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Old 01 Mar 2012, 06:41 pm
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Default Driver's Front Brake Not Releasing Completely

Hello all,

A little background here. This is for a 2001 Honda Civic EX.

Back in October, we took a 1,200-mile trip to Florida. While down there, I noticed the car's steering wheel was vibrating back and forth. In some cases, I also noticed that you barely had to touch on the brakes to get them engaged.

Got back into our part of the country and took it to a shop. They said that I had a brake caliper that was stuck and they said that both front calipers should be replaced, new rotors, new brake pads, and new fluid.

Cost of $675 for all that lovely work.

So it is a few months later now. I noticed that the gas mileage has been very bad on the interstate - about 28 miles per gallon instead of the usual 34 - 35 mpg.

I also noticed that hit or miss - the brake pedal was doing the same thing - where you would barely touch it and it would engage the brake.

Took it back to the shop since they had a six month warranty - and they said there were no problems with the brakes - but they tried to tell me I needed new tie rods and the bushings were wore out - at another cost of $551. I said no thanks.

So it was then taken to my friend mechanic. He noticed the same problems - exactly as I described. He tried to pry the caliper away from the front driver side tire and it wouldn't budge.

He used the bleed valve and let pressure off - and the caliper then released. So he says the caliper is fine.

He replaced the rubber brake cable and said the problem was fixed - he drove it around for a while and couldn't reproduce the problem with the bad coasting/mileage issue and the brake pedal was acting normally.

He said that if the problem persisted, he fears that it would then be something like an ABS modulator assembly or some kind of ABS computer.

Needless to say, the problem is back - the very next day. Drove home from work (about two miles) and immediately noticed that the brake pedal had to barely be touched to stop the car.

So, he says that at this point, he has done all he can do - checked that the caliper is working and replaced the brake hose.

Therefore, I need some advice from some technical minded folks on here.

The ABS light is NOT on in the car - so I don't think it is the computer? Basically it is just the fact that you can apply pressure on the brakes - and it is applied - but the pressure doesn't seem to be released normally.

What do you think? I found a used ABS Modulator Assembly online for around $70 (certainly beats paying $800+ for a new one) - but I don't want to buy it unless this would fix the problem.

It doesn't look too terribly hard to install - so has anyone replaced one of these on their car? Looks like there is a wire harness to remove and then all of the brake lines - although I would then be worried about how to get rid of all the air in the brake lines.
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Old 06 Mar 2012, 05:27 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default Re: Driver's Front Brake Not Releasing Completely

Tell you what - I am so tired of this car. I bought a Honda because of their supposed reliability and low maintenance. This car has been nothing but that since I bought it about three years ago.

Since then, I've done the typical maintenence - timing belt, serpentine belts, etc. Then a caliper stuck and so Honda replaced it.

The SRS light stays on. Luckily it was under an extended warranty/recall so the Honda dealer fixed it (some kind of sensor under the passenger seat). Well, a few months after they fixed it, the SRS light is back on again and the car doesn't have the warranty anymore.

Also found out last summer that the A/C unit leaks and won't hold a charge. There is another $2,500+ repair that I'm simply not going to do.

Replaced the O2 sensor twice now - within a couple years of one another (car only has 137,000 miles on it right now).

A complete brake job was just done in October - new front calipers, rotors, brakes, fluid, the works because of - well, this same problem apparently.

The interior is falling down.

I have a 1999 Saturn - and it literally has been a bulletproof car. it has the same amount of miles on it as this Honda - and we've not done anything to it except put on new tires - no timing belts to worry about, no brakes have been replaced, nothing.

Sorry - I'm just ranting now. This brake problem has really peeved me off.

It seems that in the mornings when I leave for work, the brakes work fine; brake pedal works normal when you push about half-way down and the brakes engage.

But when I leave from work to come back home is when the problem hits. Just today when I was ready to leave, the brake pedal was rock solid - I couldn't get it to push down at all. I said to hell with it - and started driving. Finally whatever the problem was loosened up and about a half mile down the road the brakes started functioning normally again.

Based upon the hit-or-miss nature - and the fact that it is only the driver's front that has the problem, I'm thinking it has to be the ABS Modulator now. Found a used one on eBay for $27 with free shipping so I just bought it. I'm not about to pay $800 for the thing at the Honda shop.

So, at least the Honda shop will install it for me - for another $150+ for their time - but of course, no warranty since I'm providing the part. Really hope this fixes the problem - so I can start to save up for the next problem with this car.
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