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Hi everyone,

My trusty 09 Element SC has finally decided to crap out on me after 198k fabulous miles together. I had never even see the check engine light until a couple weeks ago. :(

A week or so ago, check engine light comes on, scan... P2646 for the A rocker arm actuator not performing. Was not in limp mode, just sluggish. Went and got the oil changed, reset, went away for an hour and came back.

A day later I pick up a brand new OEM valve spool assembly from a Honda dealership. Had it put on by someone I trust at a local service center. Code was cleared, all was well. Screen on original valve spool assembly was clear, by the way.

Now, here we are around 10 days later, last night I'm pulling onto a road and hit 3k rpm and the engine kicks the bucket and drops down to 1500 rpm suddenly, check engine and traction control lights come on, no power over 3k.

So to recap:
P2646
Oil changed
Complete valve spool assembly replaced

What now!?
 

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Did you use and OEM oil filter and the correct weight oil? Long time Honda tech told me that was the issue with mine, but I just couldn't believe it.

The steps I followed went like this.
Replaced spool valve screen - no change
Replaced VTEC pressure switch based on Honda TSB - no change
Oil level was full and clean, but changed oil with 5w-20 and used OEM filter - problem gone
 

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but changed oil with 5w-20 and used OEM filter - problem gone
I'm curious what you had in it before? Something heavier?

I used to have a GMC pickup with a 305 V-8 - first vehicle I ever had that specified 5w-20 instead of 10w-30 like all previous 350 V-8's. Ran fine until I had to have the oil changed while on the road to South Florida. Although I specified 5W-20 and the guy at the oil change place assured me I'd get 5W-20, he ACTUALLY put 10W-30 in and I nearly blew the engine on the road back north. Only when I called them to ask what kind of heavy syrup gunk was oozing out of my drain plug (burnt) did he admit that "I actually needed 10W-30 so that's what they put in it."

Engines designed for thinner oil have smaller channels for the oil to flow and heavier weights (depending on the engine) can really fail.
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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I'm curious what you had in it before? Something heavier?

I used to have a GMC pickup with a 305 V-8 - first vehicle I ever had that specified 5w-20 instead of 10w-30 like all previous 350 V-8's. Ran fine until I had to have the oil changed while on the road to South Florida. Although I specified 5W-20 and the guy at the oil change place assured me I'd get 5W-20, he ACTUALLY put 10W-30 in and I nearly blew the engine on the road back north. Only when I called them to ask what kind of heavy syrup gunk was oozing out of my drain plug (burnt) did he admit that "I actually needed 10W-30 so that's what they put in it."

Engines designed for thinner oil have smaller channels for the oil to flow and heavier weights (depending on the engine) can really fail.
Now you have me curious! It's a little off topic from the original post, but....

What year was your GMC 305? On the old ('70's) small block Chevys that I had back in the day, I used to put in 10W40 in the winter and 20W50 in the summer. That weight oil worked well for them! That was when (like you do now) I lived in Northern Indiana too!

My old 350 powered '76 Chevy van (when I moved to Florida) got 20W50 year round! Never a problem!

I mean, I totally get it that as the years went by, the small block Chevys were greatly improved and machined to tighter tolerances. But, they all still shared a lot with the same basic design as first 265's from 1955. I just can't see where even putting 10W30 in a more modern SBC could cause that much of a problem!

Please let me know. Thanks! : - )
 

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It's not too off topic for this thread. On the 305's - a lot of people assumed the 305 was the same engine as the 350 with smaller pistons. It wasn't. Channels were different, basically a LOT of components were different. When you go to a warm climate like Florida, you can get away with the older oils in a heavier weight because engines tended to run hotter and have higher temperature spikes. Even though I use Mobil-1 which isn't as temp sensitive, the idiot I dealt with decided I needed heavier oil.

There's a big difference between the older GM 305's and 350's and something like the 4 cyl in the Element. I suspect a bunch of the problem is (no expert on this) that the VTEC system isn't happy trying to squeeze slime through those screens. Newer oil tends to hold viscosity better than the older stuff which is one reason makers can specify 5w-20 these days and not worry. 10w30 and higher either puts too much back pressure on screens or doesn't go through in sufficient quantities to do the job. That's why I was curious if the engine with the problem here was using the specified oil weight or some thicker crud because somebody thought it wasn't that critical.

I'd also LOVE it if when people post problems that might be caused by their oil if they'd include what brand of oil they were using as well as just the weight. Some oils act differently than others - more detergent, viscosity holds true better, etc. Even the Mobil-1 I use is different than the Mobil-1 they used to sell. Many brands claim to be synthetics when they're really just refined differently, different additive packages, etc.
 

