By on March 17, 2010

Usually, we don’t report every recall (you’d be pretty tired of it pretty quick,) but in the interest of things being in the spotlight, please be advised that Honda will recall more than 410,000 Odyssey minivans and Element small trucks from the 2007 and 2008 model years, says Associated Press. According to Honda, over time, brake pedals can feel “soft” and must be pressed closer to the floor to stop the vehicles. The problem has been traced to the device that powers the electronic stability control system, and lastly to ye olde brake problem. The gizmo can allow a small amount of air into the hydraulic brake lines. And as shade tree mechanics and shady mechanics alike know: Air in the line can be hazardous to your health.

Letters to owners should go out toward the end of April – parts availability is rearing its head. If you have one of the above captioned vehicles, and your brakes feely mushy, your dealer will bleed the lines for free, which should fix you up until the part arrives. According to Honda, technicians will put plastic caps and sealant over two small holes in the device to stop the air from getting in.

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12 Comments on “Yet Another Recall Edition: Honda’s Odyssey Brakes Full Of Hot Air...”


  • avatar

    My Ford stock has a front row seat to the implosion of the Japanese market.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t say the Japanese are imploding. With all the recent negative publicity Toyota’s February sales were down less than 10% and it has been business as usual for the other Japanese brands. If the domestics try to match Toyota’s current incentives for any length of time they will burn their own houses down (again).

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I’ve been very happy with my Ford AND Toyota stock lately :D

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I would use the following rule for recall stories:

    * Publish them on the “main page” if they become politicized (eg, if we see trail lawyers suing Honda for this)

    * Publish a separate recall and TSB database, and at the end of a year or quarter do a hit parade of recall and TSB rates by model.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Well, since I’m sure all Odyssey owners flush their brake fluid every 2 yrs, this probably won’t affect too many people in daily life. Right?

    (No, not blaming the victims, just making a point. These relatively minor recalls are getting a lot of attention lately.

    • 0 avatar
      kadena

      It is dangerous to make fun of real problems by making an invalid point. Brake defect is being investigated by NHTSA has caused real crashes and brake fluid change recommendation is 3 yrs.

      “Well, since I’m sure all Odyssey owners flush their brake fluid every 2 yrs, this probably won’t affect too many people in daily life. Right?

      “(No, not blaming the victims, just making a point. These relatively minor recalls are getting a lot of attention lately.”

      Invalid point. Congratulations. You are the first here to blame the owner. According to the 2007 Odyssey owners manual page 369 brake fluid should be replaced every 3 years independent of mileage. A 2007 would be about 3 yrs now. So some affected vehicles such as 2008 would not yet be due to change brake fluid by manufacturer recommendation.

      Yes, NHTSA is investigating a failure that sounds very similar that did affect victims in daily life. According to NHTSA action number EA09014, “(ODI) HAS RECEIVED 62 COMPLAINTS, AND HONDA HAS RECEIVED 574 COMPLAINTS AND FIELD REPORTS, ALLEGING LOW/SOFT/SPONGY BRAKE PEDAL TRAVEL IN MODEL YEAR (MY) 2007 AND 2008 HONDA ODYSSEY MINIVANS. TWENTY-SIX OF THE ODI COMPLAINTS WERE ALSO REPORTED TO HONDA, RESULTING IN A TOTAL COMPLAINT COUNT OF 610. SOME COMPLAINTS ALLEGE THAT THE CONDITION RESULTED IN EXTENDED STOPPING DISTANCES, INCLUDING SOME REPORTS OF ROLLING PAST STOP SIGNS OR TRAFFIC LIGHTS. THERE ARE 10 ALLEGED CRASHES IN THE SUBJECT VEHICLE POPULATION THAT MAY BE RELATED TO THE ALLEGED DEFECT.”

      More details from NHTSA. “HONDA INDICATED THAT SMALL AMOUNTS OF AIR MAY ENTER THE BRAKE SYSTEM DURING INITIAL DIAGNOSTICS OF THE VEHICLE STABILITY ASSIST (VSA) MODULATOR WHILE THE PUMP IS BRIEFLY ACTUATED FOR SYSTEM DIAGNOSTICS AFTER THE ENGINE IS STARTED. THE AMOUNT OF AIR GRADUALLY INCREASES WITH EACH SUCCESSIVE ENGINE START CYCLE, RESULTING IN PROGRESSIVELY INCREASING BRAKE PEDAL STROKE.”

    • 0 avatar
      carcomplaints

      There are reports from Honda owners that the brakes were soft from day one and only got worse with time, this isn’t a case of owners not being diligent about maintenance, this is a defect:
      http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Odyssey/2007/brakes/brake_pedal_is_soft.shtml

      There is more information on the recall here for anyone interested:
      http://www.hondaproblems.com/recalls/soft-brakes.shtml

  • avatar
    tced2

    There is an Acura TSB 07-041 covering 2005-07 RL, 2004-06 TL, and 2004-07 TSX “Brake Pedal is Low and Feels Soft” from November 2007.
    This sounds like a similar problem.

    Acura will “Replace the VSA modulator-control unit” under warranty or some consideration will be given for out-of-warranty. I believe this VSA unit (anti-lock, stability) is very expensive.

    I have a 2005 TSX and have not experienced the problem. I did have the brake fluid changed at about 4 years.

  • avatar
    buzz phillips

    Have an 08. Great vehicle, and have no problem with the brakes. Now if only they could do something about the terrible urban gas mileage!

  • avatar
    vb9594

    Buzz- great comment. We have an ’06 and it is also an outstanding vehicle, but we’re actually looking to trade out of it and get into a CR-V specifically because of the urban mileage. We get 16 mpg around town if we’re lucky, and it finally dawned on me that my wife does almost all her driving around town, rarely uses the third row, and we need AWD for the snowy hills we live in (our Odyssey is awful in the snow).

  • avatar
    wmba

    See, to me, this is a far worse problem than the Toyota UA scare. I told a friend who works for a Honda dealership that today.

    He said the dealers had been hoping that Honda would put a new VSA module in each Odyssey at a grand a pop, but that the actual remedy is just annoying. Flush the brake fluid and seal the system. Takes a bit of time.

    Now, having experienced what air does in the brake system in an old Volvo, “mushy” is only a word to describe how the brake pedal feels. The feeling of not stopping properly from high speed is far more scary as the fluid boils and braking effect decreases markedly.

    Luckily, you usually don’t have to panic brake often, but when you do, you want good results. There is no backup, nothing else to try except the handbrake, and hauling on that usually causes the tail to go into a slide. Not good.

    Since every Odyssey affected has the problem, I’d be scared to drive one unless it had the recall fix. A Toyota on the possible UA list? I haven’t yet won the lottery or a big sub-prize in 35 years, and the odds are about the same as speeding off into the bushes in a Camry, particularly as I know where neutral is.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I had a lot of the guys in my office riding me for not buying a Honda Odyssey when they did, (we all had a slew of kids in the same year).

    I was repeatedly told how great the van was and how awesome it’s resale value was and how I’m gonna get screwed for not buying one.

    Well it’s been four years later, and they no longer ride me for not buying an Odyssey. Their vaulted resale pitch has also disappeared. As a matter of fact, their resale value is now within $2000 of what mine is. The $10,000 they paid extra to wait in line to buy an Odyssey from an arrogant Honda dealer who didn’t give a fig about customer service since their cars had waiting lists, is long gone.

    The Odyssey is a very nice car, but not at that price it isn’t.


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