VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Patchworks

After driving a VW Lupo for the past eight years, I finally found myself in the position to purchase a new car; VW Golf MK6 2012 1.4 TSI (160ps) 40k miles.

Two weeks in and I am very happy with the car. It is a really joy to drive, accelerates very quickly and is packed with so many features compared to my Lupo, I really can't begin to state how pleased I am with it.

However, after looking for tips on maintenance, I have found many negative reviews about the 1.4 TSI engine: There are many forum posts from people having problems with the timing chain, leading to thousands of pounds worth of damage in general a lot of people saying bad things about the car.

It would be good to hear from any owners of this same car as myself and hopefully hear some positive reviews; Are you still enjoying your car? Are you happy with your purchase? Has anyone driven 100k without a hint of trouble?

I'm not going to jump ship and change, but it would be good to get some feedback.....

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - skidpan

I have a 1.4 TSi 140 PS in my Mk 3 Leon, very happy with the car after almost 2 1/2 years.

But its a totally different engine to the one in your car which in twin charged form has proven to be a bit of a dog. Main problem is probably the previous owners who have had them chipped, ragged them and then sell them before the warranty expires passing on their problems.

The 122 PS 1.4 TSi version of the engine has proven mostly reliable as has the 1.2 version but even those have had cam chain/tensioner issues on occations. Our neighbours son has a 1.2 Audi A1 and at 5 years old it needed £1000+ of attention but luckilly Audi paid most of the bill. These cars do not encourage the same buyers as the 160 PS version thus they will not have suffered the same abuse.

You need to keep your fingers crossed and make sure you have some money set aside should expensive problems occur.

The Mk 7 Golf 1.4 TSI has the same engine as my Leon which is a much better proposition but can still have muppet owners who chip and rag them, just avoid the FR or GT versions.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - slkfanboy

It's totally unrelistic to blame the owners. Issues with the MK6 1.4tsi are clearly documented and reconisedby VW as issues with the timing chains.

Engines have effectively worn out at milages as low as 40K. The timing chains in question should be inspected and replaced if found to have stretched or be marked in anyway.

Later MK7s have a redigned engine and ive not seen any issues being posted at this point in time.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - skidpan

It's totally unrelistic to blame the owners. Issues with the MK6 1.4tsi are clearly documented and reconisedby VW as issues with the timing chains.

Visit the VW forums from a few years ago. The owners were quite blatant about what they were doing. They knew what they were doing would cause timing chain issues but they would sell before the warrty expired. The same engine in the Ibiza has had fewer issues probably because the owners have been more responsible.

Same on the Seat Forum now. Presume that the owners of the new Leon Cupra had Golf TSI's before and are having the cars chipped to over 400 bhp and thrashing them. Again, they are quite happy to quote it won't be their problem as they will sell before the warranty expires.

Watch this space for unhappy owners of used Cupras in 2 years time.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - nortones2

For info: how would the timing chain be affected by the state of engine tune? Thrashing maybe, but you don't have to tune it to thrash it?

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - skidpan

For info: how would the timing chain be affected by the state of engine tune? Thrashing maybe, but you don't have to tune it to thrash it?

The engines are chipped to produce more power and as a consequence the stress on all the components is increased.

When we tuned Ford x-flows and Minis one of the very first things we did was to upgrade the timing chain to a duplex version for the very reason that tuning increases stresses throughout the engine.

In many respects thrashing an engine should not really affect an engines life and reliability. But if the stress is increased by tuning that and then thrashing it will make a big difference.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - nortones2

Experience may prove to the contrary of course, so I'd bow to that. But I thoiught the power consumed by the camshaft drive would be constant, unless the spring poundage/cam profile/follower radius etc was altered. Perhaps that was more the case back in the days before turbos could be tweaked via the ECU. Howver, interesting point.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Big John

For info: how would the timing chain be affected by the state of engine tune? Thrashing maybe, but you don't have to tune it to thrash it?

The engines are chipped to produce more power and as a consequence the stress on all the components is increased.

When we tuned Ford x-flows and Minis one of the very first things we did was to upgrade the timing chain to a duplex version for the very reason that tuning increases stresses throughout the engine.

In many respects thrashing an engine should not really affect an engines life and reliability. But if the stress is increased by tuning that and then thrashing it will make a big difference.

I agree with the increase in the stresses and strains of all components of the tuned engines back in the day. Re tuning- I remember fitting upgraded oil pumps and drives (For x flow oil pump drive OK but Ford Pinto/ Essex V6 needed attention - hex shaft drive was made of putty ). I also had to fit upgraded fibre wheels on Ford Essex v6 engines (equivalent of cambelt - but a wheel). The duplex timing chains on Ford x-flow(1300, 1600) port side (1500gt) and Mini A series had to cope with higher lift cams and much higher revs. The Ford 5 main bearing crank was good but the mini 3 bearing crank caused issues although an upgraded crank could be fitted.

Happy memories but all of this still in a way relevant for a modern engine!

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Big John

After driving a VW Lupo for the past eight years, I finally found myself in the position to purchase a new car; VW Golf MK6 2012 1.4 TSI (160ps) 40k miles.

Two weeks in and I am very happy with the car. It is a really joy to drive, accelerates very quickly and is packed with so many features compared to my Lupo, I really can't begin to state how pleased I am with it.

