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Discussion Starter #1
I did the breaks and rotors on my EX 04 a few weeks ago and have noticed this noise ever since. Important to note: before I did my breaks there were a bunch of noises so I am not sure if this noise was present before.

It sounds like a whale groaning and happens whenever I come to a slow/stop while breaking and (goes away while fully stopped) lasts until I'm going over 10mph or so. AND it only happens after driving for a mile or so. As in when I'm pulling out of my driveway, there is no noise but when I pull into a parking lot after driving to the store, there is a noise.

It's a circular noise, meaning I hear it groan to the beat of my wheel moving.

It sounds EXACTLY like this noise in this video, except more circular as mentioned before. But, re-greased all of my slide pins (and replaced the RR slide pin boots), and verified that they aren't stuck (obv.), so it isn't a stuck slide pin. I think it might be the RR caliper not fully closing, and the noise is some type of drag from the pads on the rotor but I have no idea. That's what I need help with.

NOISE: 1:06 [
 

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Probably when you pull out of your driveway the brakes and rotors are cold. After you drive a mile with a dragging brake they heat up and change dimensions. Go ahead and drive 1/4 mile and touch the brake discs, you’ll know right away with a melted fingerprint (pro tip: don’t actually touch the rotor with your finger, put a thermometer on it).
Sounds to me like you have a seized caliper piston. Even if the slider pins work properly they won’t slide if the piston won’t retract into the caliper. You’re also probably ripping through your brake pads like butter and getting crap fuel economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Probably when you pull out of your driveway the brakes and rotors are cold. After you drive a mile with a dragging brake they heat up and change dimensions. Go ahead and drive 1/4 mile and touch the brake discs, you’ll know right away with a melted fingerprint (pro tip: don’t actually touch the rotor with your finger, put a thermometer on it).
Sounds to me like you have a seized caliper piston. Even if the slider pins work properly they won’t slide if the piston won’t retract into the caliper. You’re also probably ripping through your brake pads like butter and getting crap fuel economy.
So do you recommending replacing the RR caliper?
 

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If you see the piston is seized, that’s the easiest fix. If you’re feeling DIY’y, you can rebuild the caliper but you’ll have to buy parts and some tools.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you see the piston is seized, that’s the easiest fix. If you’re feeling DIY’y, you can rebuild the caliper but you’ll have to buy parts and some tools.
I'm gonna buy a replacement and be back to this thread after I give a new caliper a try. Thanks!!
 

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(Off topic) Since the day I got my first Element, I get noises from the right passenger area when I corner sharply enough to stay in my lane and at other random times. I only hear them when my wife is with me. I have decided to live with the noises. The good outweighs the annoyance. 😍
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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Probably when you pull out of your driveway the brakes and rotors are cold. After you drive a mile with a dragging brake they heat up and change dimensions. Go ahead and drive 1/4 mile and touch the brake discs, you’ll know right away with a melted fingerprint (pro tip: don’t actually touch the rotor with your finger, put a thermometer on it).
Sounds to me like you have a seized caliper piston. Even if the slider pins work properly they won’t slide if the piston won’t retract into the caliper. You’re also probably ripping through your brake pads like butter and getting crap fuel economy.
btw, is it possible it's something wrong with the hose for the fluid?
 

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I didn't see it mentioned whether this is an FWD or AWD Element, or the extent of the brake work. There is no reason to assume that there is a single cause for this problem.

My last thought would be the caliper and hose.

First, if the rear rotors were changed, it has been well documented that many aftermarket rear rotors do not have a "rain groove" that exactly matches the OEM Honda rotors. This can cause a dry rubbing sound when turning. This is due to an outward force at the top of the wheels when turning. There is enough play in the bearings that the ridge in the splash shield may scrape the rain groove. It wouldn't manifest during a slow backing turn out of a driveway.

Second, a splash shield that was bent by hitting it with a wheel when remounting it can cause the same issue as an out of spec rotor.

Third. mis-adjusted parking brake shoes can drag against a new rotor when turning, or an old rotor with rust and debris buildup.

