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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've a 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L which started getting a flickering oil light a year or so ago. I replaced the oil pressure sensor on the front of the engine and the issue went away for a time. Then it started doing it again so I replaced the back sensor and again the issue went away for a time. After changing the timing belt this summer, it did it again so I just replaced the sensor underneath the engine. The oil level is full albeit a bit dark.

About the lower sensor, the oil and engine light come on after resetting the error codes without the engine running. In fact, when I disconnect the connector from the sensor, the lights do not come on. I noticed there was some corrosion on the plug so I sprayed electrical contact cleaner inside, let it soak, plugged it on/off/on/off over and over to try and wear it away. I also used a fingernail file on the sensor to clean the connectors but this didn't solve anything. I ordered a new sensor for $15 from eBay and the light remained off after connecting the sensor so I was happy...

After installing the sensor, I drove the Pilot to the store, and everything was fine for a bit but then I noticed the oil light flickering under moderate acceleration. Despite the oil having several thousand miles left before it's next oil change it's dark so I bought an oil/filter and Sea Foam to flush the engine and ensure I wasn't loosing pressure from old oil. The lights stopped flickering on the ride home so when I got in the drive way I gave the engine a slight rev and the oil and engine light came on solid. FWIW - there's no knocking of the engine.

With the vehicle off, key in the ignition turned to Acc, when I reset the engine codes through my OBDII app, the oil light remains on, the engine light goes out for a second, and then flickers followed by remaining solid. I want to believe it's not the oil pump but something clogged or electrical but need to be able to test the oil pressure to ensure I'm not going to drive the engine with the Sea Foam and destroy the engine. That said, how can I measure the oil pressure ... I didn't find any how to threads for this on this specific vehicle?
 

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I've a 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L which started getting a flickering oil light a year or so ago. I replaced the oil pressure sensor on the front of the engine and the issue went away for a time. Then it started doing it again so I replaced the back sensor and again the issue went away for a time. After changing the timing belt this summer, it did it again so I just replaced the sensor underneath the engine. The oil level is full albeit a bit dark.

About the lower sensor, the oil and engine light come on after resetting the error codes without the engine running. In fact, when I disconnect the connector from the sensor, the lights do not come on. I noticed there was some corrosion on the plug so I sprayed electrical contact cleaner inside, let it soak, plugged it on/off/on/off over and over to try and wear it away. I also used a fingernail file on the sensor to clean the connectors but this didn't solve anything. I ordered a new sensor for $15 from eBay and the light remained off after connecting the sensor so I was happy...

After installing the sensor, I drove the Pilot to the store, and everything was fine for a bit but then I noticed the oil light flickering under moderate acceleration. Despite the oil having several thousand miles left before it's next oil change it's dark so I bought an oil/filter and Sea Foam to flush the engine and ensure I wasn't loosing pressure from old oil. The lights stopped flickering on the ride home so when I got in the drive way I gave the engine a slight rev and the oil and engine light came on solid. FWIW - there's no knocking of the engine.

With the vehicle off, key in the ignition turned to Acc, when I reset the engine codes through my OBDII app, the oil light remains on, the engine light goes out for a second, and then flickers followed by remaining solid. I want to believe it's not the oil pump but something clogged or electrical but need to be able to test the oil pressure to ensure I'm not going to drive the engine with the Sea Foam and destroy the engine. That said, how can I measure the oil pressure ... I didn't find any how to threads for this on this specific vehicle?
Ruling out that your oil level isn't low, and with hopes of ruling out a bad oil pump, clogged passages or bearing clearance....
  • The oil pressure sending unit could be bad. (Try OEM)
  • There could be a short in the wire from the oil pressure sending unit to the instrument cluster.
  • The integrated control module is shorting which is wired to the pressure switch.
  • The instrument cluster main board is faulty causing the light to flicker (Which is unlikely with what you have proven)
 

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I've a 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L which started getting a flickering oil light a year or so ago. I replaced the oil pressure sensor on the front of the engine and the issue went away for a time. Then it started doing it again so I replaced the back sensor and again the issue went away for a time. After changing the timing belt this summer, it did it again so I just replaced the sensor underneath the engine. The oil level is full albeit a bit dark.

