worst engine ever - bell boy
ford 899cc as fitted to the fiesta mk3 to get under the road tax legislation at the time
these engines were worn out at 50,000 just like viva engines
they were so bad they were embarrasing on test drives
worst engine ever - alfatrike
i had the horrible 'pleasure' of driving a m reg fiat punto as a workshop runabout. i think it had an engine, 1 litre ish petrol. it was terrible, we all tried to kill it but it would just not die.
worst engine ever - bell boy
it must have been 1100 at least unless someone had fitted a 999 fire engine in
to be honest an old uno 999 engine against the old ford 999 was chalk and cheese,the fiat was superb
ive never had a problem with fiat engines
bodywork and crumbling bolts yes, engines no :-)
worst engine ever - stunorthants26
Worst I ever experienced was an S-reg Mondeo 1.8 TD. The powerband was stupidly narrow but it was also lacking torque so was a pig to drive at anything other than motorway driving. I hated it with a passion but luckily it wasnt mine!
worst engine ever - bell boy
ah yes stuart the good ole ford 1800 tractor engine
the most evil diesel engine ever designed
worst engine ever - Number_Cruncher
I'd prefer to nominate a type of engine - diesel engines which are loosely based on a petrol equivalent - the real stinker IMO being the BL diesel derived from the B series. An awful engine which would grow cracks in the cylinder head, while being a thirsty gutless lump.

Mentions must go to

The Vauxhall 16D engine - 0 to 60 in 18 seconds in a mkI Astra
The Opel diesel engine as fitted to CFs,- the petrol CIH engine was good, its diesel equivalent not so

worst engine ever - bell boy
ive only seen that bl b series engine in boats and a marina that was reimported into this country NC
I did a bit of digging a few years ago and officialy it was never sold in this country alledgedly?
that bedford engine yes,i never liked that either,or york diesels
worst engine ever - Number_Cruncher
It was fitted to Sherpa vans in the 70's.

Nasty horrid thing - to make matters worse it also had an awful DPA pump.
worst engine ever - b308
ive only seen that bl b series engine in boats and a marina that was
reimported into this country NC

I thought it was sold (in the Marina) but sales weren't very good (!!) - also I think a version of it was fitted to the Farina Cambridge/Oxford?

To be fair it was (is) a good boat engine!

Edited by b308 on 14/08/2009 at 08:38

worst engine ever - Hamsafar
"I'd prefer to nominate a type of engine - diesel engines which are loosely based on a petrol equivalent - the real stinker IMO being the BL diesel derived from the B series"

What about the BMW M21 and M51 diesels? They were based on a petrol engines and were excellent.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Erm the 1.1 FIRE was not bad at all (I believe its still used in the FIAT Panda). Apart from a few HG problems I've seen some with well over 100k.

The worst engine I have driven is a 1.0 3 pot Corsa just not enough torque. I have the 1.2 4 pot version of the same engine and it makes a big difference. The 1.0 is also far too stressed.

The 1200cc over head cam engine in my dads Lada was pretty bad. I am not sure about the speed but on average he would get 20mpg less than half what I get on my 1200cc 16V engine.

Possibly the worst engine ever was the Ford side valve fitted to cars as late as 1962 must have been woefully out dated by then.

worst engine ever - 1400ted
One of the breakdown clubs I was an agent for had several makers on the books..
Two of them were Lada and Polski.
The Polski made the Lada look good. I don't think the Polish factory knew the principles of making castings or tightening bolts up. I never want to lift a Polski's bonnet again....but then I probably will never be asked to !

worst engine ever - bell boy
i once remember a polski fiat something about 1992 came in for a tracking (car 4 years old) it had so much corrosion in all the link bars it was evil, so i just told the guy when it came back it didnt need tracking.
i remember they imported a polski with a peugot diesel engine for a while with certain dealers,the engine was super as always but the rest of the car was so so dated (1995? ish)
worst engine ever - alfatrike
the vauxhall agilas we had as customer loan cars were not the best. going up hill and loosing speed, change down and all you got was more noise. i think they were 3 pot 1 litre.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Yeah I think they stopped importing them in around 98. I think they tended to last longer than the 125ps.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Yeah must have been a good ten years since I have seen an FSO. Actually used to see a pick Polenez around until the last few years.

I believe the FSO 125p costs about £3000 new in 1990, compared to £3800 for a Lada 1300 and £9000 for a base spec Escort. The probably was a million times better than the FSO and not that far behind the MK5 Escort.
worst engine ever - dilbert
No contest in my mind - In 1990/1991 I had a couple of (non-turbo) Cavalier 1.7 diesels as company cars. Both were dreadful: slow, noisy, stinking, vibrating excuses for engines. It was a shame becase at the time I rather liked the rest of of the car. Economical though, but then so is releasing the handbrake and wiating for the rotation of the Earth to take effect. I think that I was mentally scarred by that experience as to this day I have never chosen another car with diesel engine.

BTW alfatrike, I couldn't disagree more. FIATs may not be perfect, but the small ones have always had gutsy, revvy, smooth engines. Agree with BB - thy're in a different league to Fords of the same period
worst engine ever - jase1
The Ladas and Polskis were about 3-4K new, but ISTR that the Hyundai Pony and Proton MPI were around the same price.

Now these latter cars were hardly stellar (...) but compared with those old Commie jalopies they were brilliant (reasonably reliable/well built, easy to drive etc). Just who exactly was buying a Lada at this stage?

On the subject of engines, I always thought it was a total joke that Ford continued to sell 1950s lumps as late as the early 2000s when other manufacturers were producing engines with almost double the power for the size, and would cover many more miles reliably. There really was no excuse for it.
worst engine ever - Rattle
But the Ford Endura engine is very very tough, ok they burn a bit of oil, have crap MPG but they just go on and on and on and on for ever.

They are brilliantly touch engines for bangers because they can be abused. Don't change coolant for ten years so what with these engines.

I think the Pony was about £5k from my guide so it is about £1k more than Lada.

