Engine Lacks Power Below 3,500 RPM

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-27-16, 07:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Engine Lacks Power Below 3,500 RPM

My 2011 Acura TL lacks lower below about 3,500 RPM, then takes off like a bat out of hell above that. What are the most common things that could cause this to happen? FYI, this vehicle is known for having issues with the torque converter, and it has a J37A4 motor, which has VTEC on the intake and exhaust. Aside from the lack of power below 3,500, it chokes when shifting gears when I really get on it. It isn't a smooth transition like one would expect. Just a shot in the dark, but I'm wondering if the VTEC is kicking at the higher RPMs, then when it shifts to the next gear, the RPMs drop below the VTEC threshold thereby causing the issues I'm experiencing.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-28-16, 04:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
I measured the inlet temperature of the upstream catalytic converter (directly after exhaust header) and it was about 560F. This seems way too high. Perhaps a clogged converter is the cause of my low end power loss. Makes sense considering I'm burning about a quart of oil every 2,000 miles (like every other 3.7L Acura).
 
  #3  
Old 08-28-16, 07:14 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
The way I checked VTEC function on my CR-V was slamming and holding gas pedal. As vehicle accelerates, there was 3 distinct acceleration changes, like as if a small turbo kicked. Was quite noticeable.
As of what you describe.
Air filter?
Was EGR ever cleaned?
You should have oil filters for VTEC. Were those ever cleaned? VTEC is oil pressure operated, what makes it sensitive to oil pressure.
There may be nothing you can do about it, unless it was a sudden or progressive decline in low end performance:

The engine is as smooth and quiet as any other power plant present in a luxury performance car, and while it was strong up high, there is considerably less power down low. Keep it above 3,000 rpm, however, and it rewards you with solid midrange torque that extends right up to its lofty 7,110-rpm redline. A trip to our closed test track showed that the TSX could cover a quarter-mile in 16.3 seconds at 86 miles per hour — a half second behind our last recorded number for a V6-equipped A4 (with an MSRP of $38,410). The lack of low-end torque was all the more apparent during acceleration testing, but as the times prove, the TSX turns up the power quickly once engine speed builds.

So was it a sudden change, or she was - like any Accord - a cow at low RPM?

As of cat... I had cat issues in my cars history. It's easy check - Midas will punch 2 holes, before and after, and check on exhaust flow before and after.
Before you freak out over this and start tossing parts on, make sure that actually is not normal. Honda engines have always been high rev ones.
 
  #4  
Old 08-28-16, 10:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Air filter is new, spark plugs are new. Never checked EGR valve and didn't realize there were oil filters for the VTEC. I just bought the car three months ago and haven't driven it much until recently, so I can't comment as to whether low end power was lacking previously. I can live with it, but what I can't live with is the delay/choking/whatever between shifts when accelerating quickly.
 
  #5  
Old 08-28-16, 11:58 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Oh, so you have shifting lag?
Far as I know Japanese, though makes are different, principles are same. Toyota VVT-I has, for a V6, 2 oil filters, one per bank, for VVT. I'd safely presume that Honda has same or very similar.

So sure, it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PknGSpDsmiI

What on V6 you may have 2 of those, one per bank. They are per VVT solenoid. So you have cam+solenoid, 2 cams = 2 solenoids. It's not really a solenoid, it's more like oil gatekeeper, allowing more or less oil under pressure into VVT.
You can try, instead of this, run Seafom through oil for couple hundred miles to clean crud and then change oil. Maybe even run it twice, and use first oil change as 2nd flush. So something cheap in proper weight, like WallyM Supertech oil.

But chance is, that's what the engine is. It's basically sooped up Accord, right? Acords were never known for get n go cars. If I were you, I'd find one on used car lot and drive her.
 
  #6  
Old 08-28-16, 12:16 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
I'll check out the solenoids. Yes, a souped up Honda. Don't get me wrong, the car is very quick, once the RPMs are up in the 3,500+ range. It's the shift lag as you called it that is irritating.
 
  #7  
Old 08-28-16, 12:59 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
The service manual shows a picture of a VVT solenoid and filter, which appears to be housed with the engine oil filter. It also mentions a VVT switch and VVT actuator, but I can't seem to find diagrams. Where exactly should they be located? Is this one of them?...

