VW/Audi 1.8 TSI/TFSI EA888: Everything You Need To Know

The Volkswagen Group is always generating new car models, and the 1.8 TSI / TFSI EA888 engine has been a highly sought after unit for its power in any combustion based vehicle.

Cars from the Volkswagen Group with a 1.8 TSI / TFSI EA888 engine are typically decent vehicles, but engine branding is a pain for both owners and purchasers. The engine has excellent dynamics while consuming a low amount of petrol.

However, there are issues surrounding and disputes the reputation of the engine. But, how does this engine level with other engines in its competition? 

What are VW/Audi 1.8 TSI/TFSI EA888 Engines? 

The Volkswagen EA888 engine was introduced in two sizes: 1.8 and 2.0 Liters. The 1.8t TSI/AUDI AG conceived and developed the EA888 family’s 1.8 TSI / TFSI engine, which was debuted in 2007. It has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine with direct fuel injection. 

Throughout its course, the engine has been updated into three generations: 1.8 TSI EA888 Gen-1, 1.8 TSI EA888 Gen-2, and 1.8 TSI EA888 Gen-3. 

All of the 1.8 engines had a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder K03 turbocharged engine, excluding the Gen3, which used an IS12 turbo that is still being upgraded and manufactured today. The 2.0 TSI/TFSI was released in March 2008, shortly after the 1.8, and has three versions, which are also known as 2.0 TSI EA888 Gen1, 2.0 TSI EA888 Gen2, and 2.0 TSI EA888 Gen3. 

The EA888 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TSI engines superseded the 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter engines from the EA113 series. The 1.8 TSI EA888 is constantly developed and has three generations so far, as we mentioned above. 

Engine Specifications and Design:

  • Production Run: 2007 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Grey Cast-Iron
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 82.5 mm
  • Stroke: 84.1 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.8 L (1798 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 9.6
  • Weight: 318 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 170 HP at 4,000 – 6,200 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 240 lb-ft at 1,500 – 4,850 RPM

1.8 TSI EA888 Generation 1

The 1.8 TSI Gen 1 engine, coded BYT and BZB by Volkswagen, was a replacement for the 2.0 TSI EA113 engine. The only thing this engine has in common with its predecessor is the 88 mm (3.46 in) cylinder spacing.

The engine is centered on a grey cast iron cylinder block and crankcase. This is a sturdy and dependable material with good acoustic dampening qualities for a better longevity and stability. Also,  the crankcase was outfitted with two chain-driven counter-rotating balancing shafts to reduce vibration. The engine block height is now 220 mm. 

The engine received a steel crankshaft with eight counterweights, new aluminum alloy pistons, and connecting rods that were 148 mm long. The 1.8TSI Gen 1 has an aluminum 16-valve cylinder head with two overhead camshafts that are chain-driven. A variable intake valve timing adjustment device is built within the intake camshaft. Each cylinder has four valves – two for both intake and two exhaust valves.  

The intake valve has a diameter of 34.0 mm, the exhaust valve has a diameter of 28.0 mm, and the stem diameter for both valves is 6 mm. Low-friction roller finger cam followers with automated hydraulic valve clearance correction operate the valves.

Generation 1 Turbo

The generation 1 engine features a plastic variable length intake manifold and a BorgWarner KKK K03 water-cooled turbocharger incorporated into a cast iron exhaust manifold. The turbocharger generates a maximum pressure of 8.7 psi.

 A direct fuel injection system with consecutive solenoid-controlled six-hole fuel injectors delivers the gasoline. Bosch Motronic MED 17.5 is the ECU for the 1.8 TSI EA888 Gen-1. 

Further, the 1.8 TFSI engines for Audi applications (CABA, CABB, and CABD engines) are equipped with the Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) system and variable oil pump. The original version of the 1.8TSI EA888 was manufactured until 2010, however the second generation debuted in 2008, a year later after Gen1 was released.

1.8 TSI EA888 Generation 2

The developers worked swiftly to fix the flaws and launched the second iteration in 2008. For a while, the 1.8 TSI engine’s Generation 2 was produced alongside the Gen 1, however the Gen2- became the more popular variant within the two. 

The engine codes are as follows: CDAA, CDHA, and CDHB. The engine received a new steel crankshaft with smaller main journal diameters. But some of the biggest issue this engine face is high oil consumption caused by new pistons and piston rings. 

The variable oil pump is now standard on all engines. The rest of the engine framework is the same as the Gen-1 engine, with minor alterations in minute details and ECU tuning. And the last iteration which is the 1.8 TSI Gen-3 was manufactured till 2015.

