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Old 03-11-2013, 06:51 PM   #1
agman477
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Default A series p0401 code

I have a 99 sc2 that keeps giving me a code p0401 insufficient air flow. I cleaned my EGR out and started the car to blow out all of the carbon but the code still keeps coming back. Need help

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

DTC P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Flow Insufficient

This may mean the egr valve is faulty, sticking or broken. A broken egr valve simply won't power the stepper motor to move the pintle valve. A faulty one may have something wrong with the feedback position sensor. A sticking one may not allow the pintle valve to slide freely.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

The EGR was replaced about 1000 miles ago so I don't think that's it.

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Old 03-11-2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Parts fail, period. In or out of warranty. Troubleshooting also means more trying another egr valve. Junk yard, new, whatever. Until you try everything, you'll continue running in circles and not find the answer.

I expected my '03 L300's crank sensor to last forever. Failed after 9 years/75k miles. Other L300 owners have theirs last years longer or with higher mileage. The same for my t-stat and one O2 sensor. <80k miles and my L300 is breaking parts...............

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Old 03-11-2013, 10:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Could I use the pop can metal trick between the EGR gasket to test the EGR?

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Old 03-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

I don't think it will work for this error code. The blocking method is for a sticking pintle valve not closing fully, allowing exhaust gases to leak and mix with the intake air to lower idle speed, cause hesitation and/or stall the engine when its supposed to be closed at idle rpm.

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Old 03-11-2013, 10:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Had same issue on my 01 SL2. Same code would come up intermittently for an entire month. I would remove and clean the EGR thoroughly, no code for a few days then it would throw a 401. Replaced it with a new OEM one after the month and no more code. Problem solved. I'm figuring the EGR was too far gone. It was the original one...477K miles!

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

^ I wonder if you got your monies worth with this egr valve lasting only(?) 477k miles.............................. Some people have all the luck.

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

I don't know if this means anything but when I cleaned my EGR and started the car the car didn't go to 4000 rpm like it should when he EGR is out. Could that be a o2 sensor or max air flow sen that would make it run like it had the EGR when the EGR wasn't there?

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

I think you may have found your problem!? Removing the egr valve, leaving it off and starting the engine will cause the engine to rev immediately to its programmed rev limit, 4,500 rpm. Not seeing the engine scream at start up is a clear indication that one of the two ports in the intake manifold is completely blocked.

Remove the egr valve and look. Use a vacuum to help suck out the carbon deposits pried away rather than letting it drop back in.

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

So just take a regular vacuum to the line going to the EGR and suck out the carbon and is there anything else I can do to get the carbon out?

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Can I stick something in the line to help break up the carbon or will that mess something up?

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

When the egr valve is removed there are two ports, one for exhaust gases coming from the exhaust system and the other the intake to feed the exhaust gases into the intake manifold. It should be conspicuous which hole is blocked.

The egr valve opens to allow exhaust gases to mix with fresh intake air and fuel to help lower combustion temperatures for emissions control. The egr valve is closed at idle but opens during acceleration and cruise. If one of the ports on the engine is blocked then a no-flow condition will cause the error code. Poking the blocked hole with a screwdriver or pick, anything small that fits while holding a vacuum nozzle near the hole will allow suctioning the hardened deposits.

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Which hole lets air into the EGR and what whole does the air go into the intake. There is the hole that goes to the pentle and the other one that is below the open hole on the EGR. Which way does the air flow?

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Does this help? Exhaust flows from the pintle valve to the larger hole connected to the intake air system.

Just to be sure; removing the egr valve from the engine and starting up doesn't have the engine rev up immediately? Or do you mean the electrical connector is disconnected and the egr valve is still mounted on the engine and the engine doesn't rev up?
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File Type: jpg egr flow.jpg (11.0 KB, 16 views)

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

I disconnected the connector from the EGR and started it and it ran like it was still plugged in that did concern me. That picture helps me a lot do u think a clothes hanging with the hook bent enough to get in the hole will help break up the carbon build up or is their a way to remove the pipe going to the intake and clean it all out from both sides of the pipe?

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Old 03-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Well, your explanation is better and I have to ask you to ignore post #10. Disconnecting the electrical connector can be misleading in several ways. The one you're thinking about (leaving the egr valve physically connected to the engine) has three implications; a change for the better, no change at all or worse engine running.

To have the engine rev to the programmed rev limit is to remove the egr valve completely off the engine, exposing the two ports on the engine.

If you remove the egr valve, be aware that your engine will most likely rev immediately on start up - don't allow it to run this way for more than a few seconds. We don't own NASCAR engines made to free rev with expensive custom made parts . All we own are reliable daily drivers for commuting.

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

I did this same thing on my 97sl1 when I took out the EGR and had it disconnected from the engine it hit the rev limiter. I don't have the EGR plugged in at all. My question is is can I stick something in the pipe to help break up the stuck carbon or should a vacuum get all of the crap out?

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:15 PM   #19
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

And the EGR is not in the engine it is out and the 2 ports are open.

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:30 PM   #20
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Default Re: A series p0401 code

Ok, with the egr valve off the engine and both ports accessible, use a vacuum nozzle over one port and poke the hole with a wire clothes hanger cut down to around a foot. Bend the coat hanger to make a handle and bend the probe end about 45 degrees with only about a 1/2 inch that's bent. Probe away and see if anything gets dislodged. Then try the other hole the same way with the vacuum nozzle nearby to suck out anything that may be jammed.

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