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

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Every once in a while I poke around for a Vanagon Westfalia. Given their age and the insane prices people want for good ones, my search doesn't usually go anywhere. For obvious reasons people like to swap TDIs into those vans, but if I could have my pick I'd get an air-cooled one and keep the original engine.
 

JB05

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Location
Il.USA
TDI
Golf,2005,anthracite blue
This thread has some interesting history despite the negative revue of the TDI's. My Golf is my first VW, and I am the original owner, if that tells you anything.
 

kjclow

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Location
Charlotte, NC
TDI
2010 JSW TDI silver and black. 2017 Ram Ecodiesel dark red with brown and beige interior.
Every once in a while I poke around for a Vanagon Westfalia. Given their age and the insane prices people want for good ones, my search doesn't usually go anywhere. For obvious reasons people like to swap TDIs into those vans, but if I could have my pick I'd get an air-cooled one and keep the original engine.
I'm the same way about a square back or fast back. My wife thinks I'm nouts but I'd love a project car like this.

There's a guy close to me that has two beetles for sale. He put the signs on them after the social distancing hit so I haven't stopped to look at them. Bodies are fair but maybe the engines are in good shape. Not sure of years since it looks like he's not been able to find the correct bumpers.
 

pdq import repair

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Location
idaho
TDI
09 Jetta
Old VW's are gold anymore especially the bus in any form. I have been looking for a good deal on a type 3, preferably a fastback, but they don't seem to appear anymore anywhere. I would not put in an air cooler unless it was in really good shape, thinking diesel conversion, or 1.4T.
I did find a type 4 fastback, without title unfortunately, but it is a real restoration project where I would have to make most parts needed. I had planned to do a common rail swap into it, and who knows maybe someday i will.
Till then, Beetles are still findable in good condition if you look hard enough.
 

atc98002

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Location
Auburn WA
TDI
2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium (sold back), 2009 Jetta (sold back), 80 Rabbit diesel (long gone)
Old VW's are gold anymore especially the bus in any form. I have been looking for a good deal on a type 3, preferably a fastback, but they don't seem to appear anymore anywhere. I would not put in an air cooler unless it was in really good shape, thinking diesel conversion, or 1.4T.
I did find a type 4 fastback, without title unfortunately, but it is a real restoration project where I would have to make most parts needed. I had planned to do a common rail swap into it, and who knows maybe someday i will.
Till then, Beetles are still findable in good condition if you look hard enough.
There has been some conversions with the Subaru flat four. water cooling, more power, and I think it can still fit under the engine cover.
 

nayr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Location
Denver, CO
TDI
2014 Audi Q7
my 1975 Westy is coming home in a few weeks for the first time in years, finally gonna start making progress on its ALH swap thanks to the funding provided by my 3.0L TDI settlement.. bought it a decade ago for $1000, fixed up its motor and putted it around for a good while, but up here in Colorado its far too anemic with that original engine.. it cant even keep up with the big rigs on any passes, ive been WOT and barely able to maintain 40mph on i25 with everyone flying by me doing 70mph+.. Tho I did drive it to the top of Pikes Peak so when you take away all the other traffic it can still climb.

an ALH should give it all the power it needs, while being reliable enough I can take it across the country without the thing packed full of spare parts.
 
Last edited:

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Your '75 must be sick. My 1.8L L-jet '75 took us all over the mountains, several times. The one that struggled was my '79 Westy because it had a pedal deficiency.

The '75 is geared a bit lower than the '76+, that I am sure helped. Although later on I swapped in an 091 from a later one, and I am sure I took it through some mountain passes after that.
 

nayr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Location
Denver, CO
TDI
2014 Audi Q7
yeah it was not in the greatest shape, it sat for 15y not running when I got it.. the kid got it from his grandpa who was a bus guy but he didnt know how to keep it in tune.. took it home, timed it and adjusted the valves and it fired right up.. putted around town great for a few years after restoring all the cooling tins, but on the passes someone would invariably cut me off and make me let off throttle, which would undo all my momentum and take forever to regain what was lost.

Eventually it dropped a valve seat, dented a piston.. so I looked into cost of doing a good full rebuild on it and decided to screw that noise, with my high altitude needs thats alot of money to spend on something thats gonna struggle to stay cool and not burn up within 100k, I could do a TDI swap for cheaper.. I've got ALH w/160k in my garage that has fresh timing belt, with the throttle and ECU, the bell housing off an 091 so I can later swap to the stronger gearbox w/same adapter plate.. the big thing stopping me is the body work to fix up the nose and retrofit a radiator into it, thats beyond my abilities so it needed a big pile of cash to get the ball rolling.

