Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Mazda MX-5 Miata Starting and Stalling Problems



  • My 1990 starts great cold, but then after a minute or so runs very roughly(I think rich,but not sure)til fully warm, then runs fine.I have checked and replaced plugs,coils(ouch!),oil pressure,compression, replaced the air flow meter, and checked what I think is the air bleed valve-which has engine coolant circulate thru it-it seems to respond ok to changes in H2O temp...any ideas??
  • Here's my story:
    7 visits, same issues
    The last 2 trips, I bought the parts myself. The mechanic would've scalped me.

    6/15/2008 113815 rough idle
    Catalytic Converter 273.94
    O2 Sensor 427.95
    PCV Valve 16.75
    Valve Cover Gasket 104.47
    Fuel Injector Cleaner 116.5

    8/13/2008 119436 rough idle Unstick Idle Control Valve 74.72
    12/26/2008124293 rough idle Replace Idle Control Valve 554.78
    8/1/2009 133399 rough idle Catalytic Converter 98.79
    9/10/2009 135063 rough idle Fuel Pump 283.49
    Fuel Filter 129.72
    Coolant Temp Sensor 195.75
    Thermstat 122.97
    10/7/2009 136158 rough idle Coil Pack 235
    Wires 33
    Plugs 21

    Total pain - 2688.83

    I'm in for the 7th time today. Just want them to get it right. Hopefully no more money passes hand. All the parts have been replaced, some twice.
    Have they hit the root cause?

    John M
    Anthem, AZ
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The cat and the O2 sensor are downstream, so those were just symptoms. The problem was spark or fuel. Unburned fuel made it downstream and that's probably what clogged up the cat in the first place.

    You can tell by the list they're looking at spark/fuel issues, specifically the ignition coil pack and the fuel filter and pump.

    I'd go one step further and if you haven't already replace the spark plugs and especially the spark plug wires. They last about 30k miles on Miatas. On my 93 I remember changing them twice, and both times it fixed a hesitation issue.

    Try that if you haven't already - and get good quality wires.
  • Hi all,

    My Dad has just got a 2001 plate mx-5 sport and it has not decided not to start, I am a mechanic and i had 2 of my mechanical mates over last night to look at the car. We have gone through the coils, ht leads etc and all seems to be ok. I am aware that the cam position sensor could be at fault and i have not as yet replaced this. The car then decided to start and ran (badly) for about 10 seconds. we then looked in to the fuse box inside the car where we came accross something called the key recognition system. having spent rather a lot of time reading the forums and testing out the car, I suspect that there may be something to do with the immobiliser (if fitted) or this key recognition system could be playing up. We have tried to find fault codes in the engine and also the electrical system, but nothing was coming up. By no means am i disregarding the Spark plugs, Coil units ht leads etc, but if people have already replaced these items and are still having difficulty starting the car, this in my opinion is where you need to look in to. I will keep you posted on how things progress, if they progress.

  • I was driving my car from NJ to MA during a recent rainy night. The car was operating perfectly. I stopped to fill up and drove about 15 miles down the highway and the car stopped. I started it and it went a short distance then stalled. This was repeated several times until I finally was able to get off the road. The car was towed to a repair shop who determined that I needed a crankshaft sensor replaced. They did so and when I returned to the shop and paid them, I drove about 1/4 of a mile and the thing acted just as it had been. I had the car towed to a Mazda dealer who put it on the computer and supposedly tested it in a variety of ways, drove it and could not replicate the problem. I paicked up the car, it ran normally until the next day when it repeated the poor behavior.
    Any ideas? I am afraid to drive the car any real distance. The stalling occurs much less frequently, but it does still occur.
    Since the engine itself doesn't appear to be the cause of the stalling I am assuming it is electrical in some way. Is there a wire that could be shorting out or pinched?
    Help!!! :cry:
  • right, quick update. not much progress on the car itself, but i ahve had my dealer call me and they have had a 2002 model in (2.5) and they found that it was having the same not starting problems as my dad's car has. they had it connected up and again it did not bring up any errors. they then went through the car wire by wire and found that the immobiliser system had packed in. they repaired it and it was fine. i will let you know how i get on.

  • I am single mom, need to know if this sounds right? He can't test the engine because it won't start all the way, it turns over but not all the way. First had an oil change and car started puttering...also had a squealing when I started it off and on... Not sure if related to engine not starting. Pls advise. Ms Session in San Diego.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a 93 as well, for 8 years.

    The squeeling is probably the belts. Annoying, but not likely the cause of the engine not turning over.

    So the engine won't physically turn over all the way? That's beyond what I'm able to trouble shoot. Sounds pretty serious.
  • I was told it was the crank angle sensor that I need to get the car running. My question is does this sound right? I am a single mom/and have only had my Miata a year. Thanks for any ACTUAL ANSWERS. :)
  • Thanks for the answer about the belts though....I think it's my alternator belt.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess I have trouble imagining why a sensor would actively prevent an engine from turning over. You would suspect an obstruction of some sort, i.e. physically.

