MK3 2.0 Engine problems

Hi all, my father has taken his car for MOT and it has failed on emissions, he has a 2007 MK3 2.0 Roadster, the car is in fairly good condition apart from the emissions. On inspection by a trusted mechanic friend he has been told the engine is damaged and would need a lot of work (its burning oil) and said it has been abused. Now my dad has only had the car just under a year and has only covered 2k in it, as an aging gent he doesn’t thrash it and looks like he’s bought a dud.

Should he replace the engine? fix the engine? or cut his losses and sell it?
Any ideas please

Hello Matthew
Give Paul at Roddisons Motorsport Sheffield S9 1US 0114 244 5300 a call.
Paul will, I am sure, be able to help you decide on the best course of action.

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Sorry to hear about this.

My understanding is that these engines are strong, unless the oil’s allowed to drop below the “max” mark on the dipstick - which can cause bearing failure. However the problem with your Dad’s car is obviously due to something else.

How many miles are recorded on your Dad’s car?

As the car’s in fairly good condition, the best option might be a second-hand engine - unless it’s something relatively simple such as the valve stem seals?

Whereabouts in the country is the car? Hopefully somebody on here may be able to point your Dad towards a local MX-5 specialist for some honest, impartial advice.

Hope that your Dad gets it sorted.

Edit - just seen Keith’s post, a call to Paul Roddison would definitely be beneficial, he’s a nationally renowned MX-5 specialist.

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Oil control rings can get sticky and pass oil. Manifold cat can fail. What aspect of the emissions did it fail on. There are ways and means that rings can be unstuck. I wouldn’t write it off until a specialist has had a look.

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OP I spoke with your dad earlier today and he is calling to see me on Friday to discuss options…iirc the car has done 100k and as I have said many times how it has been serviced before he bought it is key to its future.
The problem here is The car is probably worth £2500 looking at prices on auction sites, to re build properly would probably be expensive and then you need to consider things like do you replace the clutch whilst it’s dismantled??? Either way it’s going to be a £1500 re build…so it’s a hard decision😰
Or do you sell it as needing repairs for £1000 and put the rebuild money to it and maybe a little more and get a newer car…

Decisions decisions…once I see how good or bad the car is I will advise accordingly…for the best interest of the owner.


Thanks Paul, I am gutted for him, he doesn’t have a lot, worked all his life and retired now to get this. I can tell he’s gutted about it, I am just in the process of moving house so I am limited to what I can do to help him money wise as all mine is tied up its his 70th soon too, his car is his only transport so it is important. He said you had been really helpful. Thank you for that.

Thank you all for your input, luckily we live in Sheffield so super close to get to see Paul.

I am watching this thread with interest as I have a similar 2.0ltr engine problem.

The MoT emission failure has come out of the blue and although my engine is very high mileage the indications of failing engine are all missing.

The one possible light is an also reported exhaust leak at the back silencer which are known to be able to influence the MoT readings…

Please keep the post updated with the findings as it may help others find a solution.

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I bought a 2006 NC 2.0 in early 2019, it ran well but used lots of oil and occasionally blue smoke could be seen from the exhaust. I took the engine to Scholar (a local and highly regarded Ford engineering shop). They found that the piston rings on all the cylinders had lost tension and were allowing oil up and compression down into the sump. Interestingly, there was no sign of wear in the engine, so after a thorough degrease and clean, they rebuilt the engine with new rings and shells.

The result is an engine which has used no oil over the last 3k miles, runs like a sewing machine and makes legal emissions on the MOT and pulls strongly all the way to the red line. We effectively had a 100k, brand new engine.

We took it to Cadwell for a track day just before the lockdown where it performed flawlessly.

It’s going to Snetterton in 3 weeks for another track day.

We were lucky to have Scholar close at hand and to have the facilities to take the engine out and re-install it, ourselves.

Safe to presume the vehicle in question had long fallen out of the Dealer digital service records? More likely than not. Or, there may be something to track. Not that it fixes the car.

Bit new to the world of MX 5 (1 Day) I remember our works mechanic used to get engines hot, take the plugs out, pour REDEX in each cylinder, enough to cover the piston crown, leave over night, spin the motor over to expel the surplus REDEX (a bit messy), refit the plugs then take the car for a ‘brisk’ run. This was really good at un gumming rings. Its a cheap exercise and may work.

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Just to update you all, the car was taken to Roddisons (we are luckily enough Sheffield based) and Paul is going to take it in and get it sorted. At least then he will have a decent car with a reliable engine.


Thanks for the update Mattbell1975

Just a thought, I don’t know about the later cars but one way to get a bit of extra power is to advance the ignition timing from 10 deg. BTDC to 14 deg BTDC. I have been running a Mk.1 1.6 NA like this for 5 years. The only thing is that when you take it for MOT it will fail on emissions unless you retard the ignition timing back to standard. This may or may not be the case with your dad’s Mk 3 but if it is and the previous owner had advanced the timing it might be worth setting it back to standard.

I know what you’re talking about, did it with my Mk1. The Mk3 is a completely different animal.

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Hello Matt
What was the car’s outcome after the visit to Roddisons?

Hi, the car is currently at Roddisons being fixed, im not 100% what the problem was, im sure once diagnosed it will be put on here

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Good evening all, an update if you are interested.

My father has the car back, fantastic work from Paul and his team at Roddisons.
Diagnosis, well the engine required an rebuild, a new liner in number 3 and various other things including a new clutch, a service with levels topped up and a new MOT which passed the emissions test.

He’s been out for a run today, pulls and drives like a dream, he is really pleased with the outcome and Paul comes highly recommended. With his car which is in really good condition (less for the engine problem) it was worth doing. Hat off to you Paul, i’ll be down in my Recaro once I’ve moved house!


Hello Matt
Great news!!
Do make sure your Dad keeps the oil level at or slightly above the high oil point.
Another very satisfied Roddisons customer.
Happy Days

Great news. So glad that Roddisons were able to make your Dad happy !