Its coming home now so I'mna get it running again, has new heads but still has dented piston I shaved the burrs off of.. just needs to drive its self back and forth to the body shops this summer and once all the body work is out of the way and primered I'll start fitting the engine over the winter hopefully, I'll do at least 10k miles proving the swap is sound before stripping it down, spray it, and then refurbishing everything.
 
Last edited:

borninabus

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Location
Arizona
TDI
B5.5 Passat Wagon
sounds like a fun project, Nayr.

are you familiar with the brazilian made buses? not sure when they went watercooled, but they were made up until 2012. that radiator takes some getting used to, but it's factory. there is a member @ thesamba.com who works for a VW dealer in mexico city and can get all the parts. not cheap and shipped from mexico, not cheap X2. judging by the Audi in your sig, you're the type to do things right. pm if you'd like his contact info.

there is a bunch of info over on that "other site" about conversions done on buses and vanagons too! would love to see you over there :)
 

nayr

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Location
Denver, CO
TDI
2014 Audi Q7
yeah thats the plan, was just going to get the grill cover and use it to hide an abomination hack job behind it, but if someone's helping obtain all the actual original parts I could be persuaded to take that path.. when I specced all this out way back when just getting the grille was gonna be a challenge let alone everything else.. I'll hit yeh up..

My nose needs some work, has quite a bit of rust and the spare tire that was moved to the front put a nice dent/holes in it.. existing plan was to cut out a notch between framerails, box it in.. put a new front windshield in then hide the hack job behind the brazilian radiator cover.. There will also be a 2nd coolant loop going to a smaller radiator infront for an AWIC.. not wanting any of the heat issues that plague other WC swaps with hidden underbody rads and whatnot.. I wanna cruise the country in this thing w/out burning it up, mebe pulling a small trailer so we can pull over and sleep w/out unloading camp gear and making room.. the rear engine mount I fab is going to double as a receiver hitch.

One of the best things going WC is gonna have working heat, gonna put in front and back heat exchangers and a webasto diesel fueled coolant heater for pre-heating and camping, kinda tempted to run a heat exchanger into the sink box and add hot drinking water tap.. but we'll see, space is limited.

The final paint/color scheme will be Tardis themed, so blue/white.
 
Last edited:

quartersaw

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Location
Albany, NY
TDI
2002 Jetta Wagon, '96 B4V,'99 2 door Golf
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.
I had the displeasure of owing a 1989 Dodge Shadow, with the 2.5 4 cyl. engine. You couldn't beat it for oil consumption, and piston slap...
 

quartersaw

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Location
Albany, NY
TDI
2002 Jetta Wagon, '96 B4V,'99 2 door Golf
Your '75 must be sick. My 1.8L L-jet '75 took us all over the mountains, several times. The one that struggled was my '79 Westy because it had a pedal deficiency.

The '75 is geared a bit lower than the '76+, that I am sure helped. Although later on I swapped in an 091 from a later one, and I am sure I took it through some mountain passes after that.
I had both a '75, and '79 Transporter. The '75 was a much better performer on the road, and it was really noticeable when climbing hills. That '79 (Ca.) emissions system choked the daylights out of that vehicle.
Funny, but I miss those air cooled buses. That ship has long sailed, with what people are asking for those cars, these days. My first VeeDub was a '64 Bus, with a 1500 installed. -Could drive it all day, on a 'bucks worth of regular' in 1972!
 

atc98002

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Location
Auburn WA
TDI
2014 Passat TDI SEL Premium (sold back), 2009 Jetta (sold back), 80 Rabbit diesel (long gone)
I think the overall problem with the lead article is that the author lumped all TDIs into the same bucket. We all understand there is a significant difference between models, with the only common factor being the TDI label and that they use diesel fuel. There's no comparison to the latest CR engines that the company used to cheat the EPA tests, and the early models that could still burn almost anything. Huge performance difference between them as well.
 

D. Lynch

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2001
Location
Hazeltown Canada
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI Upsolute
I have fond memories of our Jetta tdi. It was a joy. It surprised many gti's for performance!
It was chipped.
Good car. Thanks VW.
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
That's obviously a 'virtue signalling' author to declare that the tdi was one of the worst. I can think of a whole host of crap engines from the decade that would beat it hands down.

The complaint isn't due to the engine itself, it's due to the nanny statist view that cuz VW lied, that engine is bad...naughty VW. How about taking emissions standards away from bureaucrats who are doing nothing but pushing a particular agenda?