I have a Which guide to cars 1990 with all the prices on. I will dig it out in a minute to compare some prices. Edit I will save it for another thread, otherwise this will get too off topic.

Edited by Rattle on 14/08/2009 at 02:40

worst engine ever - jase1
I disagree actually.

They have the perception of running forever, but in my experience what actually happens is that after about 80K or so they start to become very rattly and burn oil such that you can smell them coming down the road. There's the thing -- in that state, they'll keep going for another 80K, so people think they are indestructible because of the number of units that drag themselves along seemingly like magic.

Meanwhile, the typical Japanese engine (Nissan, Honda, Toyota, take your pick) just quietly keeps going, unnoticed because it remains as refined as the day it came out of the factory.

The old Ford engines *are* durable, but let's not get carried away.
worst engine ever - Rattle
I made a thread a few weeks ago comparing my engine 1.2 16v Vauxhall to my dads 1.3 Endura. Mine dosn't use any oil at all and if you do 10,000 miles a year I worked out mine is £700 a year cheaper to run! Oh and it produced more power (just about).

However when mine goes wrong it is always expensive sensors, with my dads you just get a simple spanner, £20 to the garage problem fixed.

I will admit however that my dads is now burning a rather lot of oil, and occasionaly belches out black smoke but passed the MOT with flying colours.

My engine is now rather noisy but the exhaust is the main reason, it is a bit tappety but its a chain driven engine so I am not too worried.

Now writing this I was thinking of some of the crappy engines my late grandad had (he some how ended up owning some of the worst cars of all time, Ladas, Allegros, Monteogs, Meastros etc) and that reminded me the BL R series.

Surely the R series was one of the worst and most short lived engines?
worst engine ever - jase1
That's where the Japanese come into their own. Everyone knows that no-one can touch them when it comes to electronics -- and they're the items that fail in modern cars.

To be fair to BL you have to look at what the like of the R series was up against -- the old Simca junk that went into later Chrysler/Talbots for example. Rattly as hell.

Fiat engines have always been tough though -- and continue to be. I'd have an Italian petrol engine over a French one any day of the week, regardless of era. If only they could learn to make the rest of the car to the same consistent standard!
worst engine ever - Rattle
The great thing about the FIRE is there is probably not much in the way of tollerences. Most engines probably come out being exactly equaly. I hear a lot of almost silent ten year old Puntos about. The main thing that put me off the Punto was the steering horror stories.
worst engine ever - DP
I disagree actually.
They have the perception of running forever but in my experience what actually happens is
that after about 80K or so they start to become very rattly and burn oil
such that you can smell them coming down the road. There's the thing -- in
that state they'll keep going for another 80K so people think they are indestructible because
of the number of units that drag themselves along seemingly like magic.

Couldn't disagree more. My old Mondeo TD had coming up on 150k when I sold it on. The car was starting to fall apart, but the engine itself was perfect. I took the rocker cover off to check the valve clearances which had never been done, and not only were they all still within factory tolerances at 120,000 miles, but there was no visible sign of wear anywhere. The car had had 10,000 mile services only from new, with a patchy history past 80k.
Rough, noisy and with a narrow powerband, yes, but very tough. I never had to put a drop of oil in the thing between services, drove it hard (you had to or it wouldn't move!) and it never gave me less than 42 mpg.

worst engine ever - jase1
Couldn't disagree more. My old Mondeo TD had coming up on 150k when I sold
it on.

I was referring to the petrol engines -- specifically the Kent lump that you yourself have said is awful on this thread.

The TD i would say is more like the Di that was fitted to the Nissan Primera in the 1990s. It was a total bag of spanners in terms of refinement, but would run forever.
worst engine ever - wazza
Worst I ever experienced was an S-reg Mondeo 1.8 TD. The powerband was stupidly narrow
but it was also lacking torque so was a pig to drive at anything other
than motorway driving. I hated it with a passion but luckily it wasnt mine!

agree with you. luckily 90% of my journeys were on motorway. Mind you the engine would go on and on with no problems.
worst engine ever - Cheeky
Good thread. Yes those Chrysler/Talbot lumps were simply horrid. Gutless and noisy beyond belief. Whatever 1100 was fitted to the Ford Escort Popular of the mid 80s was a disaster and became rattly.
Also, whatever Diesel lump LDV have been using for the last 1000 years in their vans and minibuses is carp by modern standards. Those vans seems to use 'technology' fresh out of 1983....
worst engine ever - mike hannon
Another vote for Polski Fiat (FSO).
The Moskvich copy of the BMW four-cylinder was pretty horrendous as well.
About 13 or 14 years ago I was sometimes forced to drive the office Fiesta. It had an 1100 engine that was absolutely horrible. I don't know anything about Ford engines in general but this one was noisy, gutless and rough at just a year old. It's main user was someone whose great priority in life was to have a company car. I quite literally preferred to catch the bus.
worst engine ever - ijws15
I am with Stuart on this one, had one as a hire car in a Mondeo, if you tried to overtake on a 60 mph A road you would drop down to third to accellerate, change up on the rev limiter (literally when the rev limiter cut in) and then you discovered there was nothing in fourth - too highly geared. Nearly killed me on the A68 in Northumberland.

It contemporary - the 1.7 Cavalier was far far better.
worst engine ever - oilrag
What engine was in the Bedford HA van in the 70`s?

I drove one to Scotland and back (a single trip) and it had no compression on return. This was at a speed that a much higher mileage 850cc Mini van had done for years without problems.
worst engine ever - Cliff Pope
Anyone still running a high mileage Wankel?
worst engine ever - diddy1234
I think the Ford cvh engines were terrible.

I had a H reg Escort with the 1.6l (non injection) engine and got rid of it at 60,000 miles as the big ends were starting to knock.
I had the car from when it was one year old and was serviced at every interval yet by 60,000 miles the engine was on its way out.
Maybe I had a friday afternoon car but it was gutless, had to rev the nuts off it to make any progress and had loads of electircal problems.

my wife had a Fiesta 1.1l (also CVH engine) and this was a course noise bucket ( it could pass as sounding like a diesel) but was very economical.

