Hooniverse Asks- What's The Worst Automotive Engine, Ever?

Guess what, peeps, you all really like V8s. Oh sure, some of you get your freak on over weirdness like the Sterling engine, or compression ignition, but most of you like being behind the eight ball. But what of favorite engines? That’s kind of an easy question as anyone with half a brain could just rattle off that they like the SMC and everyone else would just nod in approval. Dodged that bullet.  It’s sort of like saying your think De Niro is a great actor because maybe you say Goodfellas on AMC and you had already pegged him as a star in My Cousin Vinny. My point is that naming a best engine is like pointing out the cheerleader with the biggest boobs – well, duh.

What’s harder, and why I’ve left it for Friday, just to eff you up, is what engine do you think sucks fat donkey dingus? There’ve been lots of crap engines over the years – from the aluminum Vega four to the Triumph Stag V8 that required precise torque values on every bolt lest the entire engine warp spilling precious Castrol on the tarmac – but which one’s the worst?

Maybe you consider that Suzuki triple that was unable to power both A/C and forward motion in your college-era Chevy Sprint to be a candidate for the golden turd award. Or perhaps you were afflicted with that singular pox that was the Olds diesel, back in the day. Whatever it was, it must have left a mark like Voldermort on Harry Potter’s noggin. What engine did that, which is – in your estimation – the worst?

Image source: [dwayne’s this and that]

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  1. Paul_y Avatar

    As a number of you are aware, I occaisionally rant about the 1995 GMC Sonoma I had in college.
    I give you the 2200 2.2L OHV I4, produced from 1990 through 2003: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_122_engine#2200_O
    Its major claim to fame was that it replaced the Iron Duke, so the bar was set pretty low already.
    It's rough, noisy, incapable of making anything approaching respectable power (especially for its size), and basically not worth the iron from which it's cast.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      It's fair to say it was ill-suited for the Sonoma. On the other hand, I had the same engine in a Cavalier (perhaps the first clue it's not a great truck engine), and it served me fine. I got rid of it with about 150k miles, and the engine still worked fine at that point, it was economical (I was averaging about 32-33mpg, and once hit 37), and capable of handling 2600lbs of J-body. It wasn't dripping with refinement, but neither was the Cavalier, or my $750 budget.

      1. Paul_y Avatar

        Yeah, the base-model S10/Sonoma was 3300lb or so dry. 118hp was not up to the task. Granted, I still regularly managed around 30mpg, but it was just such a brutally uncomfortable vehicle to drive, I ditched it as soon as I could afford something reliable (in this case, I leased a base-model 2005 Impreza as soon as I got a real job after college).

  2. P161911 Avatar

    I'm beginning to think the BMW S52 (US version) is up there. In less than two years and 20k miles I've had one get a "severely scored cylinder" at about 100k miles requiring a replacement engine. Then the replacement engine cracked the head due to a small crack in the plastic thermostat housing with about 110k miles on that engine. This is an engine that it is cheaper to go out and find another one from the junkyard than to do any major repairs on it. Sure it is a sweet engine when it is running, it just seems to be way too fragile. It has actually sort of soured me on the whole BMW experience. American cars have never let me down this bad.

    1. jeremy![™] Avatar

      whats your take on the s54?

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Don't have any experience. It revs higher and has more power. the next high performance car I get will probably have 8 cylinders and an engine made by GM or Ford.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Is the S52 an iron block engine? I was reading the Wiki article on the M52/S52 series, and it wasn't real clear.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Iron block, aluminum head, which usually don't have too much problem playing together nicely.

    3. Sam Avatar

      That's odd. The M20/50/52/54 engine family that the S52 is based on are extremely reliable. As long as you don't overheat them- keep your BMW's cooling system in good shape

  3. tonyola Avatar

    The 1.6L DOHC inline four built for the 1961 Facel Vega Facellia sports car. The makers thought that two bearings per camshaft were sufficient. They weren't, and the engines suffered quick and catastrophic failures. Facel's finances were wrecked and the company was dead by 1964.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/01/Facel_Vega.jpg/800px-Facel_Vega.jpg&quot; width=400>

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      In the bike world, the Honda CB350 ran the cams right on the aluminum head surface — no steel shell bearings. Honda designed them with a 10,000 mile life expectancy. Many went much, much further, but a remarkable percentage galled the cams right around 9-12K.

