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

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....
There are some GM ambulances running gasoline engines, yes. Ford for a long time refused to build any E or F series with gasoline engines for ambulance prep, due to fires, but have changed this stance in recent years. Lots of gasser Transits running around in ambulance trim. But the F-truck based ones all are still diesels from what I have seen. All the Sprinters are diesels.
 

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.
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.
From a tv blurb the other day, Charlotte has a lot of issues with the Navistar engines and as such have about half a dozen extra ambulances sitting throughout the city to pick up when one of the others goes down. I don't remember them specifying if the new vehicles were diesel or gas.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
From a tv blurb the other day, Charlotte has a lot of issues with the Navistar engines and as such have about half a dozen extra ambulances sitting throughout the city to pick up when one of the others goes down. I don't remember them specifying if the new vehicles were diesel or gas.
Ugh. Unreliability is the worst possible quality in an emergency vehicle. My newly acquired dune buggy is proving to be less than rock solid reliable as well. The B6 engine code indicates it's a 1970 1600cc single port 57 hp. Tried driving it home and it bogged out about a mile down the road. Pretty sure it's a fuel issue, though much of the wiring is pretty crumbly looking. And the coil appears to be an antique. Oh well, at least I enjoy tinkering.
 

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....
Having cut my teeth on, and still mess with, the air-cooled cars as well as having bought/resurrected/sold a LOT of basket case rail buggies, etc. I can tell you two things I have learned:

They are super, super simple (a good thing).

They are quite often neglected (a bad thing).

In the case of the buggies, it usually goes like this:

Some guy decides to build one, he blows his whole wad on the frame. Slaps a bunch of used and questionable bits on it, has " a buddy" help him wire it up (never mind this same buddy's mobile home burnt down the year before after he installed a light switch), then they take it "wheelin'" and tear the living crap out of it unmerciful.

It breaks. Then it sits. And sits. And sits. Fixes are attempted. It breaks again. Tax return comes, they blow that on giant tires... now it breaks even faster. Sits some more. Squirrels get under the cover it hides under (these are never actually stored under a roof). They chew a few things. It sits some more.

Another buddy comes over, with a case of Coors and says "Hey, man, whatcha need ta get that there thing goin' again?". The answer is always "aw, shucks, just needs a bat'ry 'n she'll fire right up!". It never just needs a battery, and it never just fires right up. The fuel in it is now closer to shoe polish than gasoline... the tank is of course simply vented to atmosphere, no evaporative emissions collection bits on these, so all the volatiles have long since vacated the gasoline and only left behind the tar. Rain of course found its way in too, somehow. These almost always have the cheapest most garbage Autozone level open air cleaner, and the squirrel ate half the element away, and the tarp that was "new" when Reagan was in office is now barely held together and offers little to no protection from the elements. Even the squirrels have moved on (they now live in the motorhome, also abandoned and never used in the same driveway... ask the owner what it will take to get it going and, the answer inevitably will be " just needs a bat'ry". :rolleyes:

So now you come along.... I have been in that same place. There is no "easy" way to undo the wrongs. Best bet is to start from scratch, or at least, as low of a common denominator as your budget/wife/residence/lifestyle/religion will allow. I always start with the electrics and the fuel system. The engine needs very little to run. You can isolate the entire other mess of the electrical system (it is always a mess) and just concentrate on the starter, and the power wire to the ignition coil which also will jump over to the stop solenoid and choke element on the carburetor. It needs that, and of course the ground, and that is all the electrics the engine needs to run. Charging system needs a couple more wires (you may need to polarize the generator again to make it work the best... ask me if you need to).

