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Discussion Starter #1
Well my 2005 Element (212K miles) became infected with the P2646 VTEC malfunction code last week. CEL comes on and goes into limp mode (won't go over 2800 RPM). Turn ignition off and back on and goes out of limp mode but usually come back on soon. My 2003 CR-V (199K) has had the same issue for months - shows as P1259 (VTEC malfunction)

What I have done so far to the Element:
Replaced oil and filter 5W-20
Cleaned spool valve, replaced screen and gasket
New VTEC oil pressure switch
Cleaned screen on oil control valve at front of block
Replaced VTEC screen and gasket behind P/S pump on block
Cleaned and checked all electrical connectors

From all the internet posts and forums I have searched, these fixes seem to fix the majority of the problem. The ones that it didn't fix seem to have tried everything and nothing worked - ended up selling or scrapping the vehicle.
Have went beyond this on the 03 CR-V - all of the above plus:

Replaced entire VTEC spool valve assembly (including another pressure switch)
Added 5-minute oil system flush to oil to totally clean system. Changed oil twice afterwards to remove all traces of flush from system
Changed regular oil pressure sending unit

Has anyone out there had this problem and was able to fix it with anything other than what I have done?
Have never heard any mention of the long oil control valve in front of block being bad other than cleaning screens on it - may try this next but don't want to just keep throwing parts at it.
Heard suggestions of adding Marvel Mystery Oil to oil?
Reprogramming ECM?
Have never heard of anyone having luck taking it to a dealer. They insist on following the troubleshooting flowchart and will end up replacing all the parts again and be out a lot of money and still not working.
Will welcome any and all suggestions and will keep posting to this thread with what I have done until they are running right
 

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Some times it is the wire-harness that needs replaced and never never add any oil flush or additives to your Element! Also only use OEM parts.
 

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Did you use an OEM filter or aftermarket?

Mine was fixed with an OEM filter and 5w20 after trying most of what you've already done.
 

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After trying the spool valve, both screens, timing solenoid, way too much futzing over a year and a half. Drove it under 2800rpm for most of the year and a half, it maxxed out at 68 mph without a hill climb. Got tired of driving in the right lane cautiously. Finally just pulled the oil pan with the upper components taken off, cleaned the oil passages, painted the rusty oil pan with spray on undercoating, put everything back together, been fine ever since, no more P2646 or P2647 codes since, revs well, runs well, Goes like stink from a skunk farm now. My opinion. Yes, I hate the vtec engine, it sucks, it’s way too finicky. No engine should have to be this clean and be maintained as clean as new to survive the miles. Bought it used, had been through an auto auction, no idea the real history, obviously not well maintained before I bought it. Like the load capacity, that’s why I bought it. Wished the odyssey engine was in these instead in an AWD form. This vtec engine is turning me off of Honda, yet I keep it even after it’s next failure..
 

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Reason for pulling the oil pan and cleaning the oil passages. The new oem vtec oil pressure switch filled up with oil. Had 2 choices, either assume the switch was defective as a brand new component, or too much pressure was building up from restricted oil return passages. Decided to clean the oil passages since this last would be the third pressure switch in the past year and a half of trying to find a solution. This was the only one that failed by filling with oil though. The first two were just shotgun attempts to find a solution when the more expensive components did not solve it. The pan was dirty, suspected the passages would be as well. The labor wasn’t that bad after trying everything else, especially labor for the screen on the side of the engine. WTF, put a maintenance part behind so many other bolt on components. Seems cleaning the block was the solution for my Element. Clean the engine passages, it gets dirty even with regular oil changes. High miles equal higher build up no matter how regular your oil changes.
 

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Reason for pulling the oil pan and cleaning the oil passages. The new oem vtec oil pressure switch filled up with oil. Had 2 choices, either assume the switch was defective as a brand new component, or too much pressure was building up from restricted oil return passages. Decided to clean the oil passages since this last would be the third pressure switch in the past year and a half of trying to find a solution. This was the only one that failed by filling with oil though. The first two were just shotgun attempts to find a solution when the more expensive components did not solve it. The pan was dirty, suspected the passages would be as well. The labor wasn’t that bad after trying everything else, especially labor for the screen on the side of the engine. WTF, put a maintenance part behind so many other bolt on components. Seems cleaning the block was the solution for my Element. Clean the engine passages, it gets dirty even with regular oil changes. High miles equal higher build up no matter how regular your oil changes.
I get this intermittent problem as well, i pretty much replaced all those parts with OEM parts, i might just do this procedure one of these days, i bought mine with 143,000 miles and it wasn’t maintained as well, so i did all the maintenance work on it but that VSA light keeps coming on from time to time though...
 

