Entire TDI family named "Worst Foreign Car Engine Of All Time"

TDIMeister

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Probably predictable reactions, but agree/disagree? Comment below.
https://www.thethings.com/ranking-the-best-foreign-car-engines-of-all-time-and-the-worst/ (scroll to bottom of the article if tl;dr)
Taking the top spot of worst engine is the VW diesel engines. Technically there is not much wrong with them mechanically but on the other hand they represent the worst aspect in manufacturing: cutting corners and cost. That and also lying to the whole world and putting peoples health at risk.
 

Powder Hound

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Still whining about dieselgate. Meh - can't move on.

This writer has a hard on for unfathomably expensive high end gas engines, even the ones where the manufacturers lied (virtually all of them depending on your definitions). For example, he's having a wet dream over Honda's S2000 engine. Yeah, for a track maybe, but this is a street car, where a 500rpm wide power band that doesn't start until over 8k rpms is more useless on the street than an elephant with diarrhea.

So, it is unsurprising that VW is castigated for putting peoples health at risk, while all those other 99+% of gasser engines produce more and deadlier soot particles that are skipped because you can't see them as easily. Seriously, check a real article where they'll mention that gasser PMs are worse because they're smaller, penetrate deeper into lungs, and can't be rejected for that very reason.

So: prejudiced and uninformed author. Par, unfortunately.

Cheers,

PH
 

[486]

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So, it is unsurprising that VW is castigated for putting peoples health at risk, while all those other 99+% of gasser engines produce more and deadlier soot particles that are skipped because you can't see them as easily.
lol
test drive an ecoboost ford pickup some time, or any direct injected GM
WOT they smoke worse than any VW diesel, even a stock 1.6 from 1985
 

PD Rig

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Lol. Doubtful that article will get much love here. Hardly a basis for “the worst engine of all time.”.

PH said it very well above2...
The author is severely misinformed.
 

300k_logician

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Nonsense...

7 Best: Ferrari F136 F V8: The world record holder for NA engines, 135hp per liter, arguably the greatest NA V8 ever made and judging by the current emission trend this will most likely be the last of the high revving NA V8 that Ferrari will produce. We can find solace in the fact that its replacement turbo V8 is actually pretty good.
Wait, what was that about people's health?


Also, the EPA'98 (ALH) and EPA'04 (PD) engines were compliant. Dieselgate didn't apply to them, so maybe the author should've been more specific. Generally I'm not a fan (in theory) of piezoelectric HPCR injectors due to their decreased reliability when compared to the electromagnetic solenoid types found in heavy duty engines. But then again, the author of the article didn't specify.


Most people I've spoken to about the rotary engine love it, so we're probably not the only group shaking our heads at this article :)
 

2.2TDI

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One of the worst articles i've ever read... He's basically saying I like this engine because, with no form of actual engineering reason
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I'm not clicking on that link. I've owned a lot of cars, and only one was American. There are some really bad engines out there, including VW's aircooled engines when in a Bus. Not enough airflow, very short life.

I'd argue that the ALH is the best 4 cylinder engine made, perhaps rivaled by Toyota's 2.4L Pickup (and Previa) engine. You want a bad 4 cylinder: GM Ecotec, especially the early ones. And the worst of all time? the Vega 2.3L engine.
 

n1das

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Not clicking on that link either.

OMG!! (LOL) I wish I had known that the entire TDI family was named "Worst Car Engine of All Time" before I put only 361k trouble free miles on an 02 Golf TDI (currently in the hands of its 3rd owner at only 428k miles), 170k miles on an 05 PD JWagen TDI, and 102k trouble free miles on a 2010 JSW TDI. All of my TDIs had performance mods which stressed everything harder because I always drove them like I stole them.

I might have owned several gassers instead of TDIs if I had known that ahead of time. (LOL) :)
 

GlowBugTDI

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[/QUOTE].I'd argue that the ALH is the best 4 cylinder engine made, perhaps rivaled by Toyota's 2.4L Pickup (and Previa) engine. You want a bad 4 cylinder: GM Ecotec, especially the early ones. And the worst of all time? the Vega 2.3L engine.[/QUOTE]

yep! good engines. ive always wanted a older Toyota truck.
 
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turbobrick240

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Are the ecotecs really that bad? A friend of mine has a Saturn Sky with the 2.0l turbo ecotec. With the tune he loaded it makes around 300 hp. I was impressed when I drove it. It does have quite low mileage, hope it holds up for him.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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The early ones vibrated themselves into pieces. And had all kinds of head issues. Like so many things from GM, they got it right, eventually.
 