1.8 TSI EA888 Generation 3 

The 1.8TSI EA888/3, sometimes known as the Gen 3 engine, was introduced in 2011. This engine was first available for Audi cars, but was subsequently made available for other VW Group brands. The third generation is a vastly improved version of the previous generation and nearly the new 1.8-liter engine in the EA888 family.

The engine has a new light-weight cylinder block with thin walls added to the engine. The redesigned crankshaft is more sturdy and lighter, with only four counterweights. More than that, pistons and connecting rods were also altered. 

The redesigned cylinder head is the most visible modification. It’s a 16-valve aluminum DOHC cylinder head with a built-in exhaust manifold. Both camshafts are equipped with a variable valve timing system. In addition, a two-stage valve lift control is activated after 3,100 rpm. 

The timing chain remains the same, however the chain tensioner has been changed. The fuel system combines direct fuel injection inside the combustion chambers with typical multipoint fuel injection before the intake valves. The IHI IS12 turbocharger is standard on the 1.8 TSI EA888 Generation 3 engine which has a maximum boost pressure of 18.8 psi.

Applications of VW/Audi 1.8 TSI/TSFI Engine: 

  • 2006 – 2011 VW Jetta Mk5/Sagitar
  • 2005 – Present VW Passat B6
  • 2006 – 2011 Mk5 GTI
  • Audi TT Mk2 8J
  • VW Passat CC
  • Audi 8P A3
  • Audi B7 A4
  • SEAT Leon Mk2 (1P)
  • Audi A5
  • Audi A4
  • Skoda Yeti
  • SEAT Altea XL
  • Skoda Octavia Mk2 (1Z, Ming Rui)
  • Skoda Superb Mk2 (3T)

Problems Surrounding VW/Audi 1.8 TSI/TSFI Engine: 

The VW/Audi 1.8 TSI/TSFI engine has its fair share of issues and problems throughout its stay in the industry. Some of them are encountered more often than the others. Perhaps, most of these issues stemmed through the experiences of some owners and former ones. 

Unstable lifespan, high oil consumption, and timing chain issues earned the 1.8 TSI EA888 a terrible reputation among automobile owners all over the world. Unfortunately, the most popular engine, the 1.8TSI Gen2, has designated not just itself, but the whole 1.8 TSI EA888 family, as unstable.

Some of the issues for the engine include: 

1. Timing Chain Issues 

A stretched timing chain is a common issue in the 2.0t Volkswagen EA888 Gen1 and Gen2 engines; more specifically CCTA, CBFA, CAEB, CAEA, CDNC, and CPMA variants. 

The major cause of timing chain stretching has been reported to be higher-than-normal power over a sustained period of time. It should last the life of your car, unless unforeseen events put additional strain on it, in which case you may only need to replace it once. 

Because the timing chain is not normally a planned maintenance item, this problem will likely go unnoticed until some of the symptoms begin to manifest.

The issue is usually accompanied by excessive engine noise and unreliable operation, and it might result in catastrophic engine damage. However, the Gen-3 engines have a redesigned tensioner and are less prone to similar failures.

2. Excessive Oil Consumption

The Gen2 is well-known for its penchant for consuming copious amounts of oil. This typical issue is caused by piston rings that are overly thin. The oil consumption is quite progressive, reaching 2 liters per 600 miles at a mileage of roughly 60,000 miles. 

The remedy is to use pistons and piston rings from a Gen1 engine to replace the factory Gen2 pistons. That problem is not listed in the issues list for Generations 1 and 3. 

For Gen3 engines, the turbocharger actuator must be adjusted when the mileage reaches 60,000 miles or less.

3. Carbon Build Up

Carbon buildup on the intake ports and intake valves is an inherent problem with direct injection engines. Instead of being injected into the port and washed out, the fuel is poured directly into the cylinder. This results in reduced airflow, more weight on valves, and poor closing gaps. 

As another result, the engine will generate less power and use more gasoline. In addition to direct injection, the Gen3 engines include fuel injection into the ports; in this instance, the latest generation avoids the issue and maintains the intake components reasonably clean.


Despite the faults and drawbacks mentioned above, these engines are fairly good. They delivered a lot of power and torque while using less gasoline than competitors. All generations are simple to tune with an ECU remap. Engines following Stage 2 and 3 – more efficient exhaust, performance turbocharger, and ECU update – provide astounding power and torque figures. 

However, the 1.8 TSI EA888 engine, like other turbocharged direct injection engines, requires high-quality oil and gasoline, as well as frequent and correct maintenance. 

Stock Gen1/Gen3 engine life is about 150,000-200,000 miles with decreased maintenance intervals and careful care; unexpected expensive repair at 60-80k miles for Gen-2 engines is also very likely.

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