RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Q: check engine light on code PO773 on 1996 Toyota Camry

Bought the car (my dream car..)2 months ago, 89 thousand miles, one owner, wonderfully maintained, everything checked out etc problems, runs great etc..
2 mornings ago (temp outside 37)after starting car, the check engine light came on and stayed on. took the car to local mechanic who dx'd the code. he then removed the code to see if it would happen again (in case it was a fluke). today after driving 2 miles and turning car off and restarting, the light came on and stayed on.
mechanic says the code means -
1. open or short circuit condition
2. poor electrical connection
3. failed ssv (u?) DSL
something about the solenoid (sp)possibly, transmission?
I called a toyota dealership and they said they'd charge $650.00 and replace the solenoid (sp) in the transmission, wouldn't guarantee that would be the problem and said instead of having that solenoid replaced..just drive it and see if the transmission (as it could be falling apart)is slowly falling apart.
The car has no symptoms at all, I just got rid of a 1986 oldsmobile which through the past years started falling expensively apart (tho was a good car for many many years).
So, what do you recommend I should do? It reminds me of the oldsmobile (horror!!) repairs again.
Get a Repair Estimate
Guaranteed by certified locations nationwide. Learn more
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 1,700 quality certified locations nationwide. Learn more
I have been dealing with this problem ( code P0773 65 thousand miles ) since 11-17-04 ! My car is a 1996 Lexus ES300( Same drive train as Camry ), I've owned since new! Trans. has always operated perfect, and still dose!
The shift solenoid was replaced the first time, A week later check engine on again, returned for warranty, same code, trans shop cleared codes, try again just in case, 2 weeks later again, this time check engine light on BUT NO code stored, cleared again ,1 month later again light on, this time code stored and of course same code,Trans shop at this time replaced complete valve body and ALL the solenoids! Lasted about 1 month, again same code!
Trans shop wants to go thru the whole trans ( rebuild ),
I have purchased myself an OBDII scanner, checked the codes, same code I will erase, any other code I will repair! I have found that some times, check engine light on, I'll scan and my reading will be NO code found system pass ! Sometimes I'll erase the code, start my engine, and before I put my foot on the brake peddle, Bam! check engine light on, same code! After I erase any codes, vehicle is supposed to be driven in order for perimeters to reset! So why a code with vehicle still in park! With check engine light on with code P0773 I have disconnected the battery doing a repair ( for about a hour ) light and code cleared! A week later light back again! Remember this has been going on since 2004, trans works great!
All the wiring and connections have been checked, visual and with an ohm meter!
By the way I have tried the higher octane, same results!
I've replaced the brake light switch, same results!
At this time I will replace the ECM!!!
Will keep you up dated!
Just curious where you are with this issue, I have a 96 Camry (same) 250K and this code just came on tonight, prior to this the car has always been perfect, I do not plan on changing until it dies...
Greetings, So sorry to learn that you are having trouble with the same check engine light code ( P0773 ) as I've
been. Well here goes, I did change the ECM, I bought one from a wrecking yard it cost me a $100.00 bucks, I didn't have mine rebuilt because I didn't trust it. Anyway my,car ran fine,no check engine light, everything was good for about 5 months, THAN code P0773 again !! Trans still operates fine,just like it should.
I am having "all the same issues as before" Other codes that may pop up I repair and erase all codes and keep on driving. I have spoken with other trans shop owners and I've told to change my ECM AGAIN!!
I do plan on doing just that again, but not till next year 2014. I do realize now that this seems to be a problem with these cars that buying a ECM from a wrecking yard ???
Well good luck with your vehicle, I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but if I do find a solution I will
post it. ( Maybe the wrecking yard!!! Ha Ha ! )
The code p0733 in your 1996 Toyota Camry relates to the torque converter lock-up solenoid. It many cases the lock up solenoid is at fault. With a more complete diagnoses it may be possible to confirm the lock-up solenoid is causing your problem. You may be able to put of the repair off for awhile but if your state requires smog inspections your Camry will not pass with the check engine light on. Unfortunately if the solenoid is replaced there is no way to predict how long the transmission (or any other component) will last after that.
I am not sure if this is how i reply to your answer.


Thank you for answering my question. Here is what has transpired since my original post. We took the Camry to a respected transmission shop (not a dealership tho) and they ran a 2 hour diagnostic and said the engine is fine. They did catch the PO773 code and further checked into the transmission and found and replaced the following part that wasn't working.
This is how the repair bill is worded:
Valve Body Solenoid -InLine4-
#2 Solenoid, Shift Solenoid
Transmission Filter Kit
Auto. Transmission Fluid

They said the other solenoids were working properly.
I picked the car up 2 late afternoons ago, check light was off.
The next morning I started the car and drove to work and 9 hours later restarted the car and the ck., engine light came on and stayed on again. I called the transmission shop and was asked to bring the car back the next morning (today), which we did. The car was scanned again and driven by the tech. The tech had said after I called, perhaps they had forgotten to rehook a wire etc. (or thinking..they didn't clear the code?).
They found nothing wrong with the car today. The car has been driven on and off today with the longest time span of sitting approx. 4 hours. The light has not come back on.
Was advised to drive the car over the wkend and let techs. know if any symptoms and/or light coming on/staying off.
My question now (and I'll guess I'll discover this tomorrow morning) the check engine light comes on again (after sitting as before) tomorrow morning...what is the problem then??

Again, thank you for your response (as well as any others...)
It happened again., this morning. Check engine light was off when starting, came back on and remains on after driving for a couple of miles (turned car off for several minutes and restarted). Do you suppose the computer will eventually read this repair has been done and the light will go out or do I keep taking it back to the mechanic?
Thank you.....
change the gas you are useing. if you are useing 87 oct change it to 97 oct for about two tanks and check all vacuum hoses. a pin hole cam make your car run the cheapest things first.those mechanic will say anything to get to your pocket its called greed.i hope this works for you.frank
Exactly right on engine lite came on after a fill up of low octane gas on a trip..The light stayed on but no problems.ran ok ...installed a small bottle of gas line antiifreeze and then read your note and went back and filled up with a higher octane fuel at shell in canada ..ran fo a while and engine lite went out .thanks for info ...It sure worried me ..this was on a 2006 chev uplander ..50 ,000 miles...thanks again from canada...gene
You need to find a better shop ,get the thing fixed and then get your money back from the first shop. If they don't want to give you back your money then tell them you will call the BAR they will give you your money back. People! I read the many questions posted here and i can only say that you are asking questions that CANNOT be answered here. It is imposible to answer. If you take the advise given here you can and will spend WAY more money then you would be takeing your car to a QUALIFIED machanic with the tools needed to repair your car. There is a computer in your car that you cannot begin for figure out by listening to anyone that doesn't have the knowledge or the tools it takes to say or do anything that will help you. Even if they do have the tools and the knowledge with todays cars there is no guess work and every car is unique. You have to be plugged into the D L C in your car before anyone can give you any advice that could posibly help you. These forums are just a waist of time and money. What you need to do is to find a shop that is owned by an older person with lots of certificates on their wall showing what schools they have been to. And when i say older i mean exsperienced.Find someone with Old school knowledge along with the right tools for todays cars that you can trust and your car problems will be solved. Just because some young kid has been to wyotech don't make him a machanic. Be carefull and good luck.
This answer is crap. The code has nothing to do with running rough, pinholes in vacuum lines or fuel octane. It is only the torque converter lockup solenoid. Four possibilities: the solenoid is shorted, the solenoid is open, the wire or connector to the solenoid is open or the ECM is bad (unlikely).

Nothing to do with fuel.
Didn't find what you were looking for?