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It's not too off topic for this thread. On the 305's - a lot of people assumed the 305 was the same engine as the 350 with smaller pistons. It wasn't. Channels were different, basically a LOT of components were different. When you go to a warm climate like Florida, you can get away with the older oils in a heavier weight because engines tended to run hotter and have higher temperature spikes. Even though I use Mobil-1 which isn't as temp sensitive, the idiot I dealt with decided I needed heavier oil.

There's a big difference between the older GM 305's and 350's and something like the 4 cyl in the Element. I suspect a bunch of the problem is (no expert on this) that the VTEC system isn't happy trying to squeeze slime through those screens. Newer oil tends to hold viscosity better than the older stuff which is one reason makers can specify 5w-20 these days and not worry. 10w30 and higher either puts too much back pressure on screens or doesn't go through in sufficient quantities to do the job. That's why I was curious if the engine with the problem here was using the specified oil weight or some thicker crud because somebody thought it wasn't that critical.

I'd also LOVE it if when people post problems that might be caused by their oil if they'd include what brand of oil they were using as well as just the weight. Some oils act differently than others - more detergent, viscosity holds true better, etc. Even the Mobil-1 I use is different than the Mobil-1 they used to sell. Many brands claim to be synthetics when they're really just refined differently, different additive packages, etc.
Thanks desinia. I had no idea that the 305's were that much different. I never actually owned a 305, and yes I was in the group that thought it was just a small bore 350!

I had a '71 Chevy pickup with a 307, my sister had a '73 Nova 307, my '76 Van which had 2 different 350's (kept it going like 275K miles). I also had a '67 Van and a '70 Chevelle, both with 250 6cyl. And I used 10W40 winter and 20W50 summer in all of them. And we basically ran the wheels off of all of them, and sold them still running! (Just barely on a few of them!) : - )

Where do you live in IN? I lived in Monticello, Valparaiso, and Portage. But I moved to FL 33 years ago!
 

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I've been using 5w30 since 500 miles.

I highly doubt using a slightly different oil would set any engine codes.

Something else is at fault.

How much sludge is inside due to lack of regular oil changes.

10,000 miles between oil changes is nuts.
 

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As for small block chevy's.

Oil system has only changed a few minor things.

1955 had a flat spot on the rear cam to allow oil flow to lifter galleys, along with no oil filter boss on the block. This was changed in early '56 or '57 with the 283 to an annular groove in the block on the outside of the rear cam bearing, and added the oil filter canister boss on the block.

Only other change was in '68. the canister was changed to a spin on type oil filter.

All other ports, galleys, passages are exactly the same dimension as in 1955 with the 265 CI.

The only difference between a 305 and 350 block is the bore size, stroke is the same 3.48 in. Crankshafts look exactly the same, except for balance counter weights.
 

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I'm curious what you had in it before? Something heavier?
I have no idea. This is a car I just acquired and I didn't do the maintenance on it before, so I can't say what was in it.

But the oil change and OEM filter fixed the problem so I'm sticking with it.
 

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Yes, previous engine in Zippy would sometimes go into limp mode if I took a *very* spirited left turn...
Completely oil level (slosh?) related...
 

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Hi everyone,

My trusty 09 Element SC has finally decided to crap out on me after 198k fabulous miles together. I had never even see the check engine light until a couple weeks ago. :(

A week or so ago, check engine light comes on, scan... P2646 for the A rocker arm actuator not performing. Was not in limp mode, just sluggish. Went and got the oil changed, reset, went away for an hour and came back.

A day later I pick up a brand new OEM valve spool assembly from a Honda dealership. Had it put on by someone I trust at a local service center. Code was cleared, all was well. Screen on original valve spool assembly was clear, by the way.

Now, here we are around 10 days later, last night I'm pulling onto a road and hit 3k rpm and the engine kicks the bucket and drops down to 1500 rpm suddenly, check engine and traction control lights come on, no power over 3k.

So to recap:
P2646
Oil changed
Complete valve spool assembly replaced

What now!?
I recently with thru this with our 05 EX-AWD which just turned over 200k miles. Our E spit the 2647 code and was going into limp mode intermittently. After doing the research I decided to just go ahead and have my mechanic replace the VTEC spool valve, VTC actuator and VTC screen all (OEM parts).

When I took the parts to him and explained what the car was doing and what I wanted him to do...he mentioned that sometimes the issue will be the VTC cam gear as well. Anyway...he replaced the parts and no joy. Still spitting the same code and going into limp mode. Bad VTC cam gear. From what my mechanic mentioned...apparently the pin in the VTC cam gear can wear and cause problems.

So...I tell him to pick up the VTC cam gear from the dealership and replace. I get the car back and drive it for a few days...fixed! Don't rule out that the VTC cam gear is bad.


I've been using 5w30 since 500 miles.

I highly doubt using a slightly different oil would set any engine codes.
Thank you...two (long) posts full of the same garbage was making my head hurt.
 
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