Stock talk about the Generation 1 and 1.5 Toyota Solara which were produced from 1999 to 2003.

CEL code P0401- EGR Flow Insufficient

CEL code P0401- EGR Flow Insufficient

Postby hari-bhari » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:00 am

Hey guys. My CEL came on in the avalon (I know, I know, this is a solara forum, but hey the engine is the same) while driving yesterday, so I took it to autozone to get the OBDII ran (which they do for free, by the way!!).

The code was P0401 - EGR Flow Insufficient

I ran a search and saw that a few people had this problem in the past. But from reading the threads, I couldn't figure out exactly what to do, so I thought I'd start a new one.

The guy at autozone says that the EGR valve is likely clogged from carbon buildup. The replacement part is a whopping 169.99. He said though, that I could take it off and clean it myself with some carb cleaner, and that might fix it. I was wondering how hard this is, and if anyone had any other opinions on what to do.

I don't know how many of you read my old post about the engine temp fluctuating drastically (normal while driving, very high while idle at a traffic light), but I think that this may be related. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks guys! 8)
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Postby Stock Solara SEV6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:15 am

The problem usually isn't with the valve itself but the passageways directing the exhaust gas back into the motor. The gasses cool when they go back through the intake and the carbon condenses out and builds up in the passageway. I had this problem on another vehicle. You'll need to do another search or determine where the exhaust gas goes back from the EGR valve into the intake and clean out those passages with pipe cleaners and carb spray. The good thing is that the car normally runs just fine with this condition. I am 99.9% sure that your valve is OK. Don't waste the money on that.
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Postby SC V6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:16 am

the EGR system is based under the hood.. its up near the throttle body, and it could be a clogged hose, pinched hose, or possibly one of the tubes running to the exhaust is clogged... there are at least 2 EGR tubes that I can think of... Id start w\ teh hoses
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Postby SC V6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:16 am

I had the code, and if you reset it, it takes 20miles to turn it back on if its not fixed
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Postby SolaraT » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:50 am

http://www.zer0.info/solaraguy/viewtopi ... hlight=egr

Had the same issue bro! Just finished fixing that problem. Tried everything and it came down to replacing and cleaning the entire EGR system.
If you take it to Toytoa they will charge you amost $600.00 for everything.
I saved some money and I purchased and installed the EGR and Modulator but had Toyota install the VSV and clean the ports as it's real hard to reach on my car. Shoot it took two guys at toyota to install that little thing.
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Re: CEL code P0401- EGR Flow Insufficient

Postby SolaraT » Thu Jul 15, 2004 10:11 am

Hey guys. My CEL came on in the avalon (I know, I know, this is a solara forum, but hey the engine is the same) while driving yesterday, so I took it to autozone to get the OBDII ran (which they do for free, by the way!!).

The code was P0401 - EGR Flow Insufficient

The guy at autozone says that the EGR valve is likely clogged from carbon buildup. The replacement part is a whopping 169.99. He said though, that I could take it off and clean it myself with some carb cleaner, and that might fix it. I was wondering how hard this is, and if anyone had any other opinions on what to do.


If your going to replace one part that might fix the problem temporarily but it will come back an haunt you!
If replacing replace everything and have the ports cleaned.
Parts: EGR $160
EGR gaskets $2.50
Modulator for EGR $60ish
VSV $60ish

Don't wast time cleaning the carbon build up on the EGR cause it won't clear up! That residue is STUCK on the walls of the EGR.

If you realy want to do everything you can before replacing the EGR system then do the following in this order...

-Disconect your negative battery terminal
-Check all hoses for clogs/leaks. clean them out with intake cleaner and let dry.
-Take out the EGR and use intake cleaner and a strong toothbrush and clean out the inside. Use a flat head screwdriver to open up the EGR valve and continue spraying while opening and closing the valve and let dry.
-Take the Modulator and open it. There should be a white cotton looking filter in there. Use compressed air to clean it out. Flip it upside down from the way you took it out and close it back up.
-Spray throttle body intake cleaner into the EGR pipe that connects to the engine block. Finish off by spraying all into the throttle body and move the butterfly back and forth while you do so.
-Reassemble everything including the negative terminal. (Wait 30 minutes)
-You will have slight hesitation to start the car from all of the intake cleaner and will notice white smoke out of the tailpipe. (It's ok)
-After 20-50 miles if the light does not come back on your good to go. Stop by Autozone and have them clear the stored code if they have not done so already.
-Keep in mind that this will come back again as the EGR system will need replacement eventualy.
-If all that don't do the trick then take it to Toyota and they will 99.9% say that the entire system will need replacement. It's very unlikly that it is sensor, pcm, or circuit malfunction.

