Some tips I found out from running a Mazda MX-5 MK3

I bought a Mazda MX-5 Mark3 1.8 a while ago as part of my mid-life crisis, and have found it great fun to drive and very reliable.

So far the only problems I've encountered have been fairly minor.

On morning the car wouldn't start but turned over fine, I could hear the fuel pump and the battery had a good charge. I left it for 8 hours then tried again a few times without success. Turned out it was because I'd used the engine for just a few seconds the day before to move the car a foot. This confused the ECU when I next tried to start it, and I ended up with a flooded engine each time. The fix was to floor the accelerator, switch on the engine, and keep trying until it fired. Apparently if this doesn't work, next thing to try is removing the fuse to the fuel pump and turning the engine for a few seconds before putting the fuse back in and trying again. There is some risk of getting petrol into the catalytic converter with a flooded engine, so take care.

The other problem I had was also self inflicted, I left the oil filler cap off after changing the oil. When I noticed a few hundred miles later the engine was covered in oil, and was smoking when it got hot. I then learnt that running without an filler cap is a fairly common cause of engine fires, so was pleased not to have any serious problem. It took a few hours to clean the oil up, luckily it hadn't spread too far.

For the replacement oil filler cap I was able to get one from a Ford Focus, which uses the same engine (more or less) as the Mazda MX5 Mk3 1.8, a Duratec 18. The filler cap is identical, it looks like the oil filter is also. (The air filter is quite different though.)