    Ask also on
  • lz4004lz4004 Posts: 37
    edited June 2010
    This will happen on a 90 degree day after it`s been running. It will start right up again but after sitting a couple of hours in the heat it will crank awhile before starting, smelling gas. The car runs fine with only 44k
  • thimkerthimker Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Mazda Miata LS. Many of the same issues and solution attempts.
    The misfires seem to cause the Catalytic Converter/O2 Sensor damage.
    After multiple Cat Converter/Sensor replacement/repair by the dealer,
    (Remember that the emissions systems are warrantied for 8 yrs/80,000 miles)
    I still have the intermittent misfire, codes, engine light and rough running on two cylinders which clears up after a few miles and then clears the engine code after
    a couple of drive cycles (approx. 25 miles)
    After having done a lot of research and spending lots of money, I have discovered that apparently, Mazda Engineering has known of the 2000 Mazda Miata Faulty Ignition Coil Issue but for some reason, they never issued a recall.
    Perhaps because of the resultant damage to the other systems and thus their financial responsibility.
    The coils are a two part design. Following, you will find a post from AllExperts .com.
    "The ignition coils have been a common problem, they are not easily tested so these results should not be conclusive and the coils should not be ruled out entirely. The fault is intermittent and random misfire is the code that is displayed as they act up. In addition the assembly is made up of two coils they seldom both fail. One fires #1 & #4 the other #2 & #3.

    Another common issue is the crank position magnetic pickup, also a hard to diagnose component since it causes intermittent faults as well.

    These are the most common faults and one of them is likely your problem. The coil replacement should be treated as preventative maintenance, I have seen failures on almost every 1999 and 2000 model Miata I work on. Both are relatively easy to change. The CPS pickup requires a gap to contact adjustment when installed.

    Fuel pumps seldom fail even with limited use unless the fuel was allowed to sour and reduce to resin (2-3 years no use)

    Probability of Failure:
    Coils 9 out of 10
    CPS 5 out of 10
    Fuel Pump 2 out of 10"
  • I have a 1990 miata, was driving down the road yesterday, everything was beautiful never had a problem with my miata..... first time I ever drove with the top up and air on. Air was working perfect.
    The engine just stopped! Never heard a noise of any kind. the car just starting losing speed. I cut the radio off off witch wasn't very loud and the air off very quickly, tried to restart while coasting, but nothing happen. I coasted into a parking lot and tried again.
    It does turn over but sounds like a blender or a sewing machine. Someone told me it was the timing belt, but they wee just guessing, some body please help my baby is sick!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Could very well be because it is not an interference design, so be thankful the valves never hit anything.
  • diversdivers Posts: 2
    edited July 2010
    Hello hope you can help

    First off i bought the car used and it's ran Great for over 6 months no problems at all
    then a few days ago i drove the car to a friends house, i was there about 2 hours
    it was a 25 mile drive up there and when i went to leave the car wouldnt start,

    i called a tow truck and had it towed home, after checking the car out im not getting any spark from the plug wires, i got a computer from autozone it's not reading the car or finding it, the computer works just fine on my other two cars

    but not the mx5, Here is my question when i turn on the key the only lights i get are an airbag and parking brake light, I'm almost 100% positive i used to get a check eng light as well when i would turn on the key and now i'm not.

    will the crankshaft sensor going out cause the car not to get a chk eng light ?

    or does this sound like a bad computer or something else

    all the car will do is crank i have power everwhere else horn lights dash light all that just no spark oh ad yes i am getting fuel
    and i have checked all the fuses inside and out.

    thanks for any help :cry:
  • diversdivers Posts: 2
    update if you turn the key off and on like 100 times the other 2 lights will come on the battery and check eng light so i'm guessing it's a short now somewhere but it still wont start even with them 2 extra lights comming on

    makes no since to me /cry
  • robinlvhrobinlvh Posts: 3
    I have a 2000 miata with only 25,000 miles on it that is doing the same thing; will start with no problems in the morning and in the evening but in the mid afternoon on a hot day it doesn't want to start right away, it will crank over and over before starting and when it finally does it runs very rough like it is going to stall out and the check engine light starts flashing and then remains on. Later on in the day when it cools off I will check it and it starts right up. I bought it used and since I got it, it has spent more time at my mechanics garage then my own. I am so disappointed. I had a 90 and drove it for 8 years with no problems, I loved that car, so when I bought this one I felt confident and expected the same fun and reliability. Have you solved your problem yet and do you have any suggestions.

