwise direction (i.e. in an unfavourable way) to see of the rear wheel then drags after a test application of the rear brake.   In other words to force the piston alignment of the secondary master cyinder as far as possible in the potentially brake-dragging direction to see if it then causes the brakes to drag.

If the rear wheel locks up after this test or if resistance to rotation (measured as in the third picture) exceeds 5.1 kg (11.2 lbs)  the bike has failed the test and the secondary master cyclider requires replacement.

Having done this test of how the secondary master cylinder performs with the most unfavourable piston rod angle which can be contrived, the mounting bolts are tightened up again with rotating force applied in the opposite, counter-clockwise direction, to optimise the piston rod entry angle, as in the fourth picture.

According to this Service bullettin all GL1800s from 2000 -2010 are subject to this recall and even some of the 2012 Model GL1800s are affected, so it’s not just some of them as originally thought – which at least makes it easier for UK GL1800 owners; your 2001-20010 GL1800 will require this inspection and all of us will get a letter from Honda UK eventually.

It would appear from the US GoldWing forums that very few GL1800s are failing this recall test, only 1-2%.  But if a bike does fail the dealer will ask the owner to leave the bike for repair straight away for safety reasons, rather than ride it home and bring it back when parts are available.  When deciding which Honda Dealer to take your bike to for inspection, you might therefore want to ask whether they will be able to do the repairs quickly if necessary and whether a loan bike will be available.

Some US riders are posting on the forums that they will not bother taking their bikes in for checking if they have not experienced dragging of the rear brake because of the low failure rate but this is foolish thinking.  Without inspecting the piston rod alignment using the special template you cannot be sure that your bike will not develop dragging of the rear brake in the future and although a rare event, sudden onset of rear brake dragging could have a critical effect on the bike’s handling.


Barry Walton of Colin Appleyards GoldWing and Trike Centre, who build and supply lots of trikes these days, has advised me that this safety recall does not affect EML trike conversions, which are fitted with EML’s own fork legs, so they don’t have a secondary master cylinder and are not affected by this recall.  On the other hand Lehman trikes retain standard Honda fork legs so they will require inspection if they are listed by Honda as needing one.

Although no longer a franchised Honda dealer themselves, Appleyards are still leading GoldWing Specialists and have moved quickly in response to this recall.  They will be able to assist their own customers (solo bikes as well as trikes of course)  with arrangements for these recall checks (and any necessary repairs) to be carried out free of charge and they will also ensure that replacement parts are available so that their customers’ bikes will not be kept hanging around.  As always, Barry and Appleyards Workshop Supervisor Malcolm Wright will always try to help any Winger who asks for it, so even if you didn’t buy from them, don’t hesitate to call them if you need help.  Their phone number is 01535 606311.

Honda UK

If you haven’t had your letter from HondaUK yet there’s no need to rush into getting in touch with them – they are on the case.  If however you experience dragging of the rear brake you should make contact with either your nearest Honda dealer or the Honda Contact Centre without delay.  The telephone number is 0845 200 8000.

I rang HondaUK for an update a couple of days ago but I’ve had no response so far; if I hear anything worthwhile from them I will add a Postcript.

Thanks to Nigel Mackintosh for spotting that this Service Bulletin had appeared on the internet and letting me know about it quickly so I can pass it on.


Got my response from Honda UK today, shortly after this article was published.  They have told me that VOSA have supplied the VIN number list to DVLA but HondaUK are still waiting for DVLA to extract and supply the names and addresses, so they can start sending out the letters.  They are not yet sure whether they will get the names and addresses for UK owners of imprted US-spec bikes straight away but they do intend to include them in the free inspection/repair programme, so no concerns there.  Honda UK are clearly doing what they can to conduct this safety recall without delay.

Related Articles

HondaUK make a statement about the GL1800 Brake Recall

Safety Recall on GoldWing GL1800 Braking System – all years


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