Probably best to either professionally clean out or just replace the fuel tank. The cheap "barrel" aluminum ones corrode up badly on the insides, if that is what it uses. Solex carbs (especially the 30s like your B engine from 1970 *should" have assuming it is all correct) is super easy to rebuild. You can often even buy those carbs brand spanking new (Brosal brand) if you want. And the mechanical fuel pump (these are almost always bad from rotten gas). Cheap and easy and widely available new. And make sure to get the correct 7mm fuel lines, these are smaller than most modern cars, as well as all the EFI air cooled Volkswagen engines.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Having cut my teeth on, and still mess with, the air-cooled cars as well as having bought/resurrected/sold a LOT of basket case rail buggies, etc. I can tell you two things I have learned:
They are super, super simple (a good thing).
They are quite often neglected (a bad thing).
In the case of the buggies, it usually goes like this:
Some guy decides to build one, he blows his whole wad on the frame. Slaps a bunch of used and questionable bits on it, has " a buddy" help him wire it up (never mind this same buddy's mobile home burnt down the year before after he installed a light switch), then they take it "wheelin'" and tear the living crap out of it unmerciful.
It breaks. Then it sits. And sits. And sits. Fixes are attempted. It breaks again. Tax return comes, they blow that on giant tires... now it breaks even faster. Sits some more. Squirrels get under the cover it hides under (these are never actually stored under a roof). They chew a few things. It sits some more.
Another buddy comes over, with a case of Coors and says "Hey, man, whatcha need ta get that there thing goin' again?". The answer is always "aw, shucks, just needs a bat'ry 'n she'll fire right up!". It never just needs a battery, and it never just fires right up. The fuel in it is now closer to shoe polish than gasoline... the tank is of course simply vented to atmosphere, no evaporative emissions collection bits on these, so all the volatiles have long since vacated the gasoline and only left behind the tar. Rain of course found its way in too, somehow. These almost always have the cheapest most garbage Autozone level open air cleaner, and the squirrel ate half the element away, and the tarp that was "new" when Reagan was in office is now barely held together and offers little to no protection from the elements. Even the squirrels have moved on (they now live in the motorhome, also abandoned and never used in the same driveway... ask the owner what it will take to get it going and, the answer inevitably will be " just needs a bat'ry". :rolleyes:
So now you come along.... I have been in that same place. There is no "easy" way to undo the wrongs. Best bet is to start from scratch, or at least, as low of a common denominator as your budget/wife/residence/lifestyle/religion will allow. I always start with the electrics and the fuel system. The engine needs very little to run. You can isolate the entire other mess of the electrical system (it is always a mess) and just concentrate on the starter, and the power wire to the ignition coil which also will jump over to the stop solenoid and choke element on the carburetor. It needs that, and of course the ground, and that is all the electrics the engine needs to run. Charging system needs a couple more wires (you may need to polarize the generator again to make it work the best... ask me if you need to).
Probably best to either professionally clean out or just replace the fuel tank. The cheap "barrel" aluminum ones corrode up badly on the insides, if that is what it uses. Solex carbs (especially the 30s like your B engine from 1970 *should" have assuming it is all correct) is super easy to rebuild. You can often even buy those carbs brand spanking new (Brosal brand) if you want. And the mechanical fuel pump (these are almost always bad from rotten gas). Cheap and easy and widely available new. And make sure to get the correct 7mm fuel lines, these are smaller than most modern cars, as well as all the EFI air cooled Volkswagen engines.
Thanks Oilhammer, your description made me laugh- and was pretty spot on of course. Including the ratty old tarp. Fortunately, my buggy has a clean plastic boat fuel cell and somebody put a new carb and filter on within the last couple of years. The throttle linkage is an absolute joke though. I think the stop solenoid may be the culprit. That wire is especially rough and a bit loose on the coil connection. Or it could be a bad fuel pump. You're absolutely right about the simplicity aspect- it's not really any more complex than the air cooled briggs stuff I've tinkered on and torn apart forever. Shouldn't take long to troubleshoot. I know it ran strong for a minute and has good compression.
 

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....
Another thing that likes to kill them is critters building nests in the cooling system. I actually lost a Kohler engine in my previous JD lawn tractor that way. :(
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
Another thing that likes to kill them is critters building nests in the cooling system. I actually lost a Kohler engine in my previous JD lawn tractor that way. :(
every time the lawn tractor gets started, I gotta fish out the mice with a tig rod
they haven't chewed on the coil wire yet, but now that I've said that...
 

90HorseBeetle

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Location
Arlington, VA
TDI
1999 Beetle TDi RIP 2013 Passat TDi SEL SOLD 2009 Jetta TDi M6 SOLD 2000 Beetle TDi SOLD
Since this is a TDi thread that guy is crazy the 5 cylinder VW and the 2.0i 8 valve are both atrocious engines, but there's a lot of competition for that prize.

Now I am nostalgic for my '69 camper. After I broke a valve I bought dual port heads and 1835 pistons at the bug out and carried the engine into my basement (try that with any other car) and rebuilt it without touching the bottom end and she was going strong when I stupidly sold it for $525 in '90.
 

flee

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Location
Chatsworth, CA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS wagon
Since this is a TDi thread that guy is crazy the 5 cylinder VW and the 2.0i 8 valve are both atrocious engines, but there's a lot of competition for that prize.