    2. Paul_y Avatar

      I clearly need to get up to speed on my Facel Vegas- I had no idea this existed.

      1. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
        Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

        They even found their way into the Monte Carlo Rally.
        <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3589/3589386084_e8025dd4b4.jpg&quot; width="500" height="327" alt="61 monte carlo rally poirot hazard facel vega facellia">

    3. Alff Avatar

      So THAT's why you never see these on the road.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        After the initial disaster, Facel tried to make some Facellias with Volvo or Austin-Healey engines, but the damage had been done and very few were sold.

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    If you include the transmission into the answer, I think it'd be hard pressed to beat the Ford 3.8L V6 coupled with the AXOD transaxle, as installed in millions of Taurus/Sable/Windstars. What came first, the chicken or the egg or the blown head gasket or the slipping trans?
    I used to be able to change a Windstar AXOD with my eyes closed.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      It's funny, but the FWD cars and vans seemed to have a lot more problems with the 3.8 than the RWD cars (like the Mustang). Don't know why.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Yeah that's true, although my 3.8L V6 powered '85 LTD did blow a head gasket.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      My reply went <poof!>
      The server went om, nom, nom <burp>

    3. SSurfer321 Avatar

      I had a 96 Rustang with that 3.8L.
      Three intake gaskets in 10K mile span. I remember it happened somewhere around the 60-80k mile marker.
      First one was Ford's fault, 2nd two were shitty mechanic's fault. Thankfully 2nd two were free.
      I traded it away as soon as that 3rd gasket went in.

    4. Charles_Barrett Avatar

      Years ago, my '88 Continental (overgrown Taurus with the 3.8 V6) dropped its AXOD, stranding Randy & me in the Nevada desert en route to a family visit with my parents. That tranny was replaced (NOT repaired) by the manufacturer under warranty. After I bought the E320, I gave the Lincoln to Randy's mom. It overheated on the Grapevine I-5 north of L.A. and warped or blew the head gasket.
      I liked that car well enough, but its ONLY failure mode was "strand you". Thank goodness for AAA tow service…

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    I have to say that my worst experience with an engine was my 1990 Doge Daytona Shelby. That thing blew rods like Bangkok whorehouse. Anyway, I will make a blanket statement, and say all Chrysler 4-pots from '84-'93 are the worst automotive engines, ever. Ever.

    1. jeremy![™] Avatar

      hear, hear! was plagued with a 2.0 4 caravan… and lebaron!

    2. Alff Avatar

      +1 for the clever turn of phrase.

    3. njhoon Avatar

      Beat me to it. I had an 85 Daytona with a 2.2, it ate head gaskets so often I could change one out in an hour. I also kept spares in my garage.

    4. MarionCobretti Avatar

      Hmm…the 2.2 in my Daytona was actually the only thing that held together (although by the end admittedly only three cylinders had enough compression to do anything useful). It must have emitted some kind of mechanical toxin, though, because everything nearby failed at some point, including the trans, shift linkage, alternator, motor mounts, and a/c compressor.

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    I'll have to step up and defend the Vega engine again, having owned two of them. They were good engines so long as you never let them overheat (properly maintained the cooling system) and changed oil regularly. The worst things I found about them were the cam cover gaskets (poor design, like most '70s stuff) and the double oil pan gaskets, combined with the rope seal (which was common on other GM stuff).

  7. Danno1985 Avatar

    Cadillac HT4100. 190 ft/lbs of torque to move a Nimitz-class Fleetwood Brougham?!? Are you f*cking kidding me?!!
    Not only that, it was a crap engine with all sorts of "WTF?" engineering tidbits. Cast iron heads on an aluminum block? Miniscule oil drainbacks in the heads resulting in the valve covers flooding with oil. Camshafts made of silly putty. Way to follow up the 8-6-4 home run, Caddy.

