VW/Audi 2.0 TDI EA189 Engine: Everything You Need To Know

To begin, there are several VW/Audi 2.0 TDI variants available from 2003 to the present. The 2.0 TDI engine is the replacement for the notorious 1.9 TDI engines, and it is considered more modern but less dependable. The Volkswagen Group developed the EA188 2.0 TDI PD, or “Pumpe Duse” direct injection, with a Garett turbo in 2003. 

This engine produced 140hp to 170hp and 236 lb-ft to 258 lb-ft of torque. The Volkswagen Group released the EA189 2.0 TDI CR, or “Common Rail” direct injection, in late 2007. It produced 140 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque.

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 2.0 TDI in 2015, which is currently utilized in VW and Audi vehicles. The EA288 produces 74hp to 236hp and 166 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft of torque.

What are VW/Audi 2.0 TDI EA189 Engines? 

The 2.0 TDI Common Rail engine is based on the preceding 2.0 TDI PD engine. This new engine is part of the EA189 family (VW Emissions Scandal), which also includes the 1.6 TDI and 3-cylinder 1.2 TDI engines.

Engine Specifications and Design: 

  • Production Run: 2007 – 2015
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Grey Cast-Iron
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 81.0 mm
  • Stroke: 95.5 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 2.0 L (1968 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 16.5
  • Weight: 350 lbs.
  • Maximum HP: 140 HP at 3,750 to 4,100 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 236 lb-ft at 1,750 – 2,800 RPM

Engine Design: 

Many new engine components have been created to suit the increasing demands for noise characteristics, fuel economy, and emissions. The most crucial change in this situation is to use the injection system Common-Rail. 

The EA189 features two intake ports for each cylinder, as is common in modern diesel engines for swirl and mass flow management of the intake air: a tangential port and a spiral port. The spiral channel causes air turbulence, whereas the tangential channel is intended to be a filling route.

The tangential duct is closed with a swirl flap in the partial load region to induce air turbulence. The swirl flaps are controlled by a servomotor, which moves the swirl flaps through a push rod and is controlled by the motor control unit. The actual location of the swirl flaps is supplied to the engine management unit and relayed back through a potentiometer.

The engine features a forged steel crankshaft with four counterweights rather than eight. It minimizes the stress on the crankshaft bearings as well as the noise caused by vibrations.

Because the 2.0 TDI CR employs pistons with a larger combustion chamber, the engine has a higher compression ratio of 16.5:1.

The cylinder head of the engine is a cross-flow aluminum cylinder head with two inlet and two exit valves per cylinder that are controlled by two timing belt-driven overhead camshafts (DOHC) through roller rocker arms with hydraulic valve lash adjustment components. 

The camshaft drive has spur gear teeth with backlash compensation to synchronize the camshafts. The piezo injectors with clamping arms are mounted to the cylinder head. The camshaft timing belt also powers the common rail pump and coolant pump, while a V-belt powers the air conditioning compressor and alternator.

However, the timing belt only drives the exhaust camshaft, and the intake camshaft is driven by a gear from the exhaust camshaft at the back of the cylinder head.

The 2.0 TDI engine was outfitted with a variable geometry intake manifold, roller finger cam followers with hydraulic lifters, an electronically regulated variable geometry turbocharger integrated into the cast iron exhaust manifold, a diesel particulate filter, a low-temperature EGR system, and a Bosch EDC 17 electronic ECU. Depending on the vehicle type, a two-liter engine can be fitted with two balance shafts. 

Applications of VW/Audi 2.0 TDI CR EA189 Engine:

  • Mk5 Jetta
  • VW B5 Passat
  • VW Mk5 Golf
  • Touran
  • Tiguan
  • Mk6 Golf
  • B6 Passat
  • VWA CC
  • B8 Passat
  • Arteon
  • Mk8 Golf
  • Mk7 Golf
  • Audi Q5
  • Audi C6 A6
  • Audi B7 A4
  • Audi 8P A3
  • Audi Mk2 TT

Problems Surrounding VW/Audi 2.0 TDI CR EA189 Engines: 

Throughout its career, the VW/Audi 2.0 TDI engine has had its fair share of faults and problems other than the widely known issues the 189 had.