Fourth, if the car has AWD, it the scrape happens above 15mph when turning, especially right hand turns into parking lots, the rear differential might need a fluid change in addition to any brake work. Mine started acting up after I did rear brake work. The unsupported suspension hangs down further than the normal operating range. The axles pull out further and put different strain on the diff tan it normally experiences.

Fifth, hose and caliper. Original brake hoses would be at least 9 years old for a 2011 model and would be overdue for replacement, All rubber components deteriorate with time and use, If the rubber hose to the caliper is failing, it could restrict fluid flow and when the booster pressure is released, not let the much weaker pressure from the pad press the piston back in. AN old hose that worked fine before a brake job could be damaged by pinching, kinking or dropping the attached caliper and stretching it.

The test to determine if the caliper piston alone is the problem is to remove the brake line from the caliper and check to see if the piston can be easily pushed in with one of these tools and finger pressure. If it retracts easily, the pins are moving smoothly and the hardware is clean and lubed, the hose is the likely culpit.

205773



When one of my rear calipers seized I replaced the hose because it was 11 years old and IMO looked overdue.
When my other rear caliper failed, I tried replacing its hose, but couldn't get the fitting to the steel line free using a flare nut wrench. I've been alternating applications of PB Blaster and fluid film each week in the hope that they will soak through the corrosion before I do annual brake maintenance next spring. If not, I'll need to cut through the fitting with a Dremel, reform the steel line and use a double flaring tool to put a new fitting on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I didn't see it mentioned whether this is an FWD or AWD Element, or the extent of the brake work. There is no reason to assume that there is a single cause for this problem.

My last thought would be the caliper and hose.

First, if the rear rotors were changed, it has been well documented that many aftermarket rear rotors do not have a "rain groove" that exactly matches the OEM Honda rotors. This can cause a dry rubbing sound when turning. This is due to an outward force at the top of the wheels when turning. There is enough play in the bearings that the ridge in the splash shield may scrape the rain groove. It wouldn't manifest during a slow backing turn out of a driveway.

Second, a splash shield that was bent by hitting it with a wheel when remounting it can cause the same issue as an out of spec rotor.

Third. mis-adjusted parking brake shoes can drag against a new rotor when turning, or an old rotor with rust and debris buildup.

Fourth, if the car has AWD, it the scrape happens above 15mph when turning, especially right hand turns into parking lots, the rear differential might need a fluid change in addition to any brake work. Mine started acting up after I did rear brake work. The unsupported suspension hangs down further than the normal operating range. The axles pull out further and put different strain on the diff tan it normally experiences.

Fifth, hose and caliper. Original brake hoses would be at least 9 years old for a 2011 model and would be overdue for replacement, All rubber components deteriorate with time and use, If the rubber hose to the caliper is failing, it could restrict fluid flow and when the booster pressure is released, not let the much weaker pressure from the pad press the piston back in. AN old hose that worked fine before a brake job could be damaged by pinching, kinking or dropping the attached caliper and stretching it.

The test to determine if the caliper piston alone is the problem is to remove the brake line from the caliper and check to see if the piston can be easily pushed in with one of these tools and finger pressure. If it retracts easily, the pins are moving smoothly and the hardware is clean and lubed, the hose is the likely culpit.

View attachment 205773


When one of my rear calipers seized I replaced the hose because it was 11 years old and IMO looked overdue.
When my other rear caliper failed, I tried replacing its hose, but couldn't get the fitting to the steel line free using a flare nut wrench. I've been alternating applications of PB Blaster and fluid film each week in the hope that they will soak through the corrosion before I do annual brake maintenance next spring. If not, I'll need to cut through the fitting with a Dremel, reform the steel line and use a double flaring tool to put a new fitting on.
It isn't just when turning, so I think that it really is the caliper or the caliper hose. To be honest I'm scared of messing with anything that has to do with brake fluid because don't the brakes have to be bleed and filled again if the fluid is exposed to any air or some is let out (opening a valve, etc)?

I had no issue making the piston retract with a big c-clamp and an old pad as a tool. Now I'm thinking it's the hose. I'm gonna take a look at it when I can and see if theres any damage or bulging.
 

