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Old 06-01-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
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Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Hi --

Sorry for this basic question, but I want a bit of knowledge before I head for the mechanic -- you know, so I don't look like a total turnip and can make some intelligent (or at least not clueless) decisions about repair, don't repair, etc. I'm currently in NJ, with another 2,000 miles to drive as I meander back to Austin.

Early Thursday morning, about 15 miles into the day's drive in VA, the little engine symbol lit up, amber and flashing. I pulled over, turned off the engine, checked the owner's manual which wasn't particularly informative (said it might indicate a problem with the emissions system, and to get it looked at when convenient). Hmmm. Started up the engine, and the light was off. (There was half a tank of gas, by the way). I drove about 300 miles with no further issues.

I already have an appointment to have the oil changed at a garage recommended by the friends I'm visiting here. So, I'll tell them about the engine light and have them check into it.

The van a 2006 Ford E350 5.4L V8 with 51,000 miles, which I bought last August at 39,000 miles. This is the first engine light I've seen.

No big deal? Or a potentially big deal?

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:46 AM   #2
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

I know that has happened with my 04 Suburban and it has always been bad gas. I filled up with some gas that I had tested and it turned out to have a high amount of water in it. It made the engine light flash and turn on periodically. Once I was done with the tank of fuel the engine light went away. It also made the engine idle horribly and made the car shutter slightly at times. No ill effects since then and that happened over the winter. It also happened one time previously a few years back but went away with a new tank of gas.

I would suggest you fill up with fresh gas and see if it goes away for good.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:22 AM   #3
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Mechanics can read a code identifying somewhat the problem. However mine was a air leak in the fuel system. The first thing to do is to check/replace your gas cap. If you have the 46 g tank it could be a leak in the filler -to-tank area. Best- RD
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Autozone will read an engine light for free. I'd say blinking and going away is not a big issue. Also check that your gas cap is sealed.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Ditto the Autozone tip. The code (and what it means) is the information you are looking for before talking to anyone that is in the business of charging you money to look at your van.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:56 PM   #6
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

You might look ijto a Scangauge so you can read your own codes. That was the original reason I got one - and now I find the other features so useful that I wouldn't be without it. And you won'tn have to guess if that little light was important.

Mike
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #7
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Flashing = Stop driving

It indicates a misfire.

As to why... could be numerous things.... plugged fuel injector, loose coil connector, loose spark plug boot (under the coil).
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Flashing = Stop driving

It indicates a misfire.

As to why... could be numerous things.... plugged fuel injector, loose coil connector, loose spark plug boot (under the coil).
"Stop driving." Gee, ya'd think that's the sort of thing they could put in the owner's manual!

BTW, on Friday about an hour after the flashing light incident, I pulled into a Ford dealer in MD and asked about the light; they said if the light was amber, it was OK to drive, but if it was red, to stop driving. Again, no mention of colors in the manual. But the operation of the stereo system is explained in great detail...

Thanks, all. Now, slightly armed, I will head to the mechanic tomorrow.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

Weird. my manual makes mention of the flashing. But it's a 2000.

If you pick up a code scanner, and this ever happens again, you can find out which cylinder is misfiring. You can then unplug that fuel injector connector, and it will stop fueling that cylinder. The reason driving with a misfire is bad is because the unburned fuel will burn in the catalytic converter, damaging it.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:04 PM   #10
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Re: Check engine light -- amber and flashing.

The code was "misfire on startup." The mechanic checked everything and found nothing wrong; they then found a TSB for the 2006 which says the computer needs to be reflashed. So tomorrow the van goes to Ford for computer reflashing.

(I'm kicking myself because when I stopped by mid-afternoon, they had the doghouse cover off, and I didn't think to have a look in there.)

Since these are mechanics that my friends have great confidence in, I had them do a thorough look-over of everything, since the only "inspection" it has had since I've owned it was the pre-purchase inspection done at a small town Ford dealer. The report: other than the engine reflash, it's in very good shape -- no ticking time bombs that they could find. I like reports like that!
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