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Technical Is there a Worst Engine built?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BJR, Mar 11, 2022.

  1. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,628


    I have worked on a lot of different engines from most of the different manufactures through out my life. I was thinking, {which is a usually a problem}, about what is the worst car engine ever made. So.... lets hear what engine, and why it is the worst.
  2. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 2,932

    oldiron 440

    Most of the engines I'm thinking of are off topic.
  3. Yeah, off topic stuff fo sho. Caddy had em a few years back, carbon fouling could lead to valves touching pistons
    mad mikey and anthony myrick like this.
  4. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,777


    I would imagine that most 1900-1940 engines that were bad aren't even in the dusty attics of members' minds.
    There were a number of obscure engines after this, but the stuff from the sixties on were mostly good, if laden with some afterthought equipment and modifications.
    The one that stands out in my mind was the gasoline designed but converted to diesel 350 olds.
    Was never intended to handle those loads, so it was detuned and still grenaded frequently.
    You can point to the Vega, but with iron liners, they weren't as bad. Fairly simple aftermarket repair.
    The 4-6-8 was too ahead of it's time. Others have done it now.

    EDIT: as mentioned, all are OT.
    dana barlow, fauj, mad mikey and 5 others like this.

  5. From the 50’s and 60’s most stuff was bulletproof.
    Although most had low compression and anemic to some degree would huff and puff smoke and fart but would never die !!

    Worked on tons of this stuff and it’s “modern” counter parts into the 80’s and early 90’s with not a ton a failures .

    lots of folks joke about Jaguars un-reliability, their electrical ( Lukas) was junk if you didn’t understand it , and if you did understand it …. Well God help you .
    But there inline 6’s where amazing engines and the v12 was bullit proof .

    the 80’s must have been a horrible time to be a mechanic with the push to FWD , emission controls , computers and electronics on everything snd changes happening all the time , it must have been a real pain .

    There has bern a lot of junk built since the 80’s that had major catastrophic failures and cost a zillion bucks to fix.

    from 1965 going backwards ?
    Not sure what would be considered junk .
    rusty valley and mad mikey like this.
  6. Paulz
    Joined: Dec 30, 2018
    Posts: 84


    4.0 SOHC Ford.
    Wrench97 and egads like this.
  7. Had a 1980 Chevy pick up with the olds 350 diesel. Bought it used knowing motor was not good. She blew the bottom out then previous owner had it rebuilt and I bought it . Drove it for 2 more years but grenade d again. Got so bad I had to light a rag and put it over the intake soaked with starter fluid to light her off in the winter. Converted the truck to a gas rig. Nobody wanted the Olds motor for parts. And also had a Vega . Great little car but kept blowing head gaskets. Pulled the nice 4 speed out of that one and scrapped the car.
    mad mikey likes this.
  8. First year Y block.
    55 265 had issues out the gate
    Steve Ray, dana barlow, fauj and 3 others like this.
  9. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,557


    OT 6.0 Ford diesel. I've been a Ford guy since my first car, a Model A Ford when I was 15. But thanks to the POS diesel no more new Fords for me.
    fauj, mad mikey, das858 and 1 other person like this.
  10. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 998


    • Chevy’ first V8. About 1917 I think.
    • Then there was the Copper cooled Chevy engine from that era. I think they recalled them and scrapped all but a handful that escaped.
    Beanscoot and rusty valley like this.
  11. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,994


    OT, but, So many bad 80's 4 cyl carb'd engines, that got even worse with early fuel inj.
  12. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,843


    and then I got banned. B1F295E6-EC50-463D-BBC3-5B51AB073762.jpeg
  13. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 527

    samurai mike

    wow just wow
    rusty valley and Spooky like this.
  14. The '32 Ford flathead would have been a lemon by today's standards. Ford had to replace many of them. By '33 they had it sorted out. Lots of '32 Fords got new '33 engines swapped in.
  15. As mentioned previously, the Triumph V8. Legendary.
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  16. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,657


    Wasn’t the first year for the Y-block 54?
    ‘55 was a 272 /292 if I recall.
    guthriesmith likes this.
  17. 54 for ford (I believe) 239
  18. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,714

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

  19. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,952


    Over the years I've managed to make a few motors junk... Does that count?
  20. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 8,111

    from Michigan

    That rebuilt SBC I paid only $200 for was a piece of crap!