Are the Ford Endura engines a re-hashed CVH engine ?
worst engine ever - DP
Are the Ford Endura engines a re-hashed CVH engine ?

No, they're completely different. The Endura DE can trace its roots to a "new from the ground up" 1.6 litre diesel engine developed for the Escort and Orion in the early 80's.

Ah, the CVH. Yes, a truly awful engine. A candidate for the harshest revving engine in history. I remember an uncle's XR3i which went fairly well, but which used to have an engine related vibration and buzz throughout the whole car from about 5000 RPM upwards. The CVH also came with a design fault in the camshaft lubrication system meaning camshafts and followes were scrap within 60-80k. Dreadful engine.

The turbocharged version in the Fiesta and Escort RS models had some real guts though.
worst engine ever - Alby Back
Vauxhall 1.2 eight valve as was fitted to my wife's Mk 1 Corsa which would have been registered some time around '96 I think.

Scarily gutless.

Ironically you still see them around usually now fitted with recording studios in the boot, ginormous wheels and big exhaust pipes.

We are , I suppose, meant to imagine that this makes them go faster.....

worst engine ever - Rattle
The 1.2 8v VX engine may be gutless and slow, I would not like to drive one however I know people who have done 200k in them. They are one of the toughest small engines ever built.

The Ford endura was a diesel and a petrol they are not related. The petrol Endura is simply a Velencia engine with 5 crankshaft bearings and modern engine management. The Valencia engine was simply a cross flow Kent but mounted travenervely.

The 1.1 Fiesta would have used a Valencia engine.

Also as the Kent is overhead valve the timing chian is tiny, because the block is built entirely of iron head gaskets rarely fail too. You can do 100,000 miles in a Kent based engine easily with frequent oil changes and you the only time you would need take the rocker cover off is to adjust the tappets. A long way from your modern clio needing a new £300 cambelt every 60k.
worst engine ever - Mapmaker
Ghastliest thing I've ever had the displeasure was mother's 1.4 Montego. Utterly gutless. 4 people in the car (not big people) and 65mph was its top speed if the road were otherwise than entirely flat.
worst engine ever - perro
*Any* 3 cylinder engine - yuk! they always seemed (to me) like a 4 pot with a dodgy plug lead ... reminds me of the time I was working on a P5 V8, I'd got 2 plug leads mixed up, ran sweet enough though, but the fuel consumption was ott :)
PLEASE don't mention 2 cylinder injuns - give us a break!!
worst engine ever - Optimist
Must be the two-stroke Trabant engine which, according to this morning's DT, was a massive 37cc unit!

worst engine ever - Engineer Andy
I agree about the Ford CVH engines - my Dad had a K-reg Escort with a 1.4 litre "lean burn" engine: it was so bad in the lower gears that we nearly had a major accident when entering a roundabout (foot down hard = very little acceleration).

Actually not that fuel efficient as I recall. His previous car, a G-reg Escort 1.3 (previous version) was actually much more spritely. His last two cars, both 1.25 Fiestas, had very good, nippy engines - so not all bad.

The current Ford 1.8 petrol doesn't seem that popular: is that a similar one to the CVHs - not that much power + poor fuel efficency? Everyone seems to buy the 1.6 or 2.0; maybe that's why sister cars like the Mazda 3/Volvo S40 don't offer it.
worst engine ever - bell boy
the cvh 1400 in the escort was indeed dangerous in its poor power delivery
best thing to do apart from not buying the things was to disconnect the lambda senser,then they went well
not for long mind
worst engine ever - Rattle
When my dad decided on an Escort MK7 (1995 - 2000 version) back in 2002 I told him under no circumstances buy the 1.4 (I had never driven one, but everybody I knew who had a CVH had nothing but trouble with them). He bought the 1.6 Zetec version in the end, better MPG, better speed etc. Was a brilliant engine until the wrong oil was put and it causes valve damage. Still at 96k it sounded like a brand new engine barely audiable at tickover.
worst engine ever - Martin Devon
Anyone still running a high mileage Wankel?

Oh! yes Baby.
worst engine ever - bristol01
I would not like to try driving a Maestro/Montego Clubman D (I think they were called) based on the horrible, awful racket they made.

Edited by Webmaster on 15/08/2009 at 04:38

worst engine ever - redviper
I would like to mominate the 1.3 petrol in the fiesta ( i think this is a Endura, Rattle please correct me if im wrong)

I dont wish to offend anyone who likes these but the one my sister had was awfull.

for a car that she had that had only done 50k miles it was the most awefull clattery, thing i have ever experienced

this car was only on a w plate and it sounded dreadfull deispte it having a full service every year.

It was just as noisy inside that it was outside, i had a 1.3 petrol in my mk1 astra that was still sounding very smooth at 150K if GM can do it, why not Ford... i just dont think its acceptable to put a old designed engine thats noisy in a modern car,

If the engine was modified to take modern fueling and ignitition then why not develop a new engine instead of using old tech.


Edited by Webmaster on 15/08/2009 at 04:38

worst engine ever - jase1
I would like to mominate the 1.3 petrol in the fiesta ( i think this
is a Endura Rattle please correct me if im wrong)
If the engine was modified to take modern fueling and ignitition then why not develop
a new engine instead of using old tech.

I completely agree.

By keeping that hideous old engine alive as long as they did, Ford reduced themselves to the level of a Lada. Even Proton wouldn't dream of putting a 50-year-old rattlebox in one of their new cars, so it seems ridiculous that one of the world's most pre-eminent manufacturers should do it.

And the people who bought/buy a car with one of these engines because "the parts are cheap" deserve all they get as a result.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Actually Lada were more advanced. From day one all Lada engines have been chain driven over head cam units. Also contary to popular believe the engines were designed by Lada for Lada cars.