[486]

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Are the ecotecs really that bad? A friend of mine has a Saturn Sky with the 2.0l turbo ecotec. With the tune he loaded it makes around 300 hp. I was impressed when I drove it. It does have quite low mileage, hope it holds up for him.
if it takes a pf457g it is an okay motor with some timing chain issues if neglected and CCV icing issues if run in the MN climate
anything else and it's junk, especially the newer ones with the 2257s, they have a very VW-inspired CCV system (you know how every gas VW motor has had or will have massive vacuum leaks?), and a cassette coil that is very tricky to remove without breaking
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
The early ones vibrated themselves into pieces. And had all kinds of head issues. Like so many things from GM, they got it right, eventually.

No.... no, they didn't. :p

The later (last of) that engine family, the 2.4L DI engines, are horrific. The worst of the worst. They have a "good will" warranty on them, or a "geez, we're sorry we made such a piece of crap" that will get you a new engine on GM's dime if it fails before 100k (many do).

They burn oil, they blow the crank seals out, the timing chains fall apart, the VVT solenoids fail constantly.

Labcorp replaced their [largely trouble free] fleet of TDI Sportwagons with Equinoxes so cursed with the 2.4L. What a drastic change.
 

kjclow

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If you really like high performance engine tied to a high priced car, then I guess the author is right. The TDI is a turd. In total now, I'm at about 400k miles spread over three different cars. I really haven't had a "bad" engine in anything I've owned since I bought my first car in 82. Sure some were more particular about how they were treated but nothing that required much more than normal maintenance.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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If you really like high performance engine tied to a high priced car, then I guess the author is right.
If he's really damming "all" TDIs, then this isn't true either. There are lots of TDIs that make really great power in very expensive cars, just not in this market. Remember the Q7 with the V12 TDI that made 738 torque?
 

kjclow

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You're right. I was thinking specifically of the 4 cyl TDIs that most of us are driving. I have a frined with a Q7 V6 that he picked up after dieselgate for a song and dance. One of the best cars ever for a salesman.
 

jerryfreak

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I'd argue that the ALH is the best 4 cylinder engine made
it checks all of the boxes on our mantra
Economy - Longevity - Performance


and is stupidly simple to work on


and compatible with B100 biodiesel which inherently reduces PM and CO emissions by 50%, and HC emissions by 70%, all while using 80% lest embodied carbon than petroleum

 
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borninabus

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I'm not clicking on that link. I've owned a lot of cars, and only one was American. There are some really bad engines out there, including VW's aircooled engines when in a Bus. Not enough airflow, very short life.
I'd argue that the ALH is the best 4 cylinder engine made, perhaps rivaled by Toyota's 2.4L Pickup (and Previa) engine. You want a bad 4 cylinder: GM Ecotec, especially the early ones. And the worst of all time? the Vega 2.3L engine.
cutting a little close to the bone for me, there. i would argue that many of the old air cooled boxers suffered from lack of maintenance--not unlike our precious TDIs--especially in buses that were commercial workhorses AND THEN cheap hippie transportation. neither owner segment would be particularly well known for meticulous maintenance practices. all this without getting into the whole "underpowered from the start" thing too.

with a little care and mindful driving habits (sound familiar?), an ACVW engine will perform for many thousands of miles, even in a bus. maybe not by todays standards of 300k+, but the old 36 & 40hp engines were virtually indestructible due to the fact that they just didn't generate that much heat.

in fact, i would argue that the air cooled VW boxer was one of the best engines of all time--not unlike the 22r(e) toyota engine that i think you are referring to. considering that it was essentially a 1930s design that was used (in mexican production beetles) up until 2003, powering over 30 MILLION cars, i'd say it's quite a robust design.

all in good fun, Indigo ;)
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Our family car when I was a kid was always a VW Bus. We had three: a '64, '66 (21 window bus that I'd kill to have today), and a '71. The '64 did OK, but struggled to get over 50 MPH with all 6 of us on board, especially in winter for some reason. The '66 blew its engine at 60K miles. My dad was very careful about maintenance. And the '71 never wanted to idle because of its primitive emissions equipment, but at least it held together. However, I don't think it had more than 80K miles on it when it got rusty enough that the sliding door didn't want to operate any longer.

I also had a bunch of beetles ('57, 64, 67 among them), and those engines were pretty good. But the longevity of modern engines are an order of magnitude better than those air cooled lumps.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Our air-cooled stuff was always pretty good, and the Type 4 powered Transporters actually cruised along just fine at the speed limits of the time. I drove my 1600 '71 Westy all over the country, too. Never went over 65 (this was the "maximum cruising speed" in the manual). It was usually going up mountain passes about the same speed as the semi trucks, but it did it. 3rd gear, NOT floorboarded. And it was almost always loaded...usually three people and all our provisions.

But to be fair, lots of engines were pretty worn out in a relatively short amount of time back then.

I also think a lot of people didn't understand how to not only care for them, but how to properly drive them.

