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Vw worst engine


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Just wondering what you all think is the worst engine VW have used and for what reason, whether its due to reliability, lack of power etc…

For me I'm going to say its the post year 2000 V5 2.3 used in the Mk4 Golf, Bora and Beetle

I ran one for a while in Mk4 form and it drank petrol fuel like crazy, for a 170bhp engine (mine was mapped to 197) was completely gutless and I had my ass handed to my by a standard 130PD which was the deciding factor to sell it

It did however sound good.


Current rides:

2003 BMW 330d Manual Saloon Msport
1985 GTI cabriolet black edition (42k miles)
1999 Triumph Daytona 955i Post apocalyptic, rat, brat, scrambler, steam punk, cafe racer



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Agree, hopeless engine, so thirsty, yet also gutless. 

I owned my mk4 for exactly 2 weeks before I moved it on…. now I hate all mk4's regardless of engine. 


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VW has a litany of duff engines. When designed in the 1930s the flat four air cooled engine had many advantages over the existing designs. Relatively powerful for size and weight, economical, reliable and long lived.

However other designs progressed and now almost every Beetle and camper van is advertised with a recent replaced engine…. (or it's been on fire)

1100/1300s  always peed oil from the head gasket over the alternator, 1500/1600 Diesels always cracked their cylinder heads. Later Diesels had crank pulleys falling off. PD's need a cambelt every 30,000(?) miles negating any MPG advantage over a petrol

Some engines use both a turbo and super charger and loads of ECUs and senors, just asking for problems.

For later engines like the V5 you need to burn a lot of petrol to generate 170 bhp and the torque compared to a modern DERV is rubbish. 130PD is 310nm, V5 225nm. BHP turns heads torque turns wheels. Also designing engines to sell to the US where petrol is dirt cheap and no one wants a DERV doesn't help.

A 1600/1800 injected as fitted to MK1 GTIs are prob about as good as it got. Instant starting, powerful, economical and with electronic points just an oil change with simple 10w/40 oil every 6k miles and will run to mega mileage.


1983 Mars Red 1.8 Golf GTI
1987 Alpine White 1.8 Clipper Cabriolet

The trouble with doing nothing is that you never know when you are finished.
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