If you need assistance please feel free to drop by my house.

Good Luck!
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Postby Stock Solara SEV6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:19 pm

I still say, clean the ports and you will be fine. I highly doubt the flow is restricted by the EGR valve. Like I said, when the hot gasses get cooled when they enter the intake, the carbon and other contaminates condense out and collect on the cool (relatively) surface. They eventually collect enough to plug off the flow. The EGR valve is usually too hot for this to occur. The key is to clean the ports, all of the other part replacement is unneccessary work being performed at a nice profit. Do it yourself and save $600!
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Postby SilverSolaraV6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:06 pm

What year is your avalon? If it is the style with a position sensor on the top of the egr valve usually just the position sensor goes bad. You can buy it separate from the valve at the dealer for about $50.00 You really need a scan tool to be able to see your position sensor voltage and your exhaust temp sensor reading. There is no reason to throw a bunch of parts at it and hope one fixes it. It would be very rare that egr passages on a 1MZ would plug up.
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Postby SC V6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:07 pm

yeah I had a code similar, and I had a pinched hose on my S\C
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Postby SilverSolaraV6 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:25 pm

If it is the system I am thinking of and the position sensor is bad.... disconnect the battery to clear the code, reconnect the battery and start the car and let it warm up to normal operating temp. Place the car in drive and with one foot on the brake give it a little gas, pay close attention to the engine. Do the rpm's surge just a little bit? You can also just drive around a litte at parking lot speed and look for the surging. If it surges the position sensor has a bad spot and the computer can't control it properly. The surging is from the valve opening and closing improperly. The valve is opened by a vacuum from a vsv that is controlled on a duty cycle by the ecm.
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Postby SolaraT » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:11 pm

Have any of you guys actualy taken out a Toyota EGR or opened up and check the inside of the modulator? The thing has bad carbon build up that is near imposible to remove. It would make perfect comon sence to replace if cleaning the EGR/hoses/ports does not work. There are very small and sensitive parts in the EGR system that one can not clean. Why do a half ass job for a temporary fix if that? IMO

As SilverSolaraV6 mentioned about the postion sensor & VSV... If you want to replace slowly then the pos sensor & VSV is key to replace first if you don't want to do full replacement.

I treat my car with the highest care and look forward to many years of use. Hence why I replaced all and did not mind spending money to care for my car.
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Postby hari-bhari » Thu Jul 15, 2004 6:51 pm

SilverSolaraV6 wrote:If it is the system I am thinking of and the position sensor is bad.... disconnect the battery to clear the code, reconnect the battery and start the car and let it warm up to normal operating temp. Place the car in drive and with one foot on the brake give it a little gas, pay close attention to the engine. Do the rpm's surge just a little bit? You can also just drive around a litte at parking lot speed and look for the surging. If it surges the position sensor has a bad spot and the computer can't control it properly. The surging is from the valve opening and closing improperly. The valve is opened by a vacuum from a vsv that is controlled on a duty cycle by the ecm.


:o whoosh - the sound of all that going wayyyy over my head. the avalon is a 95 by the way. i think im more confused than when i started, cuz i dont know what half this stuff is :cry:
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Postby SolaraT » Fri Jul 16, 2004 3:44 am

Then if that is the case you might as well take it in for service! :D Or if you actualy want to learn then get a Haynes manual for that car and figure it out.
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Postby hari-bhari » Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:31 am

i disconnected the neg terminal on the batt, and let the ecu reset. driven about 25 miles so far, and the CEL hasn't come back on. does this mean im in the clear? I called my mechanic up today and asked him the price for cleaning out the EGR and the ports n what not, and he quoted 140. If i do need to get it done, is this a good price or not?
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Postby SolaraT » Fri Jul 16, 2004 1:29 pm

If it don't come back then don't need to do anything. If it does then cleaning the ports alone will PROBABLY fix it. You take that risk by not replacing everything. Your call.
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