Name:  20160828_154814.jpg
Views: 218
Size:  30.0 KB
 
  #8  
Old 08-28-16, 01:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
The valve shown in my previous post is the "bypass valve actuator assembly". Not sure if that has anything to do with VVT. I found a parts fiche showing a spool valve, spool valve filter, and valve timing oil pressure switch. All located above the engine oil filter. I'm assuming these are the parts that need attention. Is there a second filter and solenoid elsewhere?

Name:  Screenshot_2016-08-28-16-08-15.jpg
Views: 225
Size:  23.6 KB

Name:  Screenshot_2016-08-28-16-16-37.jpg
Views: 211
Size:  22.6 KB
 
  #9  
Old 08-28-16, 02:24 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Acura (Honda) Workshop Manuals > TL AWD V6-3.7L (2010) > Powertrain Management > Sensors and Switches - Powertrain Management > Sensors and Switches - Computers and Control Systems > Variable Valve Timing Pressure Switch > Component Information > Loc

I'd definitely go to Acura forum for in depth. Or, to library. They should have 2011 Chilton.
But, once again - you simply do not know if it's normal or not. It upsets you but that may be the way they all are. You need to find out if there were a problem to start with, really.
Once again, it's a Honda. They all must be revved.
 
  #10  
Old 08-28-16, 02:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Revving is fine, but shift lag shouldn't be. I've never had a vehicle do this. For example, I floor it, the RPMs raise to 4,000, 5,000, 6,000, and car takes off like a rocket, then it shifts, RPMs drop to 3500 and it's like someone taps the brake, then it takes off again.

Here are some screenshots from my OBDII scanner, with vehicle at idle. Curious as to why catalyst temperature is being read as 446 degrees celcius???

Name:  Screenshot_2016-08-28-16-58-58.jpg
Views: 234
Size:  25.7 KB

Name:  Screenshot_2016-08-28-16-58-38.jpg
Views: 186
Size:  29.4 KB

Name:  Screenshot_2016-08-28-16-59-18.jpg
Views: 234
Size:  22.7 KB
 
Attached Images    

Last edited by mossman; 08-28-16 at 02:59 PM.
  #11  
Old 08-28-16, 03:02 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Some other screenshots. Regarding catalytic converter temps, I read 480 degrees F at the inlet of the front converter (inside engine bay) and 380 degrees out, and read 280 degrees at the inlet of the rear catalytic converter (underneath car halfway back) and 180 out. This doesn't seem normal at all. And the reason I mentioned burning a quart of oil every 2,000 miles is because wouldn't that prematurely wear down the converters?

Attachment 70204

Attachment 70205

Attachment 70206
 
  #12  
Old 08-28-16, 04:52 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Well, for starters, Toyota considers 1 qrt per 1200 miles normal. You are way past that mark.

Look, this is what I'd have done. As I think, you are unleashing your imagination and letting demons out, building up more and more imaginary problems.
Torque is handy, aye, mate?

1. shoot video of what is going on and post on reputable Acura site. Honda Tech is great one
2. Drive another compatible vehicle to compare the two
3. Run 2 consecutive cans of Seafoam through 2 tankfuls, one each.
4. Run 2 cans of Seafom through oil. 1x250 miles, drain, refil with cheap oil, 2nd can, 250 miles, drain, replace filter and oil with quality oil. Remeber, Honda is NOT synthetic oil make.
5. Maybe run can of Transtune through trannie. Same principle - 200-300 miles, then drain and refill. Honda trannies are not the best in the world and frequent ATF changes are highly recommended. You have not much to lose as there is no filter to replace.
That's what I'd have done, with #2 being like most important.
Base line is - you do not know for sure if there is problem or not. You sort of imagine it.

Also, your cat actually runs cold:

The normal operating temperature of a catalytic converter is between 550 and 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit with the optimum temperature being about 806 degrees. High operating temperature can be a sign of extra pollutants in the exhaust system. It can also result from excess fuel going through the exhaust system.

https://www.reference.com/vehicles/o...35683abdb63c6d

So I have a different theory. Your cat MAY actually be clogged not because engine burns oil but because engine is baby-d. Drive her like hell. Same thing with my Still combi unit. It has to be run at highest revs always, or eaxhaust gets clogged very fast and it loses all power and stalls.
Folks run couple gallons of pain thinner through gas tank at high revs to burn crud out of cats. But, Seafom does same, btw. Seafoam is a good medicine.
 
