January 2012


Dear GL1800/A Owner:

This notice is sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

What is the reason for this notice?
Honda has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in some 2001 to 2010 and 2012 model year GL1800/A motorcycles. Under certain conditions there is a possibility that the combined braking system’s secondary master cylinder may cause the rear brake to drag. Unexpected braking increases the risk of a crash, and riding the motorcycle with the rear brake dragging may generate enough heat to cause the rear brake to catch fire.

How do I get this defect repaired free of charge?
Call any authorized Honda motorcycle dealer and make an appointment to have your motorcycle inspected and, if necessary, the secondary master cylinder replaced, free of charge. While the inspection may be completed in less than 30 minutes, you may need to leave your motorcycle with the dealer for approximately three days. If replacement of the secondary master cylinder is necessary, the dealer will contact Honda for a replacement part that will be delivered in two to three days. Upon receipt of the part, replacing the secondary master cylinder may be completed in approximately one hour. Please plan to leave your motorcycle for several days to allow the dealer flexibility in scheduling.

For assistance with locating a Honda Motorcycle dealer, you may call Honda Motorcycle Customer Support at 1-866-784-1870 or use the “find a dealer” option on http://www.powersports.honda.com

Who to contact if you experience problems
If you are not satisfied with the service you receive from your Honda dealer, you may write to or call:

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Motorcycle Customer Service
Mail Stop 100-4C-7B
1919 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90501-2746

If you believe that American Honda or the dealer has failed or is unable to remedy the defect in your motorcycle, without charge and within a reasonable period of time (60 days from the date you first contact the dealer for a repair appointment), you may submit a complaint to:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

Or call the toll-free Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to http:// www.safercar.gov

What to do if you feel this notice is in error
Registration records show that you are the current owner or lessee of a 2001 to 2010 and 2012 model year GL1800/A motorcycle involved in this recall. If this is not the case, or the name/address information is not correct, complete, sign, and return the enclosed, postage-paid Information Change Card. We will then update our recall records. If prior to receiving this notice, you paid to have the secondary master cylinder replaced, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Please refer to the enclosed Request for Reimbursement form for eligibility requirements and the reimbursement procedure.

Lessor Information
Federal law requires that any vehicle lessor receiving this recall notice must forward a copy of this notice to the lessee within 10 days.

We apologize for any inconvenience this campaign may cause you.


American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Motorcycle Division


GL1800/A SAFETY RECALL Secondary Master Cylinder Inspection/Replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is my bike affected?
A: If your bike is a 2001 through 2010 GL1800 model of any type, or an early production 2012 model as identified by the 2012 model year VIN range; yes.

2. What is a Secondary Master Cylinder (SMC)?
A: The secondary master cylinder is a component of the combined braking system that is activated by a push rod via torque reaction from the front left brake caliper and applies pressure to the outer pistons of the rear brake caliper.

3. What are the symptoms of a failure?
A: The initial symptom is a dragging rear brake. This may be felt as sluggish acceleration or a sensation of braking when the clutch is pulled in, but the brake lever/pedal is not engaged. Prolonged rear brake dragging can overheat the rear brake components, potentially resulting in a rear brake fire.

4. Can I continue to ride my GL1800 until I can get to the dealership for an inspection?
A: Honda encourages that you have your motorcycle inspected as soon as possible. If you are not experiencing any of the rear brake dragging symptoms described above, please schedule an appointment with your dealership so that your next ride is to your Honda dealership. Ride cautiously and be alert in case any of the symptoms begin occurring. If you experience any of these, pull over in a safe location and assess the situation.

5. My GL1800 is converted to a three wheeled motor-trike. Does it qualify for a recall?
A: We recommend that you ask the trike modification company or manufacturer whether rear brake system modifications were performed on your GL1800. Modified rear brake systems may not require the recall repair, you should visit a Honda dealer for a determination. This determination/inspection will be performed free of charge.

6. What is a technical explanation of the problem?
A: Due to “stacking” of component part production tolerances and the swelling of the secondary master cylinder primary pressure cup due to prolonged exposure to brake fluid and high temperature, the compensating port may become blocked by the pressure cup. If the compensating port becomes completely blocked, the rear brake may drag after the rider releases the brakes. Heat generated by the dragging progressively increases the rear brake temperature and braking force/dragging.