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Well my 2005 Element (212K miles) became infected with the P2646 VTEC malfunction code last week. CEL comes on and goes into limp mode (won't go over 2800 RPM). Turn ignition off and back on and goes out of limp mode but usually come back on soon. My 2003 CR-V (199K) has had the same issue for months - shows as P1259 (VTEC malfunction)

What I have done so far to the Element:
Replaced oil and filter 5W-20
Cleaned spool valve, replaced screen and gasket
New VTEC oil pressure switch
Cleaned screen on oil control valve at front of block
Replaced VTEC screen and gasket behind P/S pump on block
Cleaned and checked all electrical connectors

From all the internet posts and forums I have searched, these fixes seem to fix the majority of the problem. The ones that it didn't fix seem to have tried everything and nothing worked - ended up selling or scrapping the vehicle.
Have went beyond this on the 03 CR-V - all of the above plus:

Replaced entire VTEC spool valve assembly (including another pressure switch)
Added 5-minute oil system flush to oil to totally clean system. Changed oil twice afterwards to remove all traces of flush from system
Changed regular oil pressure sending unit

Has anyone out there had this problem and was able to fix it with anything other than what I have done?
Have never heard any mention of the long oil control valve in front of block being bad other than cleaning screens on it - may try this next but don't want to just keep throwing parts at it.
Heard suggestions of adding Marvel Mystery Oil to oil?
Reprogramming ECM?
Have never heard of anyone having luck taking it to a dealer. They insist on following the troubleshooting flowchart and will end up replacing all the parts again and be out a lot of money and still not working.
Will welcome any and all suggestions and will keep posting to this thread with what I have done until they are running right
Well my 2005 Element (212K miles) became infected with the P2646 VTEC malfunction code last week. CEL comes on and goes into limp mode (won't go over 2800 RPM). Turn ignition off and back on and goes out of limp mode but usually come back on soon. My 2003 CR-V (199K) has had the same issue for months - shows as P1259 (VTEC malfunction)

What I have done so far to the Element:
Replaced oil and filter 5W-20
Cleaned spool valve, replaced screen and gasket
New VTEC oil pressure switch
Cleaned screen on oil control valve at front of block
Replaced VTEC screen and gasket behind P/S pump on block
Cleaned and checked all electrical connectors

From all the internet posts and forums I have searched, these fixes seem to fix the majority of the problem. The ones that it didn't fix seem to have tried everything and nothing worked - ended up selling or scrapping the vehicle.
Have went beyond this on the 03 CR-V - all of the above plus:

Replaced entire VTEC spool valve assembly (including another pressure switch)
Added 5-minute oil system flush to oil to totally clean system. Changed oil twice afterwards to remove all traces of flush from system
Changed regular oil pressure sending unit

Has anyone out there had this problem and was able to fix it with anything other than what I have done?
Have never heard any mention of the long oil control valve in front of block being bad other than cleaning screens on it - may try this next but don't want to just keep throwing parts at it.
Heard suggestions of adding Marvel Mystery Oil to oil?
Reprogramming ECM?
Have never heard of anyone having luck taking it to a dealer. They insist on following the troubleshooting flowchart and will end up replacing all the parts again and be out a lot of money and still not working.
Will welcome any and all suggestions and will keep posting to this thread with what I have done until they are running right
Higher mileage you should probably use at least 5W-30. Also believe it or not an old clogged air filter will set off the dreaded P2646 engine code.
 

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My 2005 has 310,000 miles. I agree with others that an oil and filter change will solve the problem. I have received criticism in the past for my off the wall ideas on this but here I go again. Either clean the wire filter in the vtec control module or change out the entire VTEC control on the back of the engine. Or. And here is my fix of choice. Change the oil and use 10w30. The additional pressure will help the vtec. I have run 10w30 since my first oil change and never an issue. Still does not use oil between changes. I have used nothing but dino Castrol since new. Good luck.
 