However, after looking for tips on maintenance, I have found many negative reviews about the 1.4 TSI engine: There are many forum posts from people having problems with the timing chain, leading to thousands of pounds worth of damage in general a lot of people saying bad things about the car.

It would be good to hear from any owners of this same car as myself and hopefully hear some positive reviews; Are you still enjoying your car? Are you happy with your purchase? Has anyone driven 100k without a hint of trouble?

I'm not going to jump ship and change, but it would be good to get some feedback.....

Hi,

Like you I've taken the plunge with this engine as the car was such amazing value many thousand cheaper than any other of the same type. I've got a 2014 Skoda Superb 1.4 tsi (125) . Economy is amazing although mine is the later version with stop/start etc(low CO2) , performance good and it's really really quiet (I've been driving through Europe and at 130kph it's so relaxing you feel like pulling the curtains closed when it gets dark! 60mph= 2000rpm) - but you already know that

However there are some good things to consider:-

1)The cam chain, sprockets, covers, tensioners on both the 1.2 and 1.4tsi have been revised throughout the life of the engine. The chain looks very different now although its still and oil pressurised tensioner(More about this later) - the newer the better

2) Pistons, oil cooler jets and injectors again have been revised. Early versions burnt lots of oil and pistons could be fragile (mine hasn't really burnt any between services - still at the top of dipstick mark)

3) It has a Single Mass Flywheel - this is good as the Dual Mass Flywheels used in diesels (not sure about 1.6 thought) and larger petrol’s do tend to self destruct - and its expensive when they do

4) It has a water cooled turbo - this is good!

5) The water pump is fed by an auxiliary belt (other versions use cam belt/chain - if water pump fails everything goes bang)

6) Car tuners like this engine - the rest is generally robust. Even if you had piston failure on the earlier twin charger versions the bores generally survived due to the plasma coating. It's a cast iron block with plasma coated bores.

7) No Diesel Particulate Filter or Ad blue

8) Many parts easily accessible - e.g. alternator, turbo, water pump

Most failures seem to be on earlier cars so the later the better - however take no chances:-

A) Do very regular oil changes - the TSI does hammer the oil ( I've noticed mine goes a bit darker after a few thousand miles). Keep the oil clean and use the correct type - always good anyway but all chain and turbo cars like very clean oil (look at old Saab reports). This also important for the cam fed high pressure fuel pump

B) IMPORTANT - NEVER allow the engine to turn backwards this can effectively cause potential chain problems especially when worn. Think of a cycle derailleur gear turning backwards getting taffled. It can release the oil pessurised tensioner - or worse. But how do you manage to turn the engine backwards? - by parking in the wrong gear. If you park up hill in first when you apply the handbrake and then release the foot brake the car rolls backwards slightly turning the engine backwards. If you need to PARK in gear always select a gear that would turn the engine in its usual direction of rotation if it rolls down a hill e.g. 1st gear if pointing downhill and reverse if pointing uphill. (Don't forget when cars have rear disc handbrakes if they have not been well applied they can release due to contraction of the disc etc when it cools - with drums the opposite happened!)

C) Run on higher octane fuel - this is an engine that runs on the edge of 95RON especially the higher power versions - the pistons are shallow and would be rattled if any pinking occurred - you would never hear this these days due to lots of soundproofing - (yes I know you have anti knock sensors but could detect the same on the previous generation 1.4 16v in an Otatvia so I always ran on higher octane petrol 125k miles and still going strong with no oil burning!)

D) When coolant replaced ensure system properly bled - bores are well cooled but only if water present - this engine needs good cooling, or else!

A friend of mine has a 2010 1.4tsi Skoda Octavia that has had no trouble from new. The only warranty item he ever had was actually trapped stone in front brakes

Edited by Big John on 07/10/2015 at 22:39

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - misar

I assume the OP has read HJ's review which starts with the headline comment "Huge problems with chain cam 1.4 TSI mainly the Twincharger versions". VW have been phasing out twincharging but I think it was used on the 2012 1.4 TSI (160ps). A quick inspection under the hood should find out.

So-called muppits chipping their cars may be quite common on forums but the proportion of chipped VWs on the road must be tiny. So HJ's observation is unlikely to be the result of chipped engines.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Big John

The 160ps will be a twin charger but by 2012 the chain has had many revisions. Infact I mentioned a Single Mass Flywheel but although the lower power versions are as such I've since thought that the 160ps may be still a Dual Mass Flywheel due to the extra power

Tuners like this engine though as some of the other bits are very robust so the proportion of "muppets" may be a bit higher than usual

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Avant

"If you park up hill in first when you apply the handbrake and then release the foot brake the car rolls backwards slightly turning the engine backwards."

Very good point, Big John. I always park with the car in gear, nearly always first, purely out of habit. But to make sure the handbrake is on securely, I still have the clutch depressed when releasing the footbrake. Hopefully that avoids the problem.

VW GOLF MK6 - VW Golf 1.4 TSI (MK6) - Any Good Reviews? - Big John

Agreed I used to do the same probably OK if you have the cluth depressed. But I will change my habits - just to make sure - especially if handbrake slips at all which at the end of the day is was we are protecting against!

My gamble is I've saved so much money on purchase price i've left capital in the bank! With my mileage i initially calculated it would be 15 years before the extra petrol fuel costs would exceed the capital savings - I'll keep for about 8 years and throw away all being well (refer to original post) . Saying that fuel economy MUCH better than expected - very nearly what I got out of my 1.9pd

 

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