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I don't post much on here, but the other day brought something to my attention and I figured I'd give it a shot. I put it in Tires, wheels and suspension because I didn't see a better place.

I made a panic stop from about 65 MPH to avoid a deer who was trying to commit suicide. He was running at the road from a field, but changed his mind about ending his life and did a U-turn at the last moment. In the process of this panic stop, which may be the first one I've made in this vehicle, I noticed a couple of things. First, the braking seemed weak. My wife's minivan (a Honda Odyssey) brakes stronger than my Ridgeline. Second, there was absolutely no tire squeal and no application of ABS. I was full force on the pedal, trying to push it through the floor. I tested panic braking a couple of times after with the same results. I did get ABS to activate in the rain. I have a sports car and a minivan to compare the braking to and while I know the Ridgeline is quite a bit heavier, it really feels subpar. I have 62,000 miles on it now and I replaced the rear pads about 20,000 miles ago with more than half the pad remaining on the fronts. The brake fluid is dirty and old, but I doubt there was enough heat from a single hard stop to boil any water in the fluid. The brakes don't feel particularly spongy, but not rock solid either. I'm gonna have a look at the brakes when I can, and probably flush/bleed the fluid too. Any ideas are appreciated.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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By now the brake fluid should have been changed at least twice. Even if you didn't heat it up enough to boil the brake fluid, there could be water in the fluid and it's going to compress differently than the DOT 3 brake fluid. If the water is in the system long enough it could, cause damage to brake components.

Unfortunelately the RL's brakes are on the soft/weak side. Some have upgraded to aftermarket brakes, PowerStop, Hawk, EBC and others. Some have went as far as changing the Rotor & Calipers to MDX/Pilot front rotors, Honda Pilot, 2009-14, Acura MDX 2007-13 and possibly the Acura ZDX 2010-13.

Here are a bunch of helpful links for Brakes

Pilot bigger brakes on the RL Most recent information is here on Upgrading Brakes

Pilot brake swap, Bigger Calipers,Rotors, Pads

New EBC rotors, Pads and Calipers and brake lines etc fitted

Brake Fluid Change See Post 34

Rear Rotor's FWIW
 

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Carsmak's suggestions for a change-out are an additional way to go, especially for those who tow regularly. But that fluid has to go, like yesterday. Might do your PS fluid also.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks,

I appreciate the response. I have changed the fluid once, but it needs to go again.
 

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There is a specific sequence for bleeding the brakes on RL. Make sure you follow it. If it wasn't followed previously, that could be your problem (air in lines).
 

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The brakes on my RL will stop me on a dime, if not a dime then at least a nickel....no kidding!
I haven't pulled the tires/caliper to check if they are OEM. I have all the maintenance records and all work was done at a Honda dealership.
It has 38k miles and the rotors look new still.
Heck even my wipers are OEM and they work great too...lol.

Seriously, I am impressed at how well these brakes work.
They are a little on the dusty side I've notice and occasionally squeal, but if you hit them to hard, be prepared to eat dash.....lol.
 

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The brakes on my RL will stop me on a dime, if not a dime then at least a nickel....no kidding!
Same here.
I have all the maintenance records and all work was done at a Honda dealership.
Same here! I wonder if these two facts are related.

Between my father's attempts to save a few bucks with his CR-V, and various others that I have brought to my dealer for pre-purchase inspection, my dealer's brake mechanic can pretty easily spot substandard maintenance. His work isn't cheap, but it is correct.

Note that I also have occasion to tow 5000 lbs, using a boat/trailer featuring brakes on one axle of two. There has never been any issue with stopping, and that's after comparing to a Silverado with the same trailer.
 

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There was some discussion about the RL's braking [dis]ability a while back. I can't remember how my '07 braked at the moment, but the '10 just "squished" to a stop while bottoming out the pedal*. It was almost impossible to achieve enough force/friction to cause ABS activation on dry pavement. My '14, however, is better in this regard. A quick stomp of the brake pedal will activate Brake Assist and there is lots of ABS activity as the truck comes to a reasonably quick stop.

*For those who say the pedal shouldn't "bottom out", it's somewhat easy to push the pedal until it runs out of mechanical travel. Start the truck and push the brake pedal while stopped - with a fair amount of force, you'll hit a mechanical stop. I don't make it a habit of testing pedal travel, but it seems like on older vehicles I've owned my foot would give out before I reached the end of the master cylinder's travel. On newer vehicles, it's much easier to bottom out the pedal, which can result in less hydraulic pressure and less braking force.
 

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2008 Ridgeline RTS in Billet Silver Metallic
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I've experienced similar braking results, even with routine brake fluid changes and lots of meat on the pads. I can hear the tires start to sing, but never feel any ABS action on dry roads in extreme braking situations.

I've never been able to bottom out the brake pedal. It brakes fairly high on the brake pedal (new OEM rear pads about 20k miles ago, original front pads... at 99k miles presently).

I think there's some braking action being left on the table here.
 

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I think the brake bias is to much to the rear as the rear pads seem to wear a lot faster than the fronts. No complaints on my brake system, great pedal feel, especially on snowy/icy winter roads.
 

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There was some discussion about the RL's braking [dis]ability a while back. I can't remember how my '07 braked at the moment, but the '10 just "squished" to a stop while bottoming out the pedal*. It was almost impossible to achieve enough force/friction to cause ABS activation on dry pavement. My '14, however, is better in this regard. A quick stomp of the brake pedal will activate Brake Assist and there is lots of ABS activity as the truck comes to a reasonably quick stop.

*For those who say the pedal shouldn't "bottom out", it's somewhat easy to push the pedal until it runs out of mechanical travel. Start the truck and push the brake pedal while stopped - with a fair amount of force, you'll hit a mechanical stop. I don't make it a habit of testing pedal travel, but it seems like on older vehicles I've owned my foot would give out before I reached the end of the master cylinder's travel. On newer vehicles, it's much easier to bottom out the pedal, which can result in less hydraulic pressure and less braking force.
This sounds like something in the system is weak or failing.
I have very little brake pedal travel distance. I see Honda has test that can be performed.
It also appears they have several shims; springs & retainers in the caliper set up for the pads.
I also see Honda is proud of their caliper grease $47.85 on one site.
Since the RL is new to me, I'm gonna post some pics in this thread for reference later if it's ok.

Lube List; Caliper break down; Booster Test and Master Cylinder Test
 

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Adding Rear Caliper break down
 

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I forgot the rest of the Booster Test.
Booster Leak Test Cont.
 

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