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Do you know where is the VTEC oil pressure solenoid, which is controlled by the ECM to open/close and allowing oil pressure to be applied to the pistons in the intake rocker arms? I searched online and found this for your future reference:

“When driving the vehicle with the rpm high enough for VTEC operation, the engine control module (ECM) operates the variable valve timing solenoid to open the solenoid and allow oil pressure to be applied to the pistons in the intake rocker arms. This action causes the outer rocker arms to be pinned to the middle rocker arm and now the three rocker arms operate as a unit, using the high-lift camshaft lobe for improved high-end power. When the engine rpm drops below VTEC operation, the VTEC solenoid is not energized and hydraulic oil pressure is turned off. This allows the return spring to return the pistons to their rest position and lets the rocker arms operate independently again. The VTEC transition between low and high rpm is smooth and normally not felt by the driver.

The ECM also looks at other inputs for VTEC operation - engine temp, engine oil pressure and vehicle speed (VTEC does not turn on unless the vehicle is moving). A separate oil pressure switch monitors the VTEC system. If a problem occurs, the ECM can turn off VTEC operation and will set a code, turning on the "check engine" light. In some cases, it can also cause a driveability problem.

The VTEC oil pressure switch is a normally closed switch. The ECM sends a voltage to the switch and expects the voltage to go through the switch to ground. If the ECM reads a voltage on that circuit when the VTEC system should not be operating, it will turn on the "check engine" light and set a code. This code will be a P1259 on a vehicle with OBD-II.

When the ECM energizes the VTEC solenoid valve to turn on the VTEC system, the ECM expects the VTEC oil pressure switch to open and see the voltage on the circuit. If there is a delay with oil pressure opening the switch, the ECM will set a trouble code and may limit fuel delivery, causing a driveability problem.

Reasons for no VTEC operation include low engine oil level, VTEC solenoid not opening or the screen behind it is restricted, an engine that has low oil pressure, or an oil pressure leak to the rocker arm assembly. In some cases, when engine work is performed, a missing or damaged O-ring can cause incorrect oil pressure to the VTEC system.

When diagnosing a trouble code P1259, always look at freeze-frame data. This data will tell you if the code is set at high or low engine rpm. If the code is set below 4,000 to 6,000 rpm (depending on the engine), check the oil pressure switch circuit for a faulty switch/connection or poor ground. When the code sets during VTEC operation, check for an oil pressure or mechanical problem with the VTEC system. “

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Great pix, good discussion, much appreciated here... But one question, if the green is the pertinent switch, and the yellow is the solenoid, what is the red? And, could that be the cause of a P2646 / P2647 common error?

The reason I ask is that I've been researching issues we're having with our 2010 MDX with the above codes, and everything points to changing out the [rocker arm] oil pressure switch, which gets to this discussion in several forums and platforms.

Escalation seems to be:
  • Swap out the oil pressure switch
  • Swap out the solenoid
  • Clean the filter gasket
  • Swap out the entire spool valve assembly
  • Move on to the oil pump (ugh!)

All of that is great, except for all the labor to do that stuff -- might as well do everything at that point -- plus, as I write this (8/20/2021) a COVID-induced supply chain issue where no parts are available (or, hard to get).

To complicate matters, there appear to be two oil pressure switches (see above: the green and the red). They appear to be:
1. Green arrow, above: "Acura 37250-PR3-003 Switch Assembly, Valve Timing Oil Pressure"
2. Red arrow, above: "Acura 37240-R72-A01 Switch Assembly, Oil Pressure"

So, when people are talking in different articles about swapping the oil pressure switch, which is it? Here, I'm reading, the green one... Would we ever need to swap the red arrow one?

Also, just to pile on the questions... One person in a video I watched stated that the oil pressure switch parameters have changed, and the newer versions of the switch operate at lower pressure before sending an alarm. This seems to be consistent with a current observation -- we swapped for an aftermarket switch (I believe the PR3-003 one, but I'll confirm with mechanic) and are now getting low pressure alarms under 1500 to 2000 RPM. Above that, all is good. So, possibly, the latest version does have a broader tolerance.

My gut tells me that this can be fixed with a $15 to $30 part, and that's that... or an $80 part if it's the second switch. But, what do I know?!?

Sorry for the brain dump here, but any comments on the above would be appreciated.

Thanks! :)
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