Now I am nostalgic for my '69 camper. After I broke a valve I bought dual port heads and 1835 pistons at the bug out and carried the engine into my basement (try that with any other car) and rebuilt it without touching the bottom end and she was going strong when I stupidly sold it for $525 in '90.
When I was much younger and stronger that's what I would do with my Corvairs'
engines. How else would you work on them when it's 20 below in the garage?
 

epssax

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2001
Location
Louisville, KY
TDI
2014 JSW, SEL, 74K
I have owned 22 VW diesels along with 6 Mercedes diesels and 6 diesel pickups. I have NEVER had a diesel related engine problem with all these cars. Keep clean oil and filter in them, buy fresh fuel, keep your glow plugs in good order, and a hot battery and you should be able to put 300K on them. When I was younger, I would buy a Rabbit or Dasher at an auction for $50-300 dollars. Most had a bad head gasket. I would get a gasket and timing belt kit(water pump and idler pulley) and put them on, Usually a CV joint was leaking, too. Check the brakes and redo if necessary. Drive the thing like I stole it and come across another one at the auction or local paper and do it all over again. I had a bunch of Rabbits, two Quantums, 3 pickups, 2 dashers, and 7 jettas. Currently my 2014 JSW is very nice and as I get older I let the professionals work on it. Oh, whoever said the VW tdi engine was bad is crazy, just crazy!
 

WilliamBlack

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2015
Location
Barstow, Ca
TDI
2000 Jetta
I am looking for a Jetta TDI mechanic in or near the Barstow area. I'm driving a 2000 Jetta TDI with 237,000 miles on it and have been told that the valve and exhaust re-circulation gaskets are leaking oil. I'm a BH therapist working in a Military hospital and direct care work hours have changed from 5 to 2 days a week. Can someone refer me to a good and reasonable mechanic?
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
honestly both of those are very easy DIY projects
and on the other side of the coin, they're also both totally ignorable leaks unless you're dumping in a few quarts between changes
 

flee

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Location
Chatsworth, CA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS wagon
I am looking for a Jetta TDI mechanic in or near the Barstow area. I'm driving a 2000 Jetta TDI with 237,000 miles on it and have been told that the valve and exhaust re-circulation gaskets are leaking oil. I'm a BH therapist working in a Military hospital and direct care work hours have changed from 5 to 2 days a week. Can someone refer me to a good and reasonable mechanic?
The EGR oil leak is more of a seepage, I'll bet. The amount of loss will be minimal.
You can just wipe the oil off every few days or ignore it.
The valve cover is a common leaker on these oldies. My '02 seeps from there but not enough to worry.
A new valve cover with seal will be cheaper than taking it to a mechanic.
Some folks have removed the valve cover gasket and replaced just the gasket, too.
Then there is gasket sealant if you remove it and clean all the surfaces real well.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
Some folks have removed the valve cover gasket and replaced just the gasket, too.
gasket is bonded to the cover
only options are RTV or a new cover
I used RTV back when I cared, now I just let it oil my driveway
 

flee

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Location
Chatsworth, CA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS wagon
gasket is bonded to the cover
only options are RTV or a new cover
I used RTV back when I cared, now I just let it oil my driveway
While it is true that the gasket is bonded to the cover, a number of folks have
removed it and replaced it with an aftermarket gasket. Just listing the options.
 

03GolfTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
May 4, 2003
Location
Atlanta, GA
TDI
'12 JSW DSG and '11 JSW DSG
Ughhh that article made me want to throw my computer - looks like author just Google searched best and worst engines and put something together based on that. SMH

Corners cut and cost cutting? Yeah they wrote some ECU code to cheat emissions but I would hardly call the final 2 generations (in the US) TDI's some cheap corner and cost cutting lump.

How about the rampant BMW DI fuel pump failures, Toyota 1.8/2.4/2.5 oil guzzlers, Toyota 2.4 head gasket failures, sludged Toyota 2.2 and 3.0 engines, Nissan 2.5's eating their cat converters.....I could go on and on.
 

Shadow040

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Location
Tulsa, OK, USA
TDI
2011 Golf TDI, 2009 Touareg V6 TDI
I know the Ford EcoTech or boost or whatever they're called have the timing belts inside the oil system where they get brittle and crack. And the older direct injection petrol engines from VAG have chain problems and the intake manifolds clog up from EGR residue. Doesn't sound better than either of my TDIs!
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
I know the Ford EcoTech or boost or whatever they're called have the timing belts inside the oil system where they get brittle and crack.
old honda motorcycle motors had wet timing belts
I don't remember them being all that failure prone
 

BeetlePD

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Location
Santa Ana CA
TDI
Beetle 2005
To be fair to the author: The UK insurance industry routinely tracks how many engines suffered breakdown (and insurance had to fix them). They produced a ranking showing Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, Ford (Europe) suffered the fewest engine failures.

At the bottom of the list was BMW, Audi, Volkswagen engines (VW was third to last). Now these are ALL engines not just TDI, but itvdoes indicate Audi/VW engineers habitually produce poor reliability

.
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Conkud, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
I stand by what I said. The article had nothing to do with failure rates, not when you're comparing exoticar engines that in real life have nothing on any daily driver driven by real humans.

