Volkswagen Lightweight Marine Engines

Discussion in 'Diesel Engines' started by tronico, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Skua
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Location: Hunt's Pier WW NJ

    Skua Senior Member

    Hmm, as an ASE certified auto tech, specializing in VAG auotmobiles, it would be a cold day in hell before I would use any of the current crop of engines in a boat, other than the 2.7/2.8 90degree v6's.All the rest are crap, plagued with huge problems, cam seizures, timing belt/waterpump failures. sludging, VVT failures, chain guide failures, horrific oil cunsumption, VERY poor fuel mileage, turbo failures, not to mention repeated sensor failures such as the temp sensor recalls, ignition coil failures, ignition secondary module failures, cam and crank sensor failures, cam, and fuel pump failures in the FSI engines and the list goes on. It's one thing to sit by the side of the road and wait for the tow truck, it's another to wait in the channel with an appraoching storm, for the tow boat.
    2 people like this.
  2. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    There you have it..straight from a tech. Thanks.
  3. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    The truth has been said
  4. baeckmo
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Sweden

    baeckmo Hydrodynamics

    Since the thread opener was going to use the engines for waterjet propulsion, I strongly advice against them, due to the high revs (4200 rpm) at max power. That creates cavitation problems and will make jet matching very difficult, opting either for a jet with built-in gearbox (Castoldi) or the addition of an external gearbox. Both options destroy the marginal weight advantage these engines may have, and steal some 5 to 10 % of power, depending on arrangement.

    Go for a straight six, turbocharged and without a lot of fuzzy paraphernalia; the Yanmars or VM-diesels are good alternatives, as are the Iveco's. If you are planning for a commercial venture, study the service net available in your market, then select engines and design the boat around it!
  5. FishStretcher
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Location: On the Water

    FishStretcher Junior Member

    VW marine engines (at least in the USA) are diesels, so the timing belt, fuel pump cam failures and ignition system issues wouldn't be relevant. Yes the diesels have belts, but it is the gas cars that seem to break them.

    Having had the turbo gas/petrol and diesel variants of the same car (a golf), the diesel is much more reliable. We did lose a timing belt (and resulting cylinder head) on a gasoline VW/AUDI. The TDI just runs and runs. At least in my case, in my car. The GTI and TT were much more troublesome. And that was before the direct injection gasoline engine. Those have certainly had teething problems.
  6. Aliboy
    Joined: May 2011
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    Location: New Zealand

    Aliboy Junior Member

    I currently have 7 diesels in boats. 4 Common rail electronic engines and 3 older mechanically injected engines. The ones that give the most problems (by a big margin) are the lightweight common rail ones. Like many new era sub ~400hp marine diesels they are a marinised car engine and produce signifant amounts of HP per liter of displacement. To do this they spin fast (4000rpm) and push the engine to a high state of tune. What this has proven to mean is that they are a bit like the race car version of a road going car engine. Go really well for short periods, but are less reliable and don't last nearly as long. You can not confuse these engines with the large displacement, slow turning older ones that developed the marine diesels reputation for longevity and reliability. These are not those engines.

    Final comment is that before 'marrying' yourself to a supplier of any of these engines, take a good hard look at what it will cost you for things like replacement turbos, sensors etc. When you take on this new engine 'relationship' it is a bit like taking on a mistress who whilst providing you with some fun, is mainly focused on how much money they can remove from your wallet as quickly as possible. Just today I repaired a ~$400 'non-servicable' part of a Volvo steering system with 2 $4 seals that Volvo won't sell you. They say you need to buy the whole part. A couple of years ago I replaced $2500 turbo on one of these engines due to low boost. This was the only dealer option available ('non-servicable item'). When the other one started to do the same thing (both at low hours) I decided that I was going to find out what was happening. I stripped and serviced the turbo, and it has been perfect ever since. Took about 90 mins to do the service with no special tools needed. If you aren't able or willing to get into this type of research and work yourself, you need to go into your new lightweight diesel engine with a clear understanding of what the parts and service situation is going to be like once your warranty is over. These types of engines are not mostly going to run for year after year on basic servicing, so make sure you know what you are buying into. I didn't when I bought our lightweight engines and have been paying for it ever since.
  7. AZboatbuilder
    Joined: Jul 2013
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    Location: Tucson AZ

    AZboatbuilder Junior Member

    Gas engines have twice the fuel econ , if low compression

    .........Hi all, just wondering does anyone out there have any experience in using the Volkswagen marine engines mainly the TDI 350-8 and TDI 265-6? e of their low wight. In this project the wight and environmental friendliness is the key. But off course they have to perform as well:).
    The engines will be used for a waterjetdrive system.
    Any experience? ???

