Won't start, does start, won't start

Happy New Year to all… new year, new car troubles. Can anyone advise please?

I have a 2004 Euphonic 1.8 which I’ve owned for a year without issue. Deciding not to drive it on salted roads it has been on the drive under a breathable cover since late Autumn. The week before Christmas the roads were salt free and so I decided to take it for a run. It wouldn’t start. The RAC man spent over 2 hours on it and there was hope when it did start but spluttered then cut out after about 3 minutes. It was felt likely it was an ECU issue as the front passenger carpet was damp. I couldn’t get it to a garage as the ones I use closed for the two weeks over Christmas and New Year. Then came lock down 3!

So, today, on a whim, I go out to the car, turn the key and it starts without hesitation. I ran it up to temperature but then discovered it wouldn’t rev above 1500rpm. It would splutter if I tried to rev it higher. It eventually got worse and cut out again.

Am I right thinking it’s the ECU? Any suggestions are appreciated.

May be one of the twinned coil packs.
Does the yellow engine warning light come on?
Before you start chasing the issue with expensive bits I’d get it plugged in & diagnosed.
Fault codes should be on Google.

Just a thought do you have another battery available. I had battery go faulty on me once before not on my mx5 though. I had all manor of problems manifest themselves all quite random it seemed I was sure moisture had got into electrics, the battery was on my replace list as had show signs of getting weak I did test it and it accepted a charge but then the car wouldn’t start and battery seemed to drain quickly, then when charged again the fault light came up on my charger multi-meter showed a healthy 12.6v on the battery I bought a new one from euros’ in a 50% sale but the car returned to normal operating before installing the new one used for approx a month then put in the new battery.

Symptoms sound like a MAF sensor to me.

Thanks for your help everyone - all of the above sound like possibilities to be honest. Having now looked up MAF and coil pack issues, either could be possible. In fact, I’ve also been suspecting the battery was on it’s way out as it seems to go flat quickly in my view.

Regarding the coil pack, yes, the engine warning light does come on - this came on for the first time yesterday as it happens.

I’ve just found the RAC report from 18th December which is as follows:

no start stood for months but started in between.
cranking no start.
removed plugs, suspect oil pressure low in tappets, cranked over with plugs out.
cleaned plugs.
cleared fault code will only read eobd.
engine started and run for 3 mins and cut off.
member went for fuel.
engine started again and run poor increasing revs to clear but cut out again.
added 10 ltrs of fuel.
no start no spark.
cleaned crank sensor, crank sensor case poor.
advised ne wcrank sensor.
removed carpet at nsf footwell.
damp on carpet.
cannot remove shear bolts from ecu cover.
suspect posible ecu fault.
advised rac repairers
member has own repairer but cannot accept until jan as closing for xmas.
members garage advised ecu immobilser issues on this model.
member calling back when garage open in jan for recovery.

Just been to Aldi an hour ago, and whilst wondering down the ‘man toy’ aisle I came across an OBD11 vehicle code reader for £17. Never tried this myself and always take it to the garage for codes to be read, but thought I’d give it a go.

Anyway, just plugged it in and I have one fault code of P1345. A google search tells me this is related to the cam position sensor.

I will research the forum this evening for more info, but before I do, is this something I can do myself? As you can tell, I’m not the most mechanically minded person, but I’m happy to have a go.

Hope this helps…if it is that.
Prices seem to vary wildly.

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Thank… that’s brilliant. As you say - if that’s what it is.