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Discussion Starter #1
My front driver side brake is either hanging up somehow or maybe the ABS is acting up. Randomly I will get a quite "thumb thumb thumb" at low speeds and a loud "thud thud thud" at highway speeds from my drivers side brake that comes and goes as I'm driving. It creates a slight vibration to steering wheel and than when I get out of the truck you can smell the brakes and the front wheel is hotter than the others. When it is not happening truck drives and sounds completely normal. But when it happens if I apply the brakes it shakes the truck feels and sounds like a warped rotor.

But since it disappears and than drives normal I don't think it is a warped rotor because that would be a constant. I took the caliper off and everything seems okay and moves freely though the pads are more worn than the passenger size. Disc looks fine as well. It could be one of the pistons is hanging up or something. Or since it comes and goes and the caliper seemed okay I'm wondering if it is a ABS sensor or something that is coming on slightly.

Anyone have any suggestions or other things to look at?
 

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My front driver side brake is either hanging up somehow or maybe the ABS is acting up. Randomly I will get a quite "thumb thumb thumb" at low speeds and a loud "thud thud thud" at highway speeds from my drivers side brake that comes and goes as I'm driving. It creates a slight vibration to steering wheel and than when I get out of the truck you can smell the brakes and the front wheel is hotter than the others. When it is not happening truck drives and sounds completely normal. But when it happens if I apply the brakes it shakes the truck feels and sounds like a warped rotor.

But since it disappears and than drives normal I don't think it is a warped rotor because that would be a constant. I took the caliper off and everything seems okay and moves freely though the pads are more worn than the passenger size. Disc looks fine as well. It could be one of the pistons is hanging up or something. Or since it comes and goes and the caliper seemed okay I'm wondering if it is a ABS sensor or something that is coming on slightly.

Anyone have any suggestions or other things to look at?
You said the caliper "seems OK".... From that I will assume you did not clean & lubricate the caliper pins & slides? If not, THAT should be your first action. It's not terribly uncommon on any vehicle to have problems in that area if they have not been attended to properly when brake pads have been replaced (common oversight). Do that first & see if your problem goes away. If not, then move on to the electronic/control possibilities for your problem. Also, it doesn't sound like you saw any fluid leakage around the area of the wheel?
I wouldn't be driving the truck with that kind of a problem either though.... brakes & steering equipment are first line safety components. 'Could get you into some serious trouble.
 

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You will get a good abount of "shimmy" or maybe even vibration if either of the rotors are warped. Generaly it's more easily noticed when driving at highway speeds and slowly applying brakes..... not so much at lower speeds.

Good news though, if it is a rotor, they are cheap and easy to replace :act030:
 

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You will get a good abount of "shimmy" or maybe even vibration if either of the rotors are warped. Generaly it's more easily noticed when driving at highway speeds and slowly applying brakes..... not so much at lower speeds.

Good news though, if it is a rotor, they are cheap and easy to replace :act030:
I'm thinking because of the "noise" issues he reported with his problem that he's got more than just a warped rotor issue..... although I wouldn't rule that out either, given the excessive heat he's experiencing there. Sounds like his pads are hanging up on the rotors for some reason (calipers or bad abs/vsa or ???).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I said "seems ok" I meant I took of caliper and checked it over and greased everything. The caliber had good movement and floated just fine so it didn't seem like that was a binding issue. Put it back together and problem still happened after that.

I would think if it was a warped rotor it would always happen and not come and go. When I have had warped rotors on other vehicles once it happened it was always there.

I'll be taking it to the shop and hopefully they can figure it out.
 

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When I said "seems ok" I meant I took of caliper and checked it over and greased everything. The caliber had good movement and floated just fine so it didn't seem like that was a binding issue. Put it back together and problem still happened after that.

I would think if it was a warped rotor it would always happen and not come and go. When I have had warped rotors on other vehicles once it happened it was always there.

I'll be taking it to the shop and hopefully they can figure it out.
That's the smart move... sounds like ABS or VSA controller issue on the surface of it. It'll be interesting to see what they find. Please be sure to let us know.

You DID check for bad wheel bearing, right??? If you had a really bad bearing, you would definitely get excessive heat eventually, and possibly even binding. Just a thought..... but really sounds like an unwanted braking issue.
 

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Hmmm, well my first post was to just help you elimitante if it was a warped rotor or not, I didn't really read much else into it.

Let me ask you a few questions first. Did you notice any slung grease on the axle half shaft? The boot will be right there by the brakes, if that guys going out then it will produce some heat and some irregular characteristics.

What about tire wear? Is that tire worn differently than the others? It could be throwing off ABS like Dnick mentioned which would be telling the computer that wheel is losing traction.

