There have been some truly horrible engines made in the history of the automobile. These are just ten of them, as chosen by you.

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10.) Renault 1.4

Suggested By: smackela

Why It Was Horrible: The Renault 1.4 liter motor, as found in the 80's Alliance and Encore, was a pretty bad one. Notorious for blowing head gaskets, when it wasn't smoking or dying, it was performing like it smoked a pack a day for decades. The engine was downright anemic. Every couple thousand miles, when it came time for an oil change, it was always a good idea to check up on the head gasket, just to be safe.


Photo credit: American

9.) Dodge/Chrysler 2.7 V6

Suggested By: EMTtech

Why It Was Horrible: Sure, the marketing folks touted its all-aluminum construction and DOHC design, but the reality was that this engine was a dog. As EMTtech said, after 60,000 miles, they were known to "burn more oil than gas" and they sludged "quicker than Pepsi on a driveway in the sun." All I know is that there are still thousands of rental Sebrings and 300s driving around with these sorry powerplants under the hood- pray that you don't get stuck with one.


Photo Credit: Auto Beef

8.) Ford 4.2 V8

Suggested By: revolver_fog

Why It Was Horrible: Originally stuck in the 1980's Fox body Mustangs, the Ford 4.2 V8 was another dog of an engine. Choked by emissions equipment, it produced only 120 horsepower off the lot. The car was also offered with a turbocharged inline-4, which almost produced more power. More power from half as many cylinders? Ford, you screwed up.


Photo credit: CarDomain

7.) Suzuki 1.0 3 Cylinder

Suggested By: Crel

Why It Was Horrible: One liter, three cylinders of fury! The engine breathed through a vacuum-operated carburetor, which was "fussy as hell" as Crel says. The engine seems to have been overly-plumbed also, with small cracks and holes appearing in many of its 40 hoses and tubes. Any of these rubber hoses going out would mean an afternoon (at least) of work. Not to mention the super-thin "steel" cylinder lining that was notorious for wearing away. All-in-all, an engine not worth the trouble.


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6.) K Car 2.2L Inline 4

Suggested By: KeyserSöze

Why It Was Horrible: They broke fairly regularly. They were underpowered. But they would run seemingly forever once you sorted most of the problems out. As JawzX2 adds later in the thread:

"after you had reached the point that every morning your prayer before turning the key was not "please god, let this POS start and run for another day" but "please god, let this heinous bleeding carbuncle of an automobile refuse to start, just this once, so I have an excuse to set fire to it and dance around the flames in celebration of the purification of my driveway" this prayer is inevitably followed by a coughing fit of over-choked blue smoke spouting piston-rattling grinding that eventually settles into the same high/uneven/whine-addled idle the car has exhibited since new."


Tears inevitably followed.

Photo credit: Chrysler K Car Club


5.) General Motors 4.3L V8 Diesel

Suggested By: Baby Beater Benz

Why It Was Horrible: "Bad even by GM standards" seems to be the general consensus amongst the commentariat when it comes to the GM diesel of the late 70's. The story goes that these engines were really just regular gasoline-powered ones, hastily converted to "run" on diesel. The story ends with frustration and sadness, helped along by much huffing, puffing, and smoking the passengers out of the cabin. Known for uncomfortable performance and blowing head gaskets, these engines are a blemish on GM's history they'd definitely rather forget.


Photo credit: Wikimedia

4.) Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6

Suggested By: Iantm

Why It Was Horrible: Appearing in a number of Volvos, Renaults, Peugeots, and even a Dodge, the designed-by-committee V6 was truly the definition of a dog. Built out of aluminum (so it'll be fast, right?) it was prone to warping, it was way down on horsepower, and so poorly designed that in order to replace nearly anything on it, the whole block had to come out. But the most unforgivable sin of all isn't even how unreliable it was. It's that it also ended up in the Delorean.


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3.) General Motors 8-6-4

Suggested By: Whitetrashsteve

Why It Was Horrible: If you're looking for an engine whose concept was ahead of the technology needed to make it work, have I got the one for you. Developed with a system to shut down cylinders when they weren't needed, the 8-6-4 seemed like a great idea on paper. In reality, drivers were subjected to clunks, bangs, tepid performance, and fits of rage. it was the most unpleasant engine to come out of GM in a long time. The system was prone to failure, too, leaving owners with 8-6-4-0 engines, eventually.


Photo credit: Matt Garett

2.) Anything from British Leyland

Suggested By: Matt White

Why It Was Horrible: Unless you like a constant oil patch on your garage floor or driveway and random smokescreens when driving, the engines of the venerable British Leyland may not be for you. Sure, they were put in some fun cars. But they also gave the company the reputation it has today. Combine the shoddy electronics from Lucas with the oil-leaking, smoke-generating, badly-designed, too-old engines of Leyland, and it's a wonder those cars kept selling for as long as they did.


Photo Credit: Alan Horne

1.) Crosley Cobra

Suggested By: Cloud81918

Why It Was Horrible: Originally built during World War II as a power generator engine, the Crosley didn't take well to being put in cars after the war. Built more like games of Jenga than a real engine, they were comprised of a series of gasket-like sheet metal slabs, welded together. As a result, they would leak oil like no one's business and be very unreliable.


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