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Mazda MX-5 Miata Starting and Stalling Problems



  • uselmanuselman Posts: 5
    :) I had the same problem. I had bought the car used and the folks at mazda said it was most likely caused by the sparkplugs. Possibly the previous owner had gotten their plugs changed (where-ever) and apparently it is a good idea to use mazda plugs otherwise you can damage the coil-pack and in my case also a converter which fortunately was still under the manufacturers warranty at the time. I still get my tune-ups done at other places but I stop by mazda first and buy the plugs. After replacing the coil-pack, sparkplug cables, and the converter it was fine. Hopefully in your case it's just the coil-pack.
  • uselmanuselman Posts: 5
    O.K.. I get up this morning for work. The Miata starts perfectly, I drive to work, no problems. I come out at the end of the day and it won't turn over. It has electrical power, it has gas, but out of the blue it just won't turn. Any advice? :sick: :sick: :mad:
  • cwybengacwybenga Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 miata standard and have been having some trouble with the car running only on 2 cylinders. It starts fine cold, but hot starts running on 2 cylinders only. If you pull the second plug wire off and put it back on it corrects the problem. The engine light came on and I have taken it in to the dealership to have a diagnostic done. It shows an error code of low efficiency for the catalytic converter but am taking it in next week to do more tests. All maintenance has been done. Could it be the coil??? This morning I was out and this problem appeared while I was driving which was a first. I was in third gear and all of a sudden it lost 2 cylinders. I pulled over and pulled the plug wire for a second and this fixed the problem.
  • I have a 95 Miata that had a theft deterrent system in it (similar to an alarm system) that had a defective solenoid that acted the same way. Took out the system and the Miata has been perfect since
  • cwybengacwybenga Posts: 4
    My stalling issue is fixed after a heafty bill. Don't mind spending the money as long as it is going to fix the problem. Replaced the ignition wires, pair of coils, and a new gasket. Runs like new.
  • branbuffybranbuffy Posts: 5
    My Miata (41,000 miles) has intermittant starting issues. It simply won't start. There doesn't seem to be a consistancy to it's non-starting issue. It will crank/ turn over -but it just won't start. I have new spark plugs now, but it is still being onary. Any ideas? The crank sensor has been adjusted as well.
    :mad: :confuse:
  • branbuffybranbuffy Posts: 5
    Did you get the problem resolved? if so, how?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As they say, spark or fuel.

    You've replaced the plugs, so next thing to check are the plug wires. I've replaced mine twice already (every 30k). That's most likely.

    Do the 99s have an ignition coil? If so that would be my next guess.

    Beyond that I'd look at the fuel system - filter, fuel pump, etc.
  • branbuffybranbuffy Posts: 5
    My mechanic replaced the plugs and wires and crank sensor. Then I went to drive it home and the check engine light came on. The car started to sputter/ and smell like sulphur. :mad:
    So the car was taken back to the garage (towed) :sick: and the mechanic ordered a new ignition coil saying 'that should fix it". Jeez I seriously hope so. Can an ignition coil really be the problem? Wouldn't sulphur smell lead to the catalytic converter? :confuse:
    I live in a super small town and the closest Mazda dealersip is 3 hours away! I haven't taken that route because I totally trust my mechanic -he's not a swindling type. I just want to know as much as I can. Knowledge is power.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm no expert, but I would be trying the exact same thing, so the mechanic does sound honest.

    Basically you replace things in order of cost, cheapest stuff first.
  • cwybengacwybenga Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 miata that started choking and only running on 2 cyl's. Opened the hood and removed a plug wire and the other 2 cyl's started again. Took the car in because the engine light was on and test after test, changed the coils. Light was still on changed the front o2 sensor, light was still on, changed the back o2 sensor light was still on. My mechanic was stumped, like you I trust my mechanic even though he wasn't from Mazda. He was not convinced that the cat had enough km's on it to need changing since the price from Mazda was 1500.00. Finally had enough and got a cat from Nappa 450.00 and replaced it myself. No light on anymore. After 2500.00 in repairs the car is good as new. I am guessing that when the 2 cylinders crapped out that it put unburned fuel into the cat, causing more problems.
  • branbuffybranbuffy Posts: 5
    Is the cat welded on or clamped on? How hard was it to replace it?
  • branbuffybranbuffy Posts: 5
    Was your Miata within the Emission Warranty of 8 years or 80,000 miles? Given my latest Check Engine code PO420, I luckily will fall into the warranty and get my cat replaced some time this month. Or at least that's what I have been told. :surprise:
  • I have the same problem: The engine starts without a problem, but at the first stop light it stalls when I use the clutch... when the engine is warmed up the problem is gone.

    Fuel filter is already replaced and the ignition is also checked, nothing helped. Ron, do you know what caused the problem?