    I seem to remember the Cosworth Vega engine having some major problems.
    Funniest thing... Years later, a fella proudly announced to me that he was involved in its development.
    mad mikey likes this.
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,297


    That Austin engine in my 55 Metropolitan with the crank having threads in it where the rear main should be to screw the oil back in the engine rather than having a rear main seal has to be one of those design things that was a fail .
    I have always wanted a Y block but remember the oil to the rockers issues in the 60's when it seemed that we ended up with a lot of them in high school auto shop because the local shops didn't want to fool wiith them.

    Most of those later failures like the 350 olds diesel or 6.0 Ford diesel were because someone decided to cut corners to save a buck or two. Both worked ok if you didn't work them hard though. I Knew a salesman who drove one of those Olds powered sedans a lot of miles and loved it but while he drove fast on the long roads he didn't drive hard. On the other hand I missed a seriously nice Chevy pickup with one that was blown up in it when I had a 455 Olds sitting on the engine stand ready to rebuild. By the time I went to the bank and pulled out the cash someone else had bought it.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  22. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 1,132


    The diesel 350 Olds engine is NOT a converted gas engine. It actually was designed by Detroit Diesel and built by Oldsmobile. The only reason Olds parts fit was a cost cutting measure.
    My dad had a 57 Ford that my Great Grandfather bought new in 57. The car could not be driven more than a few miles at a time, it would overheat. It had been back to Ford so many times in the 3 years the family owned it the receipts compressed were over 2” thick. My grandfather thought it was great because he did not have to worry about dad going too far from home.
  23. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 40,137


  24. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 938


    OT 1987 2.5 Tech 4. Had a fiber timing gear that was pressed onto the end of the camshaft (as I found out when mine went) instead of being bolted on, the oil filter was mounted upside down behind the block and always made a big mess when I changed it, the center exhaust header port had a sharp 90 degree bend to it (literally cut and welded that way from the factory), had a 4000 rpm redline, rattled like a diesel, slow, sluggish, and the fuel economy wasn't that great. That one blew up, had a new crate motor put in, and that one was even worse. Coupled with some rude GM service people, I was glad to get rid of that car!
    das858 likes this.
  25. mrspeedyt
    Joined: Sep 26, 2009
    Posts: 852


    the 60s austin/morris/mg front wheel drive cars had an issue with crankshaft breaking at the fourth crank pin. i had one.

    the 63 cad was a new design short block... lots of problems... i had one. broke a piston. the 64 on is better. the 62 and older were much better. all were great driving road cars.

    and didn’t pontiac have a problem with the nylon timing gears?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2022
    mad mikey and VANDENPLAS like this.
  26. Most of the truly shit engines I can think of have been built in the last 20 years or so…..
  27. PhilA
    Joined: Sep 6, 2018
    Posts: 1,556


    Those two statements are intrinsically linked, I believe.
    Scroll plus rope seal works. Mostly. When the engine is running. At least the chassis directly behind the engine won't rust, nor will your garage floor.
  28. WilliD
    Joined: Oct 12, 2013
    Posts: 38

    from Illinois

    Ive got a chance to buy a 54 Y Block 239 for $50.00 should I even bother ??
    Spooky likes this.
  29. Depends on intentions.
    They have a few 239 only parts. Cam and cam bearings. The least desirable of the y-block heads
    A reground cam, maybe a newer set of heads, .
    and a better distributor. (I’m not the biggest load-a-magic fan) and have fun with it.
    The early heads has smaller intake ports and may need harder to find intakes if running a 4v or multiple carbs.
    The oiling issue on y-blocks are covered here a lot. The search function here will help ya.
    But if not a restoration, the 292 y-block would be the one I’d spend my money on.
    That being said, I’m working on talking my uncle out of a very low mile 272. Nice clean standard bore engine. I may use it in a build. I like to cruise. So HP isn’t that important.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2022
    mad mikey and WilliD like this.
  30. Its a nightmare being an auto mechanic today. Everything is overpriced chunks of shit. Working on my drag coupe is like a vacation.:) During the week, it's mostly all indescribable horror.:eek:

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