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I've had luck fixing this problem. I cleaned the screens and passages with 2+2, replaced the pressure switch, added a quart of ATF to the crankcase and drove the car for 100 miles before doing an oil change.
 

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Bad VTC cam gear turned out to be the issue on our 05 EX-AWD with a little over 200k miles.

Our Element has always been meticulously maintained and we're keeping it for the long haul...which is why I bought OEM VTEC spool valve assembly, VTC actuator (solenoid) and VTC screen to be replaced when this issue arrived.

After the fact...my mechanic let me know that everything "was clean as a pin" and the only thing which required replacement was the VTC cam gear itself.

But yes...keeping your oil properly changed and up to level will keep the VTEC and timing chain happy.
 

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I checked the plug and it had some corrosion on it, i cleaned it with some brake cleaner and also with a cotton swab, let it dry for a while, then applied dielectric grease and silicone on top of the plug, i really hope this works this time...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well the 05 Element seems to be working for now. With the aftermarket spool valve and Beck/Arnley VTEC oil pressure switch it was constantly throwing the code worse than before and going into limp mode. Cleaned the original spool valve and put a WVE brand VTEC oil pressure switch and changed oil again to Mobil 1 5W20 with Mobil 1 filter.

On to my next project the CRV. Tried the same fix with with a WVE brand oil pressure switch and Mobil 1 oil. Had already tried all the other things listed in original post. Same problem. Code only pops up during first few minutes of driving. Turn on and off and drives fine after that. Bought a new oil control valve (long valve at front of head) and a new genuine Honda VTEC spool valve. Will try both one at a time to see if any difference. If not will take them back off for my next repair.

Latest project - 04 Element 5 speed 159K miles. Same P2646 code since I got it. VTEC spool valve didn't appear to be original but not recently replaced either. Did the usual fixes all at once. Replaced front and back screens, cleaned oil control valve screen. New WVE brand VTEC oil pressure switch and Mobil 1 5W-20 oil and filter. No change. Will try the new oil control valve and Honda brand spool valve that I bought for the CRV to see if any difference. The Element runs fine for the first 10-15 minutes when started from cold then starts to act up when oil is up to temp so may try oil viscosity change if other fixes don't work. Will post updates.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well no luck yet with the 04 Element. Bought a new oil control valve and swapped it in with no change. Put the stock one back on. Next tried a complete Genuine Honda spool valve assy as many people said the aftermarket replacements are junk - no difference again. Noticed that when cold it will run perfect for the first 15-20 minutes no matter how hard or easy you drive it. After that it will throw the code and if you reset it will come back again in a few minutes. Thought it might have something to do with oil viscosity as the oil is fully warmed up after 15-20 minutes so switched to 10w30 Mobil 1. Runs exactly the same - fine for 15-20 minutes and then constantly throws code. Any suggestions from anybody on what to try next?
 

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SpeedyGreen... have you ever found a remedy for the 2646 on the 04 Element? I've got the same issue with my 06 element, after scouring the internet for many hours I'm coming up clueless to a fix. I've changed the oil 5-20 /filter, cleaned the screen behind the pwr steering pump, cleaned & checked the function of the oil flow control selenoid on the left side of the engine & replaced the selenoid/pressure sensor spool piece on the back left side of the engine. In all my work I've not seen any indication of dirty oil or even dirty screens. The car does exactly as you described as when it's cold it runs as it should until it gets to temp. Then throws the 2646 code. Ive even changed the oil to 10-30 for a day to see if the higher vis oil would make any differance & it did not. So I changed it back to 5-20. I checked wiring connections to the selenoids and pressure switches, all have good continuity to ground and 3.4v to each selenoid, 12v to the pressure switch. I'm at a loss on an actual fix for this problem and wondered if you've ever decoded it with your own? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Never had figured out. The E has been parked for months as I have other projects needing attention. Seems the oil pressure must be right at the cutoff for activating the switch. Way too much work to change the oil pump - dropping the front subframe to remove the oil pan - for something that may not even work. Thinking of buying various brands of cheap pressure switches - just the switch, not the whole solenoid - off ebay, hoping some brand might have a slightly different oil pressure activation point and may work. Have an 05 element that works fine with WVE brand pressure switch - would trip code with Beck Arnley or original Honda switch. Tried all three on this one with no luck.
 

