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New guy here. So we bought this van from my in-laws a few years ago. Loved it so far. Its been to Florida and back multiple times...all in all, great little van. Until recently.

About a month back, it started hitting us with a P0420... well, there were no other noticeable issues so I pulled the battery connection, reset the computer, and it was gone for a good couple of weeks. Few weeks later its back, but at that point we were in the process of using it to help us get moved so I just ignored it for a few days figuring, eh, I'll reset it once we get settled and if it comes back again I'll look into it.... AND THEN...

Distance from old house to new house = 10 miles. Around trip number 5, I noticed it almost seems like the trans wasn't entirely sure what gear it was supposed to be in. Just odd hesitation and a noticeably harder shift than usual. Checked the fluid (little dark, could probably use a flush and filter, but not burnt and not low). Did the three key turn code pull trick... my old P0420 has brought friends. I'm now showing a P0404, P0138, and P0420. And what I thought was going to be a transmission issue, is really starting to feel like something else, because the engine just has no power. As in if I'm going up a hill, my top speed right now is about 30. The odd thing is, the van ran perfectly without so much as a noticeable decrease in fuel economy, until it didn't. Very sudden onset and VERY obvious that something is amiss. But I'm having a hard time buying that my O2 sensor, catalytic, AND my EGR valve all bit it, simultaneously ... Anyone have any thoughts on anything else I should be looking at?
 

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Here's what I would check or do, in rough order:

1) Exhaust backflow pressure (basically, answer the question: is your catalytic converter plugged? That will result in a major power loss)
2) Check the condition of your spark plugs and wires. If they're loose, or if the spark is too weak, too much raw fuel will make it back to the converter)
3) Remove the EGR valve and tube and clean them with a solvent that is safe for electronics (something similar to carb cleaner, I use B-12 ChemTool for this) and an old toothbrush or pipe cleaners.

4) Clean the throttle body - I use CRC Throttle Body Cleaner and an old toothbrush. Be careful for electrical connections. I had to put a little light machine oil on my butterfly valve after this because it was a bit sticky. Your mileage may vary.

I had similar issues, and for me it was that a loose spark plug resulted in excess unburnt fuel and killed my catalytic converter. My van probably would have run fine if I had just tightened up the loose plug, but the EGR Valve and throttle body were also quite carbon-ed up and I didn't want to be annoyed by the check engine light, so I replaced the catalytic converter and the rear oxygen sensor (which was basically heat-welded into my old catalytic converter) too.

I've had my power back for 20,000 miles or so since then without issues (fingers crossed).

Nate
 
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