The VW 1.4 TSI comes in two different versions: the EA111 (2005 – present) and the EA211 (2012 – present). The EA111 has won many awards, including multiple ‘International Engine of the Year’ awards. With that said, many say this is a great engine, but like most engines, they are a list of common problems. The EA211, being developed after the EA111, doesn’t have as many shortcomings as the early EA111’s had.
The EA111 is unique in the sense that it has two different versions: one’s less powerful (with just a TD02 turbocharger) and a more powerful twin-charged one (with an Eaton-Roots supercharger AND a K03 turbocharger). The less powerful, one turbo, EA11 puts out 122-131 bhp & 148-160 lb-ft torque. The more powerful, supercharger AND turbocharger, EA111 puts out 140-179 bhp & 162-184 lb-ft torque. For the size of the engine, you would be surprised by the acceleration.
The EA211 supersedes the EA111 and surprisingly it is an entirely new engine. Unlike the EA111, this engine only has a turbocharger that puts out 122-150 bhp & 147-184 lb-ft torque. Surprisingly, the EA211 is lighter than the EA111 due to new and improved internals. Something to note, is both of these engines get excellent mpg. The overall goal of the 1.4’s was to bring the power of the 2.0’s, but with better fuel economy, which Volkswagen definitely delivered.
Something to note before going into the common problems, PLEASE make sure the parts and guides we provide fit/apply to your specific application! If you need help looking for parts or guides, leave a comment and we will assist you in any way we can!
VW 1.4 TSI Common Problems are Applicable for:
The 5 Most Common Volkswagen 1.4 TSI Engine Problems
- Excessive Oil Consumption
- Ignition Coil Failure
- Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
- Turbo Wastegate Sticking
- Engine Warming Up Slowly
1. Excessive Oil Consumption
Excessive oil consumption is a problem that is most seen in the early versions of the EA111 1.4’s, and not so much on the EA211’s. If you notice that your vehicle’s oil is consuming more than normal oil (1qt every 1,000 miles), then this could be occurring. If you feel this could be the case, it needs immediate attention as serious engine damage can occur if neglected. In the early EA111’s, the pistons and piston rings weren’t the most reliable, which causes this issue. Some precautions that you can take are: get a consumption test done to confirm there is nothing wrong with the pistons, use the correct oil listed in your VW manual, and use high-quality fuel.
Symptoms of Excessive Oil Consumption:
- Performance loss
- Increase in oil deposits
- Engine warming up slowly in cold temperature
- Reduced fuel economy
- Lower than normal oil levels for a set duration
- Blue smoke emitting from the exhaust
If your vehicle is noticing any of the symptoms listed above, take it seriously. This could cause serious engine damage to the pistons if neglected and would put more stress on the engine itself. If you believe your vehicle is consuming an excessive amount of oil, take it to your local shop and have them take down your oil levels then go back 1,000 miles after and see if this is happening.
2. Ignition Coil Failure
Unfortunately, ignition coil and spark plug failure are common in most turbocharged engines nowadays. The ignition coils and spark plugs play a big part in combustion. Essentially, the ignition coil takes the voltage from the battery and creates a spark to the spark plugs to ignite the vehicle’s fuel. If these aren’t functioning properly, your vehicle will experience misfires.
Ignition coils are supposed to last up to 100,000 miles, while the spark plugs last around 30,000 – 60,000 miles. A good rule of thumb is when one spark plug or ignition coil goes out, we advise replacing all of them, just so you won’t have to worry about worn parts mixed with new parts.
Symptoms of Ignition Coil Failure:
- Engine misfires (P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, or P0304 Fault Code)
- Check Engine Light (CEL) illuminating
- Decreased acceleration
- Rough idle
- Engine not starting
If you’re experiencing the above symptoms, we advise using an OBD scanner to confirm it is an ignition coil failure. After confirming, this is a simple DIY that shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. If you decide to take it to a shop, you will be looking at a bill of around ~$200.