They were let down poor electrics, cheap Solex carbs and bad build quality but not far behind that of BL at the time.
worst engine ever - Lud
They were let down poor electrics, cheap Solex carbs and bad build quality but not far behind that of BL at the time.

They were let down by a lot more than that Rattle. For sheer crudity and grossly excessive reciprocating mass, compensated for by very strong valve springs, the valve gear of a Lada 1200 was unbeatable. In a neglected example the ball posts on which the heavy cast iron cam followers were balanced would wear flat as a result of oil starvation. Although it had no vacuum retard device on the distributor, a vernier screw was fitted to enable one to fiddle with the ignition timing by getting the car to pink under specific circumstances. However carefully one adjusted the thing, it would go out of tune within a hundred miles.

It was a genuine grade A piece of stupid planned-economy dog carp. We had a 1200 estate and it never returned better than 28 mpg even with a high ratio rear axle from a 1500cc car.
worst engine ever - 1400ted
From day one all Lada engines have been chain driven

Not quite, Rats. 1300 Rivas had a cambelt. I've dealt with a couple. If I recall, they were safe engines and didn't cause any damage.

worst engine ever - Rattle
Didn't the 1300 come later? I never saw the point them as they appear to be slow and more thirsty than the 1200s.

One of the memories of my dads Lada is would not start. It turned out the air filter was blocked so this home mechanic removed it and said you didn't need it. My dad then ran the car for about two years with no filter. In the 6 years he owned it he did not have it oil changed once. At 67k when it was scrapped 3rd gear didn't work and he got pulled over by a copper because of the smoke. He advised my dad to make it his last journey otherwise if the police saw it on the road again he will be finded.

I seemed to be remember it would eat clutches, I am sure this car got through two clutches within 30,000 miles. Yet my dad has never had any trouble with clutches on the FIATs and Fords he has had since.

I always think if I was 12 years older I would have constantly have been under that bonnet. As it happened the lack of servicing did it no harm as by the time the engine had worn the bodywork was well and truly past it anyway.
worst engine ever - jase1
See there's something I can never get my head around -- and it's not just your dad Rattle loads of people do this.

You spend a significant amount of money, twice, on a new clutch, yet don't get the car serviced?

I honestly don't get it. I've never not serviced any of our cars -- granted one or two of the old knackers I did myself (filters/sparks/leads/topup, cleaned brakes up a bit, not much else), and got the oil changed at Kwik-Fit for £20, but still they were at least serviced to some extent.

My opinion on cheap cars has always been that the bulk of the reason they don't seem to last as long is pure neglect. Likewise, it's the only real reason IMO that you see more old Golfs on the road than Astras -- they're worth more so they are looked after.

The poor old Ladas/FSOs of old, and Protons/Daewoos of today, often end up on the scrapheap at 6 or 7 years old through no other reason than no-one bothered to open up the bonnet.

And that is the true ecological crime of motoring, not the 1 or 2 mpg deficit of older cars.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Indeed I think they just thought because it passes the MOT its fine. I think we paid about £800 for it when it was three years old so in the past few years we owned it Ladas were so cheap there seemed little point. Yet the clutches were not, apparantly it was a big job on the Lada.

I don't understand it either to be honest. Even my £350 last car the first thing I did was have it oil changed.
worst engine ever - Rattle
I have a theory on it and being a sad old man (26 years old) I have come to some conclusions:-

1) Originaly they itended the 1.25 Yamaha 16V engine to replace the old push rod blocks but when the Fiesta MK4 came out in 1995 the 1.25 16v was too new and fast. Ford needed an older 8V engine to compete with the lower end Puntos, Corsas etc. They had one in the form of the Kent so why redesign the block as it was only supposed to be a stop gap.

2)Then at the same time they realised the 1.25 16v block would not fit in the Ford Ka and the Ka was a low budget project so a new engine was out of the question. The solution to both was to modernise the old pushrod block to Euro II standards.

3) At the time a lot of people bought Fords with these engines as they are so simple to fix, the Yamaha 1.25 block had not prooved itself as people were suscipicius, by having an old engine in the range it gave these buyers an option to buy something they trusted.

My experience with those engines (I have driven more push rod Fiesta than any other type of car) is they always run a lot better than they sound.
worst engine ever - DP
The 1.3 Endura was the perfect engine for the Ka and the entry level Fiesta. Simple, economical, easy to fix, robust and reasonably gutsy for what it was.
The reason most rattle is that (based on my experience of buying various small Fords over the years) they haven't been serviced since the warranty expired, and the 20 minute job of checking and resetting the valve clearances (that a clued up 10 year old could do with a bit of training) gets ignored.
I agree with Rattle, they are not bad engines to drive at all. Snappy throttle response, and excellent bottom end pull for a small capacity four. The most annoying thing is when the spark plugs rot into the head, as has happened on my sisters 97 Ka. Other than that, the engine hasn't missed a beat in over 100,000 miles. Still a delight to drive.

worst engine ever - b308
I would not like to try driving a Maestro/Montego Clubman D

They were slow, but so were most cars at the time, but it was a very smooth engine in non turbo form and I used to tow a caravan with one and had no problems sticking to 60 on the motorways up hill and down dale... took it up that bank in the Cotswolds so it couldn't have been that bad... I think only the Maestro had the n/a version, the Monty only had the turbo version. Noisy but very economical even when worked hard... As a first generation Di diesel it was quite good.
worst engine ever - tunacat
To my memory, the Ford OHV engine that people are most maligning here is the 1989-1995 High Compression Swirl era. It really did sound absolutely awful, even when new, like those Talbot engines from the very early 80s.
Prior to then, it was only as comparably rough as competitors' 4 cylinder pushrod units.

And then in 95 came the Endura-E version, which smoothed things off again a bit.

But the HCS was particularly economical, something that I think took a small step backwards with the Endura-E.
worst engine ever - oilrag
The air cooled twin `powering` the Fiat 126.

Allegedly a slight improvement (engine mountings?) from the original which seemed to have powered Italian Second World War gun platforms... or was it torpedoes?

