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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading on Yahoo today about the much hyped, giant recall by Toyota to fix their gas pedal. Now there are starting to be stories regarding the Prius brakes, and the media obviously is rooting for a Prius recall to 'fix' their brakes.

My wife drives a 2005 Prius, and I drive a 2006 Element. I would rate the brakes on her Prius 100 times more reliable than my Element's! I have read all over this forum (and others) about how spongy and scary the Element's braking is! I know I'm not alone!

You know, I really respect Toyota for having the guts to do a massive recall. I WILL be buying a Toyota in the future. Unlike Chevy, which has vehicles on the road that have needed recalls for 50 years, but they choose to pay out to the occasional lawsuit.

One person on this forum let us know why the Element's brakes suck: the brake lines are not strong enough to handle the increased pressure of a heavier vehicle. The element's brakes lines were designed for a smaller car, but the Element's weight is too much. The brake lines expand instead of transferring braking power. He switched to braided brake lines and the braking was fixed!!!

Where is HONDA on all this? When are WE going to demand HONDA fix this? After its too late???
 

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5 years and running for my Element. I find the power and modulation of the brakes to be just fine.
 

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I was reading on Yahoo today about the much hyped, giant recall by Toyota to fix their gas pedal. Now there are starting to be stories regarding the Prius brakes, and the media obviously is rooting for a Prius recall to 'fix' their brakes.

My wife drives a 2005 Prius, and I drive a 2006 Element. I would rate the brakes on her Prius 100 times more reliable than my Element's! I have read all over this forum (and others) about how spongy and scary the Element's braking is! I know I'm not alone!

You know, I really respect Toyota for having the guts to do a massive recall. I WILL be buying a Toyota in the future. Unlike Chevy, which has vehicles on the road that have needed recalls for 50 years, but they choose to pay out to the occasional lawsuit.

One person on this forum let us know why the Element's brakes suck: the brake lines are not strong enough to handle the increased pressure of a heavier vehicle. The element's brakes lines were designed for a smaller car, but the Element's weight is too much. The brake lines expand instead of transferring braking power. He switched to braided brake lines and the braking was fixed!!!

Where is HONDA on all this? When are WE going to demand HONDA fix this? After its too late???

The guts to recall?

They were pretty much forced to recall these vehicles.
 

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Ah, welcome, Chris in the west. Interesting choice for an introductory post.

From what I've read, Toyota had to be dragged kicking and screaming into issuing those recalls. But that's neither here nor there.

You haven't shed any light on your brake problems. The VSA modulator problem has been discussed, though a spongy pedal can have other causes, air in the line being probably the most common.

Flexible brake lines that expand under pressure are a part problem, not a design problem. I haven't heard of this particular complaint before. Most of the brake woes we see here are about premature pad wear, especially in the back.

As for being too light-duty, all I can say is that the Element's brakes came from the CRV, which weighs about the same (CRV curb weight ~3,389 lbs., Element ranges from 3,433 lbs. [2WD LX, MT] to 3,661 lbs. [4WD EX, auto]). One data point: I have over 100K miles on my '04, and have never had any issue with brake performance.

If you have hard data on Element brakes warranting a recall, let's hear it.
 

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The guts to recall?

They were forced to recall these vehicles.
On a news show the other day they read some letters posted by some Toyota owners.
One was bashing Toyota for taking so long to resolve the issue. The other was praising Toyota for their quick response and going above and beyond the call of duty to protect their owners and set precedents to other car manufacturers to do the right thing no matter what the cost.

Obviously the writer from letter #2 was misinformed but even then would probably stand proudly by his Toyota no matter what. People can find good through bad if they really need to. Chris from the West loves his Prius.

As far as Honda brakes.......:? News to me! I've been on this board for 2 1/2 years and I drive an 03 with nearly 100,000 miles and my brakes are awesome, even when I tow.

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I have read all over this forum (and others) about how spongy and scary the Element's braking is! I know I'm not alone!

You know, I really respect Toyota for having the guts to do a massive recall.
1) I have not had a problem stopping my Element, and I have had to put my foot down enough with all the crazy drivers to know the Element can and will stop in a short distance. Pedal feel is average.

2) a. Toyota was basically forced to do the gas pedal recall and claimed that the floor mats were the issue until they were forced to look at engineering b/c people were complaining after they removed their floor mats. The pedal would have to be really close to the floor to be an issue with floor mats.

b. The Prius brake issue is only on early 2010 models.

3) The issue of a recall is larger than Toyota, companies are very afraid to do a recall so, they sweep issues under the rug. There are a lot of more minor deficiencies in more than just cars that, in my mind warrant a recall, but since life and limb is not in danger, there is no recall issued.