    1. RichardKopf Avatar

      Damn, you stole my turd. Oh well, everything he says is true. In addition, you also have to make sure you add these special tablets into the coolant (this goes for the 4.1, 4.5, and 4.9) to keep the coolant from attacking the aluminum block.
      edit: I owned a `85 Fleetwood Brougham with the HT4100. Every trip felt as if I was tempting fate.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Those tablets are ground up ginger. Bars Leak sells them as well, and they fixed a slight seeping leak in my radiator.
        I was vehemently against any cooling system additives until my co-worker who previously worked at a GM dealer told me about them and how they fixed a small leak in his car, and that they're used in a bunch of GM engines.

        1. Alff Avatar

          Are you sure you're talking about the same thing? I can see using something like ground ginger to stop leaks but don't see how it would influence galvanic corrosion. In an aluminum engine, that should be the job of a sacrificial anode, typically made of magnesium.

          1. LTDScott Avatar

            I researched this quite a bit. It's not meant to stop corrosion, it's meant to seal small pore leaks in aluminum. The ginger stays suspended in liquid but hardens when exposed to air.

  8. mike1dog Avatar

    How about the 255 c.i. v8 Ford made for a couple of years in the early eighties? It shared few parts with the 302, and no performance parts were made for it. It didn't really even get much better gas mileage and was rated at a dismal 115 hp.

  9. jeremy![™] Avatar

    hey rob… i take offense to that! my friends turbo squirt [read sprint] was a hoot to rip around the empty parking lots of the parking company i worked at during my school years!

  10. dukeisduke Avatar

    Awww, where's the love? Sure, they're torqueless wonders, but once they worked out the apex seal problems with the early engines, they were fine.

  11. lilwillie Avatar

    The Caddy 4100 was mentioned so I'll mention the Mitsubishi 3.0L
    What a pile of crap. It also was put into crap. Ran like crap. Had power like crap. Looked like crap and made me money like crazy. Thank you Chrysler for getting us through the '90's.

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      A friend of mine once had a Plymouth Acclaim with that engine. He decided to trade it in on a used Taurus (DOHC 3.0, not a 3.8!), when he was performing an oil change around at 100k and saw shards of metal come out when he drained the oil.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Whenever I see a cloud of blue smoke ahead, I wonder, "So where's the Mitsubishi?"

  12. vwminispeedster Avatar

    Whatever the hell Ryobi put in my damn weedwhacker. Stupid thing wont spool up to proper weedwhacking speed whenever you give it any gas. On the opposite end the Briggs Stratton lump in my Montgomery Ward lawnmower (yes its old) wont die. No oil or maintenance in 3 years (it already was destined for the old tool retirement home when a friend gave it to me) and it still starts in 2 pulls.

    1. buzzboy7 Avatar

      I have 2 B&S engined lawnmowers. Taking care of them makes them run quite a long long time. One is a '94 and the other a '00. Good stuff until a coil goes out but still easy to replace.

      1. CSM Avatar

        An old B&S lawnmower will run a whole season without oil. Who knew?

    2. joshuman Avatar

      My Ryobi suffers from the same issue unless the choke is wide open (which is how I've run it the last two years). In my case, it is caused by a gummed up carb. The rebuild kit is 1/3 the price of the weed whacker so I just let it scream for 15 minutes every week. When i breaks, I'll get a quality four-stroke.

      1. Jim-Bob Avatar

        The issue is indeed with the carb. The bigger problem is that they eventually clog up to the point that nothing will clear the passages and then you need a new carb. That usually happens at the time the fuel lines and primer bulb crumble so it may be that the fuel lines cast off a particle from their matrix that then clogs the fuel feed passage in the carb. No matter though because I just replaced the carb, fuel lines and primer bulb at a cost of damn near $75 on my Bowlens (which uses the Ryobi engine). It now runs like new again but I am still irritated at the poor carb design.

    3. nofrillls Avatar

      because 2-stroke.

  13. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    The Chevrolet "Copper Cooled" engine was pretty bad. Almost all were recalled and destroyed
    The Citroen BiRotor rotary engine was similarly crapper due to lousy rotor tips.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Like I said the other day, the issue with the Copper Cooled was that they used a big fan that drew air (and dust, dirt, bugs, etc.) over the exposed valvetrain, which was a fiasco.