At any rate, it was outclassed by domestic 1950`s cement mixer engines which were generally connected to a larger fuel tank.

2CV .. There now, my beauty.. deserves a place in heaven for being a flat twin with a helical gear driven camshaft. (and being associated mentally with Fiona who was blond, slim and drank red wine. )

B308, Agree about the Perkins Prima - most rock solid and reliable engine i have owned.

Edited by oilrag on 14/08/2009 at 15:04

worst engine ever - Niallster
The Triumph OHC PI V8. Probably the worst engine fitted in any car ever and the death blow to the otherwise beautiful Triumph Stag. To compound the nonsense BL at the time had the rights to use the GM Northstar engine which is one of the best engines ever made and still in use today.

People with more money than sense actually bought the car and then had a Ford V6 fitted to replace the useless BL lump.
worst engine ever - Sofa Spud
This is going back a while but from my experience the Ford V4 1.6 and 2.0 engines as fitted to early Transits as well as to later Corsairs and some Capris as well as Saab 96's was a pretty bad engine. The V4 was designed primarily to give a short bonnet on the Transit with no engine intrusion into the cab and was entirely different from the older German Ford Taunus V4, I believe.

I only had experience of this unsatisfactory engine in Transits - it vibrated and this is probably why bits like starters came loose. I just remember them as unreliable.
worst engine ever - Sofa Spud
Ah, I can just hear the noise those old V4 petrol Transits used to make - like a muted Subaru Imprezza combined with a high-pitched Renault-esque whine from the engine-driven cooling fan!!!!!!!

Edited by Sofa Spud on 14/08/2009 at 18:12

worst engine ever - enfield freddy
90% of all bank robbers prefered the transit to the badford CA van

can,t be bad!

late 70s we had a tranny , for towing the capri rally car , the car got written off , on the isle of mull,and a highly tunes 3.0l was put in the tranny , with a diesel ft panel.

oh , how we laughed

Edited by enfield freddy on 14/08/2009 at 18:23

worst engine ever - Another John H
To further reinforce the positive view of small FIAT's here's a quote from HJ's car by car:

999cc 'Fire' engines go on and on. 4x4 was best lightweight 4x4 of the lot (I found a 4x4 Fire that had done 210,000 miles, then the guy's neighbour turned up with one that had done 215,000 miles)

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 14/08/2009 at 19:47

worst engine ever - schneip
=) We had a 1986 Fiat Uno 45S (999cc Fire) that was bought brand new because it was voted Car of the Year. Unfortunately.

... The car was rubbish ("a horrible car" to quote my father), but by goodness that engine was FANTASTIC. We kept it until it was 12 years old (my father being a glutton for punishment) and had done approx 113,000 miles with various bits dropping off, rusting or failing. Yet even at that mileage, the engine never faultered and at idle it was as quiet as a sewing machine; actually putting our neighbour's brother's 2yr old E-Class (petrol) Merc to shame as it was so quiet.

Edited by Webmaster on 15/08/2009 at 04:37

worst engine ever - bathtub tom
I had a road legal 750cc Panda that I used to autotest.

It was bog standard, except I used to remove the front passenger seat to avoid bending my thumb when doing handbrake turns, and I used to remove the the rear 'hammock' to lighten it and intimidate the opposition.

I once got FTD (Fastest Time of the Day) in it on long, wet grass when it kept showering all day. That means it was the fastest car that day!

The only rev limit was valve bounce, I hate to think how high it revved, but it seemed unburstable!
worst engine ever - schneip
:) we got me a 1989 Panda 1000 CL as a first car with the same engine as that Uno of ours, only mated to a 4 speed manual.

... not sure how wise it was, but I can remember taking it to 70 in 3rd one night whilst overtaking. It never compained! Biggest mystery was how despite the relatively huge panel gaps, it never leaked yet our Uno's front passenger foot well was often like a paddling pool.
worst engine ever - diddy1234
bathtub tom, I think your right with Fiats.

My first car was a 1979 fiat 127 (1049cc) and that would red line at 7,500rpm !

The car was a wreck after first year of passing the test (unintentionaly and intentionaly) but the engine was still going strong.

It loved to be reved and never faultered even in the depth's of winter.
worst engine ever - barney100
Hada ccoupleof vivas (HB & HC) The HB fai;ed but way over 50k and the HC one lasted longer than the bodywork.

worst engine ever - Sofa Spud
Notwithstanding my earlier comments on the Ford V4 engine used in early Transit vans, Corsairs, Capris and Saab 96's......

I was reading about a car that had the definitive worst-ever engine. I can't remember the name of the car and I can't find it on Google, but I was reading about it on the net recently.

It was a new venture, in USA I think, after the Second World War, to market an economical small car. It was one of those projects that was one man's dream. Anyway these cars did actually enter production and people bought them. They were powered by a 3-cylinder RADIAL engine of the manufacturer's own design. When people bought these cars they disciovered that the engine basically didn't work, in any meaningful way, and the manufacturer was sued for fraud. After this disastrous start the car was adapted to be fitted with an off-the shelf small engine, I think, and continued in production for a while.

Edited by Sofa Spud on 14/08/2009 at 21:23

worst engine ever - Rattle
My dads 1.3 only gets 30mpg but in the two years and 20,000 miles we have owned it the only repairs to the engine have been a new theromstat and a new breather hose I fitted to the oil cap to stop the over reving problem (I was so proud of myself for diagnosing that problem). Oh and we replaced the serpentine belt quite recently. In total we have spent less than £100 including labour on engine repairs which also includes service items. In fact engine repairs not including servicing but including labour comes to around £60. This is an engine that has never really left the city and does nothing but stop start all day. Old technology yes but they just worked.

We have had on oil change (now due again), one set of plugs and one air filter I fitted. Its now on 81k. It does burn a bit of oil as I said above but driving wise it still has plenty of torque and it dosdn't miss a beat. The gear change is also about the best I have experienced on any car.

