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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My '07 Ridgeline has had spongy brakes for some time. I have replaced the master cylinder, along with a brake fluid flush, with little improvement. I recently put in new rotors and pads on the rear. When I got to the front, I found that the rotors look fine and there is minimal wear on the front pads, although they were installed at least 40K miles ago. The truck does not stop well, and I cannot actually lock up the brakes. No warning or "check engine" type lights. I am getting a light rubbing sound from the front when the car is cold, which I thought was the wear sensors, but then again, the pads seem almost like new. I am reaching the conclusion that the truck is functioning, essentially, with no front brakes. Ideas? It seems unlikely that both calipers would freeze up or otherwise simultaneously fail to function. I am starting to wonder if it could be the ABS modulator not letting pressure through to the front brakes, although I cannot find anything on line that suggests this is a problem and, once again, I am not getting any codes or warning lights.
 

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Sounds like air in the brake lines. Make sure you bleed all of the brakes if you haven't already. Start at the rear and try bleeding them again. You can buy a vacuum bleeder relatively cheap at Harbor Freight. If that doesn't take care of it, then you might be looking at the ABS modulator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The front caliper pins move easily when I manually push them in and out. I have, previously, bled the brakes a couple of times, using the manufacturer's recommended bleeding sequence (which is not the tried and true method of starting with the longest run and working your way forward). I am tempted to put a little pressure on the brake pedal just to see if the calipers will move, as a simple way to test them.

Does anyone know if the ABS modulator can interfere with getting all the air out of the system when you are bleeding the brakes?

Still, the whole thing seems strange because the pads on the front all have the same amount of wear, and that wear is minimal -- hardly any less than a new pad. I think the back brakes are doing all the work, and that may explain why the brakes got a little better when I put new pads and rotors on the back.

Thanks for any advice you have, because it looks like these modulators are expensive and may be beyond my technical skills -- so it would be an expensive mistake to replace it and not solve the problem!
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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+1 on pulling the front wheels and having someone operate the brakes. It should be obivous that the front calipers are working. Beyond that and another round of bleeding the brakes, I'd seek professional help.

There was another post similar to this in the last year or so, if I find it I'll add a link to this thread
 

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Put the truck up on jack stands, all 4 wheels off the ground. Put it in gear, give it a little gas and slowly apply the brakes and have someone watch the wheels and see if they stop. You should not get the brakes to lock while driving it normal with the ABS working correctly. If they did lock, the ABS wouldn't be working correctly.
 

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I haven't done this on the RidgeLine, but it should work. Remove the ABS fuse or unplug the ABS controller drive the truck and try to lock the brakes and see if all 4 wheels lock and leave the same length of skid marks.
I've done this on other ABS systems and it works.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Put the truck up on jack stands, all 4 wheels off the ground. Put it in gear, give it a little gas and slowly apply the brakes and have someone watch the wheels and see if they stop. You should not get the brakes to lock while driving it normal with the ABS working correctly. If they did lock, the ABS wouldn't be working correctly.
I'm not quite clear what you expect to see with the RL up on 4 jackstands. I presume you're interested to see if the wheels all stop. But you won't be able to tell how well the braking ability is by braking an unloaded wheel, right?

I've done this same test, but with all 4 wheels removed. ABS activation startled me and at first, I didn't realize what that buzzy, scratchy sound was!
 

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I'm not quite clear what you expect to see with the RL up on 4 jackstands. I presume you're interested to see if the wheels all stop.

In the OP's first post he is wondering if the ABS modulator is not letting fluid to the front brakes. Jacking it up an applying pressure will at least answer that.

But you won't be able to tell how well the braking ability is by braking an unloaded wheel, right?

Correct


I've done this same test, but with all 4 wheels removed. ABS activation startled me and at first, I didn't realize what that buzzy, scratchy sound was!
Hench slowly apply the brakes.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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Hench slowly apply the brakes.
This probably works with the wheels on since you have rotating mass. But with the wheels off, I get pretty much instant ABS action.
 

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Put the truck up on jack stands, all 4 wheels off the ground. Put it in gear, give it a little gas and slowly apply the brakes and have someone watch the wheels and see if they stop. You should not get the brakes to lock while driving it normal with the ABS working correctly. If they did lock, the ABS wouldn't be working correctly.
I'm not quite clear what you expect to see with the RL up on 4 jackstands. I presume you're interested to see if the wheels all stop. But you won't be able to tell how well the braking ability is by braking an unloaded wheel, right?

I've done this same test, but with all 4 wheels removed. ABS activation startled me and at first, I didn't realize what that buzzy, scratchy sound was!
This probably works with the wheels on since you have rotating mass. But with the wheels off, I get pretty much instant ABS action.
Interesting. I might incorporate this (ABS activation) into my brake fluid replacement routine in an effort to displace as much old fluid as possible. Flush, activate ABS, flush some more.
 
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