    Im opting Honda B18b , as the lightest engine ever , and the

    widest powerband EVER .

    I will lower the compression ratio ( not EZ job ) , ala Atkinson ,

    and the pumping losses will be less than half that of a diesel !

    Diesels must spin twice as fast JUST to start .

    Power band is serious problem on Diesels , a Cummins in

    a Dodge PU is worst . Thus consumes much more fuel ,

    Honda ( i have 10 B18 ) will double the economy , for

    this power band , at top output , i get economy , at 200 HP EA.

    At cruise , i get equiv' of 120 mpg , at 25 HP . Nothing gets near

    a wide band , gas engine . But to see BIG gains , you must

    lower the compression ratio . to reduce pumping losses .

    In aircraft , there are NO excuses , B18b Honda turbo charged

    has all the best numbers , including takeoff on a 3000' runway

    at 9000 MSL ! a Cessna 170 is a flyin cofin at 7000' , loaded .

    A wide power band is from EXACTLY the correct bore stroke ratio

    and the correct rod ratio . Honda did it . and light pistons , with

    thin rings . but if NO turbo , you must invest long hours on the

    intake / exhaust pipes , a pipe too big will STOP you from 8500RPM

    and the intake too small will do same . The Coolant flow is reversed

    so coolant enters thru pipes , near exh valves , historically engines

    have coolant entering cylinder liner , where it cools , an allready TOO

    cool cyl. NEVER do plastic OIL ... 10/30 .. Family Dollar has strate

    30 non-det for $2.75 , It allows the sludge to STAY sludge , then

    you merely remove oil pan and scrape out the OOOK that det oils

    emulsify , and SEND to oil pump ! real dumb

    I need help , 120 ' steel outrigger planing hull , to see Asia before

    i die ( 69 YO scientist )
  8. burgoynebc
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Location: BC Canada

    burgoynebc Junior Member

    VW TDI engine for repowering

    I'm wondering if anyone has more to add regarding experience with VW engines?
    I have an old Isuzu with no parts availability. The VW has a couple of significant problems regarding installation under an enclosed sailboat cockpit. The starter is mounted behind the flywheel which would become inaccessible. The only exhaust manifold I have found is very expensive. As in every other "conversion" there is the problem of mounting a second pump for seawater - how to avoid a cobbled up belt driven leaker? Of main concern is the reliability when driven under constant load when the engine was designed for intermittent usage in a car.
    Any comments would be appreciated.
  9. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Some basic info:

    VW TDI engines are not suitable for marinizing unless you are an expert and have all the electronics and wiring harness that belongs to it. Rabbit Passat or T4 Transporter engines are the ones that can be converted without problems. Identical engines were used by Audi until 2002.

    The Bowman VW150 heat exchanger/manifold/header tank for 4 cylinder VW engines is sold by Lancing Marine for 458 UK pounds, cheaper than all other models they have.
    I bought mine from Mesa Marine in the US with 30% discount.

    Some engine types have the starter motor along the gearbox, others along the engine, there are both CW and CCW versions available for all 4 cylinder engines.

    The raw water pump can be belt driven with an extra pulley, if the engine comes from a car with air conditioning the pulley is already there. There is plenty of space for a Jabsco or Johnson pump on a bracket at the injection pump side of the engine.