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Thanks for replying Speedygreen.. I've been diligently trying to figure this issue out being that my daughter drives the E daily.. I ran 4oz of seafoam in the 5-20 oil for 90 miles (the past few days) and as i mentioned I had already replaced the entire vvt spool piece which includes the selenoid and pressure switch within that one part. I purchased it from napa, installed it & it still threw the 2646 code. I have read online how others have not had good success with the non OEM Honda part. Soooo... Lastnight I cleaned the old original spool piece, selenoid and pressure switch with brake cleaner and blew the parts out with an air compressor being sure to especially get into the tiny oil passages. I noticed the original black rubber 1pc gasket/screen had some small cracks in it. I removed the new napa part from the car, installed the old Honda part with the new gasket. I did one more oil change with 5-20 synthetic and a mobile 1 oil filter.. cleared the code and took the car for 2 test rides each of about 20 miles & it ran perfectly. No codes and revved from idle to redline at any givin time not missing a beat. I let it cool for 1 hr between the two test rides. This am my daughter drove the car to school and text me that the E ran perfect & no engine light. I dont know exactly what may have fixed it ( I say that cautiously with fingers crossed)or a combination of things but the cracked rubber gasket could allow oil pressure to bridge from one port to the next possibly throwing a P2646 code. The oil changes and seafoam treatment probably wasn't a bad idea being the E has 183k Miles on it & we just got it 5 months ago. We dont know the history of the car. Cleaning the spool & parts with brake cleaner and blowing the parts out could've removed a piece of crud causing it all?? Not sure.. but after the car is drivin a little more ( daily).. I will post an update if the dreaded 2646 is gone
 

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It's been exactly 7 days since the repair, still running good and no codes. Im thinking the small cracks in the rubber gasket caused the code but all the engine oil flushing I did wasn't going to hurt either. I have a complete new Napa rockerarm selenoid/ pressure switch spool for sale if as anyone is in need of one.
 

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Thanks for replying Speedygreen.. I've been diligently trying to figure this issue out being that my daughter drives the E daily.. I ran 4oz of seafoam in the 5-20 oil for 90 miles (the past few days) and as i mentioned I had already replaced the entire vvt spool piece which includes the selenoid and pressure switch within that one part. I purchased it from napa, installed it & it still threw the 2646 code. I have read online how others have not had good success with the non OEM Honda part. Soooo... Lastnight I cleaned the old original spool piece, selenoid and pressure switch with brake cleaner and blew the parts out with an air compressor being sure to especially get into the tiny oil passages. I noticed the original black rubber 1pc gasket/screen had some small cracks in it. I removed the new napa part from the car, installed the old Honda part with the new gasket. I did one more oil change with 5-20 synthetic and a mobile 1 oil filter.. cleared the code and took the car for 2 test rides each of about 20 miles & it ran perfectly. No codes and revved from idle to redline at any givin time not missing a beat. I let it cool for 1 hr between the two test rides. This am my daughter drove the car to school and text me that the E ran perfect & no engine light. I dont know exactly what may have fixed it ( I say that cautiously with fingers crossed)or a combination of things but the cracked rubber gasket could allow oil pressure to bridge from one port to the next possibly throwing a P2646 code. The oil changes and seafoam treatment probably wasn't a bad idea being the E has 183k Miles on it & we just got it 5 months ago. We dont know the history of the car. Cleaning the spool & parts with brake cleaner and blowing the parts out could've removed a piece of crud causing it all?? Not sure.. but after the car is drivin a little more ( daily).. I will post an update if the dreaded 2646 is gone
I'm curious if it's still working ok. I've had mine in the shop 3 times and they did the spool valve each time. The brand they used was Doorman from Orielly Auto Parts. I'm thinking of getting the genuine Honda part. I've never let my oil get dirty. Always used 5-20 and changed at around 4000 miles. Changed it this time again and light came on after 2 days. The guy is fixing it for free but we are both not happy. He says the code reads low voltage to the solenoid valve on that VTEC spool valve assembly. Last time he just replaced the solenoid. All electrical connections are fine. Maybe she Seafoam helped.
 

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Larrh7 yes, the car has been running perfectly, no issues and no codes. My daughter has been driving it daily to school & 2 jobs
 
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