Worst Engine Ever Made?

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st13phil

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As a counterpoint to the endless assertions by some that the M156 is the best engine ever (yawn), I thought I'd offer this to kick off a thread on the worst: The Triumph V8.

Fifty years on, it's hard to believe how bad some powerplants were, and this one's a doozy. Watch and weep:

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Post away if you have anything "better" 😂
 
I take your Stag engine and give you…

The ****el engine from the Ro80!!
https://treasuredcars.com/articles/details/the-truth-about-the-nsu-ro80-and-the-****el-engine_51

I had a Stag for a number of years with no engine issues. As long as it hadn’t already boiled its engine, and had a timing chain replacement they were a decent engine.
Extra cooling, a high capacity water pump, ensuring that the water never got low (the water pump was in the middle of the V and therefore high up) and regular oil changes (the mains were pretty thin iirc) and the engine could be made to be reliable.
Most of the issues were from owners who had let the water level drop with subsequent overheating which led to the heads (made of substandard alloy) never being able to be torqued down straight.
I remember aftermarket vehicle cover at the time excluded the Stag and Ro80 engines.
 
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The ****el engine from the Ro80!!
Good call! But it did at least have the redeeming fact that it was "new technology", whereas the Triumph V8 was just an incredibly poorly executed version of proven tech.

I agree that some Triumph V8's could run for extended periods without grenading (a friend of mine from Uni ran one for quite a few years in the early 1980's), but that was as a direct result of owners knowing how fragile they were and undertaking preventative maintenance that shouldn't have been necessary.

But with your offer of the NSU Ro80, you got me thinking.

I will now add the 750cc Combat-spec and 850cc Norton Commando engine that had to employ superblend main bearings because the crankshaft was flexing and destroying main bearings in as little as 4,000 miles. Another fine example of British engine design incompetence of the period...
 
On a general note... it's a tough one.

A 'good' engine needs to be good all around, because an engine is only as good as it's weakest link. But for an engine to be 'bad', it's enough that it has just one or two weak components.

As an example, the Rover K-Series wasn't a good engine, because it kept blowing head gasket. But it was an otherwise decent engine, all it needed was a modified head gasket.

Or, the M271 - if you ask any of the many owners who had to scrap the entire car because of timing gear failure, they'll tell you it's the worst engine ever made. But in reality, an all-alloy engine with DOHC and 16v, capable of 200+ bhp with factory tune, was the stuff that dreams were made of when I was a lad.... and all it needs is modified sprockets and it will run forever.

So defining a good engine is straightforward... but deciding on worse one is likely to be unfair to the engine at least to some degree. But go ahead.....
 
The M157 has to have mention here 😂😂😂
 
My vote goes to the Hillman Imp engine (Coventry Climax?) Always boiling over, then requiring new head gaskets. A fantastic fun car when not plagued by engine trouble. Not helped by rear mounted radiator.
 
My vote goes to the Hillman Imp engine (Coventry Climax?) Always boiling over
Sorry must disagree, ask any Firefighter from the 80s, best engine ever. Was used in our light portable pumps, ran for hours at full chat, to the point of the exhaust manifold would glow in the dark. Must admit that they were cooled by the water we were pumping. The dimp was a poorly cooled vehicle, don't blame the engine.
 
Sorry must disagree, ask any Firefighter from the 80s, best engine ever. Was used in our light portable pumps, ran for hours at full chat, to the point of the exhaust manifold would glow in the dark. Must admit that they were cooled by the water we were pumping. The dimp was a poorly cooled vehicle, don't blame the engine.

I never needed to use my Imp for firefighting. Although i did consider submerging it in the river. 😀

I certainly blamed the engine when I had to spend my weekends fitting a new head gasket.

FWIW. I served 30 years as a fireman and have many hours of experience with the LPP. Light it certainly wasn’t and took 4 men to carry it up hill and down dale to where it was needed. Totally knackering. 😁
 
The Imp engine was also half of the successful Coventry Climax racing engine.
Used in fire tenders for many years, as a pump engine by Godiva Fire Pumps - it was effectively totally self contained and used a magneto iirc.

And yes. Very prone to overheating in the Imp setup.
 
ISTR the Imp became the powerplant of choice for classic sidecar racing in the mid-late 80s. Usually strapped into a Windle chassis.
 
It was the carrying handles that made them such a bitch to carry.

Made worse if the four blokes carrying were mismatched in height. I’m quite tall so would often end up carrying it whilst stooping, bloody backbreaking.
 
SUZUKI KETTLE

For the benefit of those who don’t know this was a three cylinder water cooled two stoke motorcycle engine.

The early ones had a design fault on one of the crankshaft oil seals which caused expensive break downs.

The seal was modified for later models but give a dog a bad name……

I have a 1975 model in my garage. In my opinion the engines are a design classic and very much over engineered for their time.
 
My K series Rover 214, I thought it had the Honda engine but alas no it was the Rover version,
I bought it from the auction as it looked splendid in polished red, drive it down the road and it boiled up.
Fixed that with a head skim and it ran a treat, bought another and that boiled up as well. New skim and gasket put that right and then the gearbox went, never again.
Looked nice though.
 

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