4) a. I feel that Honda has issues in the warranty department. I've not had trouble, but if you look at these forums, there are enough people who have had trouble, that I'd be prepared to fight for warranty service.

b. Warranty service is not only a Honda problem. I think I see it here only because this forum has a large collection of Element drivers. I don't hang out on GM, Ford, Toyota etc. forums so I can't speak for them.
 

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The guts to recall?

They were pretty much forced to recall these vehicles.
Ditto that. Federal Safety officials had to go to Japan and tell them that their folks in the U.S. were a little safety deaf when they tried to talk to them about the issue. The Transportation Secretary said he didn't think the recall would have taken place, if they hadn't gone to Japan to twist some arms. :shock:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I believe you, as I have seen plenty of people post about not having issues with the brakes.
It may be that some vehicles have better consistency in stopping power than others. It may be a problem that develops over time, or it may be something that came with cars from the factory.

I test drove four different Elements (all used) when I bought mine. On one of them the braking felt normal, and consistent. The other 3 it felt like I needed different amounts of braking force each time I came to a stop. I don't brake with a heavy foot, I gradually come to a stop, with plenty of space between me and the desired stopping location.
Maybe 80% of the time it stops like it should, and 20% of the time it needs another extra 10-20lbs of force! Often it needs this 'extra force' at speeds of 10 miles per hour or less! It was a couple weeks ago I had the car barely creeping toward a parking lot driveway exit, maybe 5mph with full intention of stopping before the sidewalk. I started braking probably 15 feet before the the exit. I was shocked when the car didn't stop and by the time I applied the neccesarry extra force, my wheels were in the road! I have been a professional driver for 10+ years and have driven every type of car from Bobtail to Cargo Van to Geo Metro, and NEVER had anything like that happen! And it has happened many times.

This is difficult to prove: most of the time its stops like it should! So the mechanic at the dealer isn't going to drive it to and from work for week. He is going to say 'its fixed' and you are crazy. One mechanic that took his time with one owner on this forum found the brake lines expanding, the same way a balloon expands. (This forums 'search' function never lets me search, or I would find it) That would mean temperature of the brake lines, brake fluid, and air, would contribute to the problem. Braided brake lines solved the problem!

Maybe Honda had a bad batch of brake lines? Maybe it was poor design? Either way it will be EXPENSIVE to recall, and much harder to fix than a gas pedal.
 

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Well, we're talking about a pre-owned vehicle here. You don't know its history with any certainty. What I haven't heard discussed much is the issue of putting in the wrong brake fluid sometime in the car's past. Do you absolutely know that somebody didn't use DOT 5 fluid some time in its life, thinking it was "two revisions better" than DOT 3? And ruining seals and hoses in the process?

Honda can't be expected to "recall" over problems caused by mistakes perpetrated by previous owners. What I would do if I were uncomfortable with the brake pedal feel would first completely change fluid to spec (DOT 3), and make doubly certain I have effectively bled the system. If no change, I'd start assuming "fluid abuse", first changing all hoses at every wheel, then if no luck there, bite the bullet and change all cylinders including the master. If that doesn't fix it, then bend over for the price of a new ABS actuator.
 

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Jump in logic

I don't see how you can extrapolate your experience in test driving some used Elements and an observation you make about your Element into demanding a recall of all of them. The data isn't there.

Wouldn't a more logical approach be that if you notice an issue with your brakes you have them serviced? If you run over someone, it's not going to help your case to say "well, I complained about them on the Internet, but no..I never had them serviced."

After they are serviced and you are still having the issue, then you can start escalating....

As others have observed, I have no brake issues - they are new and work predictably.
 

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At the risk of sounding like all should be as my E is...

I've never had any problems with stopping power. I did have to completely rebuild my rear brakes at 47,000 miles because they had rusted and destroyed the rotors. But, I can stop from 70 mph in the length of a Michigan crossover lane with no problems. My E's brakes do have a bit of fade to them, but that's easily solved by stomping on the pedal harder.
 

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On a news show the other day they read some letters posted by some Toyota owners.
One was bashing Toyota for taking so long to resolve the issue. The other was praising Toyota for their quick response and going above and beyond the call of duty to protect their owners and set precedents to other car manufacturers to do the right thing no matter what the cost.

Obviously the writer from letter #2 was misinformed but even then would probably stand proudly by his Toyota no matter what. People can find good through bad if they really need to. Chris from the West loves his Prius.
What are the odds that #2 is on the payroll. Very common practice for your PR company to do some letter writing after something like that. Lexus (toyota) screwed us on their V6 that sludged up. five years after we got rid of it they admitted that that particular engine might have had a tiny problem.