My Corsa is a lot faster but it has less torque than my dads 1.3 Endura so on my dads you can be lazy with the gears try that on mine and it starts to pink. To to get to 30 I am changing gear every second till I hit 4th!
worst engine ever - jase1
My dads 1.3 only gets 30mpg but in the two years and 20 000 miles
we have owned it the only repairs to the engine have been a new theromstat
and a new breather hose

My 1.8 Nissan engine manages near 40mpg, and in three years/50,000 miles the only repairs to the engine have been... er... there haven't been any repairs.
Its now on 81k. It does burn a bit of oil [...] dosdn't miss a beat.

At 81K I'd expect nothing less. Mine is on 255K, doesn't burn any oil and also doesn't miss a beat.

As far as I am concerned, if a modern engine cannot manage 150K without significant repair it is a bad engine by modern standards. End of. If a Ford manages 80K, big deal -- it's just about broken in.
worst engine ever - Rattle
But is your Nissan engine subjected to constant stop starting all the time? Also if it is a cambelt how many belts have you got through in that milleage?
worst engine ever - jase1
Many of those miles have been spent in traffic jams in Newcastle -- and it's a chain-cam (which has never been replaced to the best of my knowledge).

As far as I am aware (and as far as the service history is reliable) no mechanic has ever had to open the engine up.

Edited by jase1 on 14/08/2009 at 21:56

worst engine ever - The Melting Snowman
Ford 1.8TD

K Series 1.8
worst engine ever - alfatrike
Ford 1.8TD
K Series 1.8

thats a bit harsh, the ford lump is pretty hardy, i snapped a cambelt and did no damage.

the k series is a marmite sort of thing, i went around the country powered by mayonaise and loved most of it. just keep adding oil and water and keep going.
worst engine ever - BobbyG
Not sure of the engine size, but the one in my X Reg Talbot samba was horendous. No amount of card / choke / tuning adjustments would actually make it start!

Think it was either 850 or 950cc!
worst engine ever - jag

cortina 1200. the pistons were never meant to go up and down the bores. jag.
worst engine ever - perro
May I put forward the Bedford CF slant 4 petrol engine, it was a fine engine in many ways - especially compared to the Tranny V4 but ... what an absolute swine to work on, and believe you me - I've ad me head under a few of those in my time :(
Everyone of them would clatter like a diesel upon cold starts due to lack of oil to the ohc and the distributor shaft bearing used to wear out causing the contact breaker gap to increase up to 5 tmes its original setting when running creating havoc with the ignition timing :-D
worst engine ever - Sofa Spud
On the CF didn't wasn't the engine partly accessed through the bonnet and partly from a cover inside the cab. I remember one place I worked at replaced their V4 Transit with a petrol Bedford CF, which was miles nicer to drive although rather low-geared.

On the subject of vans, the worst vans must have been those Commers with the inset wheels all round and very narrow front track. Their engines weren't that bad but as for the gears, the handling, driver comfort, the noise, the fumes, driver safety, rust........

Edited by Sofa Spud on 15/08/2009 at 14:16

worst engine ever - perro
>>> On the CF didn't wasn't the engine partly accessed through the bonnet and partly from a cover inside the cab <<<

That's right Spud - real fun & games to work on and as for the Commer, I drove one of those for 5 years in the 70's - diesel :( + I worked on plenty of petrol commer vans & campers, they had the Rootes 1725cc injun IIRC, they weren't that bad really - for those days!
worst engine ever - commerdriver
Can't let that go unanswered.

The Commer PA/PB was as good as most things around at the time, while it was left looking outclassed when the transit / bedford CF came along it's not that bad to drive, it wasn't any noisier than any Transit I drove (minibuses rather than vans mainly). Driver comfort is ok but then mine has camper seats rather then the standard van ones.

Don't know where the comment about fumes comes from except maybe sliding door versions.

In design terms it gave most inside space for the size of van than any competitor, maybe why it was popular as a camper base.

Finally IMHO it has more character than any other van of that era by a long way
worst engine ever - Lud
more character than any other van of that era by a long way

A friend's mother had one for her antique business and we used to race about in it. She had a weak left arm and the gearchange had been adapted by welding a long crank onto the lever that went I think over the steering column so that the knob was on the right. It was awkward to use and took a bit of learning.

The inside door handle I think had to be pushed forward to open the door. Anyway my then toddler daughter, sitting on my then wife's lap, opened the passenger door with her foot one wet rush-hour as we turned right into Bayswater Road, and they both fell out.

They weren't hurt and no one ran over them. I must say that was a relief.
worst engine ever - enfield freddy
and the horrible elastic bands , that used to break
worst engine ever - gordonbennet
Don't mention the CF, i've just had a flashback to a CF petrol pick up that a haulier i worked for used to fetch and carry workshop stuff etc.

1st gear about 5 mph max, 2nd about 15, 3rd about 30, then the giant leap to 4th which seemed to have missed about 3 gears in between, unless you were going downhill you'd end up back in 3rd.

Dreadful heap.
worst engine ever - Sofa Spud
A bit more on those Commer vans. ----
On one occasion, on private land, as a test, I did a very fierce emergency stop from about 10 mph and managed to get the rear wheels to lift a couple of inches off the ground! I saw this with my own eyes as I was leaning out of the open sliding door from the driving seat watching the rear wheels. I re-iterate that this was on an empty hardstanding with no hazards around! I have seen the same happen on the road with one of the old Ford Thames vans (as a bystander, though).

I believe those Commer vans were one of the most striking engineering compromises because the front suspension assembly was from the old 1950's Sunbeam Talbot saloon which I think ceased production before the van started, and was much narrower than the van!

Why the Commer van had such a narrow front track......

Edited by Sofa Spud on 15/08/2009 at 15:16

worst engine ever - perro
>>> Why the Commer van had such a narrow front track...... <<<

I always wondered why that was - they were quite stable on though on cornering, just weird looking!
What a fantastic car that Sunbeam is - Grrrrrreat name Sunbeam - I've worked on a fair few Alpines as well (get the violins out!)
worst engine ever - Avant
The Alpine looks a fine specimen - as good as the MGB in their day.