I get so tired of this BS.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
That's obviously a 'virtue signalling' author to declare that the tdi was one of the worst. I can think of a whole host of crap engines from the decade that would beat it hands down.

The complaint isn't due to the engine itself, it's due to the nanny statist view that cuz VW lied, that engine is bad...naughty VW. How about taking emissions standards away from bureaucrats who are doing nothing but pushing a particular agenda?

I get so tired of this BS.
Hear! Hear! The author is an idiot, and should be smacked upside the head with a 1/2 drive breaker bar.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
Obviously the author never had or researched a Ford 6.0 diesel.

Oh, the 6.0 is a quality engine compared to a 6.4. At least the 6.0 can be "bulletproofed". We have two 6.4's at work. One is blown, the other smoking and on its way, less than 75K on either. Dealer maintained. They are truly garbage. We are replacing them with gassers.
 

Bob S.

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Location
Central MD.
TDI
A B4V, some ALHs & BRMs
Oh, the 6.0 is a quality engine compared to a 6.4. At least the 6.0 can be "bulletproofed". We have two 6.4's at work. One is blown, the other smoking and on its way, less than 75K on either. Dealer maintained. They are truly garbage. We are replacing them with gassers.
I feel your pain on the 6.4. From bad to worse. I will never buy another Ford. And the fool author thinks the TDIs are poor engines! I also went gasser, old school, for my truck.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
I feel your pain on the 6.4. From bad to worse. I will never buy another Ford. And the fool author thinks the TDIs are poor engines! I also went gasser, old school, for my truck.

I have no choice, Ford is the corporate approved supplier. So we are going to try the new 7.3 gasser. On paper it looks like a good engine. Thirsty. But I don't buy the gas....
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I did not think the 6.4L was all that troublesome, although I admit I have seen very few of them. Didn't they go away from the HEUI system to conventional commonrail?

I have not seen much of any issues with the 6.7L. Which is actually a Ford engine (the earlier Powerstroke V8s were all Navistar).

I know the 6.4L does have a DPF, that may be why the ones I know of have had no problems... they have been deleted. They sure run good, that's for sure. Pretty sure the one F550 long wheelbase stakebed truck that comes in here could beat many cars in a drag race, and I know for a fact my mildly modded ALH cannot hang with it (I tried) since I saw the guy that drives it moving onto the highway. And it had a load in the bed, too (HVAC company, with the big commercial stuff). But I know it is deleted, because it has some smell/smoke that it did not have before. :p
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
I have no choice, Ford is the corporate approved supplier. So we are going to try the new 7.3 gasser. On paper it looks like a good engine. Thirsty. But I don't buy the gas....
here's to hoping
they can't possibly screw up a pushrod motor as badly as the arrangement of phasers and chains on the modulars
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
The fuel economy of the new gasoline V8 actually does not look *too* terribly awful, considering what it is. The 10 speed slushbox probably helps. Far cry from the old gas V8s, that struggled to get even to double digits. And I am sure the purchase price is WAY cheaper than the current diesels.
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
I did not think the 6.4L was all that troublesome, although I admit I have seen very few of them. Didn't they go away from the HEUI system to conventional commonrail?
I have not seen much of any issues with the 6.7L. Which is actually a Ford engine (the earlier Powerstroke V8s were all Navistar).
I know the 6.4L does have a DPF, that may be why the ones I know of have had no problems... they have been deleted. They sure run good, that's for sure. Pretty sure the one F550 long wheelbase stakebed truck that comes in here could beat many cars in a drag race, and I know for a fact my mildly modded ALH cannot hang with it (I tried) since I saw the guy that drives it moving onto the highway. And it had a load in the bed, too (HVAC company, with the big commercial stuff). But I know it is deleted, because it has some smell/smoke that it did not have before. :p
I work for a company that manages a utility for a NE city. The trucks are bone stock. The 6.4's are constantly in regen mode. They get idled, run hard, repeat, etc. The one that died has two holed pistons, damaged dpf, etc. I'm quite sure if the emissions crap was removed that they would run great. A reman with install was $18K+. Not financially worth it. The 6.7 seems much better, but for the cost of maintenance, and the relatively low miles we run, the gasser will be cheaper in the long run. The remaining 6.4 smokes like a mosquito abatement vehicle. Ford says this is normal?!
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Well, I just bought one of those godawful VW air-coolers today :D. 1600 cc I believe. Bolted into a tube chassis dune buggy. Going to drive it home tomorrow, fingers crossed (just a couple miles away). Living the dream!
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
I work for a company that manages a utility for a NE city. The trucks are bone stock. The 6.4's are constantly in regen mode. They get idled, run hard, repeat, etc. The one that died has two holed pistons, damaged dpf, etc. I'm quite sure if the emissions crap was removed that they would run great. A reman with install was $18K+. Not financially worth it. The 6.7 seems much better, but for the cost of maintenance, and the relatively low miles we run, the gasser will be cheaper in the long run. The remaining 6.4 smokes like a mosquito abatement vehicle. Ford says this is normal?!
general best practice with an emissions diesel is to never idle it, and to run it as hard as possible in order to increase time between regens

