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2008 Kia Sorento with 3.3L V6 Automatic RWD
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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start by saying, I am a decent mechanic. I have never taken on a job that I have not been able to finish/fix. However, this might be the first. My 2008 Kia (3.3L V6) w/ 150,000 miles runs great, starts up just fine, idle's well, no smoke, you name it, it is good except for the CEL.

The CEL came on and has stayed on for the past 10,000 miles. I scanned it and I get the codes: P0016, P0018, P0021. I replaced both Camshaft position sensors and VVTs. While I was at it, I replaced the manifold gasket, valve cover gaskets, and the throttle body gasket. I have done two new oil changes. There was no sludge in the engine when I took off the valve covers. Also cleaned the connectors. I tested them with a multimeter and the connectors were good.

The other problem is when I start the Sorento, I don't hear any noise and watch the RPMs. The engine idles at 1500 then goes down to around 800 rpms as the vehicle warms up. At that point or when I shift into gear, the low pressure oil lamp comes on. I check the oil level religiously. No problems. I have added Lucas Oil Stabilizer. No fix.

Please understand that I have put an additional 10,000 miles on this car since first getting these codes. There has never been any stalling, rough shifting, nor any problems with driving it. I just cannot seem to get rid of this CEL. I have deleted the codes and they always come back. Even removed the battery for a day. I need to fix this in order to get it inspected where I live. The oil lamp floors me. I have no idea. When driving it only comes on when I stop and let the engine idle.

Please, any help will be appreciated.

Vehicle Info

Kia Sorento
Mileage: 150,000 miles
Year: 2008
Engine: 3.3L V6
Accidents: None
Codes Present: P0016, P0018, P0021 and low engine oil pressure light
Oil Changed: @ every ten thousand miles up to 142,000 miles, then again at 150,000 miles.
Oil: Synthetic 5w-30

No problems with rust (live in south US) and no sludge buildup.
 

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I now drive a 2003 S-10 Had an 03 LX 3.5 Sorento
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2,479 Posts
I only ask this because you did not mention it.
Are you using an OEM filter or aftermarket?
Check this list and see if it helps you in the right direction.

P0018 KIA Possible Causes
  • Dirty Oil
  • Low engine oil level
  • Faulty Valve Timing Control (VTC)
  • Valve Timing Control (VTC) harness is open or shorted circuit.
  • Valve Timing Control (VTC) circuit poor electrical connector
  • Incorrect timing
  • Engine mechanical problems
  • Damaged Engine Control Module (ECM)

These two underscored might be a first stop.
 

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2008 Kia Sorento with 3.3L V6 Automatic RWD
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I am using an aftermarket oil filter. ECM will be last place I will check. I believe it to be good. Do not believe Engine mechanical problems exist.

Will check the VTC harnesses. Could also be incorrect timing, however I would believe the the engine would run rough if timing was off.
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L
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11,303 Posts
The oil lamp floors me. I have no idea. When driving it only comes on when I stop and let the engine idle.
Yes, I am using an aftermarket oil filter.
The low oil pressure light is where I would start, and a non-OEM oil filter is risky on some models.

Low oil pressure is a likely cause of the VVT codes, but more importantly a very high risk of destroying the engine.
 
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2008 SORENTO EX
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106 Posts
Are you able to check the oil pressure with a external gauge? To really see if you have low oil pressure or a bad sensor.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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1,100 Posts
Could be a faulty oil pressure sensor...they don't last forever. Most likely your engine / oil pump is just plain worn out. You have a lot of miles on the old gal, and not many more are remaining. Try a 20w50 oil and I'll bet your oil light goes out.
At this many miles have you changed spark plugs? How about O2 sensors? You never did state what your OBD II codes translated into. And, congratulations! You have taken this vehicle to its design limit! At 12 model years old + 150K miles this vehicle does not owe you anything more! It might be time to start looking for a newer vehicle.
 

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2008 Kia Sorento with 3.3L V6 Automatic RWD
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I have read all of the replies so far. Thank you all.

It could be a faulty oil pressure sensor. If it is a faulty oil pressure sensor, would that have anything to do with the codes that are present (P0016, P0018, P0021)? The oil pressure light never throws any other codes.

And yes spark plugs have been replaced recently ~130,000 miles. O2 sensors are good. Once again, I do not think the engine would have made it another 10,000 miles if there was seriously something wrong.

Lastly, can a non-OEM filter really be a problem? I use Wix filters. Also replace O-rings and saturate with oil when installing, just as the repair manual states.
 

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Super Moderator
99 Kia Elan 1.8L
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11,303 Posts
Low oil pressure light and VVT related codes, I'd be trusting the low oil pressure status until it's proven with a gauge.

There's certain Kia models that have a TSB out due it being discovered that many third party oil filters did not meet the manufacturers spec - don't know if your model is one of them.

Depending on how low the oil pressure is below minimum requirement will dictate how long it takes to die.
 
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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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1,100 Posts
I have read all of the replies so far. Thank you all.

It could be a faulty oil pressure sensor. If it is a faulty oil pressure sensor, would that have anything to do with the codes that are present (P0016, P0018, P0021)? The oil pressure light never throws any other codes.

And yes spark plugs have been replaced recently ~130,000 miles. O2 sensors are good. Once again, I do not think the engine would have made it another 10,000 miles if there was seriously something wrong.

Lastly, can a non-OEM filter really be a problem? I use Wix filters. Also replace O-rings and saturate with oil when installing, just as the repair manual states.
Wix filters are one of the finest brands you can buy....but beware, within their own listing of filters for your vehicle they have low buck (quality) and high buck-higher quality. Don't skimp on nickels and dimes when it comes to filters. Always purchase the best you can find!
 

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2008 Kia Sorento with 3.3L V6 Automatic RWD
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Discussion Starter #10
I recently took apart the engine on my 08' Sorento 3.3L to check the timing. After putting everything back together, I am having the problem of my Sorento starting up, running rough (RPMs go from 2000 to 300 and back) for half a minute, and then stalling out. If I push the accelerator right after starting it, I don't notice any change. Also there are no codes showing.

I have done the following:

  • Pulled the fuel pump fuse and turned the ignition on and off repeatedly. Replaced the fuel pump fuse and then primed the car by turning the key to on then off several times. Car starts just fine now like it did before, so fuel is not the issue.
  • Checked for unplugged hoses or leaks in any of the hoses. Cannot find any. Also have the repair manual so I checked diagrams, so no hoses are mismatched.
  • Cleaned out throttle body.
  • Checked all of the wiring and connections. Cannot find anything unplugged.
  • Used the OBD scanner. No codes are present.
The car starts just fine, it's just that it fluctuates in the RPMs and then stalls soon afterwards. I cannot figure it out. Everything points to a vacuum leak or problem with idle air controller/throttle body but no codes are present and those parts are just fine. The car ran just fine before taking everything apart.
 

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I now drive a 2003 S-10 Had an 03 LX 3.5 Sorento
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2,479 Posts
Remove the air cleaner hose down to throttle body.
Have someone start car.
Place you hand over the opening like a choke butterfly. If the engine revs up and smooths out you have a fuel/air problem. Too much air/not enough fuel. Usually a vac leak you can't see.
 
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