Does the truck pull in a direction when you apply the brakes? The excessive heat could indicate that possibly one side is working harder than the others... which could mean possibly that the OTHER side needs to be looked at.

Wheel bearing like Dnick said is another option, if it's worn it will be hot enough to sizzle if you spit on it (sorry, ******* tool).

So after reading your post again, I take it you are saying that it seems as if the front drivers side brake initiates itself without any action of your own? Is this correct? If so then that has to be ABS, maybe a faulty wheel speed sensor or broken spline.

Let us know, I'd much rather solve your issue here then let you pay somebody else. :)
 

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Another thing occurred to me: The following are tests only... not meant to be left as driving modes. Try pushing your VSA button (off) when driving & see if it effects this phenomenon. Separately, you could also try disabling ABS (I'm not sure how, but there's probably a fuse?)...... this should rule out if it's being caused by faulty control commands going to that wheel's brakes.
Make sure you only do that in a safe place.... don't want to create a danger to anyone, including yourself.

Of course if you're going to take it in to have it diagnosed in a shop, then these are strictly optional, "investigative" tests to see if you can discern on your own what is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The first thing I tried to do when the problem first happened was to rotate tires to see if it was a tire issue. That had no effect so than I checked the caliber and everything checked out there. Made sure there were no leaks or grease anywhere which there were not. I can smell the brakes after it happens so I don't believe it would be the wheel bearing but I will keep that is mind as a possibility.

The truck doesn't pull when the problem is not happening and barely when it is. I checked the passenger side caliber as well to make sure it wasn't a problem that was masking itself on the wrong side. I haven't tried turning off the VSA button will give that a try. I wondered about maybe it was VSA taking power away from that wheel causing a vibration but since the wheel gets hot and the brakes smell I really think it is the ABS applying the brakes slightly.

After driving it again it seems like it happens randomly but also seems to happen consistently right after accelerating to highway speed for first time. If I drive at same speed (68mph) than the problem keeps happening. Touching brakes doesn't change it. But if I accelerate more and than cost back down it disappears. This makes me think it is defiantly related to the truck reading that wheels speed incorrectly and doing something with ABS.

If it were a mechanical issue I would keeping trying to fix it but once it seems like maybe an electrical problem time for the shop to take a look. The electronics on a vehicle are a black magic I don't have the time to understand.
 

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The first thing I tried to do when the problem first happened was to rotate tires to see if it was a tire issue. That had no effect so than I checked the caliber and everything checked out there. Made sure there were no leaks or grease anywhere which there were not. I can smell the brakes after it happens so I don't believe it would be the wheel bearing but I will keep that is mind as a possibility.

The truck doesn't pull when the problem is not happening and barely when it is. I checked the passenger side caliber as well to make sure it wasn't a problem that was masking itself on the wrong side. I haven't tried turning off the VSA button will give that a try. I wondered about maybe it was VSA taking power away from that wheel causing a vibration but since the wheel gets hot and the brakes smell I really think it is the ABS applying the brakes slightly.

After driving it again it seems like it happens randomly but also seems to happen consistently right after accelerating to highway speed for first time. If I drive at same speed (68mph) than the problem keeps happening. Touching brakes doesn't change it. But if I accelerate more and than cost back down it disappears. This makes me think it is defiantly related to the truck reading that wheels speed incorrectly and doing something with ABS.

If it were a mechanical issue I would keeping trying to fix it but once it seems like maybe an electrical problem time for the shop to take a look. The electronics on a vehicle are a black magic I don't have the time to understand.
The reason I mentioned VSA is because VSA works in conjunction with ABS, if I'm not mistaken. When you said "takes power from that side".... it does that via braking that wheel, I believe.
Sounds like you've taken a thorough "on the surface" diagnostic approach..... only thing to do is get into the deep diagnostics of those systems, which means procedures & equipment. Hopefully they'll find your problem quickly.
Also FYI, I was hesitant to mention the "try turning off VSA" suggestion, only because the VSA light on the dash 'should' light up if/when VSA is activated. But of course if it's malfunctioning, I guess all bets are off on what to expect (for both VSA and ABS). True mystery. Be sure to let us know what they find.

Other than a problem with ABS (& general braking pressure distribution system) or VSA, the only thing I can imagine might cause your particular set of circumstances 'might' be if you have a caliper piston sticking.... but the incidence & recovery symptoms don't really match that either. More like the wheel speed sensor you mentioned previously. I'm just surprised you don't have CEL & codes to read, given what you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Took a few days to get in but finally had the truck looked at. Turns out it was a problem with the left brake line. That caused the caliper to say on slightly which made it overheat and now the pistons are screwed up. One of them is stuck in and causes the pad to get crooked causing the "thudding" and vibration.