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It isn't just when turning, so I think that it really is the caliper or the caliper hose. To be honest I'm scared of messing with anything that has to do with brake fluid because don't the brakes have to be bleed and filled again if the fluid is exposed to any air or some is let out (opening a valve, etc)?

I had no issue making the piston retract with a big c-clamp and an old pad as a tool. Now I'm thinking it's the hose. I'm gonna take a look at it when I can and see if theres any damage or bulging.
No, you don't need to be super concerned about exposing brake fluid to air. The brake fluid reservoir has a vent that lets air in as the pads wear. That cap must be removed to add fluid if the level drops below minimum (the warning that he pads need to be inspected).

The main concerns are removing all air from the brake lines so the hydraulic system works right (bleeding) and keeping brake fluid off body paint and reducing contact with skin.

You should not change brake pads, brake hoses or calipers without adding fluid, bleeding the brakes and if needed, adding more fluid. If your fluid has not been flushed out with new fluid in the past 3 years, this would be the time to do it.

(You can get turkey basters at most dollar stores. They are also good for making a longer long funnel extension to reach the transmission.)

Check out this video:
and perhaps this one:making long
(routine Element brake fluid maintenance is shown at 16:00)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No, you don't need to be super concerned about exposing brake fluid to air. The brake fluid reservoir has a vent that lets air in as the pads wear. That cap must be removed to add fluid if the level drops below minimum (the warning that he pads need to be inspected).

The main concerns are removing all air from the brake lines so the hydraulic system works right (bleeding) and keeping brake fluid off body paint and reducing contact with skin.

You should not change brake pads, brake hoses or calipers without adding fluid, bleeding the brakes and if needed, adding more fluid. If your fluid has not been flushed out with new fluid in the past 3 years, this would be the time to do it.

(You can get turkey basters at most dollar stores. They are also good for making a longer long funnel extension to reach the transmission.)

Check out this video:
and perhaps this one:making long
(routine Element brake fluid maintenance is shown at 16:00)
I'll do a brake fluid change (bleed them, add more fluid, right? (I'll watch a video on it of course)). Is it possible that this will solve my issue based on the info given so far?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No, you don't need to be super concerned about exposing brake fluid to air. The brake fluid reservoir has a vent that lets air in as the pads wear. That cap must be removed to add fluid if the level drops below minimum (the warning that he pads need to be inspected).

The main concerns are removing all air from the brake lines so the hydraulic system works right (bleeding) and keeping brake fluid off body paint and reducing contact with skin.

You should not change brake pads, brake hoses or calipers without adding fluid, bleeding the brakes and if needed, adding more fluid. If your fluid has not been flushed out with new fluid in the past 3 years, this would be the time to do it.

(You can get turkey basters at most dollar stores. They are also good for making a longer long funnel extension to reach the transmission.)

Check out this video:
and perhaps this one:making long
(routine Element brake fluid maintenance is shown at 16:00)
I'll do a brake fluid change (bleed them, add more fluid, right? (I'll watch a video on it of course)). Is it possible that this will solve my issue based on the info given so far?
 

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I'll do a brake fluid change (bleed them, add more fluid, right? (I'll watch a video on it of course)). Is it possible that this will solve my issue based on the info given so far?
Before I answer those questions, a brake hoses have multiple layers. The lining can fail without showing cracks or bulges. That can act like a flapper valve and restrict fluid flow in either direction, but more often back out of the caliper toward the master cylinder which causes the brake to drag.

1. No. You can't even siphon out all the contaminated fluid from the master cylinder with a turkey baster. Just bleeding the lines for no bubbles after any service operation that replaces a hose or caliper or force-retracts the piston assures proper operation by that caliper but doesn't replace all the contaminated fluid in the brake lines that causes calipers and master cylinders to fail.

A brake system fluid change (flush) consists of adding and draining fluid from every brake caliper, one at a time, until the fluid in every line is replaced with new, uncontaminated fluid. The most efficient way to do this is to replace as much of the fluid in the master cylinder as can be done easily before doing the line bleeding. Hence the turkey baster at the beginning.