Ignition Coil Replacement Options:
1.4 TSI OEM Ignition Coil Replacements: https://bit.ly/3tFkr7E
DIY Difficulty: Easy
Video DIY Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCTPwgZiPdA
3. Timing Chain Tensioner Failure
Tensioner failure is very common in Volkswagen’s as they were not built very durable out of the factory. The tensioners in the 1.4’s are no exception. A timing chain tensioner ensures the tension of the timing chain is at the engine’s optimal tension to drive many important components of the engine. Timing chains were implemented in the early EA111’s, but the EA211’s switched over to timing belts.
If the tensioner happens to fail, the timing of the engine could be off which would cause serious engine damage to the pistons. If you have an EA111, we highly suggest getting ahead of this repair, because once you replace it with a more reliable tensioner, you shouldn’t have to replace it again.
Symptoms of Tensioner/Timing Chain Failure:
- Poor engine performance
- Metal shavings in oil/oil pan
- Engine rattle while idle
- Loose timing chain
- Engine shuddering
There are really two things you can do if you feel your tensioner has failed: replace just the tensioner or replace the timing chain kit. We highly advise changing the entire kit, so there aren’t new products mixed with old products. This DIY is not for somebody that hasn’t done a lot of work to an engine, it is very difficult. If you plan on taking it to a shop, you’ll be looking at a bill ~$1,000 depending on where you go.
Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement Options:
1.4 TSI Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement: https://partecha.com/vw-passat-variant-365-tensioner-timing-chain-20282
1.4 TSI Timing Chain Replacement Kit: https://spareto.com/products/swag-timing-chain-kit/30-94-0672
4. Turbo Wastegate Sticking/Rattling
Turbo wastegate sticking/rattling is unfortunately not more common in the EA111’s, it’s actually equally common in the earlier versions and later versions. The wastegate in a turbo is essentially a valve that regulates boost pressure. It controls the speed of the turbine and ensures that the turbine is not spinning too fast causing boost pressure to rise indefinitely.
There are two ways a wastegate can be stuck: open or closed. If it is stuck closed, your turbos would over boost, if stuck open, the boost will be REALLY laggy. Either case is not good on the turbo’s and would cause a lot of stress on them. If this went unattended for a certain period of time, your turbos could blow, which will be a costly repair. However, if you get ahead of it, this could be a simple repair of the wastegate or the actuator.
Symptoms of Turbo Wastegate Sticking:
- Dramatic decrease in fuel efficiency
- Engine flutter
- Poor engine performance (mainly acceleration)
- Oscillating boost pressure
- Rattling noise from the turbo
- P2563 or P00AF fault codes
Sound Clip of Wastegate Actuator Rattling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ian_PfRClI
After determining that your wastegate could be the issue, there really is one way to fix the issue: replace the wastegate or replace the turbo. This is not an easy DIY, so make sure you know your way around the engine if you choose to do it on your own. If you are looking to take it to the shop, you would be looking at around ~$400 for the wastegate replacement or ~$2,500 for turbo replacement.
Turbo Wastegate Replacement Options:
Turbo Wastegate Replacement: https://bit.ly/312xqns
5. Engine Warming Up Slowly
This problem is as it states, the engine takes a very long time to warm up and occurs on both the EA111’s and EA211’s. When we say, “takes a long time”, we’re talking about 10 – 15 minutes just to give context on how long. After digging for a little, it has been determined that this problem persists because of the way the engine was built. Since the 1.4’s are a smaller engine, this means there is smaller displacement which in the end means less heat generation. Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to alleviate this problem it just comes with the 1.4’s because of the engine’s size.
Something we suggest is starting your vehicle 10-15 minutes before you have to leave, to give it ample time to warm up. Something worth noting is do not push on the engine if it is not at the optimal temperature as this could lead to serious engine damage.
Volkswagen 1.4 TSI Engine Reliability
As with many of Volkswagen’s engines, if you follow the maintenance schedules religiously and use the correct fuel/oil, the 1.4’s are very reliable engines. Although you may be questioning the reliability of them because of the list of common problems above, we can’t stress enough that not all engines are created the same. If you are thinking of buying or already own a 1.4, we’ve seen them last up to 200,000 miles.