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1997 Lexus ES300 cel = P0773???

03-13-2011, 11:00 PM
1997 Lexus ES300 153k on the car. The CEL light has been on since the purchase of the vehicle.
P0773 (Shift Solenoid 'E') along with other codes. (no other transmission codes)
The car runs and shifts immaculate, no slips or hard shifts. Though reverse clunks at times. The OD light is NOT on. Drained and changed the black tranny fluid three times already with two new filters (dexron IV fluid).
I've done a lot of research to resolve this problem, but to no avail. Does anyone have any solutions to this problem?
I've heard replacing the shift solenoid itself and resolved the problem, but cannot find step-by-step instructions on how to replace it. I'm assuming dropping the whole valve body itself... ?

My question is.. Will I be doing any damage to the tranny driving with the bad solenoid?

And does anyone have step-by-step instructions on replacing Solenoid 'E'?

Any help is appreciated and thanks!

Brian R.
03-14-2011, 08:28 AM
Send me your e-mail address via pm and I will try to send you a file with the repair manual for A541E transmission. I believe you only have to drop the pan and access the valve body from underneath, but I'm not sure.

Background (from the FAQ thread):
Solenoid E (SL) is the torque converter lock-up solenoid. If the torque converter is a little slow locking up, it will set a P0700 code.

The ECM compares engagement condition of TCC with lock-up schedule in memory to detect MECHANICAL trouble of lock-up solenoid, valve body and torque converter. (The P0773 trouble code is probably from monitoring electical signal to the solenoid. Might be worth checking the electical connection and wiring before you replace the solenoid) A P0700 trouble code is set when TCC lock-up does not occur during appropriate speed, or lock-up does not release at appropriate speed.

There are simple electrical tests to check the solenoid and plunger but the transmission pan must be removed to gain access.
A Toyota service tech can check the system without pan removal with his analyzer.

Keep an eye on the rpms when you are above 50 mph. They should be constant at constant speed, like in a manual transmission since the torque converter is supposed to be locked up above this speed. If the torque converter is not locked, then your mileage will suffer, and your tranny fluid will heat up above normal temperature. If you use synthetic fluid, you will minimize the problems from overheating the fluid. The life of the fluid will be shortened in any case if the torque converter doesn't lock up and you drive at expressway speeds, particularly in hilly country.

03-15-2011, 03:15 PM
Just PMed you my email.

From what I've learned so far, the valve body def. has to come out of the tranny.
That's no problem for me to do, but i'm just trying to decide if it's even worth fixing the tranny or not...

My transmission always had this 'whine' noise while accelerating. I was told by a transmission shop that the sound was normal for these vehicles, but i've never that whine noise in any other camry/lexus before.. Does anyone else have this 'whine' noise?
And do you think it would be even worth replacing a $200 solenoid with the tranny making that whine noise?
Or should I just think about putting a new tranny in?

Brian R.
03-15-2011, 10:08 PM
Sent repair manual. 5 MB, so it may or may not go through....

Fixing the torque converter solenoid may fix the whine, if it is abnormal.

03-16-2011, 03:25 PM
It's greatly appreciated, thanks!

Oh one more question, would you know where I could find a new
solenoid switch besides the stealership? And how much would it cost?

I'm assuming I shouldn't pull out the solenoid from the junk yard, huh?

Brian R.
03-16-2011, 07:48 PM
Best way is to give your VIN to a Lexus/Toyota dealer, get the part number, and search on the internet for that part number. You may need to get a cross-reference to a vendor part number, such as NipponDenso or whoever makes that transmission part.

I did a quick Google search (A541E lock up solenoid) and found a part number 87425A here:

and here:

I won't guarantee that this is the part you need, but it's an interesting start.

Not for nothing, I noticed you can get a transmission from E-bay for $250 (or best offer) + shipping.

Brian R.
03-16-2011, 08:16 PM
I found a '97 ES300 transmission manual - sent to you.

I have a complete manual for your car if you need it.

03-31-2011, 09:24 PM
yeah, i think the tranny is def getting worse.
sometimes it doesn't shift out of 1st until 3k...
and I can't describe it, but it feels like it 'hesitates'
in first gear. it feels like something wants to engage
but can't. all other gears shift normal. the transmission is not slipping.
however, if i accelerate a little faster from a stop, first gear shifts normal.
p0773 is the only tranny code coming up.

i also have 1, 3, 5 cylinder misfire and 02 sensor code.
I don't know if that will have anything to do with it.

I've placed an order for a new lock-up solenoid from
the website link you gave me. hopefully the part comes in by this
weekend. this is going to be an interesting project.

ill keep ya guys posted

04-13-2011, 02:28 PM
So I ended up replacing the lock-up solenoid.
And as expected, the valve body had to be removed
from the transmission. I must say though, it wasn't as difficult
as expected. The most difficult part was scrubbing all the tranny
fluid off my driveway lol.

But other than that, its been two weeks now and P0773 never
came back. Though, the tranny still whines...

Brian R.
04-14-2011, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the update. Good luck.

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