P3497 – Cylinder Deactivation System Bank 2

By Bojan Popic (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2023-04-12
Master Mechanical Engineer
CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P3497 Cylinder Deactivation System Bank 2
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Table of Contents

  1. What Does Code P3497 Mean?
  2. Where is the P3497 sensor located?
  3. What are the common causes of code P3497?
  4. Get Help with P3497

What Does Code P3497 Mean?

OBD II fault code P3497 is a manufacturer-specific trouble code whose definition may differ depending on the car maker. But because Honda and Dodge are far more commonly affected by this issue than any other brand, that’s what this article will focus on.

Both Honda and Dodge define the P3497 trouble code as Cylinder Deactivation System Bank 2. This code is set when the PCM detects one or more cylinders failed to shut down or reactivate when they should. The definition also reveals only V6 and V8 engines may be affected by it, as only they have two banks.

Still, remember some car makers might have a different explanation for the P3497 trouble code, meaning this article will not apply to them.

Where is the P3497 sensor located?

Cylinder deactivation is a method used by many car makers, which shuts down one or more cylinders when not much power is needed. This usually happens while driving in slow-moving city traffic or coasting on the highway. The direct consequence of this intervention is reduced fuel consumption and corresponding emissions.

The cylinder is deactivated by the PCM, which cuts out the fuel supply to it and turns off its ignition coil. But on its own, this would cause strong vibrations, similar to when the engine is misfiring. To solve the problem, the intake and outlet valves on affected cylinders will remain shut while it’s deactivated. This traps a certain amount of air inside, which acts as a buffer during the compression phase and reduces vibrations.

While fuel and ignition alternations are achieved purely by adjusting the corresponding electronic signals, shutting down the valves is more complex. To remain closed while the engine is running, these must be physically separated from the camshaft. This is done by a dedicated mechanism inside the cylinder head, operated by highly-pressurized engine oil and controlled by the PCM. When activated, this mechanism pushes the camshaft lobes on the soon-to-be-deactivated cylinders to a side, moving them out of alignment with valve stems.

What are the common causes of code P3497?

The P3497 trouble code is almost exclusively caused by issues with the mechanical assembly inside the cylinder head that shuts down the valve. This mechanism needs high hydraulic pressures, so any engine-oil-related issues might affect its operation.

Incorrect engine oil

Owners found that even using engine oil that doesn’t strictly meet required specifications may seriously offset the cylinder deactivation feature. The same will happen if the engine oil level is low or hasn’t been changed for too long. RAM trucks and Dodge’s muscle cars with V8 HEMI engines are particularly prone to this issue.

Malfunctioning pressure relief valves

A batch of 2013 Honda Pilot SUVs was made with a potentially malfunctioning VCM relief valve, which may get stuck, causing increased oil pressures inside this system. If this happens, the PCM will have difficulties controlling the valve deactivation mechanism. Replacing the spring inside the relief valve – described in the service bulletin 13-055, solves the problem.

Faulty oil pressure switches

Incorrect oil pressure readings are another likely cause of a P3497 trouble code in many V6 Honda cars made between 2008 and 2012. The root of the problem here is a faulty oil pressure switch, which may give false readings. A detailed diagnostic and repair procedure is described in Honda’s service bulletin 13-031.

Software programming error 

Lastly, some of the 2011 Honda Pilot, Odyssey, and Accord cars may have the P3497 trouble code accompanied by increased oil consumption. This could be caused by a programming error, which can be solved by a software update.

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