So they are replacing the left brake line, left caliper and pads on both sides because of the uneven wear. I have aftermarket slotted and drilled rotors and luckily they are okay.

When the went to order the left brake line though it was back order which they said is normally a sign that it is a common problem. Specially since the right line was available. Haven't heard of this issue on Ridgelines but will look into more now.
 

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This is the first I've ever heard of a brake line going bad on a RL in the many years I've been on this site. I hope it's actually the issue and your problem is fixed. Many here have RL's that are several years old with well over 100k miles with no braking issues whatsoever (me included). You definitely took the correct steps to attempt to diagnose your issue. Looking forward to hearing that it's properly fixed.
 

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That is pretty vague. Did they provide a more descriptive explanation of what was wrong with the brake line?
The flexible rubber brake lines between the steel lines and the caliper can come apart on the inside. Normal operation tells us, when the brakes are applied, the fluid will push through and return from the master cylinder, through the brake lines, to and from the caliper, activating and deactivating the brakes with no problem.

When a flexible brake line goes bad. The problem arises when the brakes are disengaged. As brake fluid tries to return, which normally would relax pressure on the brakes. The fluid gets restricted on the return trip, because the bad hose acts like a check valve.

Think about it this way. As a brake hose deteriorates, the internal part of the hose separates from the external hose. When this happens, a small section of the internal section of the failed hose will block the fluid passage (like a flap, or check valve) hanging there until pushed out of the way by passing brake fluid. One way the fluid passes by the defect fine. The other way, the defect protrudes and doesn't allow the brake fluid to pass. Thus keeping pressure on the brake caliper where the failed hose is.

Note: Failed brake hoses don't show any external sign they're bad. Brakes having a failed hose will eventually bleed the pressure off allowing the caliper to return to it's normal position. But, once a hose starts to deteriorate, it will continue to get worse. And if one side is bad? The other side is right behind. Though we're talking about calipers and pads, the older brake systems using drums, shoes and wheel cylinders suffered from this same problem.


I hope this helps? Hopefully it's not too bad of an explanation?
 

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FYI, it is likely that "most" brake line/hoses that fail like that have been manipulated in a manner that violates best practices for minimum bend radius or twisting (can't quantify that, but suffice it to say it's best not to bend them any farther than you absolutely have to).
Just a heads up on how to avoid similar issues, as rare as they might be.
 

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When I'm doing any brake work, the calipers are hung with a bent coat hanger from the coil spring. The line isn't stressed or bent whatsoever. I take great care in ensuring no needless stress is placed on the lines. I don't trust any "mechanic" at a shop to take the same amount of caution.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Although the OP, has a 4 yr old vehicle, I just read somewhere that flexible brake lines should be replaced every 10 years. Not sure if this is just ploy to sell parts but maybe it should be watched and/or inspected when replacing the brake fluid
 

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When I'm doing any brake work, the calipers are hung with a bent coat hanger from the coil spring. The line isn't stressed or bent whatsoever. I take great care in ensuring no needless stress is placed on the lines. I don't trust any "mechanic" at a shop to take the same amount of caution.


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^^^^^^^^^^^^
ditto that technique.....
 

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Although the OP, has a 4 yr old vehicle, I just read somewhere that flexible brake lines should be replaced every 10 years. Not sure if this is just ploy to sell parts but maybe it should be watched and/or inspected when replacing the brake fluid
Old brake fluid causes a multitude of problems in all brake systems. Old fluids will cause deterioration of hoses, sticking and rusting of caliper pistons, seals, and steel brake lines. Brake fluids collect moisture, so after a few years the fluid breaks down and attacks the brake system from the inside out. Believe it or not, some shops recommended replacement of brake fluid every two years? Which is extreme in most cases! Old fluid turns a very dark color that if run it between your fingers will actually contain grit. That grit and moisture gets into the system and reeks havoc.

The only way to maintain any brake system is to completely drain and replace the brake fluid with brand new fluid out of a new bottle. Old brake fluid on a shelf that has been opened will collect moisture even after the lid has been tightly closed. So never use fluid that has been sitting on a shelf for a long period when refilling a flushed brake system.

Because old brake fluids attack from the inside out, there is no way to see what's inside of the hoses or brake lines. I know during vehicle inspections the only way to write off a brake hose is if they have external fatigue cracking (mainly dry-rot).

Proper support of calipers helps maintain the condition of brake hoses. But we've seen rubber brake lines go bad that have never had the calipers off, or the front pads replaced! The vehicles are older low mileage units with old brake fluid. So honestly, 10 years isn't unheard of as far as replacing the hoses. But again, replacing components and not completely replacing the brake fluid at the same time will cause new parts a very short life.

Maybe more info than you wanted? But at least you know the whole story ;)
 
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