VW/Audi 1.6 TDI CR EA288: Everything You Need To Know

If any Volkswagen fanatics are reading this, you will be aware that the EA189 was at the core of the infamous “VW Emissions Scandal.” In a nutshell, Volkswagen reportedly installed “defeat devices” in the EA189 engine to evade emissions testing and fulfill EPA pollution regulations. 

Volkswagen was forced to notify all EA189 2.0 TDI car owners about the buyback program as part of a $14.7 billion settlement. Following the scandal, the Volkswagen Group released the EA288 1.6 in 2012 and 2.0 TDI in 2015 which is currently utilized in VW and Audi vehicles. The EA288 produces 74hp to 236hp and 166lb-ft to 369lb-ft of torque.

So, with that, we will be talking about the 1.6 ATDI CR EA288 engine. 

What are VW/Audi 1.6 TDI CR Engines? 

The 1.6 TDI engine was introduced in March 2009, and while it is based on the bigger 2.0 TDI CR, it varies in key ways. In 2012, the EA288 engine series debuted. It is also known as the diesel engine modular platform or addressed as the MDB – Modularer Dieselbaukasten. The 2.0 Turbocharged Direct Injection engine and three-cylinder 1.4 TDI engines are available for the EA288. 

Some of these differences include a common-rail system, a four-valve cylinder head, piezo injectors, a plastic intake manifold, a floating flywheel, a variable geometry turbocharger, and a soot particle filter are all part of the current design. 

Surprisingly, the engine lacks shaft balance; nonetheless, there are hydraulic engine mounts for engine dampening. Initially, the unit was available in two versions: 90 and 105 HP with 170 and 185 lb-ft of torque, respectively. 

Later, a lesser version of 75 HP, which is utilized in B-segment cars (Fabia, Polo), which is reserved for the commercial 105 HP Caddy model was released. Until 2014, there were new 110 and 120 HP variations, the first of which appeared under the hood of the Golf and the newest generation of Passat cars.

Engine Specifications and Design:

  • Production Run: 2012 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Grey Cast-Iron
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 79.5 mm
  • Stroke: 80.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.6 L (1598 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 16.2
  • Weight: 214 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 105 HP at 3,000 – 4,000 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 184 lb-ft at 1,500 – 2,750 RPM

Cylinder Block 

The basic cylinder block parameters for the EA189 engine, like as stroke, cylinder bore, and bore spacing, were carried over to the 1.6-liter TDI engine. However, balancer shafts are absent from all 1.6 TDI engines as it raises the degree of vibration; on the other hand, it has no effect on the drive shaft’s power. 

In addition to that, the bore is 1.5 mm narrower and the stroke is 15 mm shorter than the 2.0-liter version. 

Crankshafts have five primary bearings and four counterweights for load reduction. The oil pump is driven by the crankshaft through a free-maintenance belt, which runs directly in the oil engine. 

Cylinder Head 

The VW/Audi 1.6 ATDI CAR engine has a 16-valve double overhead camshaft aluminum cylinder head. The timing belt powers the exhaust camshaft, while the intake camshaft is driven by a gear from the exhaust camshaft at the engine’s rear end. All EA189 engines employ this valvetrain configuration.

The timing belt also runs the high-pressure gasoline pump. The engine is equipped with a Common Rail direct fuel injection system. The engine received an electronically controlled turbocharger that was fitted into the cast iron exhaust manifold.

Across the rpm ranges, the engine can maintain adequate air boost. The high-pressure air is routed through a water-cooled intercooler built into the intake manifold. An oxidation catalytic converter, a diesel particulate filter, and a dual-loop EGR system were added to the engine.

Injection System and Flow Meter

The plastic suction branch is one of the most crucial elements. The suction and exhaust ducts have been given particular designs to allow for the quick interchange of gases in the combustion chamber; they also impact the creation of the mixture’s composition. 