    2. Paul_y Avatar

      From the article:
      "In addition to the humiliating recall, the matter revealed a GM management flaw. The different opinions held by the advisory committee (Sloan), research (Kettering), and the car divisions had led to confusion, and allowed an under-developed product to reach the public."
      How is this different from how GM has been run in the last 80 years?

  14. Feds_II Avatar

    I thumbs-downed you, but now I see that you are referring specifically to the MSP version in the RX-8. If it were the earlier version with the peripheral exhaust, I wouldn't be trying to take my thumb out.
    They suffer retrospectively nowadays due to the advances made in piston engine technology. However, back when the cars were new, having the ability to go from 110/130 hp in a Naturally aspirated version to 180 or more without opening up the engine was a pretty big deal.
    The turbos suffer a little because they are so easy to 1.5 or 2x the power that people try it without supporting upgrades, hence fragility.
    But yes, in the modern context when compared to the hp/dollar that you can get out of an LSx without much weight penalty, rotaries have basically lost any calculable advantage they once had against low compression iron block engines.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Back in the day, I was a big fan of rotary and absolutely loved driving the early RX-7s. One of my best roadtrips ever was a 16 hour sprint between LA and Seattle behind the wheel of a 1980. In the context of what was available at that time, it was an easy trade having to keep that sucker spooled up in order to enjoy the availabvle power.
      In the face of $4 gas, though, I think its day in the sun has passed. Who cares if your engine weighs only a few hundred pounds, if the best you can muster is 18 mpg?

    2. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

      Sadly, awesomenity is not a calculable advantage. Or a real word.

  15. Joe Btfsplk Avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    This is easy…. the Chrysler 2.7 litre V-6 is such a festering pile of crap that they almost never lasted 75k. Never ever buy a Chrysler with a 2.7.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I was tempted to mention that, but wasn't sure if it was totally fair. As I understand it, the 2.7 was only a problem in the first couple of years of the 2nd gen LH cars, and even then, they'll avoid the sludging if you run synthetic (more than should be expected of the typical person buying a base LH, but still). I haven't heard of it being a specific problem spot in the Sebring/Stratus (a friend's parents got 120k out of theirs before passing it on to the other son).
      On the other hand, it was totally ill-suited for the LX cars, but that's not really the engine's fault.

      1. Joe Btfsplk Avatar
        Joe Btfsplk

        The disturbing thing about this is that the owners followed the Chrysler recommended service schedule. the engines failed and Chrysler refused to issue a blanket warranty.

      2. Paul_y Avatar

        The 2.7 sucks, but yes, if you're up to the task of properly maintaining it, it will keep slogging along. My ex has a 2000 Chrysler Intrepid (CDM) with the 2.7. It's adequate for the size of the car, in terms of power, but the packaging REALLY sucks in those cars. None of the engine accessories are easy to get to. Fun Fact: I left off a bolt on her starter, because I couldn't get my hands in there to get it back in. Haven't seen that car in a year and a half, and I'm completely ok with that.

      3. dukeisduke Avatar

        The 2.7 Sludge-O-Matic?

  16. hwyengr Avatar

    Boo. Give it a break, it only has 3 moving parts. If half of the development that has gone into the reciprocating engine over the past 100 years was given to the rotary, I honestly believe it would be an entirely different engine.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I don't know; I think poor fuel economy is inherent in the design. I mean, they've had the Renesis and everything else, and they still haven't managed a significant increase in efficiency.

      1. hwyengr Avatar

        The Renesis was more for emissions, though. California considers the RX-8 a "Low Emissions Vehicle". However, the 8 has still been pulled from the EU market as of the '10 model year for non-compliance to their new standards.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Agreed. For one thing, the rotors would look more like this…
      <img src="http://pistonpumpss.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Piston.jpg"width=500&gt;

    3. tonyola Avatar

      Mazda has been working on it for 45 years now.

      1. hwyengr Avatar

        Right. One car company, which is just the 4th largest in its own country, has put a development team on it. And from what I've anecdotally heard over the internet, that team is no more than 15 engineers.

