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Wondering what that P0741 code on your OBD-II scanner means? You’ve come to the right place. From common causes and symptoms, to exact diagnostic and repair steps, we cover everything you need to know about the “Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Performance”, or the P0741 code.

The Meaning and Cause of the P0741 Code

The code P0741 is a generic OBD-II code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with the OBD-II system. However, even with generic Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), the specific repair steps usually vary from model to model. But more on that later; for now, let’s stick to the basics.

What Does the P0741 Code Stand for?

If you have an OBD-II scanner, you’re able to see the code’s definition, which is either “Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Performance” or “Torque Converter Clutch Stuck Off”. To put it simply, this means that your vehicle’s engine control computer (ECC) has detected a some sort of malfunction in the torque converter clutch control circuit. This happens when the ECC detects a difference between the speed of revolution (RPM) of the torque converter and the transmission input shaft.  As for the “Stuck Off” part of the definition, it just means that the torque clutch control solenoid is jammed in the OFF position, and as a result, is not able to engage the torque converter clutch or lock-up clutch mechanism.

But why does this happen? To answer this question, we first need to talk about the main function of the torque converter clutch. The basic purpose of this part of the vehicle is to provide a solid link between the engine and the transmission so all slippage in the torque converter is eliminated. Among other things, this helps increase engine power delivery to the wheels and improve fuel economy. When properly working, the RPM of the torque converter and the transmission shaft is equal. If the RPM of the torque converter and the RMP of the transmissions input shaft are not equal, the performance of the torque converter clutch circuit is considered faulty. As a result, the P0741 DTC shows up.

The Causes of the P0741 Code May Include:

  • Faulty torque converter
  • Faulty torque converter clutch solenoid
  • Internal electrical fault with the torque clutch circuit solenoid
  • Internal mechanical fault with the torque clutch circuit solenoid
  • Damaged wiring to the torque clutch circuit solenoid
  • Defective valve body
  • Defective transmission control module
  • Hydraulic blockage inside the internal transmission fluid passages
  • Insufficient hydraulic pressure
  • Faulty ETC sensor
  • Damaged transmissions wiring/wiring harness

The Symptoms of the P0741 Code

This DTC can be experienced in a variety of ways – from an illuminated Check Engine Light, to engine stalls and harsh shifting, to no symptoms at all. How your car, and by extension, you the driver, will experience the code P0741 will depend on your vehicle and the severity of the problem. In any case, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Check Engine Light is on
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Transmission slippage under hard acceleration
  • Transmission overheating
  • Harsh shifting
  • Vehicle may stall after driving at high speeds

Diagnosing and Repairing the P0741 Code

When your car’s torque converter clutch circuit performance is not adequate, it’s crucial to pull all the trouble codes from the ECC, as well as the freeze frame data. Often, the P0741 DTC will be accompanied by other similar codes, such as P0740, P0742 and P0743, and it’s important to deal will all of those codes first. For this reason, and also because misdiagnoses are common with the P0741 code, it’s wise to let a professional inspect and repair your vehicle.

  • A mechanic will diagnose the code P0741 by following these steps:
  • Mount the OBD-II scan tool into the DLC port to get all the stored codes. Also note all freeze frame data as this information can help determine in what condition the vehicle was in when the code first showed up.
  • Start inspecting the vehicle thoroughly. Any transmission diagnosis needs to start with an inspection of the transmission fluid, if applicable to the vehicle. Transmission fluid that has a strange/bad color or smell or has large metal flakes and particles in it, indicates a clogged up, worn or damaged transmission. The fluid needs to be in good condition and within the level of manufacturer’s specific recommendation. If necessary, replace the torque converter.
  • Check the transmission’s working pressure. Sometimes, the P0741 code can be a result of low hydraulic pressure, so make sure you follow the manual on the correct procedure for checking the transmission pressure.
  • Check the transmission wiring harness and look for defective or loose connections. If applicable to your vehicle, also check fuses or relays for transmissions. Repair or replace things that need repairing and connect loose connections.
  • Check the internal wiring harness for burned wires. If a short is found, repair the wiring; sometimes the torque converter clutch solenoid itself will have to be replaced.
  • Finally, inspect the wiring to the transmission control unit for damaged wiring and replace or repair things as necessary. Retest the system to ensure a successful repair.

Usually, advanced tools are required for testing of the torque converter clutch solenoid and other components. These tools are very expensive and thorough inspection cannot be done without them. To be sure your vehicle is properly diagnosed and treated, it’s recommended you let a mechanic inspect, repair and test your vehicle.

So, to Recap, the Following Repairs Can Fix the P0741 Code:

  • Replacing the torque converter clutch solenoid
  • Replacing the torque converter lockup solenoid
  • Fixing/replacing damaged wiring to the torque converter clutch solenoid
  • Repairing/replacing the valve body
  • Repairing/replacing damaged wiring to the transmission wiring harness
  • Fixing or replacing ETC sensor
  • Rarely, replacing the transmission itself.

Additional Information About the Code P0741

Although the code P0741 usually doesn’t cause too many drivability issues or present danger to the driver, it’s considered a serious DTC because it can cause significant damage to other internal transmission parts. For this reason, this code should be addressed as soon as you become aware of it.

Because the P0741 code often appears in combination with other DTCs, it’s important to take your time to inspect, test, repair and re-test the vehicle. All wiring, including the one to the transmission wiring harness, as well as the torque converter clutch solenoid wiring harness and transmission control module harness need to be checked thoroughly.

Code Explanations

These links will provide more detailed insights into what code means in your vehicle:

P0303 Code
P0456 Code
P0155 Code
P0430 Code

Be sure to also read our essential guide to the best OBD2 Scanner.

Sources:

  1. P0741 OBD-II Trouble Code – YourMechanic
  2. How to Test a Torque Converter – howstuffworks

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