About the lower sensor, the oil and engine light come on after resetting the error codes without the engine running. In fact, when I disconnect the connector from the sensor, the lights do not come on. I noticed there was some corrosion on the plug so I sprayed electrical contact cleaner inside, let it soak, plugged it on/off/on/off over and over to try and wear it away. I also used a fingernail file on the sensor to clean the connectors but this didn't solve anything. I ordered a new sensor for $15 from eBay and the light remained off after connecting the sensor so I was happy...

After installing the sensor, I drove the Pilot to the store, and everything was fine for a bit but then I noticed the oil light flickering under moderate acceleration. Despite the oil having several thousand miles left before it's next oil change it's dark so I bought an oil/filter and Sea Foam to flush the engine and ensure I wasn't loosing pressure from old oil. The lights stopped flickering on the ride home so when I got in the drive way I gave the engine a slight rev and the oil and engine light came on solid. FWIW - there's no knocking of the engine.

With the vehicle off, key in the ignition turned to Acc, when I reset the engine codes through my OBDII app, the oil light remains on, the engine light goes out for a second, and then flickers followed by remaining solid. I want to believe it's not the oil pump but something clogged or electrical but need to be able to test the oil pressure to ensure I'm not going to drive the engine with the Sea Foam and destroy the engine. That said, how can I measure the oil pressure ... I didn't find any how to threads for this on this specific vehicle?
You can check it with an oil pressure tester kit or an oil pressure gauge. Under $20. Also most parts stores will loan you one. You can screw them into the same port the oil pressure sensor uses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You can check it with an oil pressure tester kit or an oil pressure gauge. Under $20. Also most parts stores will loan you one. You can screw them into the same port the oil pressure sensor uses.
Thanks, I’m sure it will be easier to rule out the oil pump than electrical issues.

My truck is at about 35 PSI ... any idea what normal operating range for Honda Pilot is?

I’m not really sure why there’s 3 oil pressure sensor switches and if there’s any significance of whether I screw the meter into the bottom which seems to be the one I’m having issues with versus one of the top two? Maybe I should test one top and then the bottom to see if maybe it’s lower down there from possible clog.
 

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Fully warmed up oil: 10psi at idle and 71psi at 3000rpm.

Id focus on making sure that you have oil pressure before chasing sensors.
 

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Fully warmed up oil: 10psi at idle and 71psi at 3000rpm.

Id focus on making sure that you have oil pressure before chasing sensors.
I'd follow that sensor wire too. Unclip it and spray conection with CRC Electronic Cleaner. But ya, flickering not good.
 

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Honestly my biggest concern is that the light is real. I drove my RX-7 with low oil pressure indications at idle for a while thinking it maybe a false reading. Most people said it was a sensor and no big deal - turns out an o ring on the front cover blew out. Super rare. No one had ever seen it, but it was legit. I never really let the engine fully idle for that reason but I did drive it for a while be I tore the front cover off looking for the cause. Basically, get a gauge on it and know what the real pressure is cause you sure don’t want to run around with low pressure.

Instructions to test are in the service manual 8-9:

 

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You mentioned your connector is corroded causing an intermittent oil pressure light. Most likely will have to cut and splice with a good connector, try ebay.
 

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Thanks, I’m sure it will be easier to rule out the oil pump than electrical issues.

My truck is at about 35 PSI ... any idea what normal operating range for Honda Pilot is?

I’m not really sure why there’s 3 oil pressure sensor switches and if there’s any significance of whether I screw the meter into the bottom which seems to be the one I’m having issues with versus one of the top two? Maybe I should test one top and then the bottom to see if maybe it’s lower down there from possible clog.
Agree.

