I had that problem once. when i got under half a tank of gas in the tank. What i did was i dumped one bottle of gas line deicer in the tank and i have never had it agian. you may have some water in the tank. from condasation or i have a stong feeling i got my water from the gas station. i was using the same station all the time. so i tryed another gas station and so far no more rough idleing which was caused by the water i think and i am getting better fuel milage to. i hope this helps.
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Check engine light flashing means there is a bad misfire , it flashes to tell you your damaging your catalytic converter . You need to have it check , you don't won't to have to replace the catalytic converter . Can cost up to $1,000.00 . Flashing Check Engine Light CarMD
Combining the hot cat converter and the missfire code, I would lean toward a fuel problem. Too lean or pressure too low. If it was an ignition problem the cat would usually not be hot. If the exhaust was stopped up, you would not usually get the multiple missfire issue. Just lack of power. It could be a leaking EGR or other vac problem, and a dirty fuel filter too.
the first thing you need to do is take your van to a autoparts store, and have them read the codes in the computer. this is a free service. a flashing service engine light is a indication of a emergency situation so get there soon. once the codes have been read get back to me and i can probably help you more
Rough idle can be caused by dirt in throttle body or EGR system, but there are many other possibilities. The service engine light indicates the computer has detected a fault. If you can get a free scan at your local parts chain and post the trouble codes to us we can give you more specific repair recommendations.
Try running some fuel injector cleaner through the fuel system and going up on the fuel octane rating. The fuel octane rating for the car is 87, try running the 89 octane for now. As the car get's older, carbon builds in the the cylinder and valves and they may be causing the detonation during the morning drive up the hill. As the engine advances the timing for more power going up the hill, it sounds like it's causing the misfire. A higher octane rating fuel should help this and a clean air filter too. The check engine light is just indicating that there is an issue with the engine and it's compensating the problem. When the light comes on when there is a misfire, the engine's ecm will turn the timing back and will bring the timing back to where it should be at the next start up. If you do mostly city driving at short duration, there will be more carbon build in your engine and changing the oil and filter is a must more then doing long hi-way drives. Good luck and keep me posted, be glad to answer any more questions you may have.
When cleaning your engine, water/degreaser went down the spark plug ports. Try using a air compressor blow gun to remove the moisture from around the spark plugs and boots. The water was causing the engine to misfire on 3 cylinders at first and as the ports started to evaporate the moisture, the less misfiring was occuring. Dry thouroughly and hopefully coils do not have damage to them. Also check to make sure the boot is making good contact with the spark plug.
If your battery starts turns the engine over, it is doing it's job well. It sounds like your engine computer is not liking the cold engine. If it has been a while since a tune up, it would not hurt to go ahead and do it, but if it runs ok after it warms up, I sould not worry about it a whole lot. When the engine is cold, the egr valve and other things that are made to limit polution tend to stick and give the computer bad readings. A serious tune up may fix it, and I think should, but you MAY still be in the same boat! That does not FIX it for you, but should ease your mind on the light.