A set of camshafts out of a turbo diesel motor await their new donor motor | iStock
10 Most Horrible Car Engines of All Time
From econoboxes toِ luxury cars, there haveِ beenِ some seriousِ stinkers overِ the years.
Plagued withِ everythingِ from recalls for door latches andِ exploding airbags, toِ transmissions locking upِ andِ engines exploding, itِ canِ feel likeِ there areِ too manyِ components onِ a car thatِ canِ go wrong.
But ofِ allِ the issues youِ canِ run into, havingِ a doomed motor isِ perhaps oneِ ofِ the worst.
10. Cadillac V8-6-4
In 1981, theِ engineers atِ Cadillac tookِ a swing atِ making anِ engine withِ cylinder deactivating capabilities, muchِ likeِ what youِ seeِ onِ the Caddies ofِ today.
Displacement On Demand), thisِ engine hadِ the ability toِ eliminate orِ activate twoِ cylinders atِ a time asِ power requirements decreased orِ increased.
But theِ motor’s custom hydraulic lifters wereِ controlled byِ failure-prone solenoids, and when theyِ didn’t engage properly, lifters wouldِ collapse andِ valves couldn’t doِ their job.
2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES 3-cylinder motor | Mitsubishi
9. Mitsubishi 3-cylinder
An abysmal 78 horsepower andِ 74 pound-feet ofِ torque areِ allِ you’re goingِ to getِ out ofِ the Mitsubishi Mirage’s naturally aspirated 3-cylinder, andِ yes, that’s theِ latest GT model we’re talking about.
Car andِ Driver mightِ haveِ summed thisِ sad machine up best inِ December 2016, saying, “There isِ basically nothingِ to makeِ a driver happy toِ beِ atِ the helm ofِ a Mirage, nothingِ to love.” The 1.2-liter sewing machine ofِ anِ engine hasِ extremely slow acceleration, andِ critics claim thatِ highway passing withِ thisِ car isِ bothِ time consuming andِ dangerous.
Buyers canِ alsoِ expect a great deal ofِ racket coming fromِ the motor itself, withِ oneِ critic atِ Kelley Blue Book referring toِ itِ as, “more noise, vibration andِ harshness thanِ you’ll getِ byِ putting bolts inِ a blender.” , 7 ] .
8. Mopar 2.2-liter
Its marketing campaign mayِ haveِ made itِ look likeِ a winner, but the Mopar 2.2 quickly becameِ known asِ a rod-knocker — andِ that wasِ beforeِ Chrysler tossed a complicated turbocharger intoِ the mix.
Everything from the Dodge Daytona toِ minivans wereِ receiving theseِ powertrains inِ the 1980s, andِ almost allِ of themِ met theِ sameِ fate inِ due time.
What’s interesting isِ that onceِ upgraded with forged internals andِ aftermarket add-ons, theِ 2.2 turbo actuallyِ became a solid engine withِ surprising amounts ofِ tuning potential.
7. Oldsmobile V8 Diesel
2014 Lexus IS 250 V6 engine | Lexus
Often referred toِ asِ “the diesel debacle,” General Motors’ decision toِ put crude combustion technology inِ anِ array ofِ Oldsmobiles proved toِ beِ a costly mistake.
Instead ofِ doingِ the rightِ thing andِ utilizing a proven turbo-diesel powertrain orِ engineering a newِ one, theِ Detroit giant opted toِ “convert” gasoline engines inِ order toِ cut development costs.
Buyers didn’t seeِ justِ horrible performance numbers (120 horsepower andِ 220 pound-feet ofِ torque), theyِ alsoِ got oneِ ofِ the mostِ problematic engines inِ history, whichِ someِ still blame forِ ruining America’s interest in diesel cars.
6. Lexus 2.5 V6
It mayِ haveِ offered a plethora ofِ modern technologies andِ the initials “V” andِ “6,” butِ the lackluster motor from the previous generation IS 250 wasِ anythingِ but athletic.
Power cameِ from a pipsqueak ofِ a 2.5-liter V6 thatِ was bothِ undersized andِ overly constricted byِ power-robbing emissions systems, leaving both critics andِ drivers underwhelmed.
On a good day theِ anemic V6 produced 204 horsepower andِ 185 pound-feet ofِ torque, whichِ isِ just barely moreِ than whatِ you’ll find inِ the oldِ Honda Civic Si, whichِ hadِ two fewerِ cylinders.
5. Chevy 2.2-liter Ecotec
2014 Forester 2.5i engine | Subaru
Don’t worry folks, theِ newِ 2.2-liter Ecotec isِ perfectly fine, it’s theِ pre-2006 generation thatِ you haveِ to watch outِ for.
Offered inِ everythingِ from theِ Cavalier toِ theِ S-10 pickup, press reviews atِ the time urged buyers toِ stay awayِ from attaching theseِ engines due toِ poor performance.
While a lack ofِ power andِ durability wereِ troublesome, corroding steel freeze plugs after 50,000 miles wereِ oneِ ofِ the first-gen Ecotec’s major weaknesses.
4. The First Ford V8
The iconic Ford flathead wasِ theِ firstِ production V8 engine fromِ The Blue Oval, andِ remained inِ production for overِ 20 years.
One anonymous expert tells theِ tale of piston rings thatِ were notِ madeِ of a properly hardened steel, whichِ inِ turn caused theِ engine toِ burn oil.
While oneِ bank wouldِ run tooِ rich, theِ otherِ would run tooِ lean, a quart ofِ oil wasِ typically burned everِ 100 miles, andِ both ignition andِ water pump woes were commonplace.
3. Jaguar V12
Hemmings finds that heat tendsِ to beِ the causeِ of mostِ V12 Jaguar engine issues.
Since ignition andِ fuel wereِ inِ close proximity toِ oneِ anotherِ within theِ piping hot valley ofِ the “V,” bothِ were prone toِ failure overِ time.
The wiring closest toِ theِ engine would unravel andِ fry fromِ the heat, causing electrical gremlins.
2. Subaru 2.0 and 2.5-liter (non-turbo)
Both 2.0- andِ 2.5-liter versions ofِ the naturally aspirated boxer engine fromِ Subaru haveِ beenِ objects ofِ scrutiny inِ recent years due toِ excessive oil consumption.
Initially waved offِ asِ something thatِ “Subaru engines do,” owners wereِ told theyِ needِ not worry ifِ they added a quart ofِ synthetic everyِ few thousand miles.
In a public statement, Subaru confessed that a defective piston ring couldِ causeِ some 2011–2015 vehicles toِ excessively burn oil, prompting a lawsuit thatِ alleged thatِ Subaru knew aboutِ the problem butِ neglected toِ tellِ owners.
1. Yugo 55
In late 1983, theِ Yugo 55 cameِ with a 1.1-liter carbureted engine thatِ generated anِ abysmal 55 horsepower andِ had oneِ ofِ the worst reliability ratings inِ history.
With a top speed ofِ justِ 86 miles perِ hour (if youِ wereِ daring andِ going downhill), theِ Serbian subcompact wasِ theِ slowest car sold inِ the United States atِ the time, andِ was problematic toِ sayِ the least.
One critical maintenance issue thatِ was unique untoِ theِ Yugo 55 wasِ theِ needِ forِ a replacement ofِ the timing belt everyِ 40,000 miles toِ reduce theِ risk ofِ itِ snapping andِ destroying theِ engine.