Anything over 10 psi at idle is good. It will probably start out higher (from a cold start) and then start dropping as the oil warms up so don't be alarmed. Based on your symptoms at the dash, I'd be looking for fluctuating or jittering oil pressure. Could be a bad oil pump or a leak somewhere in the oil system.

Since your dash lights seem to be ok at times at not at others depending on what work you've done around the engine ... especially since you can get a failure with the engine off, chances are good you've got an electrical, electronic or connection/ground issue.

Having said that, for piece of mind I'd get an oil pressure gauge for under the dash so you can constantly monitor the pressure over time.

I was wondering why there are three oil pressure sensors too. I think it's possible the one on top is for the variable cam timing or VCM. Maybe the one in back is atf pressure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Honestly my biggest concern is that the light is real. I drove my RX-7 with low oil pressure indications at idle for a while thinking it maybe a false reading. Most people said it was a sensor and no big deal - turns out an o ring on the front cover blew out. Super rare. No one had ever seen it, but it was legit. I never really let the engine fully idle for that reason but I did drive it for a while be I tore the front cover off looking for the cause. Basically, get a gauge on it and know what the real pressure is cause you sure don’t want to run around with low pressure.

Instructions to test are in the service manual 8-9:

I figure it's just electrical but I'm not willing to drive around and have guessed wrong so the oil pressure tester will confirm if it's mechanical or not. Thanks for the link!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You mentioned your connector is corroded causing an intermittent oil pressure light. Most likely will have to cut and splice with a good connector, try ebay.
It's not terribly corroded but did have some corrosion. I was going to try some dielectric grease but I'm not sure if that actually helps make contact or just insulates against water. Thanks for the recommendation on splicing in a new connector!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Agree.

Anything over 10 psi at idle is good. It will probably start out higher (from a cold start) and then start dropping as the oil warms up so don't be alarmed. Based on your symptoms at the dash, I'd be looking for fluctuating or jittering oil pressure. Could be a bad oil pump or a leak somewhere in the oil system.

Since your dash lights seem to be ok at times at not at others depending on what work you've done around the engine ... especially since you can get a failure with the engine off, chances are good you've got an electrical, electronic or connection/ground issue.

Having said that, for piece of mind I'd get an oil pressure gauge for under the dash so you can constantly monitor the pressure over time.

I was wondering why there are three oil pressure sensors too. I think it's possible the one on top is for the variable cam timing or VCM. Maybe the one in back is atf pressure?
If these are indeed different then I'm interested to know where I should test exactly and/or if I should test all 3 and the pressures I should expect from each. I've a Bluetooth OBDII module I can plug in and see some things through my iPhone app but unfortunately I don't think oil pressure is one of them so I'm not sure how I'd get some meter underneath the dash other than to drill a hole in the firewall, run a gauge with the hose through, connect it to the oil pressure sensor outlet, and leave the original wiring connector disconnected?
 

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If these are indeed different then I'm interested to know where I should test exactly and/or if I should test all 3 and the pressures I should expect from each. I've a Bluetooth OBDII module I can plug in and see some things through my iPhone app but unfortunately I don't think oil pressure is one of them so I'm not sure how I'd get some meter underneath the dash other than to drill a hole in the firewall, run a gauge with the hose through, connect it to the oil pressure sensor outlet, and leave the original wiring connector disconnected?
I only found two different kinds of engine oil sensors here:2011 Honda Pilot Engine Sensors, Relays & Switches – CARiD.com and on parts blowups.
One is on the oil pump housing and the other is on one of the head assy for variable valve timing oil pressure. Take your pick. My guess is the one on the oil pump triggers the warning light system and the one up top keeps VCM from engaging if there's insufficient oil pressure to shift the cam actuators.