  #13  
Old 08-28-16, 05:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Thanks for all the advice! What do you mean by "Honda is not synthetic oil make"?

Another thing I noticed on my torque app is the command module voltage varies between 13.9V down to 12.7V. 12.7 seems awfully low and I'd imagine this could cause issues.
 
  #14  
Old 08-29-16, 08:24 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Come to think of it, while rotating my tires the other week, I noticed some fresh oil on the back of the oil filter assembly below the VTEC solenoid. I wonder if the gasket and/or o-ring is leaking and causing lower than normal pressure. I'll have to take a closer look.
 
  #15  
Old 08-29-16, 03:21 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
There you go. That's a start. VVT oil operated - some are electric - is very sensitive to oil pressure.
Honda engines and trannies are not made for synthetic oil. That's what I meant. I still used it but why....
 
  #16  
Old 08-29-16, 05:53 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Ever since switching to.a synthetic, I've noticed a significant drop in gas mileage. About 4 or 5 mpg. Should I switch back to regular dino oil or try a synthetic blend? Or can I use a synthetic but try a lighter weight? Factory recommended is 5W-20.
 
  #17  
Old 08-29-16, 07:52 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Is she taking oil in any manner? If not, go for quality 5W20 conventional. I like Quaker State in regular oils. How many miles actually?
Won't hurt to add some Lucas to oil. Maybe half a qrt.
 
  #18  
Old 08-30-16, 04:36 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Yes, I'm losing a out one quart every 2500 miles. This is apparently normal for the 3.7L J series engine, and there are countless others who are burning substantially more. Vehicle has 66,000 miles.
 
  #19  
Old 08-30-16, 06:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Maybe I'll give Honda's 5W-20 synthetic blend a try and see if things improve. Make's sense to try the oil Honda formulated for their engines. Can't beat $3.66 a quart. 5W-20 Synthetic Blend Motor Oil 08798-9032 - $3.66
 
  #20  
Old 08-30-16, 07:40 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,721
FWIW, my father worked in the service department of an Acura dealer for about a dozen years after he retired and he observed a lot of cars in for transmission issues, including a significant number of replacements. Hence, I would not be surprised by a transmission issue.
 
  #21  
Old 08-30-16, 11:05 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
...such as the torque converter. I have three years and until 105,000 miles to get it replaced if needed, so that's good to know.
 
  #22  
Old 08-30-16, 02:37 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
No. Give her conventional oil unless synth is specifically specified for the car by Honda. No need to go with synth. Esp for oil taker.
I really like how they fixed oil taking in my Camry. Not a drop thereafter. Lexus tight engine now.
 
  #23  
Old 08-30-16, 05:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
My next vehicle will be a Lexus for sure. I know exactly which one I want, but can't swallow the price tag. Will have to wait a few years and buy used.

Are you saying Quaker State conventional stopped your Camry from burning oil?
 

Last edited by mossman; 08-30-16 at 05:55 PM.
  #24  
Old 08-30-16, 08:30 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
No.
Long story is - I drove 54 000 miles in 1 year in 2004. At that rate, I did oil changes every about 3 weeks and got real tired of that. I tried every single oil there and found Quaker State to be the most "resilient" oil.
Then I discovered synthetic oils, first Royal Purple then Amsoil. 10 0000 mile oil changes was a huge relief, you know. Ever since, I stay with synth on non oil taking engines.
For my Camry, they replaced pistons and rings under recall. Took care of oil burning.
 
  #25  
Old 08-31-16, 07:06 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
For my Camry, they replaced pistons and rings under recall. Took care of oil burning.
Gotcha. I have a feeling Honda/Acura is dragging their feet on a recall because there is not an easy solution. Apparently they used a different type of cylinder liner in the J37 engines and oil is getting past the rings. They've been replacing blocks on engines burning more than 1 quart per 1,000 miles, only for it to happen again under 50k miles later. Makes me wonder if maybe these engines aren't being broken in properly.

