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Old 07-30-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
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VW Marine Engines

Does anyone have experience with marine VW engines? Specifically, I'm looking at a boat with a 150hp VW marine diesel - very low hours. I understand VW went out of the marine engine business several years ago but this particular engine is apparently a marine version of their widely used TDI engine. I'm curious about the engine's reliability but more concerned about the difficulty getting parts. Would certainly appreciate any feedback.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
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There was an older line of VW diesel engines. Not sure if VW marinized them or a third party.


More recently Cummins had a partnership with Mercruiser where they marinized modern, common rail injected VW automotive diesel engines. Cummins pulled out of that partnership and Mercruiser now goes it alone.



Don't think they sell many though and I doubt if you will find mechanics who know anything about them in the US, much less parts availability.


David
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:28 PM   #3
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I think the older pre tdi marine engines were called Phirrana (sp?)..
I’ve had the older diesels and a tdi in cars and they are pretty bulletproof.
Don’t know anything about the marinized versions.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:56 PM   #4
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Didn’t they make one called a Pathfinder? My uncle had one in his sailboat.
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Old 07-30-2019, 02:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I think the older pre tdi marine engines were called Phirrana (sp?)..
Iíve had the older diesels and a tdi in cars and they are pretty bulletproof.
Donít know anything about the marinized versions.

Bullet proof as long as you didn't throw the rubber timing belt that spec'd changing every 50K miles.
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:20 PM   #6
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Pathfinder 100 hp is what I can remember in KK Manatees.
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:24 PM   #7
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VW also supplies engines to Kohler for generators.
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:26 PM   #8
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Bullet proof as long as you didn't throw the rubber timing belt that spec'd changing every 50K miles.
How would that translate to engine hours?
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:29 PM   #9
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42hp Pathfinder Marine Engine - Page 2 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:39 PM   #10
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Are you sure? That's really interesting and would make me feel a bit better knowing that aren't totally divorced form the marine market.
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:41 PM   #11
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BTW, your boat is magnificent!!!
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:41 PM   #12
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Are you sure? That's really interesting and would make me feel a bit better knowing that aren't totally divorced form the marine market.
Without knowing what year/model boat you're talking about, it's kinda hard to say anything specific about the engines. Google results do turn up a lot of discussions when searching for 'vw marine diesel' including Mercruiser using their TDI engines.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:06 PM   #13
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VW tried for a while to get the TDI established in the US market, never really took hold. I think they have a pretty strong presence in the EU.

Pathfinder marinized some of the VW and maybe some other engines. They are long since out of business, like well over 20yr ago.

TDI service and parts will be sketchy here stateside. May need to source parts from the EU.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:19 PM   #14
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2014 150 hp VW diesel
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:21 PM   #15
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My current 1999 Perkins M90 isn't great on parts either
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:15 AM   #16
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Bullet proof as long as you didn't throw the rubber timing belt that spec'd changing every 50K miles.
Ignoring preventive maintenance on any brand engine is a fool's game.
You roll the dice and you get what you get.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:44 PM   #17
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Small car engines adapted to marine use don't have a good history. they are often rated at high HP per liter unsuitable for heavy loads in boat use. You don't tell us anything about the size and weight of the boat or how the engines was run.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:10 PM   #18
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2014 150 hp marine VW Diesel with 135 hrs. in an 11,000# semi-displacement hull run at a very slow 7-8 kts.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:52 PM   #19
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Without knowing what year/model boat you're talking about, it's kinda hard to say anything specific about the engines.
The engine is important, of course, but more important is how a given boat maker implemented it in a given model and year. Some builders did a better job than others. This also opens up the discussion to wider aspects of things to 'look for' about that model. So don't leave that out when asking questions.

It's unfortunate the automobile size requirements of the engines led to them implementing a valve-interference design. One skip/break of that timing belt and you've got catastrophic damage to the valves, head and possibly pistons & cylinders. That's definitely a drawback to it.

Like anything, proper maintenance is key, but, oy, there's not a lot of other engines where loss of a timing belt/chain is going to risk being as disastrous.

Not all parts made for vehicular use are interchangeable, as marinized versions of the cooling systems, starter and alternators are going to be different. But for internals, the volume of car sales is your friend for parts availability.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:49 PM   #20
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I think the Greenline boats had VW marine in their first diesel electric boats.
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