But, BeetlePD's comments do have merit. Overengineering with poor execution makes for a really bad reputation because the results aren't anywhere near the initial promises.

Cheers,

PH
 

lemoncurd

Member
Joined
May 24, 2019
Location
Vancouver, WA | Willimantic, CT
TDI
MK6 Jetta SportWagon TDI
I used to drive a 3V 5.4L triton, and the amount of time I've had to get a new coil pack, a new cam solenoid, or how many damn times a spark plug snapped in that engine is insane. So glad that my "worst engine ever" has been trouble-free for 119k now...
Oh, I take that back, I had a P2015 error which was permanently fixed with a $15 part and 15min of free time in the parking lot of my work. Yeah this mid 40 mpg's suck too, I wish I had that triton back because it was so much cleaner and safer for the environment running on 7/8 cyl most of the time! /s

The person that wrote this article is an absolute nut job who doesn't realize what they're talking about
-lc
 

D. Lynch

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2001
Location
Hazeltown Canada
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI Upsolute
Our chipped tdi Jetta was a delight. It was stinking fast, and economical.

Some maintenance issues...mass airflow sensors...
 

Dannyboy

Veteran Member
Joined
May 25, 2013
Location
Mb
TDI
2014
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).
Seen 3 blown engines in 2 years with 6.7, exhaust valves head breaks off is a common issue .Those 6.0 international engines weren't that bad , just had to spend alot to keep them running and making them "bulletproof"

I didn't click on the link either, it's just a smear campaign. Haters need to hate something, it's a world of " Cant beat the competition, talk s$%t about them " people now. Sad to see how as a human race we seem to be going backwards and de-evolving. I'm happy driving my economy diesel that puts a smile on my face when I realize how much people spend on their trucks.
 

Anomicman

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Location
Saint-Zéphirin de Courval QC
TDI
2013 Passat 2.0 TDI
I can squeeze about 1,500 km from the tank during summer, about 1,200 during the worst months of winter, and road trips will yield around 1,700 km ; all of this after the VW “fix”. Seems to me that an engine using so little fuel, comparatively to any gasoline engine, could also be less “dangerous” to people’s health. But hey...
 

BeetlePD

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2019
Location
Santa Ana CA
TDI
Beetle 2005
This writer has a hard on for unfathomably expensive high end gas engines, even the ones where the manufacturers lied
He’s also obsessed with BMWs which insurance companies rate as least reliable (frequent engine breakdowns). Oh well. If he loves BMW he ought to try the Inline-6 diesel engines. They takeoff like a rocket

🚀
 

D_Bill

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Location
SE Pa
TDI
old_v1 - 01 jetta / old_v2 02 golf / new 13 jsw-6sp
Hrmmph

.
I think he's off base. By alot .

The engines themselves - mechanically and electronically , are above excellent

rather

Management saw fit to twist the rules - not nearly the engine's fault nor flaws .
.
 

Steve Addy

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Location
Iowa
TDI
97 Mk3
This article is nothing but virtue signaling trash from a typical worthless 2020 journalist.

I don't even necessarily blame VW although they did break the rules, but we have bureaucrats with zero knowledge of auto manufacturing telling business what they can and can't do, and truth be known a lot of those people in that bureaucracy are anti ICE people.

We have the lowest emissions at any point in time now but they keep getting tighter with no end in sight. If our emissions were going to kill the planet they'd have done it 70 years ago when we had leaded gasoline and zero exhaust processing.

At some point there's going to be a reckoning with the boot on the neck bureaucrats, and it's not going to be pretty. All these EV fanatics don't want to think about the environmental damage from battery production / disposal or the fact that they've only shifted their emissions to the coal power plants, which are even worse, but VW cheats on their diesel controls and all hell breaks loose.

GM evades / ignores ignition switch problems that resulted in 124 deaths and they get a slap on the wrist. That's a corporation whose actions (or rather inaction) caused people to die, but VW who cheats on emissions but never killed anyone gets hosed for billions.

The hypocrisy of this all just amazes me even today, and yet we have some virtue signaling ****e who saw an opportunity to elevate his career (and image) within the journalism and woke green community even though the article is a complete and utter piece of trash.

end of rant....
 

pugman

Veteran Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Location
Ky, U.S.A. & Ft Knox, Ky
TDI
Jetta SW, 2003, Reflex Silver
I am not an expert but my definition of good vs bad engines is that a good engine will provide reliable if you can get 300K+ miles without any major issues. I have driven many different makes and all I can say is my current daily drivers are ALH Diesels. The one with the fewest miles is 364K and the one with most miles is 433K miles. Neither has had any thing other that normal maintenance done to them.
 
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