  • Hi everyone. Without boring you all to death, I have had EVERY single problem with my Mx5 described in this forum. I have had it since new, and probs started at 10,000 kms with the low rev drops/ stalls at intersections and has gone all the way to spluttering and stalling and not restarting for 20-30 mins. Has been at repairers from 1 day to 3 months and until today has NEVER been solved. BUT!!! One word COIL! Let me explain...
    They have TWO coils driving 2 cylinders each. The coils in MX5's/ Miata's begin to fail, not by dying by by DIMMING. (Induction dimminishing intermittantly) As the spark in one coil becomes weaker with it's partner coil, your car Will idle erratically on TWO cylinders. (Engine also 'pinks' as lack of spark uses the compression to finish the explosion, once its at the top of the cylinder movement) The failing one IS producing a spark, but is a little dim orange one not a big blue BANG! The fuel doesn't completely burn and gives the illusion of the Fuel/air ratio been out. (You can smell raw fuel yet normal exhaust at the same time) The computer is constantly trying to adjust the fuel to match the info from the caddy convertor, which is a mixture of 2 correctly burning cylinders and 2 that are filling with raw fuel. Hence- idle up down, purr, choke, stall etc. Then it will not restart as the plugs have drowned in unburned fuel deposits and raw fuel and the spark is too weak to combat this. The failing coils primary resistance is too high from being hot, ie 2.0 ohms + instead of 0.72 to 0.94 ohms to chuck out a good spark, which is why it restarts when it cools down. Then, wherever the weak link in the coil is can suddenly make a good contact again- and away she goes for another year... then suddenly... she won't restart after a short run...(#$%@**#)

    I was fooled doing the 'It's either fuel (theres tons of it) or no spark" tests, as when removed, the plugs WOULD fire when the lead was attached to the plug and the plug earthed on the engine to test. I finally noticed when faulting, 2 cyclinders produced a blue bright spark, and the other 2 produced a dim orange spark. The secondary coils (that the leads plug into) read 12k ohms each as they should so had not been investigated further. I took the coils out completely (easy as- took 2 minutes) and measured the primary coil underneath the housing and got my answer. (finally- $4 grand of repairs that never worked later...)
    The car has not run correctly for 9 years and today, after putting new coils in (20 minute job to change wires over and install) and she goes like a bat out of heck now. DON"T just do one coil... do both.

    Once this is done, check you have the NKG B5 sparks- (Cold plugs) not the NKG B6 (hot type) as they self clean really well. Both are specced by mazda- but are factory fitted with the B5's..Then short a wire between GND and pin 10 in the Diagnostic plug to by pass the ECU and see if it idles at 700-850 revs at full temp. If not, you mixture is out, and the air bypass is the screw under the cap on the throttle. CAREFULLY - Clockwise is richer (lowers the revs) and anti clockwise weakens the mix (increases the revs at idle) You will hear the air start to 'wisk' thru the manifold when you start to get it right....After this, the computer will run your car correctly.
    I chewed the ear of my Mazda dealer / repaired today, and he finally ADMITTED they had known that the coils cause this fault in many many many MX5s and have replaced TONS of them with all the symptoms described in this forum.... but are encouraged to blame the fault on the cars been just old and encourage the owner to purchase a new engine as the fault could be 'Anything' (yeah right). I am being 100% serious that he said this..
    Good luck =)
    Good luck.
  • Thank you very much for post!

    My car is in the garage (again) at the moment, still for that problem. I have already replaced one coil that completely failed, BUT not the other one!

    With some luck I can finally have it fixed.
  • Heii, Excuse me but did you ever find the solution to the problem you had?
    Because people I have the same problem, I have a Mazda mx3, It doesnt start, well sometime it starts and then it dies, I hit on above 2 - 3 Rpm and it dies, I dont know what the problem is, We changed the gas tank and we charged the battery also. But we havent figured out what the problem is.. Can SomeBody help me.
    Thanks. Alrassam ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    As they say, spark or fuel.

    Could be the fuel pump, or a bad fuel filter.

    On the spark side, how old are the spark plugs? My Miata also ate through spark plug wires every 30k miles, that may be the most likely cause if the wires are older. Beyond that check the ignition coil, too.

    I bet it's your spark plug wires.
  • tony125tony125 Posts: 1
    I have a MX-5 California -2001 and, guess what? It starts first thing then, after about twenty mins or so it starts to lose power and stops!! No engine light, no smell?? Have changed the puel filter, crank sensor and also had the coils renewed today and on the way home stoped for about ten minutes then wouldn't start again, after abou a half hour wait it started and got me home- I'm tearing (whats left of) my hair out. I don't know what else to change, I'd like to change the car but if it won't start I can't sell it!!
    Any experts out there please cuz Mechanics don't seem to know whats wrong.!!!!!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It must be heat related.

    How old are the plugs and plug wires?
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