VW 2.5 Liter Engine Problems: Reliability, Specs & Reviews

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The 2.5L engine from Volkswagen is a strange one. The company released this in 1995, only for it to be discontinued in 1995.

But the engine made a comeback in 2005 and was used until 2014. It is a solid engine, which was loved by thousands of people.

Although the engine has been deemed to be rock solid, it is not perfect.

Let me list some of the common VW 2.5 engine problems:

  1. Failure Of The Ignition Coil
  2. Unable To Retain Vacuum Pressure
  3. Issues With The Timing Chain
  4. N80 Valve Failure

As you may have already deduced, all of these issues are to be deemed level critical. This article will be focusing on all of them and will also discuss repair and replacement options.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!

The 4 Most Common VW 2.5 Engine Problems

Check the review of VW 2.5 Liter 5 Cylinder engine if it's a good motor

Volkswagen knows how to make awesome engines.

But they do ship with their flaws, and those flaws will be the focus of our discussion today.

1. Failure Of The Ignition Coil

Starting with the first issue, many users complained that the ignition coils on their engines became faulty.


First, let me tell you about this part’s job. The coils have the function of converting the battery’s voltage to a higher value, which is then passed through the spark plugs.

Combined, both of them have a major role in the combustion process that goes on in the engine.

How They Go Bad

Now the question arises, what causes the ignition coils to go bad. Well, many factors come into play, which can affect the function of an ignition coil.

Some of the main ones are:

  • Moisture in the engine.
  • Faulty ignition cables.
  • Leaking valve covers.

As you can see, all of these problems can cause the ignition coils to stop working. The moisture can reduce the conduction, which can adversely affect the engine’s performance.

The ignition cables, which are solely responsible for transferring the converted voltages, must be in a condition so that there is not too much loss in terms of heat.

Symptoms And Repair

When an ignition coil goes bad, you can expect the vehicle to exhibit some unusual behavioral characteristics.

Users of the VW 2.5L engine reported that their engines would misfire unexpectedly or sometimes would not even start when the ignition coils became faulty.

The only thing you can do is to replace the faulty coil. The job can be done yourself as the replacement process is quite easy.

To avoid the issue, it is recommended to get the spark plugs replaced every 40-50000 miles. This way, you can be sure that the engine is working in optimal conditions.

2. Unable To Retain Vacuum Pressure

So, the next problem on this list is quite serious. Many Volkswagen engine owners complained that their vacuum pumps were unable to keep the pressure successfully retained.

How It Fails

Let me first narrow down the vehicles that faced this issue mostly. As the engine was used in various vehicles, it becomes hard to nail down how widespread it is.

Regardless, after extensive research, I found out that the Volkswagen Beetle and the Jetta had this issue.

There is only one reason that can cause the vacuum pump to fail: the rubber gasket is unable to seal it properly.

With the engine temperature going quite high, it is normal for the gasket to wear down after a few thousand miles.


So, what can you do to diagnose the issue? It’s quite simple. You must be on the lookout for some symptoms that confirm that the pump is leaking.

These symptoms are:

  • Oil leaking from the pump.
  • The brake pedal becomes hard.
  • The air conditioning stops working.

As the air conditioning also relies on the pump to cool the air, it will also be affected when there is a leak.

Other than that, these two symptoms confirm that there is a leak in the system. It is better to avoid driving and get the vehicle towed to the nearest mechanic in cases like these.


The pump needs to be replaced when it becomes faulty. Doing it yourself will most probably lead to failure as the job is complicated.

It would be better to let the professionals handle it for you. The replacement should cost you around $1000, after including the labor costs.

3. Issues With The Timing Chain

Well, the least common of all issues is the one that includes the timing chain.

This technology has matured to the point that very little you hear about it, causing issues for the VW 2.5 engine.

The timing chain is responsible for keeping the crankshaft, the camshaft, and the balance shaft all in sync.

It is an extremely important engine part as the engine would not function at all without it.

What Goes Wrong

So, what could go wrong with the timing chain?

It cannot be wearing and tearing as these chains are designed to last forever. Well, the only possible reason for it to become faulty is when it stretches too much.

This can happen when the vehicle maintenance is kept at a very poor level. Most users do the opposite of that, so you don’t have to worry about that just yet.

The Symptoms

Many indications can tell you the timing chain is causing issues for the engine. These symptoms cannot be missed as they will affect your driving ability.

Some of the more common ones are:

  • Engine skips a gear unexpectedly.
  • The oil pan has metal shavings.
  • The engine produces a rattling sound when starting up.
  • Unexpected misfires.

As you can see, these symptoms cannot be ignored. If not addressed at the right time, you can expect major issues with the engine, including damage to the pistons and the valves.

What To Do

Unfortunately, this job is something which you cannot do. Not only is installing the chain a very complicated task, but you also have to make sure that it is timed correctly.

The repair will cost you a lot, but it is the only way to go unless you want your vehicle in functional condition.