My '79, with its 2000 cc Type 4 and Bosch L-jet, is actually quite peppy around town, and will cruise along at 70 without much trouble. I've driven it many, many times in my younger days to carry my dirt bike on a little trailer to and from Kentucky Lake for riding. It is not a Westy, but had a home made camper interior and of course carrying all my stuff. Fuel for a week of riding, food, camp stove, lanterns, etc. Only downside is that it is sort of thirsty, and does not have all that large of a fuel tank.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I learned to drive on our '66, and drove the '71 a lot when I was in college. And I definitely didn't drive it right. I used to say that cruise control for those cars was a brick. It would hit a governor (or valve float) at 74 MPH, and I tried to get there as much as possible. So I've got some accountability for accelerated engine wear. At that time my mom ran a store and I used to overload it frequently, too. Given all that I guess it didn't do too badly. I do miss having one, but wonder what it would feel like to drive today.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
The '66 would have had a governor on it, little gizmo that lived below the carburetor. When the airflow through the intake got beyond a certain point, the governor would start to shut, thus limiting how fast the engine could spin. The same engine in the Beetle had no such device, and many folks quickly disabled these.

I honestly do not know if the 1600 single port Transporter (1968-70 for us) had one or not. I do not think they did. But they did use a less aggressive advance curve in the distributor. The total advance was less (this was a function of the weights inside). Which is why the Beetle's distributor had a 111 part number, and the Transporter had a 211.

'71s got the dual port engine, and I do not think those had a governor either (I know mine didn't) but they too used a different distributor. All the 1600 Transporters also used a different exhaust that was specifically designed to lower the RPM of the peak output of the engine.

All the Type 4 engine Transporters from the factory had a speed limiter, but it was much simpler: a rotor with a little centrifugal weight that cut the spark at a specified RPM. Of course, the 1700 and 1800 engines, being a 66mm stroke instead of the 1600's 69mm stroke, meant they could spin faster anyway (median piston speed is lower). But the 2.0L version got a longer stroke and they did it at the cost of the rod bearing size.

Of course, as soon as someone saw the (at the time) $50+ price of the speed limiter ignition rotor, they rarely got replaced with one and instead just used the standard $5 one. All the Type 4 engines also benefited from either twin carbs (through '74) or EFI, so they were much better spinning to begin with.

The 1600 dual port engine, and all the Type 4 engines, as fitted to Transporters, also got lower compression dished pistons. Which helped them live longer moving the little bricks around too.
 
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borninabus

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haha, Indigo! i think you found out that the engine was self governed by design. looked @ the tailpipe of an old bus lately? it's literally the size of a quarter!

the governor that OH speaks of ended with the 1500 (1967) but was in use all the way back to the 36hp (1952). imagine driving a bus with 36hp. imagine a situation where it would need a governor....

oh! and i wanted to say that i personally know of 1600 bottom ends that have approached and even surpassed 300k miles!
 
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atc98002

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Nice info oilhammer! I had no idea any VW ever had a limiter of any type. My first experience with VW was when my new bride with her '71 Super Beetle, and her father having a '74 SB. Although I did help a neighbor build a dune buggy around 1969-70 now that I think about it. I've rebuilt many VW engines over the years, but never from a transporter.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Keep in mind, too, that Volkswagen engineers were no fools... they knew what steps needed to be taken to use essentially the same engine in a much larger Transporter as from the Beetle, let alone the Transporter's pretty generous payload. But they also intended for them to either be in-town delivery type situations, or when higher speeds were called for, used on the super smooth and not very hilly Autobahn.

This is why I was happy to finally have access to a similar modern day type of European van: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, with its meager but plenty adequate 2.1L 4 cyl engine. Because I knew that they took steps to keep it happy and healthy moving the great beast about, versus the same basic engine used in an E-class. It is "de"tuned, holds MUCH more oil, and has a much higher capacity cooling system.

Used within its range of capabilities, it is perfectly fine. Sometimes winning the race is not as important as just finishing it. :)
 

pdq import repair

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Beetle and transporter air cooled engines were very well engineered, but no one seemed to give them credit for that. The common remarks likened them to Briggs and scrapiron type design and function, but they were wrong. I have seen many a owner think they could rebuild the engines, add more power with "racing" accessories etc. only to find they couldn't. But done properly they would go a long ways with little trouble.
Today the engines are hard to find built well. There are many cheap ones, but to get a good quality one you are going to spend 3K plus. Parts are so expensive now.
We are trying a different tactic that I have not chronicled here as it is not diesel. We are mounting a 2016 Jetta 1.4 T czta engine in a '74 Beetle with the thought that modern drivetrain and power would benefit the car greatly. Those engines are readily available and quite reasonable in price.
People still love the old Beetle and they are willing to spend money on them, not so much the New Beetle. If we get our swap fleshed out and repeatable I already have customers willing to do the same to their car.
 
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