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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a brake problem that I think I have figured out, but I would like to see if others on the forum think it is plausible, or if I am way out in left field.

About four weeks ago, my wife complained that the brake pedal on our 1995 Odyssey was going too far down, so I went out and, sure enough, she was right. So I checked the brake fluid and found that it was practically empty. Thinking that I probably had a leaky wheel cylinder somewhere, I removed each wheel and looked at the cylinders, calipers, and lines, but could not see any leaks at all. That was truly puzzling, because obviously the fluid had to have gone somewhere. But, try as I may, I could not see any leaks, so I filled the system with fluid, then bled the brakes, getting quite a bit of
air out of the lines, in the process. After bleeding the brakes, everything seemed good: the pedal was right at the top again, and was rock hard. So, not knowing what to do, I just shrugged my shoulders, scratched my head, took it for a test drive, and buttoned everything up.

However, now, about a month later, I have the same situation, so I stopped in at a local tire dealer where they do free brake inspections, but when they heard that I had already worked on the brakes, they wouldn't touch'em, due to the possibility of being sued, if they were to fix them, only to have them fail, afterward.

So, I came home and started all over again. This time, I discovered that brake fluid was, in fact, leaking from the back side of the master cylinder, where it was hard to see. That made me feel better, because it seems that I had at least found the leak. It appeared as though the reservoir lid was askew, having been put on crooked at some time in the past.

When I open the hood and look down into the engine compartment, I see two brake fluid reservoirs; one, down lower, is large and has seven hydraulic lines coming out of it. I'm not too sure just what this is, but suspect it has something to do with the ABS system; don't know anything about that system, though. The other reservoir, located higher and mounted on the firewall, appears to be the master brake cylinder reservoir; at least it looks like the pictures that I was able to find on Google, when I searched for "1995 Honda Odyssey master brake cylinder." Not sure about those two reservoirs, though. The fluid was leaking from beneath the lid of the upper, smaller (master?) reservoir, dripping down below the car. This top reservoir was full of fluid. However, it was disappearing from the lower, larger reservoir, which is where I added new fluid; i.e., when I removed the cap to the lower, larger cylinder, I could see that the level of the brake fluid was out of sight...as in empty.

Okay, now to my idea, to see if I might be right or if I'm way off base. I'm thinking that, because the top reservoir's cap was not on tightly, fluid was being pushed out, into the engine compartment, and that this fluid was coming from the lower, larger (ASB?) reservoir. The lower reservoir became drained so low that air was able to enter my lines, causing the brake pedal to be soft. Does that sound right, or is it just crazy talk?

So, I plan to go out there, tomorrow, and just fill the system with brake fluid (lower reservoir), make sure the upper reservoir cap is on straight and tight, then simply bleed the whole system. Of course, while I'm bleeding the brakes, I will again carefully inspect each wheel's cylinder and all of the lines.

Any help/comments/advice would be greatly appreciated, since I am not real mechanically-inclined.
 

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May I suggest taking it straight to a good independent mechanic immediately? I wouldn't set my wife loose in it again without knowing exactly what the problem is and that it has been fixed. It may indeed be the reservoir cap being loose, but that means that you would have had to put it on crooked TWICE, which seems unlikely, even though you say you're not real mechanically-inclined.
 
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