Good news regarding the oil consumption. Sounds like Acura may release a solution sometime soon...http://www.urvi.net/forumfiles/SB/BTS160705.PDF
 
  #26  
Old 08-31-16, 11:00 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Correct. This is why every new engine should be driven like hell for the first few hundred miles. There is also a special break in procedure for new engines specifically geared towards proper rings set into the piston walls. 20 minutes or so. Pretty cool actually.
The other way around this is to undo carbon build up on piston rings. Once again - and you keep evading this - it is Seafom engine OR simply pour cup of Seafom into every cylinder and let it sit overnight. Maybe turn engine once or twice so that it distributes evenly. Seafoam ungunks rings.
Engine actually will start fine, maybe from a 2nd or 3rd try. I've done it. But you do NOT want to do this anywhere residential. White smoke coming outta tail pipe is what I call a military grade smoke curtain. For about 15 minutes hood will be in that cloud solid. Totally scary chit. Done it twice.
Of course, if it's piston rings. In Mitsubishi case, it is ill designed valve stem seals. So who knows. In Toyota case, it was bad pistons with very small holes in rings groves, not allowing oil to escape. So oil plugs them and blow by burn out starts.
 
  #27  
Old 09-02-16, 05:15 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Would it be worth removing and cleaning the transmission solenoids? As I mentioned before, simply draining and refilling (three consecutive times) significantly improved shifting, so perhaps one or more of the solenoids is gunked up and therefore sticking and/or not activating quick enough. The transitions are nice and smooth under normal acceleration, but I get the shift lag when flooring it. BTW, there was a good amount of gunk on the drain plug magnet when I changed the fluid a couple weeks ago.
 
  #28  
Old 09-02-16, 08:37 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Ahhhh... Did you actually read what I said? Transtune in ATF for 200-300 miles, THEN do drain/fill. Transtune greatly un gunks everything.
It's not gunk on magnet. Gunk is non magnetic. It's metal particles mixed with stuck ATF.
You ever saw all the passages in transmission? It's ant farm. THAT get gunked super easy. What also tells me that that trannie overheats.
Seriously. Transtune.
 
  #29  
Old 09-02-16, 08:44 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Okay. I'll give it a try.
 
  #30  
Old 09-03-16, 08:33 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,302
Trust me on this. I had Seafoam and Transtune in many cars, never an issue, always good result. But then again, it's YOUR car and money. And level of risk tolerance as there always is risk chit will go sour. Who knows. I had 91 Civic that I practically drove on Transtune and Lucas ATF additive. But that's91, when quality was stellar. Who knows what new Honda will do.
So it's absolutely your personal decision. I remember well, how I had palpitation first time pouring Seafom into the engine. I know what it feels like.
 
  #31  
Old 09-08-16, 09:07 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Turns out I wasn't at WOT like I thought. I really floored the pedal this time and it didn't lag between gearshifts. So evidently my issue is with the VTEC disengaging. Regardless, based on engine load, vehicle speed, and throttle position, in my opinion it shouldn't be disengaging.
 
  #32  
Old 09-20-16, 11:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
Shot in the dark, but could the clicking noise I'm hearing upon shutting off the engine be related to my lack of power below 3,500 RPM? Perhaps my intake manifold runners are gummed up and not allowing enough air in or too much air. Then once the RPMs get above 3,500 they free up? I removed my PCV valve the other day and from what I could see it looked pretty grimy inside the valve cover. Should I remove the intake manifold and take a look? Or maybe I should start with removing the IMRC switch and rotating the runners by hand to see if they are sticking
 
  #33  
Old 09-20-16, 08:13 PM
iceman681's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 436
yes they are bad about the app sensor on the passenger fire wall going bad. this controls the throttle electrically.
 
  #34  
Old 09-21-16, 07:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,435
So I've been doing some research on IMRC (referred to as IMT for Honda/Acura) and have a better understanding of its operation. I'm guessing the reason why I get much better power/acceleration once I pass 3,000 RPM, is because the butterfly valves are opening up and letting in more air. And the reason I am lacking power below 3,000 RPM is because the runner valves are closed and not enough air can get into the engine because things are gummed up. I'm hoping that if I give the intake manifold a good cleaning that it will allow enough increase to make a noticeable difference. I'll be tearing into it this weekend and will post back.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes