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Old 02-16-2017, 11:02 AM
CleanIsFast's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Fairfax, VA
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Exclamation Informational: P0741 - Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Performance or Stuck Off

Background: I've seen this code pop up about 5 or 6 times over past 3-4 months. First time I ever saw it was going up a hill (light at the top of the hill), left off the gas to coast to the light prior to braking and it came on. This is the only time it's ever came on for me. I've driven hundreds of miles and the code is not there. On the other hand, my wife drives this vehicle daily (and puts on a lot of miles). Code has appeared a few times for her, but I haven't been in the vehicle to see what she is doing for the code to appear. So, I clear the codes and wait to see if it comes back on. Recently, she'll tell me in the morning the code is back, but in the afternoon it's gone without it being cleared

I've been doing a lot of research and see a ton of different things could be going on. Below will be complication of common symptoms, and possibly what to do. I can not afford to drop $4k+ on a new Transmission/TC, it's just not in the cards. I am hoping it's something simplier that can get me by for the next couple years. I've read that people were able to source reman TC for about $300.

Code: P0741 - Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Performance or Stuck Off

The P0741 fault code could be due to a problem within the lock-up clutch itself or the hydraulic control circuit within the transmission control valve body or the electrical control circuit or solenoid that operates the hydraulic circuit via the valve in the valve body. Additionally, the fault could be as simple as a corroded (or fluid soaked) harness connector plug at the transmission (where the vehicle electrical harness connects to the transmission)

- Check Engine Light will illuminate
- Vehicle will not shift into the highest gear at freeway speed
- Decrease in fuel economy
- In some cases, there may be performance problems, such as dying when coming to a stop after driving on the freeway and/or misfire-like symptoms

Common Problems That Trigger the P0741 Code
- Defective Torque Converter Lockup Solenoid
- Defective Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
- Defective Torque Converter Clutch
- Defective Valve Body
- Dirty transmission fluid that restricts the hydraulic passages
- Battery that may need to be replaced

When the code P0741 is set in the Powertrain Computer, it means that the Powertrain Computer or PCM is seeing greater than a 200 RPM difference between the rotational speed of the Torque Converter and the Transmission Input Shaft. When the Torque Converter Lockup Clutch engages, there should be a 1 to 1 ratio between the Converter RPM and the Input Shaft RPM.

Before the converter locks, you can slightly vary the accelerator and you can see the engine RPM vary slightly, without the vehicle speed changing. Once the converter locks up, if you slightly vary the throttle, the RPM will not change as it does with the converter unlocked.* It will act like a manual transmission.* If you press the throttle a bit more, the converter will unlock and you will see the RPM jump up a couple to a few hundred RPM. The P0741 fault code could be due to a problem within the lock-up clutch itself or the hydraulic control circuit within the transmission control valve body or the electrical control circuit or solenoid that operates the hydraulic circuit via the valve in the valve body.*Additionally, the fault could be as simple as a corroded (or fluid soaked) harness connector plug at the transmission (where the vehicle electrical harness connects to the transmission)

Note: The 4.4i and 4.6is E53s use different torque converters (260mm ‘F38’ & 280mm ‘L51’ respectively). ZF manufactured over 85k 4.4i transmissions but less than 11k transmissions for the 4.6is, so the L51 can be more difficult to source

Diagnosing: a P0741 code, it is important to record the freeze frame information

One should monitor the Converter RPM and compare that to Input Shaft speed RPM at greater than 45 MPH on a smooth, flat surface after the vehicle is warmed up and the fuel system is in a closed loop. Monitor how the Converter Lockup Solenoid responds to an increased amount of throttle. The Lockup Solenoid duty cycle should go to 0 percent when the Throttle Position Sensor is above 40 percent and should return to 100 percent when the throttle is returned back to 15 to 20 percent. The duty cycle should go to 0 percent whenever the throttle is fully released and the vehicle has decelerated below 30 MPH. The Lockup Solenoid duty cycle should go to 0 percent whenever the brake pedal is applied, regardless of speed.

When looking at the Toque Converter RPM versus the Input Shaft RPM, observe if the scan tool data has a Converter Slip Speed PID or Parameter Identification. This can be very helpful in the diagnosis of an intermittent P0741. If the Lockup System is functioning correctly, the Slip Speed value should never be above 50 RPM. Try gently depressing the throttle on a gradual incline above 45 mph. When doing this, the Slip Speed should not increase. If it does and the Lockup Solenoid duty cycle is 100 percent—meaning it is fully applying the converter clutch—then you know you have a slipping Converter Clutch

If the Slip Speed stays steady but the transmission Output Shaft Speed starts to decrease (along with the MPH), then you know that you have an internally slipping transmission, usually caused by worn Clutch Packs or Sprag 1-Way clutches. If the Slip Speed remains very high and the Lockup duty cycle is 100 percent, then it is likely that the Solenoid is defective, because the duty cycle is reporting that the PCM is commanding the Lockup System to apply, but there is no change. Even with worn out Converter Clutches, there is always some kind of Slip Speed reading. It may go very high whenever the throttle is applied, but there should be some kind of a RPM reduction between the Converter Speed and the Input Shaft speed that verifies the Lockup Solenoid and PCM are trying to do their jobs.

So, here’s what you should experience, if you run through a test to see if the converter is locking:

1) Shifter in D – Drive. Starting to move, you will be in 1st gear

2) Note shift to 2nd gear as you accelerate (as each gear is changed, RPM will drop by a few hundred RPM). Note shift to 3rd gear, 4th gear, 5th gear

3) Lighten up on the acceleration to transition to a steady cruise. Watch the RPM. Play with varying the rpm by a couple hundred RPM and note that the RPM changes but the vehicle speed stays fairly constant.

4) Back to steady state running (above 45mph) and note when (if ) the converter locks up and the RPM drops by another 200 to 300 RPM. At this stage, if you slightly vary the throttle (as in step 7) the RPM will not change.

5) Push on the throttle a bit more and the converter will unlock and put you back to step 7. If you push harder on the throttle, the transmission will downshift to 4th gear. If you lighten up, it will shift back to 5th … and then into lock-up. If you can not detect the lock-up, then the clutch is not functioning.

Go-Powertrain (Harrisonburg, VA)
ZFtranspart - Eriksson Industries (CT)
ImportPerformance - (Wayne, NJ)

So as you can see failures in valve body, solenoid, pump, computer, seal or sensors can cause this code to appear...
I hope this helps some people and please correct me if I am wrong in what I read or need to add information.
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Southlake, Texas
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You are probably going to need a new TC at minimum. You can get a rebuilt one or you can still get a new one from BMW. I do have a new one for 4.6is that I special ordered for a client. The vehicle met in an accident and never received the TC change and customer never came back for part. PM if you have an interest.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:31 AM
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You could also do an EDS 4 solenoid swap with one of the other EDS (black cap) solenoids and see if the problem moves with it.

The only way of isolating the culprit, without resorting to blind substitution, is to measure what’s going on. Is your diagnostic kit capable of recording the engine and turbine speeds and the EDS 4 current? That way you can analyse and diagnose the situation properly?

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Old 02-20-2017, 01:56 PM
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Welp mine just threw this code again. Had been driving fine and Saturday night it popped up. Going to do a tranny service hopefully soon, see what that does. The TC is just not locking up, at time it feels like it's hunting for a gear and on the highway it just drops RPM once the gas is let off. I have a feeling will need a new TC or may just say screw it and get a tranny. Found a place in CA that does rebuilds for $2,700. Not what I was planning on.......
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:43 PM
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Make sure you check the harness connector to the transmission as well. Mine would throw bogus codes going through a car wash because of the dirt and grime that made its way into the socket.

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