2. A fluid flush won't fix the noise you originally reported, but should be done anyway. A brake fluid flush at least every 3 years is in Honda's maintenance recommendations for all Honda vehicles. If your car has a Maintenance Minder and you reset it after oil changes it won't accurately tell you when any other kind of service is needed, so follow the schedule for 2003-06 models.

The most common cause of a failing caliper is old brake fluid that has absorbed moisture and rusted the steel brake lines and the caliper's cylinder. If you need to replace a hose or caliper, you need to bleed that line.

Replacing the dirty fluid in the master cylinder before and bleeding that one line until its fluid runs not just free of bubbles but clean, gets out the contamination in that one line and is more than 1/3 of the work of a complete"flush". Given the mess and setup, it make sense to do the other brake lines at the same time.

If you want to minimize future flushing, you could try what I've been doing for the past 2 years. Just replace the fluid in the master cylinder. That is where moisture enters the brake system. If you need to service a brake, extended bleed its line.

Having I experienced both rear brake calipers seizing within a year I have changed my annual brake inspections (and 5000 mile wheel rotations). Now before I start I replace the maser cylinder fluid. Then I inspect the brakes and clean their abutment clips (shims) and pins. After reassembling the brake I do an extended bleed of the brake line until the fluid looks clean to me. After the first year, the "bled" fluid has looked very clean compared to what I was seeing previously when just bleeding for no bubbles.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Just did this guy's tests at 3:00 and 3:45, and the fluid came strong-stream out. Thinking I've got to replace the RR brake line and get a full brake fluid flush while I'm at it. Will come back with results.
Posted too soon. Didn't take the dust guard off the bleeder screw. oops.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Replaced the caliper. Did not fix the problem. Also tested hoses and they seem to be fine. Tested the temps on each rotor and getting relatively the same after a couple mile drive. Going to let this noise go.
 

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How many miles on it? I didn't see it mentioned if FWD or 4WD. Put the vehicle up on jack stands, all four corners if 4WD. If you're sure the noise is in the rear, remove just the rear wheels. Start the engine, put the transmission in gear, then listen for the noise. Use a cardboard tube as a kind of stethoscope to isolate the location. Look for the rotors rubbing on something. For all the work you've done on the brakes, I'm thinking maybe wheel bearing. If it is FWD, just lift the rear, remove the wheels, and rotate the rotors by hand to listen for the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
How many miles on it? I didn't see it mentioned if FWD or 4WD. Put the vehicle up on jack stands, all four corners if 4WD. If you're sure the noise is in the rear, remove just the rear wheels. Start the engine, put the transmission in gear, then listen for the noise. Use a cardboard tube as a kind of stethoscope to isolate the location. Look for the rotors rubbing on something. For all the work you've done on the brakes, I'm thinking maybe wheel bearing. If it is FWD, just lift the rear, remove the wheels, and rotate the rotors by hand to listen for the noise.
250,000 miles, 04 4WD.

I had it jacked up in my garage while changing the caliper, etc. (Replaced it, problem persisted, reinstalled the old...) and noticed the noise when jacking the car down when it rocked back and forth (forward and back). Every time I touched the car practically I heard the little whale groan! This is the first time I've been able to hear it when the car is stationary. That along with replacing the caliper not fixing it, etc etc (and it being stationary...), tells me that the problem doesn't have to do with the brakes and is maybe having to do with the suspension system...
 

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You're getting closer. Only other thing that moves with vehicle speeds is axles, differential, and driveshaft. I wouldn't think you'd get something that groans with vehicle speed in the suspension unless a tire/wheel is out of round and causing the suspension to flex with each revolution, but then you'd probably have a vibration problem as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You're getting closer. Only other thing that moves with vehicle speeds is axles, differential, and driveshaft. I wouldn't think you'd get something that groans with vehicle speed in the suspension unless a tire/wheel is out of round and causing the suspension to flex with each revolution, but then you'd probably have a vibration problem as well.
I have a virbation problem once every hundred or so miles (literally). I've always thought it was my knock sensor getting bad (I have that check engine), I have to let off the accelerator for a second and the resume and it's fine.
 
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