Question about 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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Bad idle running when cold

My 1998 mazda MX-5 idle runing badly when cold, dissepears when warm. It's one cylider that dont't works normaly.

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  • lindbom Apr 15, 2009

    10500 km

  • lindbom Apr 15, 2009

    by 2500 rpm (cold) it runs smootly, but when drop to idle again, it looses ignition on one cylinder/Lindbom

  • lindbom Apr 15, 2009

    It's the 3-th cylinder from front. It has a spark. Good idea to pull the injector connector-have not done that :-) I did put some injector-cleaner i the gastank, but have not been driven more than 35 km since then. I also have tested the coil pack- no failure there. I have change sparkplugs and ignitions leads./Lindbom

  • lindbom Apr 15, 2009

    Sorry.....105000 km:-). I lifted the ignitionlead on cylinder #3 (and there were a spark between the lead-motor) and there were no change on the bad idle. Then I lifted ignitionlead # 2 and idle became worse. /Lindbom

  • lindbom Apr 20, 2009

    20 april 2009.

    Compression test in psi: Warm motor #1=175, #2=170, #3=160, #4=200.

    Cold motor: #1=175, #2=55, #3=25, #4=180.

    What is this? Big problems? / Lindbom

  • Dave  C
    Dave C May 11, 2010

    If you say it has spark and you have not pulled the injector connector before, how did you determine that # 3 is not firing when it is cold?

    How many kilometers are on this car? Is it really only 10,500 ?


  • Dave  C
    Dave C May 11, 2010

    A couple things; ten thousand kilometers, that's it? Also, you say it's losing ignition, did you confirm no spark in this hole (which one) or did you do something like pull an injector connector and it made no difference so you assume it has no spark?

  • Dave  C
    Dave C May 11, 2010

    How many miles on the engine?

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  • Master
  • 1,050 Answers

The first thing I would do is a compression test, even if you just do that hole, after that, just put a new plug in because you already have the old one out. If you have decent compression (anything over 125psi) and the new spark plug doesn't solve the problem, I would be very suspicious of the injector. When the engine is cold, the fuel must be atomized really well to support combustion. Typically fuel injectors do a great job of this because they spray a fine mist into the port. This is what makes injected engines so nice to start and drive in the cold weather. However, if the injector gets fouled or plugged, it will squirt a thin stream that does not ignite well unless the engine is hot. Sound familiar?

Posted on Apr 15, 2009

  • Dave  C
    Dave C Apr 20, 2009

    Your engine is worn, this is why the idle is bad when it is cold. The rings in cylinder #3 are not sealing as well as they should. #2 is also starting to fade. As the engine warms up, the clearances in the cylinders tighten up a little and also the fuel atomizes better so your idle clears up The only real solution here is to rebuild the engine, you could try running a high concentration of injector cleaner in the fuel for awhile. Sometimes this helps to free up carboned up rings, and then switching to synthetic oil to keep them clean.

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