  17. Paul_y Avatar

    Mine was also a 5-speed; I have heard (but thankfully never verified) that the automatic version bordered on undriveable.
    …and I too blew a head gasket once. I got rid of it right as it hit 100k. Just about every engine accessory failed at least once in the 40k or so that I had it, as well as U joints and ball joints.
    At this point, I've had my 2004 xB for nearly as long, and as many miles, and it has not asked anything of me other than maintenance (and an ABS sensor that I have no desire to replace, as it's failure mostly just disables nanny systems). Yet, some folk wonder why I prefer Japanese cars.

  18. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Y'all mention some bad mills, but for truly horrific engineering, I nominate the Crosley copper brazed ("Tin Cobra") engine.
    <img src="http://crosleyautoclub.com/EngineTree/Tin_DistSide.JPG&quot; width="440">
    Of those engines in current production today, I'd have to say the Hyundai/Mitsu/Chrysler GEMA "World Engine" 4-banger.

    1. Paul_y Avatar

      Good call, nobody has since been serious about making an engine out of sheet metal, probably with good reason.

    2. MarionCobretti Avatar

      Great call. I was scrolling through here thinking "Surely someone's going to mention the Crosley COBRA." It's especially pertinent to the question of the worst *automotive* engine ever, since it performed well in it wartime service powering stationary equipment, but failed so spectacularly when used as an automotive powerplant.

  19. buzzboy7 Avatar

    <img src="http://images.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/Vegas_9508_resized.jpg"&gt;
    Anytime my SBF has any small problem my mom starts telling me Vega stories. Hers was bought, brand new, during one of the many union strikes. From the first day she had the car it burned a quart of oil in 1000 miles and needed new spark plugs at the same interval. With proper maintenance the engine overheated multiple times, albeit in florida. She also mentions that the car ate distributor parts. Getting roughly an oil change(or full refill in this case) duration out of points/condenser/cap/rotor.

  20. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    50 posts and no one has mention the Triumph Stag V8? This engine had a litany of failures, but my personal favorite is the single row timing chain, apparently made of pasta with wooden sprockets.

    1. Van Sarockin Avatar
      Van Sarockin

      Just what I came here to say. It is also worst by virtue of being quite nice in the brief moments it is actually not broken.

    2. KevinKiley Avatar

      did you read the original post?

  21. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Junk Each Every Part
    (I can make this joke because I'm from Jeep's hometown)

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      I have three radiators, a transmission, various knobs, and a clock spring that prove that…

  22. Devin Avatar

    <img src="http://www.autosavant.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/olds-diesel.jpg"&gt;
    I know it's obvious, but to this day I find people who are reluctant to consider diesels because they owned, or knew someone who owned, an Olds diesel. I want a new diesel compact for commuting and work, but nobody sells them outside of VW, and it's all Oldsmobile's fault.

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      I think I curse Oldsmobile for that one at least once a day.

  23. Abe Avatar

    Saturn S series 1.9l engines had these tablets added at the factory.

    1. sc296 Avatar

      yeah my saturn required it but gm didnt sell any so i skipped it.

  24. jeremy![™] Avatar

    appearently 2.5… it was 13 years ago…

  25. importauotwerks Avatar

    north star… chrysler 2.7… mazda rotary, i have 1 every month or two that comes in for a no start and its just flooded (rx8) any modern fuel injected car which floods just because you didnt get it of operating temp deserves to be on the list. also toyota 1zz-fe used in celica in 99-01 all use extreme amounts of oil at 100k and most dont have a long life

  26. mad_science Avatar

    Wow…y’all made it this long without bringing up the wasserboxer?
    One of the few motors that not even brand-loyal mechanic will defend. In fact, most refuse to even work on them.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Water Boxer. Interesting.
      I don't think any VW engines have been mentioned until now. I am pretty sure if we tally, Chrysler and GM would be neck and neck.

    2. buzzboy7 Avatar

      What if we make it an oxyboxer? I know that defeats the whole point but it's a damn good building block for a (big) 2.5 liter race engine.

