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Discussion Starter #1
So I purchased a 99 Solara 5S-FE 5 speed from Florida and drove it home to Texas, no drivability issues whatsoever. The car had the CEL lit (Florida doesn't have emissions testing) and two codes, P0401 and P0446. One seemed related to EGR and the other to the EVAP system.

So after a few weeks of back and forth, trying to fit in working on the car in between home and work life, I tried out a few things, after spending some time in this forum. Here's what I tried, and how I came to the resolution. Forewarning, I'm a dumbass, and also of the camp that discovery itself is fun.

First thing I did was order a new EGR valve. Did this on the way back to Texas, actually, since the owner has had this car for 5 years and it had the code the whole time. Thought about cleaning it but this was caked in hard, all the way into the diaphragm.
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So replaced it, no dice on either of the codes, they remained. I even tested the new EGR by pulling a vacuum on it and the motor cut right out. That ruled out a clog in the pipe, but still, a glaring CEL in my eyes every time I drive her. A second thing I tried was replacing the vacuum modulator.
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Didn't remove the code, but definitely made it run rough. Put the stock one back and returned the part, and moved on. More on this later, though.

After that, changed pace and worked on the P0446 code... Started with the VSV for the Evap system, which was on the driver side of the motor above the tranny. I had issues with the car choking out when pumping fuel while running, someone suggested to try this and if it did it would be this VSV. No longer choked during fuel up, but the code remained. Started to get frustrated here.
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So after a week or so I had other work to do, had to change oil and replace a broken wiper mechanism. $13.49 at the pick n pull, money well spent. The busted one:

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But I digress, I had one more thing to try, and sorry I didn't get a photo, I was covered in grease all the way up to my elbows. I replaced the VSV for the EGR, which took me about 45 minutes and a lot of cursing, arms up between the motor and firewall, around the steering rack where you can't see and can barely feel. Eventually got the new one bolted in place of the old one and connected right up. It was $45 and wasn't gonna bother testing the old part, she just got a new one.

The P0446 code went away. Halfway home.

So the following week I racked my brain on what else could be the issue. Was there actually a clogged EGR pipe still slowing down the gases? The code is vague, says "Efficiency below threshold". Was there a vacuum line I missed? Woke up at 4am one morning... the Vacuum Modulator that made it run rough! It made it run rough since it was actually working... the VSV was stuck open activating the EGR full time. Ordered one right then on Amazon for next day delivery.

1200 miles and the codes are still gone.

Victory.
 

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Nice repair. I have some evap system codes. I replaced cap and inspected rubber lines- clear codes but they still come back. I plan to take it in and have it diagnosed. If a PITA part or work needs to be done Ill have the shop do it. So hard to work on my back nowadays.
 

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Thanks for the photos (those who are familiar with me know I am a fan of photos)! Man, your EGR valve port was totally clogged! Make sure to replace or at least check the PCV valve after all that.

For those reading this thread, if the VSV for the EGR (which is located in Hades on this engine) needs to be replaced, you can simply leave the old one where it is, and remove the connector and evap hoses and simply put the new VSV in a more convenient place (like on the intake manifold, which has a threaded hole that will work, or on the firewall which has a brake line bracket bolt onto which you can put the VSV). I do recommend diagnosing it to make sure it is faulty first before spending the money on a replacement that might not fix the problem.

When you said your P0446 went away after replacing the VSV for the EGR, that doesn't make sense to me. Shouldn't have anything to do with each other (unless I'm wrong?). When you replaced the VSV for evap (that's usually the one that causes P0446 on these cars) did you clear the codes and the P0446 came back, or do you mean the code didn't clear itself? If the latter, I think some time just needed to go by for the code to clear itself and that it wasn't anything to do with the VSV for EGR. Another cause of P0446 is the pigtail connector for the VSV for evap, not the VSV itself. Fixed this once on a '96 Camry 5FSE by discovering one of the connector wires easily slipped out the back of the connector. Replaced that pigtail and the problem was solved.

Glad you figured out it was the modulator.

And you are hardly a "dumba__". You figured out how to fix your car without paying someone. I'd call that smart.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When you said your P0446 went away after replacing the VSV for the EGR, that doesn't make sense to me. Shouldn't have anything to do with each other (unless I'm wrong?). When you replaced the VSV for evap (that's usually the one that causes P0446 on these cars) did you clear the codes and the P0446 came back, or do you mean the code didn't clear itself? If the latter, I think some time just needed to go by for the code to clear itself and that it wasn't anything to do with the VSV for EGR. Another cause of P0446 is the pigtail connector for the VSV for evap, not the VSV itself. Fixed this once on a '96 Camry 5FSE by discovering one of the connector wires easily slipped out the back of the connector. Replaced that pigtail and the problem was solved.

Glad you figured out it was the modulator.
Didn't make sense to me, either. The code returned after replacing the VSV for EVAP, which I admit, was an easy thing to try. My guess is that the ECU picked up on the bad VSV for EGR. Since so much time came in between repairs, there's plenty of opportunity for the codes to come back, so I'd be reasonably sure whatever I did worked or didn't work.

🤷

Thanks for the kind words.
 

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My favored independent shop wants to work on the Camry with the engine cold. His shop is about 9 miles from my house. So the inconvenience and distance to take it there and leave it overnight-or longer- are significant. Plus sales tax is charged on the total of the bill. Working on it at home becomes a better deal all the time.
 

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If the diaphragm is not broken, one should be able to just clean the EGR Valve (search "clean egr valve" on Youtube).

Among the 3 EGR parts, the EGR Valve seems the least likely to require replacement. When removing the EGR Valve, do make sure to soak the vertical bolts for a while first.

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/how-to-remove-egr-valve-pipe.1668100/post-14154438

After checking/cleaning the EGR Valve, one may want to just replace the EGR Vacuum Modulator (because it is so cheap and easy to do; I got Dorman 911-609 from Walmart.com and did store pickup).

Finally replace the VSV for EGR. Get Aisin VST006 and reuse the backing plate.

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/2000-camry-ce-4cyl-vsv-switch-replacement-p0401-code.1667431/post-14146510

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/2000-camry-ce-4cyl-vsv-switch-replacement-p0401-code.1667431/post-14150240
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice, but it's already done, bub. LOL


If the diaphragm is not broken, one should be able to just clean the EGR Valve (search "clean egr valve" on Youtube).

Among the 3 EGR parts, the EGR Valve seems the least likely to require replacement. When removing the EGR Valve, do make sure to soak the vertical bolts for a while first.

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/how-to-remove-egr-valve-pipe.1668100/post-14154438

After checking/cleaning the EGR Valve, one may want to just replace the EGR Vacuum Modulator (because it is so cheap and easy to do; I got Dorman 911-609 from Walmart.com and did store pickup).

Finally replace the VSV for EGR. Get Aisin VST006 and reuse the backing plate.

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/2000-camry-ce-4cyl-vsv-switch-replacement-p0401-code.1667431/post-14146510

https://www.toyotanation.com/threads/2000-camry-ce-4cyl-vsv-switch-replacement-p0401-code.1667431/post-14150240
 

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A question to all: have you ever had a Camry die while driving and these two codes are what's showing?? I was not driving the car, so cannot offer any other information except that it was stated that the car died while driving. I check the EGR already, it works. I also replaced the EGR modulator with a gennie Toyo part, because I have those here. My only guess at this point is that the aftermarket (Chinese) modulator opened and the EGR caused the engine to die. I have naught to support this suspicion.
I am replacing the VSV for the codes, and hoping that was the cause (and the Chinese parts) for the dying issue.

Thanks,
Cosmo
 
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