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BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Worst Engine You’ve Ever Owned?

BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Worst Engine You’ve Ever Owned?

After a couple if years ago after realizing that the horrible engine in our former family truckster 2006 Pacifica consumed motor oil at roughly the same rate it consumed gasoline, I got to thinking about the worst engines I’ve owned in cars. Aside from a 305 powered demolition derby car that threw a rod through the pan while we were attempting to load it on the trailer, the awful, anemic, wheezing, tepid, weak, oil consuming V6 in the Pacifica is the worst internal combustion engine we have ever owned. A close second was the short ownership stint I had with an early Ford 6.0L diesel powered F350.

The more I thought about it, I’ve probably had a lot less opportunity to own a miserable engine than BangShifters who are more, um, experienced. Look, Chad and I have driven little crackerbox rental cars around for an entire weekends locked in first gear at nearly 7,000rpm and not only did they not care, they probably would have done it for a month and not cared.  Try that trick with virtually any engine made 20-35 years ago and you’d have an awesome pile of cast iron and aluminum pieces.

So, what’s the worst engine you’ve ever owned? (If you own a Chrysler Pacifica, we already know the answer.)

It seemed like such a good idea at the time!

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28 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: What’s the Worst Engine You’ve Ever Owned?

  1. Matt Cramer

    I had a Triumph Spitfire 1500. Four banger with a three bolt main bearing crank. Not entirely sure how unreliable the engine was because the even less reliable electronics kept me from driving the car more than about ten miles in the year or two that I owned the car, but if it had been on the road more, the engine would probably have topped the Chrysler Pacifica motor.

  2. Hippi

    tbi 454 in a 94 chevy dually absolutely gutless, mpg with my 24ft enclosed 5. had to say a quick prayer every time you needed to merge on the expressway. did a chain and gears on it at 150k had to go digging under the dash for a wire to disconnect so I could re-set the timing.

    1. Loren

      Yep, ’91 TBI 454, the worst-functioning motor I’ve ever owned. Incredible, that GM sold that junk to people.

      Vega the worst designed/manufactured and another story of selling customers garbage, but at-least could be modified to make some power in-between head gasket changes.

      Best motor I’ve ever owned, a 4-valve Mitsu 2.8 V6 in a Sebring that did everything well and on disassy at 150K due to an incorrect mechanic diagnosis, looked nearly brand new inside. Too bad about the shitty dealer, shitty service, shitty trans, and shitty trans mechanics.

  3. Mike Brooks

    1985 Fleetwood with a 4100. Holy crap it was useless. I mean pretty much any engine available in 1985 sucked, but this one was atrocious. Not to mention it was backed by a 2004R that was virtually made of glass. After owning the car for 15 minutes, I attempted a burnout. Somehow after doing a pathetic 0.7mph one wheel peel for approx 10 seconds, reverse decided to it had enough. I kept that car about a year and never fixed the trans, I never had the chance to drive that car backwards.

  4. Riverratcustoms

    307 Olds. Had in 2 different cars. Completely gutless, ticking, smoking lumps of iron. At least i saved the 200/4r ‘s behind them for my hot-rods.

  5. George

    I can’t believe this hasn’t come up yet so I guess I’ll have to add it. Oldsmobile diesel. Never personally owned one but had a couple friends that did. Never did see one running.

  6. Pete231

    Early 4.6l Ford mod motor (non-PI heads). Designed by bean counters that demanded one head fits both sides of engine. 281 cubes from an engine the size of a 426 hemi. Gutless, oil burning turd. Probably run better if the intake was routed through the exhaust ports and exhaled out the top side of the heads. Steaming pile of Merde………..

  7. Joe Jolly

    I learned to work on cars in the 70’s and continued the sadistic trade for 25 years. I saw all the crap mentioned above and don’t disagree with any of them! My own worst engine though? 73 New Yorker with the 440. Got 4-6 MPG after a tune..

  8. sbg

    2RZFE. The motor they put in Toyota pickups from 1995 to 2000. It was a Camry motor. The motor was adequate in a Camry, but useless in a truck you plan on hauling anything. No torque, lots of hp about 5000 rpm.

  9. Dave

    Mid 90s 454 TBI, it’s truly amazing that you can make an engine that heavy and it still has virtually zero power.

  10. Gazoo

    1975 slant six Chrysler. 90 hp, barely 20 mpg. Passing on a two-lane was taking your life into your hands. If you made a sharp left turn it would stall. If it sat in the rain overnight it could not be started until the weather cleared. It would start to run rough if you drove by a lake. In the winter the carb iced up. The front and back plugs would burn lean and the center two plugs would foul rich. The Dart it was attached to was a piece of crap too. Drove that POS 100,000 miles, my first car.

  11. Jammen J

    Does this include Motorcycles ? Then the late 70s Yamaha 360 Enduro single 2 Stroke with Auto Mix to Gas and Auto Chain Oiling . Both systems BOGUS !! Over Oiled or Starved allways Loaded up Black CRAP on spark plug . And even WORSE CAPISATOR DISCHARGE IGNITION !!

    1. mini hog owner

      early 70\’s Harley 350 sprint one lunger was a real piece of crap. vibration
      caused the horn bracket to break in less than a year, then the frame broke!

  12. Patrick

    LMM Duramax for sure. The only Chevrolet I ever owned, bought it brand new, had fuel system issues from day one. It made it 102k miles before an injector failure took out a piston. That was the first and last time GM will get any of my money….

  13. Gruntrucker

    My stepdad bought a 78 c10 with a 5.7 olds diesel new. Owned that p.o.s. 2 years and blew both head gaskets replaced both heads had to trim .090 off the head bolts because the factory either didn’t drill the holes deep enough or put to long of head bolts in it. Replaced 3 injector pumps due to inadequate water separator/fuel filter also the location was a problem. Had a gas station attendant pump one of the two tanks full of gas and because the dip shit thought it was a semi truck and ignored the fact that a vega had a higher load capacity, burned a th400 up so bad that parts literly got so hot that they melted a hole in the trans pan due to inadequate tyranny cooler. All time worst engine and truck.

  14. Matt Zemaitis

    Cadillac……aluminum block ,iron heads ,a head gasket nightmare and usually the rear head on a sideways engine,great idea

  15. Dave

    Had a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe with a 3.5 liter V6. Aluminum heads cast iron block. Ran ok until at 105k (5k past warranty) the cam drive mechanism on both heads self destructed. This was a DOHC design. We had done all of the factory recommended services on this car.

    Hyundai declared unfixable …….and no service replacement parts available. Found a used one with about 60k on it. Did complete servicing including timing belt replacement before installing. At 103k on that motor, same thing happened. Sold the car as a non runner for $1300.

    By then, they had long since changed to a different engine family entirely. The dog 3.5 was a two year only orphan. I feel sorry for anyone who had one.

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