  27. JayP Avatar

    Early Audi 1.8Ts (Just because no one picked on VAG yet)
    The first batch were built with timing belt tensioners that let go about 50k miles (with a service at 100k I think). If you didn't get it in fixed in time, the heads met the 5 valves per piston. They also had a batch of heads that leaked coolant and the coil packs flaked under normal circumstances. Intake hoses failed so often the dealer was taking them off cars in the lot to get people out the door. And finally, the starter had a knack to get hung up and burn out by spinning from the flywheel at highway speeds.
    Early Audi 2.7Ts
    Intake hoses erupted so often, it was necessary to keep spares in the trunk (beside the coil packs). If a turbo failed, it was replaced in a matched set and couldn't be replaced in-car but had to be removed. I think I knew of 4 buybacks just in this town. Audi replaced that engine the lineup with the V8, then the supercharged V6.
    Other than that- they were cool engines.

  28. Alff Avatar

    I run regular coolant in the Alfa, although I have used Bars to stop a drip at a water pump bolt that is nearly impossible to reach. I wonder if I'm following factory procedure.

  29. lilwillie Avatar

    It was one of the many. Nice to hear one survived through the years. A majority I saw didn't make it much further than 125K early on then they seemed to get a little better and I'd see some at 150K Now the 3.3L and 3.8L Chrysler V6 I watched them climb well past 200K. Once in awhile a 3.0 Mitsu would make it if it was maintained and a little selling of your soul was involved.

  30. ptschett Avatar

    Whe I was a kid we had an '83 Century with the 231's little sister, a 3.0L V6. The first engine lasted all of 80k miles and it was shot; the replacement got the car to 125k and didn't have much life left, it hung on just long enough for me to take my drivers license roadtest in it and we parked it "in the trees" a few weeks later. It made me wish that Buick would have swallowed their pride and put the Chevy 2.8L in the car.

  31. humblejanitor Avatar

    GM's Iron Duke.
    Can't think of anything worse.

  32. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Ok, I'll admit it's not the worst engine ever, but I need to vent my distaste for the LT1.
    Yup…putting the hate on a good ole SBC.
    …specifically because it's not a good ole SBC, it's got just enough "improvement" to render most of its parts non-interchangeable with other SBCs. Also, the behind-the-water-pump Optispark ignition is a pretty terrible idea prima fascia. You give up most of the benefits of the SBC in favor of relatively minor performance gains over a well-built, more conventional motor (either carbed or EFI'ed).
    It's also the weapon of choice for a number of horrible mid-90s cookie cutter hotrods or offensive engine swaps.

  33. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

    You think a Sanoma/S-10 with a 4 is bad? Dakota's were offered with 4's until 02(1st gen with a 99hp). 120HP in a 3000+lb truck doesn't sound fun. On the other hand. the tiny engine in the engine bay is Hilarious looking

  34. fhrblig Avatar

    How DARE you badmouth my beloved Suzuki triple? It was AWESOME. Good day to you, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY!

  35. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    Wow, 94 comments and only one (sort of) AMC? That's reassuring. The venerable AMC 196 (predecessor to the 199/232/258/4.0) Had three main flavors, the flathead (dating back to sometime in the thirties, IIRC), The OHV (Late fifties) and aluminum block/iron head OHV. It is the last of these that I nominate. While the idea seems pretty sound, the engine was a fustercluck from the word go, and virtually all of them were replaced by AMC at no charge with iron block OHV 196s within four years.

  36. ptschett Avatar

    When my Dad and I put a water pump on my mom's '98 STS we decided the pill was a bunch of hooey and skipped it. (I guess it doesn't matter now, the STS got traded off 3 weeks later.)

  37. Sam Avatar

    The Porsche water-cooled flat-six: as used from 1997-2008 in the Boxster/Cayman and 1999-2008 in the 996 911.
    The IMS bearing issue is a Sword of Damocles that hangs over that engine.

    1. 117911 Avatar

      These things will happen to porsches driven by weekend weiners.

  38. Reuven Avatar

    I think there should be a mention for the flat-four VW put in the water-cooled vanagons in the late 80s/early 90s. My family had a lovely 87 Syncro that was on it's second RUBBER (fullstop!) head and would fume grey smoke during it's last year with us. The fact that it had barely done 110k was quite sad.

  39. nofrillls Avatar

    Jesus, the Iron Duke had plastic timing gears? Wasn't that an OHV engine? That's an even bigger WTF than I thought.

  40. sporty88 Avatar

    Agreed. There are cheaper ways of making the sound of nails rattling around in a tin can.