In that picture (for which many thanks) has anybody any ideas as to what the red roadster is parked next to the Alpine? It seems to be catching people's eye in the picture more than the Alpine is.
worst engine ever - perro
It looks (from here) like a Ford Consul comrade - very nice!
worst engine ever - perro
There ya go man - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford.consul.mk2.arp.750...g
worst engine ever - Avant
Many thanks Perro. Obvious when you see it in full ! I think there was a 6-cylinder Zephyr version of that - a wonderful boulevardier that must have been.
worst engine ever - perro
>>> I think there was a 6-cylinder Zephyr version of that <<<

A Zodiac as well .. I had a cream Zephyr 4 mrk 3 with Leopard skin seat covers in the mid 70's :(
Wonderful cars though - bench seats, column change :)
worst engine ever - Harleyman
I'd guessed Chevrolet but someone's beaten me with the right answer.

Edited by Harleyman on 15/08/2009 at 15:50

worst engine ever - bell boy
best fun ive ever had was in a twin wheeler cf 2.3 petrol pickup
you could beat the slip angles round gentle corners and have 6 wheel drift with a screeching of rubber
you had the engine screeming give me oil as quite rightly said the top end starved from the pick up pipe as you slid it
i used to blow off xr3i excorts from the lights with mine 2nd gear start offs mind
a brilliant tool and so much more comfortable to drive with nice supple coils at the front rather than cart springs on a ransid transit
worst engine ever - Martin Devon
best fun ive ever had was in a twin wheeler cf 2.3 petrol pickup

And that engine could pull anything off of anything too...MD
worst engine ever - old crocks
6 wheel drift........that's a phrase you don't hear very often.
worst engine ever - bathtub tom
Inadvertently did it once in a MK3 Cortina GT with a Wayfarer dinghy on tow on a wet roundabout.

It was remarkably stable, a bit of opposite lock. The dinghy stayed dead straight behind. I think it may have had a stabilising effect.

Edited by bathtub tom {p} on 15/08/2009 at 18:14

worst engine ever - enfield freddy
"6 wheel drift........that's a phrase you don't hear very often"

mentioned quite often on the layland/daf truckers website???
worst engine ever - Old Navy
I got parentage called into doubt by an instructor after drifting a Bedford TK on an RAF parade ground while on the return run after practcing the HGV3 test manouvers. That type of reprimand is probably not PC these days and may upset trainees. :-)

Edited by Old Navy on 15/08/2009 at 18:48

worst engine ever - robert
2008 BMW 320i with energy efficient package.

Thing hunts between power and economy mode and pauses to think about. The effect is a lack of smoothness when accellerating.

BMW's view is the most drivers can't sense the transition, so wern't prepared to do anything about the problem.

worst engine ever - Mr.Tee43
You're all wrong !

The worst ever engine was fitted into a car that you might possibly ache to own. A car that looked like a dream sportscar, with a soft top and a hard top, you could see yourself throbbing down the road with the soft top folded away, hair rustling in the wind, looking for your reflection in the shop windows, feeling like a million quid.


You pulled to the side of the road after 10 miles or so of spirited driving, with steam pouring out from under the bonnet and the temperature gauge in the red. At first you think it's just a "one off"
but you soon find out that you dream car needs not just new head gaskets, but the cylinder heads
need skimming.

The repairing garage cannot get the heads off because the head studs have corroded to the aluminium heads. Eventually after driving a wedge between heads and block, a hacksaw blade manages to saw through said studs to allow the heads to be removed.

Hundreds of "1970" pounds later, your pride and joy is back on the road, but hang about, whats that rattling noise you can hear from the engine ?

Ah yes sir, that will be the timing chains. They are very long and they tend to stretch. Yet more hundreds of pounds later, your pride and joy is back on the road, the top is down, life is good but hang about, what is that knocking noise ?

Ah yes sir, that will be the big end bearings. You see sir, they are a bit on the small side, in fact they are smaller than the ones found on your cooking Mini 850.

Many hundreds of "1970" pounds later, your back on the road, top down, throbbing down the road, but hang about, why is there steam pouring out from under the bonnet again.

Go back to the beggining and repeat.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you,

The Triumph Stag !

worst engine ever - davecuk
Yup the stag engine was pink fluffy dice....they mostly got replaced with Rover engines.

Another crap engine was the 6 cylinder Vitesse Engine used in the Triumph GT6. Main bearings would always go, followed by the big ends. They would suck oil like a baby sucking at the bottle. I used to leave/drive in a cloud of blue smoke as per the "uncle buck" movie.

A close contender was the Metro Turbo....I think they would blow up or go wrong in some major way every 15,000 miles or less.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 17/08/2009 at 00:56

worst engine ever - bathtub tom
>>Another crap engine was the 6 cylinder Vitesse Engine

I had one for quite a while, and treated it mercilessly. Head gasket went. Cracked an exhaust manifold. Broke a gearbox shaft and a diff planet wheel carrier, but bearings were fine.

I always understood the weak point was the transmission.
worst engine ever - perro
>>>The worst ever engine was fitted into a car that you might possibly ache to own.<<<

Well told Mr. Tee (its the way ya tell em!) I had a nice? Sebring red Dolomite Sprint 'back then' and I had to avoid getting stuck in traffic at all costs as the temp gauge would slowly creep up & up etc., etc., etc.
Wasn't that easy to avoid the traffic though - living down the Old Kent Rd!!
I worked on many pride & joy Stags but I never did really like that engine - even on the 'odd' ooccasions when they were running well - much preferring the Rover lump, although I came across a few with the Ford V6, they weren't really ideal for that car.
worst engine ever - uk_in_usa
Undoubtedly the 1600cc engine in the 1988 Ford Sierra I used to have.

