P1009 is a common Acura made vehicle trouble code. This code indicates the VVT advance control is malfunctioning, leaving the engine timing stuck advanced.
Many Acura MDX’s use something called a VTC actuator to control the camshaft timing of the engine. It works by using oil pressure to hydraulically move the camshaft. This allows the engine to have more power and efficiency across the RPM range.
When P1009 is present, the VTC actuator is not changing the camshaft timing anymore, which leaves the engine with a more aggressive cam profile at lower RPM.
P1009 Symptoms: Acura MDX
- Rough or even choppy idle
- Decreased fuel mileage
- Check engine light
Acura P1009 Causes
- Low/No oil
- Dirty oil
- Wrong oil viscosity
- Clogged VTC Strainer
- BAD VTC actuator
- VTC Oil Control Solenoid
Acura MDX P1009: Diagnosis
P1009 is not the most difficult code to diagnose, since the VTC actuator is not that hard to get to on most MDX’s. We’ll start with the most easy/likely causes and move up the ladder of difficulty.
1. Check the Oil
When diagnosing P1009 always start by checking your MDX’s engine oil level. If it is really low, there may not be enough oil pressure for the VTC actuator to properly function.
Even if the oil level is full, if the oil is super dirty, it can cause the VTC actuator or strainer to clog up and cease functioning properly. There is a strainer screen that stands between the oil supply and VTC actuator. You can change the oil and see if that clears the code. If not, you’ll need to move on to it next.
2. VTC Strainer
The VTC strainer can be moderately challenging to get to. It’s often blocked by engine accessories that are going to need to come off first. Once you get to it, you can check to see how it looks.
Use brake parts cleaner to get any grime off of it. It can be outright replaced as well. If it looks good, you’ll need to move on to the VTC actuator itself.
3. VTC Actuator
Your MDX’s VTC actuator is controlled by a solenoid. Check the wiring going to it. Make sure that it is not frayed, and that the connection isn’t loose.
The VTC actuator itself can get grimed up with oil. If it is, you’ll need to clean it really well. Sometimes, when these go out, you’ll hear a rattling sound on a cold start.
Here’s a great video showing how to clean and test his all yourself. If the actuator doesn’t move after testing it, it’s time to go ahead and replace it.
If your Acura MDX’s oil pressure light happens to be on, P1009 is a symptom of the low oil pressure. Otherwise, it’s a fairly straightforward fix. If there’s anything you’d like to add that could help the next person, pleased leave an article below. Good luck!