    The 1.9D or TD engines were used in VW T4 transporter vans. These were generally considered to be under-powered, so the engines had a harsh life. Nevertheless 200.000 miles was the normal life span without overhaul. Both my engines had a few miles more; one badly needed overhaul, the other was converted as it was.
    I did replace the timing belts at the time of conversion because I had no way of knowing how old they were and recently replaced the small hoses between the injectors. They had become brittle and leaked, no problem in a car but in a boat the diesel smell is quite annoying.
  10. shakescreek
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    Location: northern B.C. Canada

    shakescreek Junior Member

    I certainly wouldn't consider myself an expert, but I installed a vw 1.9 tdi into my welded aluminum jetboat 7 years ago now. Engine was from a 2005 ibiza cupra sourced fron a UK autowrecker along with the wiring harness and all the electronics. With some help from tdiclub forum members the wiring wasn't all that bad. I have a little over 1200 hours on it since I installed it and it has been very trouble free so far. I am running a dry exhaust with a 4 into 1 tubing header I built myself out of stainless tubing along with a larger than stock variable vane turbo. Built my own heat exchanger as well with the tubes oringed at each end so I can easily replace individual tubes if needed.No need for a separate raw water pump with a jetdrive. With some custom remapping of the computer by a friend on the tdiclub forum it makes about 250hp although I limit continuous running to 150hp for longevity reasons. I have no road access where I live so this boat is the main transportation for my family and me. Very happy with the tdi engine in my application so far.
  11. Mennojsh
    Joined: Sep 2013
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    Location: Netherlands

    Mennojsh New Member

    vw marine diesels

    I have 2 ribs with vw marine v6 engine
    And 1 with 2x165-5 engines

    The 265-6 commonrail with piezo injectors air cooled turbo does not have a timing belt but 2 timing chains
    Only serpentine belt 1 for common rail pump and 1 for alternator and circulationpump and steering pump

    The 165-5 is an mechanic fuel pump engine with elektronic ajustment and watercooled turbos does have timing belts behind plastic covers for fuel pump and valve train

    165-5 850 hours till now no problems at all
    I am running with bravo 1x diesel sterndrives

    225-6 1250 hours till now running with bravo 3x diesel drive
    2 broken kkk bv50 turbos at 542hours and 820 hours
    6 new piezo injectors at 600 dollar pcs due too smoking at idle
    Spanner roller of serpentine belt broken at 724 hours

    Turbo is getting very hot inside machine room
    Is not watercooled at 225-6 and 265-6
    When outside watertemps get hotter cooling is not enough when running full trottle for longer periods
    Engine temps climb too 95degrees celcius when you back off it cools down instantly

    Broken special mass free fleewheel at 640 hours

    Broken engine block mount 2 times at port side of the engine is too weak

    Bravo x drives are all staying very good on this smooth running diesels till now
  12. MihaS
    Joined: Jan 2011
    Posts: 45
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    Location: Adriatic

    MihaS Junior Member


    I also have to coment about this new age engine.
    Like I wrote something in DIY thread ,here are my conclusions about VW 265 engine.

    I make marinisation of this new age engine and until now i dont have any problems. But I buy new parts before instalation,new turbo KKK,new water pump,exhaust i buy from VW marine.
    All other parts I buy from marine shops or made mayself.
    Turbo is VEEERYY hot and this is very big mistake that they didnt use watercooled. But if you instaled bigger engine oil cooler those problems will disapered(probably).
    Also engine have chains and they dont brake(usual),only problem is tensioner of those chains,it is hidraulic and in some engines they have to be changed,because of funny noise when you start engine.
    Raw water pump is installed direct to mainshaft so belt isnt included.

    Those are some points which are also in originall VW(cmd) marine engines.


    I have installed big heatexchanger and my engine is too cool i think. Because when i drive on 3000rpm engine have 80-81 celsius.
    I also buy original marine water thermostat,which is 72c ,like original car termostat is 83c.

    Dash I istalled original VW marine ,which I buy used(ebay) and is great.

    Engine is very good,reliable,smooth and have allllloooott of torque. I have installed this engine on 25foot boat with 2100-2300kg and bravo1 outdrive with 1:1.65 gear ratio, with 25 ss prop. And achives with 3 people on 3000rpm 27-29knots.
    Fuel consumpion is 22-25l/h ,original display.

    It could be installed 27 pich prop,i think.

    youtube movies :

    Best regards


  13. Murat124
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: ─░stanbul

    Murat124 Junior Member

    This type of engines with cast aliminium block for high speed no torque jobs
    not for fisheries, not for displacement type boats not for heavy or medium duties
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