4. N80 Valve Failure

We have finally arrived at the final problem of this article. Many of you may not be aware of the purpose or even the existence of the N80 valve in an engine.

Let me explain! This valve is a part of the EVAP system, also known as the Evaporative Emission Control System.

The valve controls how much fuel is taken into the intake manifold for burning.

The Issue

If the problem were easy to diagnose, then I would not be writing about it. The thing is, there have been several reports that, when the valve fails, even OBDII scanners miss this issue.

This creates a serious problem for people who don’t know what they are looking for. As there is more than one N80 valve in the 2.5L engine, you can run into a serious issue.

Identifying The Problem

So, your vehicle is acting erratically, and you want to make sure that the valves are not causing problems.

There are some things you can check and observe which may indicate the presence of the issue.

You can check for:

  • The check engine light is turned on.
  • P0441 error code.
  • P0172 error code.

Again, these symptoms do not confirm the presence of the issue, but they will help ensure that you don’t get irrelevant repairs done.

The first error code that I mentioned confirms that there is indeed a problem with the EVAP system.


You must be waiting for some good news. Well, your wait has paid off. A replacement valve is relatively cheap, under the $200 mark.

You don’t even need to drive to a mechanic to get the job done, and it is easy enough to be done from the comfort of your garage.

What Is The Volkswagen 2.5L Engine?

The Volkswagen 2.5L engine, or sometimes also referred to as the bulletproof engine, was quite famous during its time.

The manufacturer introduced three different variations of the same engine, all of which had a difference in their HP output.

The lowest-end one would produce 109 HP, while the other could output considerably more, at 168. As the engine has five cylinders, its HP output is lower than the torque.

If you did not know, that is the case with all five-cylinder engines. The engine is pretty solid, and it did not cause many issues for its users.

Is The Volkswagen 2.5L Engine Reliable?

Now, this is a question I have been waiting to answer for quite some time. The VW 2.5L engine is extremely durable. There is a reason it was called the company’s bulletproof engine.

With it being able to survive through thick and thin, users loved it. As HP was on the low side, even for the 1990s, it made up for it in the reliability department.

Although the issues I listed above were the ones that occurred the most, the chances of them happening were extremely low.

I just picked the ones that had the highest probability of happening. And that probability is close to zero.

What Cars Use The Volkswagen 2.5L Engine?

There were not many vehicles that used this engine.

For the first time, in 1991, the 2.5L engine debuted alongside the Volkswagen Eurovan. After that, many other releases were seen featuring the same engine under the hood.

The most notable vehicles were the 2005 MK5 Rabbit, the Jetta, the New Beetle, and the A5. Volkswagen even put the engine under the hood of the MK6 Golf.

Although the vehicle selection was slim, the company ensured that many people received the engine as possible.

Volkswagen 2.5L Engine Specs

Cylinder block structure Aluminum
Cylinder head structure Aluminum
Fuel type Unleaded gasoline
Type of injection Timed injection
Arrangement V configuration
No. of chambers 6
Valves in each cylinder 4
Valvetrain layout DOHC
Engine bore 92.5mm or 3.64 inches
Engine stroke 86.6mm or 3.41 inches
Displacement 3.5L or 3496cc
Combustion type Natural aspiration
Compression 10.8:1
Power 262-290HP at 6250 rpm
Torque 248-255 lb.-ft @4000rpm
Engine oil weight SAE 5W-30
Engine oil capacity 6 quarts w/filter
Order of firing 1-4-2-5-3-6
Oil change interval 10000-miles (15000 km) or twelve months

The Benefits Of Choosing The Volkswagen 2.5L Engine

I think it is safe to say that there is more than enough information for you guys to decide if the engine is worth it or not.

Let me specify some of the benefits of the engine too, which you should consider:

  • Some users were able to use the engine without running into any issues.
  • The acceleration of the engine is very quick, which is impressive for this engine.
  • The engine sound is also quite smooth, thanks to the addition of an extra cylinder.
  • The fuel consumption of the engine is quite good, around the mid-’20s in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Long Will The VW 2.5L Engine Last?

As is common with most Volkswagen engines, this one has been stated to last till it reaches the 200000-mile mark, and this is only possible with proper maintenance and regular check-ups.

Q2. Does The Volkswagen 2.5L Engine Have A Timing Belt?

It looks like you jumped right to the FAQs section of the article. The engine uses a timing chain because it is more reliable and will last longer than a belt.

Q3. What Is The Advantage Of A 5-Cylinder Engine?

The main benefit of a five-cylinder engine is the added torque. Although it is unheard of, the torque on the engine is more than the HP. Plus, the engine sounds a lot smoother.


So, there you have it, avid readers; we have finally concluded this article which aimed to enlighten you with the VW 2.5 engine problems.

I can assure you that if you choose to buy this engine, it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.

It will not blow you away in the performance department, but the engine’s reliability is outstanding.

The above issues, which were the focus of this article, have an extremely low chance of happening. So, they should not deter you from choosing this great engine for daily usage.

1. https://vwtuning.co/vw-2-5-engine-problems/