 Some of them appear more frequently than others. Perhaps the majority of these concerns arose from the experiences of some current and past owners. 

Some of the engine’s problems are as follows:

1. Clogged Diesel Particulate Filter

Clogged diesel particulate filters, also known as DPFs, are widespread in many diesel engines on the road today, not only 2.0 TDI engines. A diesel particulate filter (DPF) reduces emissions by trapping diesel particles within the filter. By passing the gases through the filter, it eliminates soot from the exhaust. 

The most common cause of DPF failure is blockage or sensor failure. When they clog, the DPF indicator illuminates, and the car may enter limp mode since the engine is unable to “breathe” correctly. 

A DPF will not generally fail, but it may clog more than once throughout the life of a vehicle. To minimize clogging, avoid short-distance journeys, or if necessary, take long-distance travels at high RPMs to burn off surplus soot.

When a DPF fails or becomes clogged, there are only two alternatives for resolving the issue: clean it or replace it. If you want to repair the unit, we recommend that you also replace the sensors. And, if you want to clean it, keep a close eye on it to ensure it is well cleaned.

2. Timing Belt Tensioner Issues 

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.

When the timing belt breaks, we recommend obtaining a timing belt kit, which includes not just updated tensioners and idlers, but also a new timing belt, water pump, and coolant. We recommend this since all of these pieces are in the same location and installation will be simpler. 

Furthermore, these parts tend to fail at the same time, so you may as well avoid future problems with the belt, tensioners, water pump, and so on. Replacing all of them is not the simplest DIY, but it is doable if you have the right equipment and know where the components are.

3. DMF or Dual Mass Flywheel Failure

Although it is not common on VW or Audi vehicles, the DMF on manual 2.0 TDIs fails frequently since they have higher torque than conventional petrol engines. A dual mass flywheel (DMF) is located at the bottom of the crankshaft and performs three functions: it delivers a smooth driving experience while starting, idling, or shifting gears in the vehicle.

When a DMF begins to fail due to a spring falling out of the DMF, it will rattle under the driver’s floorboard. If it begins to rattle, it must be addressed promptly since it can cause serious engine damage if it entirely fails. 

Another cause for failure is when a 2.0 TDI is upgraded for extra power. Because it is outside of the original engine settings when additional torque is supplied, the A DMF is more prone to fail. It is unlikely to fail on a standard VW/Audi engine and should last the life of the car. On 2.0 TDIs, however, it will fail at least once over the vehicle’s career.

When any of the aforementioned symptoms are present, it is critical not to dismiss the possibility that the DMF is the source of the problem. It is possible that ignoring it will result in significant engine damage. When a DMF breaks, it cannot be repaired; instead, it must be replaced with an OEM or aftermarket unit. If you intend to alter your 2.0 TDI, we recommend installing an aftermarket DMF.


In the world of engines, there’s no surprise that Volkswagen has a mixed reputation. From oil pump problems and emissions scandals to reliability issues with their 2.0 TDI engine- it can be quite an adventure.

But even when you think your car might not last much longer than 200k miles, we’ve seen many Diesel Vans survive over 250,000 miles after all these years.

It may take some time getting used to driving one if fuel efficiency is what matters most but rest assured knowing they’ll get you where need go safely without any worries about breaking down or running low on gas before reaching destination.

This type of engine, though considered as mid-level, gets great mileage thanks again in part due its durable nature while still providing power needed. 

1 thought on “VW/Audi 2.0 TDI EA189 Engine: Everything You Need To Know”

  1. I’m from Canada and am not familliar with standard is for measuring these power figures 74hp to 236hp and 166 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft of torque.What rpm’s measuring standard are used to come to these figures? Thank you


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