If you can check the oil pressure when the lights are acting up that should tell you if it's mechanical or not. The only reason I suggested a more permanent monitoring system is because it seems to be an intermittent problem so you could get a false sense of security reading oil pressure when the problem isn't manifest. If you don't want to go through the firewall with a 1/4" line, you could temporarily secure the gauge just in front of the windshield near or on the windshield washer arms where you can see it. Tape or tie locks should be sufficient ... where's it going to go? I'd keep driving speeds down though.

I noticed on the parts blowup that the top sensor on the head is in the $15 neighborhood but the oil pump sensor is over $100. So I'm not sure what you got from eBay or where you installed it. Since I can't find a third kind of engine oil pressure sensor, I'm guessing the third one you're seeing is either not an oil pressure switch but the crankshaft position sensor or something else, or it's part of the transmission or other assembly. I didn't research it further since only two can be bought for the engine.

If the connector is corroded, I'm wondering if water got inside the switch and corroded the internal contacts. From the pressure diaphragm out, I don't know if the switch is waterproof so moisture could have gotten in where the contacts are and corroded them.

Just in case there's a issue with a clogged oil galley or the oil filter bypass is acting weird, I'd change oil and filter and see what happens. Hopefully the oil pump is ok. And so are the expensive electronics. You might be lucky getting away with a new $100 OEM pressure switch. If you're really having low or erratic oil pressure, I'm surprised the computer doesn't do something about it more drastic than flickering lights on the dash, like put the engine in limp mode or stop it. Else what the heck are all these fancy sensors and computers good for except emptying your wallet for parts guessing and wasting your time chasing windmills? (sorry, didn't mean to get emotional) :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I only found two different kinds of engine oil sensors here:2011 Honda Pilot Engine Sensors, Relays & Switches – CARiD.com and on parts blowups.
One is on the oil pump housing and the other is on one of the head assy for variable valve timing oil pressure. Take your pick. My guess is the one on the oil pump triggers the warning light system and the one up top keeps VCM from engaging if there's insufficient oil pressure to shift the cam actuators.

If you can check the oil pressure when the lights are acting up that should tell you if it's mechanical or not. The only reason I suggested a more permanent monitoring system is because it seems to be an intermittent problem so you could get a false sense of security reading oil pressure when the problem isn't manifest. If you don't want to go through the firewall with a 1/4" line, you could temporarily secure the gauge just in front of the windshield near or on the windshield washer arms where you can see it. Tape or tie locks should be sufficient ... where's it going to go? I'd keep driving speeds down though.

I noticed on the parts blowup that the top sensor on the head is in the $15 neighborhood but the oil pump sensor is over $100. So I'm not sure what you got from eBay or where you installed it. Since I can't find a third kind of engine oil pressure sensor, I'm guessing the third one you're seeing is either not an oil pressure switch but the crankshaft position sensor or something else, or it's part of the transmission or other assembly. I didn't research it further since only two can be bought for the engine.

If the connector is corroded, I'm wondering if water got inside the switch and corroded the internal contacts. From the pressure diaphragm out, I don't know if the switch is waterproof so moisture could have gotten in where the contacts are and corroded them.

Just in case there's a issue with a clogged oil galley or the oil filter bypass is acting weird, I'd change oil and filter and see what happens. Hopefully the oil pump is ok. And so are the expensive electronics. You might be lucky getting away with a new $100 OEM pressure switch. If you're really having low or erratic oil pressure, I'm surprised the computer doesn't do something about it more drastic than flickering lights on the dash, like put the engine in limp mode or stop it. Else what the heck are all these fancy sensors and computers good for except emptying your wallet for parts guessing and wasting your time chasing windmills? (sorry, didn't mean to get emotional) :eek:
I'm not sure why that doesn't show both but there's a sensor Front Passenger and Rear Driver side on top the engine which I replaced with 37240-R70-A04. The one below is definitely different, 3 prongs rather than 2, and my 24mm socket wouldn't fit it like the others.