7. What are “combined” brakes?
A: The combined braking system on the GL1800/A is designed to engage both the front and rear brakes when either the front brake lever or the rear brake pedal is applied. The illustration [attached] is a diagram of the system.

8. If the problem part (SMC) is on the front axle why is there potential rear brake dragging?
A: The SMC is activated by a torque-reaction of the left front brake caliper; however, it applies brake pressure to the outer pistons of the rear caliper.

9. Can my motorcycle have this problem even if I haven’t experienced a dragging rear brake?
A: Yes. Even if you’ve never experienced a dragging rear brake you should have your motorcycle inspected as soon as possible. 

10. How does mileage affect this condition?
A: The initial freeplay between the pressure cup and the compensating port inside the secondary master cylinder on a given motorcycle depends on the production tolerance of the secondary master cylinder itself and the parts to which it mounts. If, due to the stacking of these tolerances there is little or no initial freeplay, swelling of the pressure cup over a prolonged period of exposure to brake fluid and high temperature can completely block the compensating port.

11. What is the safety risk of riding without an inspection?
A: If the rider does not notice the initial symptom (dragging rear brake) and
continues riding, the rear braking force and brake fluid temperature will continue
to rise, posing the risk of a fire, and unexpected braking increases the risk of a

12. I want a new SMC, not just an inspection.
A: This Safety Recall provides for a replacement secondary master cylinder only if the freeplay is outside the inspection specification.

13. If I have paid for previous brake system repairs, what can I get reimbursed for?
?h Previous SMC repair: A: If SMC was rebuilt for maintenance, corrosion, or soft brakes, the repair is not reimbursable.
?h Previous rear brake rotor replacement: A: Only if the rear brake rotor was damaged by a secondary master cylinder with insufficient freeplay and the motorcycle fails the inspection procedure. If a rotor was previously replaced along with a secondary master cylinder due to this problem, Honda will reimburse the repair.
?h Previous Brake Bleeding or Brake fluid exchange? A: No, these are routine maintenance items.
?h Brake Pads? A: Yes, if the pads were damaged by a secondary master cylinder with insufficient freeplay, and replaced at the same time as the secondary master cylinder. Otherwise, brake pads are normal maintenance items.
?h Brake Flush? A: No, this is part of routine maintenance.
?h Corroded, leaking, weather, or cracked components: A: No, these are issues related to normal exposure to the elements.

14. I use Brand “X” brake fluid, can this influence future brake problems?
A: Some brake fluid formulas can cause the pressure cup to swell more than others. Honda has tested a number of commercially available brake fluids and determined that the swelling caused by these fluids is within standards. Pro Honda DOT 4 Brake Fluid is specifically designed and tested for use in Honda motorcycles and is recommended.

15. Are parts available for this repair?
A: Parts have been available since the launch of the recall campaign. More are being produced daily, so we do not expect there to be any shortage.

16. Is brake fluid replaced during the inspection or repair procedure?
A: If the secondary master cylinder requires replacement, the rear brake system fluid will require filling and bleeding.


Request For Reimbursement 2001-2010, 2012 GL1800/A Secondary Master Cylinder Inspection/Replacement

Use this form only if you have previously paid for this repair. You may be eligible for reimbursement if you previously paid to have a repair (typically, replacement of the secondary master cylinder) to address the roblem that is the subject of this recall. No reimbursement will be made for other costs or repairs.

1. The vehicle must be a 2001-2010 or affected 2012 GL1800/A.

2. The repair must have been required due to a problem that is directly related to the subject of this recall. If the secondary master cylinder was not replaced as part of the repair, we may require additional information in order to confirm your eligibility for reimbursement. Unrelated repairs will not be reimbursed.

3. The previous repair must have occurred before February 1, 2012.

4. You must have a repair bill showing itemized parts and labor costs, GL1800 model, year, VIN, name, address and phone number of the repair shop, and the date of the repair. There must be verification of payment, such as a copy of a cancelled check, cash receipt, or paid invoice.

5. To qualify for reimbursement, it is not necessary that you still own the affected GL1800/A motorcycle, but you must have been the owner when the repair was completed. Only the owner at the time of the repair may request reimbursement. Do not request reimbursement for the expenses of any other owner.

6. Even if you previously paid to have the secondary master cylinder replaced, you need to have the replacement part inspected by the dealer as it may have the same condition that is the subject of this SAFETY RECALL. Please make an appointment with your Honda dealer to have your motorcycle inspected and, if necessary, secondary master cylinder replaced.