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Mazda MX-5 Miata Starting and Stalling Problems



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let's see...spark or fuel, they say.

    The exhaust could also be clogged, I suppose.

    I'm going to ask if you've had the spark plug wires replaced. On my '93 mile I would only get 30k out of those, so I went through 3 sets of wires.
  • There are several other things related to the intake manifold and EGR valve that can cause you some problems... 1) substantial carbon can build up inside the intake manifold. The intake manifold is a 2 piece unit and you only have to remove the top half to access the inside to clean it out... if you open it and see lots of carbon then you need to get that cleaned out because it can clog some of the vacuum lines and cause problems... 2) there is a solenoid on that connects to the EGR valve it will sometimes go out and that causes the EGR code tobe displayed... If they only replace the EGR and not the solenoid then it will run properly for maybe a week and then start having issues again.

    The problems I just described will apply if the car will start and feel very bogged down until you get it up to about 3500 rpms on the highway, at that point it would then feel almost normal... the biggest issues would be at lower rpms.

    If the cat is bad you will have more issues at higher rpms than at lower rpms... haven't had a miata with any cat problems but have had other cars and they would usually work well at very low speeds and sputter and choke as you went faster.

    The horn sounds like an electronics problem or short somewhere.... frankly it sounds like your mechanics don't have a clue and are probably going to fix you to death.
  • Hello There!!! I thought I would try to answer your problem with the solution that I have just found after months, and I mean MONTHS of sitting on the roadside for 10-12 minutes at a time hoping not to be squashed like a little tin can by a huge semi. Lets see, my car had been doing the same jazz as yours in the heat of the summer (seemed fine the winter before??); it would just die and then magically start back 10-20 minutes later. This was happening with only one incident per trip. However, this situation became a regular thing sometimes every few miles til I would just leave my car parked and take my utility truck to work. Alas, I asked around. I had a diagnostic by the local Mazda dealership here; They gave me 4 codes that were making the check engine light come on. However, they didn't seem to think those codes had anything to do with my problem. They actually said they had no idea what it could be and wanted to do some "exploration" at 90 bucks and hour. Not Good!! I found a local mechanic who knows my mom and neighbors from past working experiences in a factory who opened his own shop. I took it to him and he replaced the "Cam Angle Sensor" for a hundred bucks and charged me a hundred to do the labor. So far, and it has been a week, the problem seems to have been resolved. The check engine light was off when I got the car back, but the mechanic told me it may come back on and I may need an "Oxygen Sensor Replacement", so I may ten to that soon as well. I hope this helps you!!! The "Cam Angle Sensor" so I have been told informally controls the pistons some how in the engine. This is why the engine shuts off abruptly.
  • I also had the same problem, and it was the "Cam Angle Sensor" that I replaced. It has worked to date (it has been a week). Hey Paul, I need to replace my convertible top on my 2002 miata, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions??? I will probably not buy a Mazda official replacement, but a great high quality cloth replacement. Any idea on how much labor might be on such an installation if I buy the top online and take it to them. Any particular site or company that sells them that you might recommend??? Any tips?? My glass window has separated from the cloth in the top and it has faded pretty bad.
  • dgr008dgr008 Posts: 6
    Regarding part two of your posting. I replaced my 99's original top with a "Sure-Fit" canvas top for about $900 installed. I thought about buying a top on line and paying for the install but I found that this would void the warranty. I got the best price by having the upholstery shop order the top and install it. Canvas cost about $100 more but I think it looks better, is more flexible in cold weather,is quieter and hold up better in the long run. I also replaced the cloth seats with leather and added seat heaters for a total price of $1,900. I'm very please with the seat heaters this winter!
  • dkisiahdkisiah Posts: 1
    all of a sudden my 94 started to hicup real bad, the tach stopped working and the a/c shut down. this thing is more like bucking. idles fine. my mechanic is stumped. any ideas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited August 2012
    Alternator, maybe?

    I'd turn all the items connected to the accessory belt to see if any of them are frozen.