The OEM sensor was like $200-300 with some aftermarket in the $100 neighborhood and I wasn't ready to spend that much in case it was the oil pump. I'm not sure how much margin there is on these items so I'm not sure if the cheaper costing one is as good but figured I'd start with $15 before spending $100+ and finding out it's the oil pump. I paid $13.64 from "hopeautoparts" which is now listed closer to $34. Oil Pressure Sensor

I put 4.5 oz of Sea Foam in the engine and was going to drive it 100 miles before changing it but now that the light doesn't go away after resetting the codes I haven't driven it. Once I get the oil pressure tester and confirm I've actual pressure I'll take it for a nice ride, perhaps taped to the windshield like you said to make sure it doesn't drop pressure, and then hope the oil change will resolve. If not, at least I know it's just electrical and can start with the semi corroded connector and go from there.

Thanks for your help and time, much appreciated! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I finally got my M10x1.25 adapter and was able to test the oil pressure. It started at about 80 PSI and after warming up dropped down to about 30 PSI. I drove it 5 miles and notice at idle it’s 16 PSI, goes up to 40-50 PSI under moderate throttle, and closer to 80 PSI under full acceleration.

There’s obviously oil pressure but is 16 to low or 80 not high enough?

FWIW - I do have 4oz of Sea Foam in the oil to help break down any sludge and will change the oil once I reach about 100 miles unless I should go longer or less ... figured it was worth mentioning since the pressure may change with new oil.
 

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Well I finally got my M10x1.25 adapter and was able to test the oil pressure. It started at about 80 PSI and after warming up dropped down to about 30 PSI. I drove it 5 miles and notice at idle it’s 16 PSI, goes up to 40-50 PSI under moderate throttle, and closer to 80 PSI under full acceleration.

There’s obviously oil pressure but is 16 to low or 80 not high enough?

FWIW - I do have 4oz of Sea Foam in the oil to help break down any sludge and will change the oil once I reach about 100 miles unless I should go longer or less ... figured it was worth mentioning since the pressure may change with new oil.
If it's steady and the needle isn't jittery, then your pressures are fine. It's not the pump. It's an electrical problem. Check the wiring. A new OEM sensor seems like a reasonable first step assuming you fixed or replaced that corroded connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If it's steady and the needle isn't jittery, then your pressures are fine. It's not the pump. It's an electrical problem. Check the wiring. A new OEM sensor seems like a reasonable first step assuming you fixed or replaced that corroded connector.
The needle is steady when idling. Unfortunately I set the brand new sensor on the lower A arm after removing and drove off with it still there!! SMH. Anyways, I'm going to make a small solution of Vinegar and Salt, fill a ziplock baggy with it, insert the connector, and use a rubber band to hold the baggy to the connector. I'll also do this with the oil pressure sensor. It seems this will eat off any corrosion and bring the connectors back to like-new. Finally, I'll do the same but with water and baking soda to neutralize the acid and then apply dielectric grease. I'll let everybody know how this works out.
 

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The needle is steady when idling. Unfortunately I set the brand new sensor on the lower A arm after removing and drove off with it still there!! SMH. Anyways, I'm going to make a small solution of Vinegar and Salt, fill a ziplock baggy with it, insert the connector, and use a rubber band to hold the baggy to the connector. I'll also do this with the oil pressure sensor. It seems this will eat off any corrosion and bring the connectors back to like-new. Finally, I'll do the same but with water and baking soda to neutralize the acid and then apply dielectric grease. I'll let everybody know how this works out.
Vinegar and salt? Good for fish and chips and killing weeds ... dunno about connectors and sensors although I've seen videos using that combo to clean corroded copper wire. Good luck with it! Let us know how it goes.

Bummer on leaving the new sensor on the car somewhere and driving off. I hate it when I do that. Before keyless entry, I can't tell you how many cups of coffee slid off the roof that I left up there to unlock the door and then drove off.
 
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