    Any advise/suggestions :confuse: from anyone, please...
  • robinlvhrobinlvh Posts: 3
    I have a 2000 miata with only 25,000 miles on it that is doing the same thing as post #64 lz4004; will start with no problems in the morning and in the evening but in the mid afternoon on a hot day it doesn't want to start right away, it will crank over and over before starting and when it finally does it runs very rough like it is going to stall out and the check engine light starts flashing and then remains on. Later on in the day when it cools off I will check it and it starts right up. I bought it used and since I got it, it has spent more time at my mechanics garage then my own. I am so disappointed. I had a 90 and drove it for 8 years with no problems, I loved that car, so when I bought this one I felt confident and expected the same fun and reliability. lz4004, Have you solved your problem yet and do you have any suggestions.

    Before I spend more $$$ does anyone have advise/suggestions, please... I have read through most of these posts and the forum at; has anyone reported back that the problem is solved?
  • lz4004lz4004 Posts: 37
    So far this hot summer, this problem has happened only twice. The only differece with yours is my check engine light or others don`t go on and no rough idle, just a raw gasoline smell. I purchased this car new in 99, Everything is still orginal,never had a tuneup, just a battery and oil changes. It`s gararged all year round and driven in summer months 2k a year, mint condition. I won`t do anything until problem gets worse. :sick: :confuse: ">link title<img src="
  • robinlvhrobinlvh Posts: 3
    Thank you lz4004 for your reply.
    Since there is only 25,000 mi on this car the parts were all original until I took it to my mechanic, he changed the plugs (informing me they were original) and changed the ignition wire set. It didn't solve the problem. He seems to think I need to get it on the highway and open it up to burn off any carbon built-up in it from sitting and not being driven very much, but I never get to make it that far with out this problem. I don't know, I will keep searching for answers.

    Again, thank you
  • The last issue ended up being the Coil Packs.

    Next issue 149K
    No power - idles fine, feels like I'm on only one cylinder. Car started to overheat near my house, dont know why. Shut it down, car was towed. Mechanic (30 yrs)has tried the BARO and one other sensor, no luck.
    Waiting for their next move. They said they've tried every test under the sun and the car is tight
    What could it be?
  • jim814jim814 Posts: 1
    I've read the posts and learned quite a lot, thank you all. Our Miata was having many of the problems described so I installed a new coil pack and now it starts right up fine. I thought the problem was solved but when we drove it a while, pulled into a store, came out a few minutes later and it wouldn't start. Just crank, crank, crank. Finally after letting it cool for about 15 minutes, it started. We had earlier replaced the battery and fuel filter, which the mechanic said was clogged. I bought a used CPS sensor on EBay but am not sure how to adjust the gap. The car has an automatic transmission, so with the battery cable disconnected I'm wondering how to turn the engine to the open spot on the CPS. Or anything else about not starting when hot.
  • 1fatdog1fatdog Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
    I have had my 1993 miata 5-speed for one year and noticed that every once in while I try starting it I get no reaction from the starter; no slow turn over, no clicking, nothing. Lights and radio are fine, engine is not siezed. Car has a new starter, new battery and new clutch switch, none of which helped. the car has ran great a few times after these items were replaced, but only when it would start. It does not appear to be temperature or weather related. There are no problems with idle or drop out at speed. Searching for ideas, any help appreciated.
  • lz4004lz4004 Posts: 37
    Sounds like the neutral clutch switch is defective or maybe needs ajusting. Some have a adjustment under the peddle.
  • wayneboywayneboy Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Miata, also. I bought mine about 3 years ago and love it. I was having the same problem you describe. Since it was intermittent my mechanic couldn't diagnose it. When the problem occurred a few weeks ago the check engine light came on while I was cranking the engine and it wouldn't start. I got in to my mechanic the next day and the computer had stored a PO1345 code which indicates a problem with the cam shaft sensor. I replaced that and everything has been fine so far. It's simple to replace, just takes a few minutes. It's located right on the front of the engine. You can buy the part on line for about $75. Good luck.
  • lz4004lz4004 Posts: 37
    I haven`t gotten any check engine light on my 99.The last two summers have been fine
    after finding hard start when hot. It seems the cam senor is a issue on these,but i haven`t replaced it yet. I`ll wait and see this summer how it runs.
    Thanks for the info.
  • harrymaxharrymax Posts: 1
  • miatadanmiatadan Posts: 1
    My car works great if it starts. Used to only be a problem in the winter or if not touched for a few days. A trickle charger has been very helpful. Car clicks and dummy lights go on but car won't turn over. Problem just started now in the summer. Is it my battery, alternator or what? Will take a jump and start instantly. Any thoughts on the problem? Thanks, Dan
  • dsinaydsinay Posts: 1
    Could someone please help me... I have just spent $800 to have the egr valve replaced the control , valve cover gasket ,egr tube cleaned and throttle body service and im still having the same problem. i start the car and it acts like its going to has terrible acceleration,now they want to replace the catalatic converter. do you think that will solve the problem? also the horn keeps going off..
  • 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.

  • cmdvenicecmdvenice Posts: 1
    I had that problem with the car loosing speed, lagging on the highway. Took it to auto zone, they identified the exact spark plug wire that was faulty. They helped me replace and it fixed the problem. $85. cost
Sign In or Register to comment.