It is critical in the injection system that when injectors are replaced, the codes for the new nozzles be input into the engine’s ECU. Otherwise, there will be inconsistencies at idle and full load.

The VW/Audi 1.6 TDI engine is equipped with a flow meter, which was a critical component of the deteriorated 1.9 TDI engine, has been replaced by the completely digital Continental. In the 1.4 TDCI Ford, a similar approach is employed. It is beneficial due to the measurement’s weight and tolerance, as well as the capacity to detect movement input. 

BMW and Fiat are two more companies that employ this option. The digital flowmeter, in particular, can be monitored in real time.

Applications of VW/Audi 1.6 TDI CR Engine: 

  • Audi A1
  • Audi A3 8V
  • Toledo IV
  • Seat Leon III
  • 2012 Rapid
  • Skoda Octavia III
  • Superb III
  • Golf VII
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Golf Sportsvan
  • Tiguan
  • Jetta VI
  • Touran II
  • Passat B8
  • Sharan II
  • Scirocco III

Problems Surrounding VW/Audi 1.6 TDI CR Engine: 

The new engine outperforms the previous one by a wide margin. It eliminates its major flaws, allowing you to drive with greater confidence and peace of mind. However, these engines are far from flawless and may still have some flaws. 

Its development may not be in its early stages, but there is still opportunity for advancement. 

1. Tensioner and Timing Chain Stretching

The first problem you’ll run into is the tensioner running and stretching out your timing chain. Defects can be identified by specific sounds emanating from this area, but they are also expensive to fix, so it’s best to regularly check if there are any foreign sounds from the bay. 

This defect turns gasoline engines into diesel ones which makes them rattle instead of purring like normal cars do when idling at lights or going around corners in traffic, for example.

2. Clogged Diesel Particulate Filter

The 2.0 TDI PD engines have been a bane of users since their introduction, with many worrying that they will fail or lose power at any time due to the sensitive nozzles and clogged DPF in cars used on short distances. 

With that, German engineers recently drew conclusions from these problems which should make them less frequent now. The new 2.0 TDI engine is much more durable than its predecessors, and it’s even able to withstand rough conditions with no problems at all thanks in part from an improved construction that features stronger materials used throughout the entire vehicle. 

3. Timing Belt Tensioner Failure

Timing belt tensioners are a source of frustration in many Volkswagen and Audi engines. The timing belt tensioner is a component that assists the timing belt in maintaining the correct tension for proper operation. 

If a tensioner fails and the timing belt falls off, the pistons and valves may clash, causing serious engine damage. The cylinder head, camshafts, injector pump, and crankshaft are all connected by the timing belt.

Tensioners fail owing to early failure due to the components they are built of. Timing belt tensioners fail often on Volkswagen and Audi cars and should be checked every 80,000 miles.

4. Fuel Injector Issues

On early PD 2.0 TDI engines, fuel injector failure is common so with the 1.6 TDI engines. The main purpose of these components are to inject gasoline into an engine’s cylinder, causing combustion to occur. Without a working fuel injector, the AFRs will be thrown off, resulting in choppy engine idles and poor performance. 

Fuel injectors fail for three major reasons: they clog, a gasket cracks, or they fail totally. 

When they do fail, you will notice since the engine will run rough owing to AFRs being thrown off of ideal values. Typically, if regular maintenance is performed and high-quality fuel is utilized, a vehicle will only require one set of injectors throughout the course of its life. 

If you’re customizing your 1.6 TDI engine, we recommend getting aftermarket injectors because the original ones may not be able to inject enough gasoline with the additional power.


With the 1.6 TDI, there’s no talk of a crazy racer but it’s more than enough for everyday use and as befits small diesel engines-a huge advantage is moderate appetite fuel consumption. With this, it has a slightly better edge than its competitors due to the nature of its consumption – which the city people like. 

And even though it has smaller displacement, it still deliver enough power in accordance to the tendencies it can do. 

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