    Edit: one more thought. When I had the water pump changed (yours could be seized BTW), the mechanic didn't set the timing right.

    Stock setting is 10 degree before top dead center. You can go as far as 14 degrees on 87 octane, about 17 degrees if you use premium.

    They had set the timing at around 4 degrees, well out of spec. You lose LOTS of power that way, mine drove like a dog until I set it back to 14.
  • After driving for about 20 minutes, the engine stopped. I pulled over and restarted the car with no problem.
    2 days later, after driving for 15-20 minutes, I stopped to put air in the tires. The car started with no trouble but shut off after about 2 blocks and would not restart.
    We have now replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump and battery. The engine turns with no trouble but will not fire.
    The fule seems to be getting all the way to engine but no further.
    Is there a problem with the EFI?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They say "spark or fuel".

    If the fuel supply is good, what about the spark?

    Miatas of that vintage eat plug wire sets every 30k miles or so. I owned mine long enough that I had to change them twice.
  • mike2016mike2016 Posts: 1
    edited October 2012
    200,000 miles and no problems until yesterday. Filled up with gas on the way in, no problems. when leaving work it was hard to start for the first time ever, as if it was flooded, took several cranks to get it to fire. The next crank caught and after sputtering it reved up to 2500 and stayed for a minute - as if in a full choke condition and thengradually dropped to idle. Under power was a little choppy, felt like less power at accel, especially under 3000, and a quicker engine decel than normal. Whenever I stopped, rpms dropped 1500, then surged back to 2000, and then back and forth a few times until it finally setted into idle.

    This is a puzzle.

    No check engine light.

    Nothing has been serviced or changed since a plug change a month ago.

    Fuel filter changed last spring.

    I've regularly cleaned and inspected the manifold and the EGR system.

    Replaced O2 sensor about a year or so ago.

    This seems to be a control problem, under certain conditions. At idle, once settled, it runs normally. At highway sppeds it is normal unless you ask for a sudden increase in power - then it wants to lag. When decelorating you can tell it loses power quicker, and less smoothly. I would suspect the fuel pump but that wouldn't explain the hard starting. Any ideas? Thanks for your help !
  • lz4004lz4004 Posts: 37
    Sounds like a bad crank,cam sensor.
  • My MONEY IS ON A BAD CAT!!! 99.9% believe its exhaust related (it runs great at start-up/evening. WHY? The little critters C-O-L-D, Hello?!!! Could be excess Carbon in the Intake manifold--the 99's-Y2Ks were infamous for thath was cured in 2001. Also, check yer CAT. My 91 had a blocked CAT and it would fire up great in the Morning but would choke & sputter when she got heated up. Doesn't sound like a SHORT because the problem is consistant---it doesnt manifest itself in the mornings/at start-up BUT when heated up?!!!
  • Being an old guy the old style of coil used to cause a car to die once the coil got hot. Then it might or might not restart and run rough. If this happens to a split coil engine like the Miata,and most new cars, then the car would run rought, sence it is running on only two cyl. My problem is that my 92 miata that my wife drives will not start. So having read all the post I guess I will go out and buy a edmund book for my car and get a CPS for my car. Thanks for all the posts.
  • cwybengacwybenga Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 miata and 2 years ago had to replace the coils. Was a pricy bill but I haven't had any issues since. At the time I had to do the exhaust as well (don't try to buy aftermarker exhaust) which was another pricy bill but when all was said and done I have had no issues since. Run it winter and summer. Love it.
  • Sorry guys for those who paid so much for the cam sensor especially the installation which is only one screw.That's it!!! A hundred dollars to install a cam sensor is like murder.I installed mine and I am not a mechanic at all. This is the easiest fix in a Miata.
  • My 97 Mazda M had to have a new - and really pricey battery - and now it must be put on a battery charger over night after driving a couple of days. I do not want to go back to the people who installed the battery - I was in a big city, far from home - and I am not sure where to take the car to get it checked out. The car was fine until the battery went bad, never had a problem.

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