Not that Honda wouldn't/hasn't done the same thing, all big companies are likely to try to cover their butts from time to time, sort of like politicians.
se
 

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chris in the west First off let me say welcome to the club! Glad you found the site!

Then allow me to Echo the other posters, No trouble with stopping power on my, or my wifes Elements.

Also I would like to point out that the Prius brakes issue is not about spongy feel!

IT"S ABOUT NO, let me say that one more time NO BRAKES at all! The issue the owners are reporting is, it can take several seconds for the brakes to respond after they apply pressure. Some owners have claimed that it takes 5 to 7 seconds at times. At highway speeds, that is several hundred feet before the car starts to slow. At 60 Mph you travel some 88 feet per second. So at the low end that equates to 440 feet traveled before the brakes respond. That's more than a football field. Do you leave that much room in front of you when you drive? I have never seen anyone that does.

I see no correlation between the condition your describing, and the complete failure of the brakes the Prius owners describe, other than the word Brakes.

The issues are completely different, in every respect.

We are most likely looking at a service issue here. Not a known defect. No auto company in the world would do a recall for that!

So in response to the question posed in the title of this thread. What about Honda, The evidence that they respond to issues without being forced, is located in this thread!
Take into consolidation that this issue is not Life threatening.
They still did the recall, voluntarily! What does that tell you ?


Dom
 

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Maybe 80% of the time it stops like it should, and 20% of the time it needs another extra 10-20lbs of force! Often it needs this 'extra force' at speeds of 10 miles per hour or less! It was a couple weeks ago I had the car barely creeping toward a parking lot driveway exit, maybe 5mph with full intention of stopping before the sidewalk. I started braking probably 15 feet before the the exit. I was shocked when the car didn't stop and by the time I applied the neccesarry extra force, my wheels were in the road! I have been a professional driver for 10+ years and have driven every type of car from Bobtail to Cargo Van to Geo Metro, and NEVER had anything like that happen! And it has happened many times.

This is difficult to prove: most of the time its stops like it should! So the mechanic at the dealer isn't going to drive it to and from work for week. He is going to say 'its fixed' and you are crazy. One mechanic that took his time with one owner on this forum found the brake lines expanding, the same way a balloon expands. (This forums 'search' function never lets me search, or I would find it) That would mean temperature of the brake lines, brake fluid, and air, would contribute to the problem. Braided brake lines solved the problem!
I understand where you are coming from and have worked through a very similar problem with my dealer. The resolution, after many days and a number of expensive parts under warranty, was a simple $6 caliper slide that was binding and causing inconsistent brake engagement and thus a vague pedal feel. http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59499 My brakes have been flawless since the caliper slides have been replaced and the stainless lines that I purchased are still collecting dust on a shelf in my garage. Time will tell if I install them when my I am out of warranty but there is certainly no call to make a change now.

The only other reference that I could find on a user installing braided lines on a stock system were vague at best and look allot more like sales pitches than testimonials. (no profile info, 3 posts in the lifetime of the user all within days of account creation, no activity since) The Goodridge kits have not been out for very long and the post seem to coincide with their release to market. I am not suggesting anything sinister, just someone looking to drum up some interest on a new product offering. http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58882
 

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The only other reference that I could find on a user installing braided lines on a stock system were vague at best and look allot more like sales pitches than testimonials. (no profile info, 3 posts in the lifetime of the user all within days of account creation, no activity since) The Goodridge kits have not been out for very long and the post seem to coincide with their release to market. I am not suggesting anything sinister, just someone looking to drum up some interest on a new product offering. http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58882
Outstanding observation Backcountry Edge! That information had eluded my Eye entirely. Now that you pointed it out, it's blatantly obvious.


Dom
 

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04 E with 123,xxx KM's

oh, its a DX model, so no ABS module for me as well

no problem with the brakes whatsoever. my E is a daily driver (DD) and well, it gets a lot of KM's in a day.

bought brand new from lizzurd's dealership in late 04; no problems, no need to warranty anything; NOTHING. basic maintenance of some parts here and there. i had replaced my rear pads and machined the calipers myself. go through your whole brake system; from lines, to pads, to brake fluid. Oh, by the way, i beat on it EVERYDAY and it has still never seen service.
 

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. ...He switched to braided brake lines and the braking was fixed!!!

Where is HONDA on all this? When are WE going to demand HONDA fix this? After its too late???
Why don't you just do it yourself. :?

let us know how it works.

I'm a big fan of braided brake lines...but the factory lines on my E are working out just fine. ;-)
 
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