In aviation circles, there's an oft-repeated, old saw: "Taking off is optional. Landing is mandatory." The meaning, of course, is that you can always change your mind about going flying, if weather, fatigue or mechanical issues suggest that you might want to stay on the ground. However, once you "slip those surly bonds," you have a finite amount of time until you must come back down to land again.
This sentiment can be paraphrased for motorcyclists, too: "Starting is optional. Stopping is not." Maybe I'm just a wuss, but if I'm going to have to stop, I'd prefer it be on my terms, in my timing, and under control. To achieve this goal, it is imperative that the bike's brakes work properly, which is why one of the three highest priorities on the Goldwing project was to refurbish the brakes (the other two items being to replace the timing belts and to install the new headlight bucket and turn signals).
When I bought the bike, the previous owner mentioned that he had been unable to get the front brakes working properly. Digging into the box of brake parts, I found that he had already disassembled the right-hand brake, so I started cleaning it up first...which is when I found this:
That black line at the 10-11 o'clock position is a crack inside the slave cylinder, which passes behind the oil seal. Squeezing on the brake handle will cause brake fluid to squirt out of the cylinder, making the front brakes ineffective. Fortunately, I found a replacement caliper on E-Bay for about $30 shipped. Hopefully, it will be rebuildable. After coming to a stop on the RH caliper, I decided to go ahead and dig into the LH caliper. Approximately 30 minutes later, I was rewarded with a nice, clean, rebuilt (and hopefully working!) brake caliper:
One unexpected bonus is that the previous owner told me that he had already bought new brake lines for the bike. Since, after 37 years, I expected that the OEM lines would be suspect, at best, I had already planned to replace the brake lines with new, braided stainless steel brake lines. Unfortunately, the previous owner said the lines he had bought were plain rubber lines, like the ones Honda had originally shipped with the bike. O.K., I can live with that until I'm ready to install the after-market handlebars. However, when I opened the box of brake parts, I didn't find OEM brake lines, but rather the exact same brake lines I had intended to buy for the bike -- about $50 worth of parts that I would no longer need to acquire! I'll need to buy the ends for the brake lines, but I'm still ahead of where I expected to be when I bought the bike. In the mean time, I found that the unused Galfer lines from the XS750 project are almost a perfect fit for the lower brake lines, between the tee and the calipers, so I've installed them for now.