QOTD: Len’s Pick Of The Five Worst Engines – What’s Yours?

It was a lot harder to think of the bottom five engines, but after at least ten minutes of deep contemplation, I have compiled a list, in no particular order.

“Small” V8s:

The motor pictured is the Pontiac 265 but all the “small V8s” sucked big time. I have driven all of them including the craptastic Ford 255 and they were, to a one, stinkers. In the case of the SBC 267, Olds 260 and Pontiac 265, there was no point it buying it over the V-6 models. I suppose that’s why they weren’t around long.


Vega 2300

What else can be said about this absolute stinker that has not been said? In any car out of warranty there was usually a blue cloud out the back. The valve noise would wake the dead. How a company like GM could come up with something his horrid is a real head scratcher, but it did usher in the age where GM starting producing some real junk, which leads us to the next stinker.


Iron Duke

No doubt I am going to get comments like, “Well, my Iron Duke lasted a gazillion miles” but I saw plenty of broken ones in my day. This turd was an example of GM’s cynicism that started with the Vega. By the time I drove one of these, I was used to both Toyota and VW four cylinder engines, which were smooth, flexible and quiet. The Duke was anything but. After 3000 rpm it sounded like ball bearings in a coffee grinder. Crap like this lost GM a lot of customers.


Ford 200 Six

Now, this is going to be a flame-o-rama but I can’t find any love for this boat anchor. Every one I ever drove was manifestly inferior the its Mopar and GM competition. The 170 Slant 6 and Chevrolet 194 were both way better motors. Every 200 I have driven was gutless and the died at relatively low mileage. In contrast, the Slant 6 and Turbo-thrift were practically indestructible.


Chrysler 2.7 litre V-6

Last but not least, was the legendarily awful Chrysler 2.7 and its equally crappy brethren, the 3.2. These were under or just coming off warranty when I was a Chrysler service advisor. The real problem with these motors is they were designed by a bunch of engineers being squeezed for every penny. These things were notorious for sludge. The water pump gasket let coolant into the oil and the sludge clogged up the oil passages. This didn’t happen in all of them and regular oil changes mitigated the problem. Problem was at this time, customers were coming off iron block V-8s which could tolerate one oil change a year. The 2.7 need clean oil every three months or 5000 km. My uncle had one with over 300,000 km on it because of regular oil changes. The ones we saw had all been neglected and we didn’t warranty them without at least two oil change receipts a year. Many customers were lost but in the Daimler period, warranty claims were very tough.

So ends my bottom five. It’s really meant in fun and they are only lumps of metal and not worth getting too worked up about. But go ahead…