Noisy thirsty and totally gutless (75 bhp)
worst engine ever - ifithelps
Have to stick up for the Triumph Stag.

Many owners did have cooling problems, but we dealt with a few and the most common cause was lack of anti-freeze/corrosion inhibitor.

Back in those days, some people thought anti-freeze only applied to winter or that it never lost its effectiveness.

Stag engines were no worse than any others, if properly maintained and particular regard was paid to the cooling system.

worst engine ever - diddy1234
uk_in_usa, did Ford have a 1.3l Sierra ?

If it is true it must have been gutless !
worst engine ever - bell boy
i once bought a sierra with a 1300 ohc in it ,i only realised when i looked in the v5 as it looked the same under the bonnet,it went alright with just me in it
worst engine ever - Bagpuss
The original diesel engine in the first generation Ford Orion would be my nomination. I don't know whether it was a 1.6 or 1.8. It sounded like a tractor when it was cold and when it was warm. Absolutely gutless, noisy, caused the pedals and steering to vibrate continuously. I only had the misfortune to drive it a couple of times as it belonged to a mate of mine.

He bought it to save money on fuel and, if truth be told, it was economical compared to a petrol Orion, so he was quite chuffed. He was less chuffed it has to be said when the exhaust manifold had to be replaced and it turned out to be several times more expensive than the one for a petrol engine. This basically wiped out all the fuel savings achieved through this sackcloth and ashes approach to motoring.
worst engine ever - uk_in_usa
uk_in_usa did Ford have a 1.3l Sierra ?
If it is true it must have been gutless !

When the Sierra first came out there was a 3 door 1.3 model. It was quickly dropped. The 1.6 felt like a 1.2 so I dread to think how bad the 1.3 was.
worst engine ever - gordonbennet
Would that Sierra 1.3 engine be that same one used in Escort/Orion? Mk5 the curvy one??

If so it was appalling, wouldn't pull the car up onto the transporter, we had to get a run up (dodgy) to get them on...same as the dreadful 3cyl Corsa.
worst engine ever - Rattle
I guessing the Sierra one was the same CVH 1.3 found in the MK2 Fiesta. The 1.3 in the MK5 Escort a Kent engine with 5 crankshaft bearings.
worst engine ever - diddy1234
according to wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Sierra#Mechanicals) the 1.3l was a pinto engine

I am not sure which engine type is worse, the pinto or the cvh engine.
worst engine ever - DP
I am not sure which engine type is worse the pinto or the cvh engine.

The Pinto doesn't deserve to be in this thread. There are few engines still so fondly regarded by the tuning industry, and it has good competition pedigree too particularly in rallying.

It is what is is - a simple, tough, reliable workhorse of a thing. A joy to work on, everything logically laid out and uncluttered in design. Runs forever if oil changes are kept up (my 1600 Sierra did 235k on its original engine and was thrashed mercilessly for the last 120k of that), and if tuning is your thing, you will struggle to find another engine with so much potential for tweaking. Believe it or not, you can get over 100 bhp per litre from a 2.0 Pinto without forced induction thanks to one of the strongest bottom ends around, and a very impressive cylinder head flow capability, even by modern standards.

Unbreakable too. The Pinto still remains the only engine I've ever seen overheat until it seized solid, start again on the key an hour later, and complete a further 200 mile journey with no more than a coolant top up. One of those old school engines that even when dying, would still drag itself along. All the old starship mileage Transits still clattering around on the same oil they left the factory with in 1990 and with the cam lobes ground to nothing are testament to that. Awful as they sound, they still work.

Sure it's an engine of yesteryear and has been surpassed in every way, but no way should it be in this list, IMHO.


Edited by DP on 17/08/2009 at 11:30

worst engine ever - Altea Ego
Sure it's an engine of yesteryear and has been surpassed in every way, but no way should it be in this list, IMHO

Agreed, and even if the cam did go, it was a simple matter to replace.
worst engine ever - dieselfitter
Thought the Ford CVH engine might get a mention. I had a 1991 (MK5?) 'new-shape' Escort Estate 1.4 GLX. OK, it was a bit slow off the mark, but was quite smooth and didn't mind being revved. I sold it on at 85,000 miles, during which time the only engine problem was a spell of excessive oil consumption, easily and cheaply fixed by replacing the valve stem seals. By 1991, the CVH engine was being called 'the old nail of the motor industry' and Ford were criticised for having the cheek to use it in the 'new' Escort. Maybe I got a good one, but I couldn't find much to grumble about and kept the car 6 years.
worst engine ever - Mookfish
According to the 1999 edition of the Escort owners manual the 1.3 endura-e (last version of the kent) was still available, even for the estate version.

Can not see the point of an estate that underpowered, has the same bhp as a modern 1.0 corsa.
worst engine ever - Rattle
Well my old 1.3 Endura Fiesta base spec was flipping slow. An Escort must be woeful with that engine although remember the Endura had a lot more torque than the 1.0 3 pot Corsa.

I believe in the UK the 1.3 Endura was not available in the UK from after the Focus was introduced. They just had a much more simple range of engines and I am pretty sure the last modles had a 1.6 Zetec or 1.8 DE.
worst engine ever - mark999
Nissan 2.0 Diesel as per bluebird, serena, vanette reliable but slow
worst engine ever - Big John
Maestro 1.3? Dreadful!!
worst engine ever - bathtub tom
>>Nissan 2.0 Diesel as per bluebird, serena, vanette reliable but slow

IIRC, that was the Perkins Prima.

There's many here who'll dispute your opinion on that!

Edited by bathtub tom {p} on 17/08/2009 at 21:17

worst engine ever - Boss Hog
Lots of old engine memories here, but what about now say in last 10 years?? Which has been the worst petrol and worst diesel engines?

worst engine ever - Rattle
Worst petrol engine the Vauxhall 1.0 3 pot. You have to change gear so often you can't steer with two hands.

worst engine ever - alfatrike
ah, the agila i used had one of those. a mobile greenhouse with a noise generator.