even if it means shutting off for the two minutes it takes to make a delivery
turbochargers on these generally all have water cooling on them to deal with the regen temperatures, so that takes care of passive cooling when shut off (the main excuse for idling rather than shutting off other than starter wear)

ETA: notice the delivery trucks: they're all shut off when walking up to the house to drop off a box, it ain't about theft or fuel savings
 

rwthomas1

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Location
Wakefield, RI
TDI
'03 Jetta
general best practice with an emissions diesel is to never idle it, and to run it as hard as possible in order to increase time between regens

even if it means shutting off for the two minutes it takes to make a delivery
turbochargers on these generally all have water cooling on them to deal with the regen temperatures, so that takes care of passive cooling when shut off (the main excuse for idling rather than shutting off other than starter wear)

ETA: notice the delivery trucks: they're all shut off when walking up to the house to drop off a box, it ain't about theft or fuel savings
Yep, I didn't buy them, someone else's idea. And you try telling road crews repairing a water main break, in subzero February temps, not to idle a truck. Heaters running, safety flashers going, inverters cranking..... Gassers are a better fit for sure.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
Yep, I didn't buy them, someone else's idea. And you try telling road crews repairing a water main break, in subzero February temps, not to idle a truck. Heaters running, safety flashers going, inverters cranking..... Gassers are a better fit for sure.
I've often thought a hybrid system would be pretty ideal for diesels in the winter, even if only to provide a way to load them down HARD into a resistive heater while idling
kind of like the coolant glow plugs on an ALH, but instead of a couple hundred watts, figure several kilowatts on a 2l engine, maybe 20kw+ on a 6 liter
The sort of power that you can't really extract from the serpentine belt.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
The vocational trucks DO have mitigation for this sort of thing, but they do not often get spec'd that way, or used that way, unfortunately.

There are different strategies. The most common is what I like to call a 'tactical idle', in which, after a predetermined amount of time, the idle speed automatically increases, and the active control systems' parameters change. There are also some setups that this can be done manually with a switch on the dash, and some that are linked to some external trigger, usually a PTO type input, for instance boom/bucket trucks. Some of those can even stop/start the engine automatically, as needed.

I know the ambulances we service do the tactical idle as soon as the parking brake is set (yeah, remember those? Lots of morons think with an automatic transmission you just jag it in Park and that's that. :rolleyes: ). Once in this mode, the *can* idle indefinitely and not in theory do any harm to the engine or its emissions control systems. And if you stand next to one for a while, you will actually hear the turbo change pitch now and then as it moves its variable vanes and you will also be able to tell that the EGR/throttle plate are moving every so often. Basically, they are able to do things to keep the exhaust system from getting TOO cool.

These strategies of course are supposed to be dovetailed into PM requirements. So that the mileage/time may be overridden by engine run time instead. And ALL the engine manufacturers now have this information stored in the ECU, even if they are not all very good at alerting the operator with a required warning for service (service meaning PM, not service meaning "I AM BROKEN").

Unfortunately, for any of these things to work, everyone along the chain needs to be informed, and they rarely are. From the people that order the equipment, the people that sell them the equipment, the people that operate the equipment, and the people that service the equipment. Granted, this is only part of it. The actual ability of the manufacturer to offer the stuff that works reliably is key, too. And some have struggled with this. Navistar was sued by some EMT/locality for constant trouble with their MaxxForce engines (what the big DT466E evolved into).

Some of this is that the EPA has pushed too hard too quickly and the technology didn't have time to be thoroughly tested and researched, so the actual folks that purchase and operate them get caught with the task of beta testing and that is not right. But if you look at the drastic changes that happened very quickly, it is no wonder. No wonder that Dieselgate happened either. :(
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
I probably use the high idle setting on my 7.3 more than any of the other settings. It doesn't have any of the problematic emissions stuff, but I was warned that they like to wet stack if idled for long periods in cold weather. I also think it warms up much faster and charges the batteries better at high idle. I wonder if there has been any trend back to big block gasser motors in ambulances and such that can't afford to have breakdowns and lots of downtime.
 
Top