Thank-you for including the year/make/model and engine size as this was critical to my answer. The quad four has a funny ignition system, on top of the motor the is a plate with a couple bolts, remove this. Under the plate there is a ignition coil and module assy. There are also 4 boots the extend down into where the spark plugs lay. Remove each plug and check the condition of them. I would bet they are black from excessive carbon due to lack of detonation in the cylinders. If so I would be also willing to say there is a excellent probability the problem is in one or both of the coils and or the ignition module. If it were mine, I would replace the ignition module, both coil packs, spark plugs and the boots going to the plugs. If you look at the boots, the probably have a yellow-brown appearance at the base of them nearest the plugs. Or if you enjoy taking it a part and putting it back together, start with the module, boots and plugs. It is imperitive you change the oil. Fuel in the oil is getting there from the fuel not being fully ignited in the cylinders and draining into the oil. The fuel acts as a cleaner and washes the oil of the internal parts of the engine preventing lubrication. This will ruin the engine. Obviously change the filter as well. Carbon is a by-product of combustion. Poor combustion will provide more carbon. This is the black that you see. I would expect the check engine light to have come on with this condition. The catalytic converter can be compromised with this condition as unburned fuel can reach the converter and damage it as well. Since the engine is not combusting properly, the lack of power will be present, thus the surging. Be sure to get the correct spark plugs that this motor originally came with. I prefer Autolite or AC Delco regarding the brand. Get a quality brand coil and module such as Standard, Delco or Napa. Stay away from cheap, generic or white box ones. I also do not like any Autozone electrical componenets. IF you are going to fret over cost, then get a used coil/module assy from a junk yard, new plugs and boots. Good luck, post you findings please.
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