1.4 TDI EA188 / EA288 Engine Specs, Problems, Reliability

Volkswagen 1.4 TDI 3-cylinder diesel engines were produced from 1999 to 2018 and installed in many compact models of the company, such as Polo, Fabia and small Audi. These diesels exist in two radically different generations: EA188 and EA288 .

Diesel Engines 1.4 TDI Series EA188

In 1999, a diesel engine with a volume of only 1.4 liters debuted on the third generation of the Polo model. This engine was essentially a 1.9 TDI engine of the EA188 serie, but without one cylinder.

That is, there is the same cast-iron block, a timing belt drive and a pump-injector power supply system.

But to balance the moments of inertia forces, a special system of counterweights and a balance shaft in the crankcase are used, which, together with the oil pump, is driven by a chain from the crankshaft.

We have summarized all the main characteristics of diesel engine of this line in a single table:

Exact Volume1422 cm³
Supply systemInjector pump
ICE power75 – 90 HP
Torque155 – 230 Nm
Cylinder blockCast iron R3
Block headAluminum 6v
Cylinder diameter79.5 mm
piston stroke95.5 mm
Compression ratio19.5
ICE featuresBalance shaft
Hydraulic liftersYes
Timing driveBelt
Phase regulatorNo
What oil to pour4.3 liters 5W-30
Fuel typeDiesel
Environmental classEURO 3/4
Sample resource250,000 km

This is a diesel for the European market and he does not like bad diesel fuel, it is better not to save on it. An oil change is made every 15,000 km, according to the approval of 505.01 without a soot or 507.00 with it.

1.4 TDI EA188 Engine Modifications

From 1999 to 2010, eight different models were produced, which differed in power:

Engine SeriesCars Installed
AMF (75 hp 195 Nm)
Audi A2 1 (8Z), VW Lupo 1 (6E), Polo 4 (9N)
ATL (90 hp 230 Nm)
Audi A2 1 (8Z), VW Polo 3 (6N)
BAY (75 hp 195 Nm)
VW Polo 4 (9N), Seat Ibiza 3
BHC (75 hp 195 Nm)
Only Audi A2 1 (8Z)
BMS (80 hp 195 Nm)
VW Polo 4 (9N), Skoda Fabia 2 (5J), Roomster 1 (5J)
BNM (70 hp 155 Nm)
Skoda Fabia 1 (6Y), Fabia 2 (5J), Roomster 1 (5J)
BNV (80 hp 195 Nm)
Skoda Fabia 1 (6Y), Fabia 2 (5J), Roomster 1 (5J)
BWB (70 hp 155 Nm)
Only VW Polo 4 (9N)

1.4 TDI EA188 Engine Problems

1. Weak Fastening Of Pump-injectors

Since this engine is based on the EA188 1.9-liter diesel engine , it got a weak fastening of the pump injectors in the form of a plate fixed with only one bolt. Over time, it becomes loose and diesel fuel begins to ooze out, as well as into the pan.

2. Regular Fuel Pump Leaks

The slide-type fuel pump, which is combined with a vacuum pump, also has low reliability in this engine. Often diesel fuel gets into the vacuum part.

3. Rapid Contamination Of The Egr Valve

As in any modern diesel engine, there is an EGR valve that likes to grow soot. Traction dips, floating revs, and other symptoms usually appear next.

4. Turbocharger Malfunctions

The turbine itself is quite reliable here and its malfunctions are associated with the bypass valve adjusting nut, which is often unscrewed, knocking down the operation of the turbocharger.

5. Stretching The Chain Block Of The Balancer

On long runs, a lot of expensive problems are delivered by the oil pump balancer unit. Here the chain can stretch, its star can jump, the hydraulic tensioner can fail. Any of these breakdowns leads to the stop of the oil pump and an early overhaul.

The resource of a 1.4 TDI diesel engine depends on loads, this engine does not like sudden starts and tight driving. Therefore, there are many reviews with runs of 300,000 km and stories about capital for 80,000 km.

Diesel Engines 1.4 TDI Series EA288

In 2014, new 1.4 TDI engines debuted on Volkswagen Polo and Audi A1 cars, which are now the most modern 3-cylinder diesel engines from VAG.

The engine block and head with four valves per cylinder are cast from aluminum alloy, the timing belt remains, of course there is a variable geometry turbine and a Delphi Common Rail fuel system with 2000 bar solenoid injectors.

The balance shaft unit was upgraded, combined with a vacuum and oil pump, which often suffered from drive chain stretching, which led to engine failure. Now the transmission of torque from the crankshaft to the block is carried out using a gear.

The main technical characteristics of second-generation 1.4 TDI diesel engines are summarized in the table:

Exact Volume1422 cm³
Supply systemCommon rail
ICE power75 – 105 HP
Torque210 – 250 Nm
Cylinder blockAluminum R3
Block headAluminum 12v
Cylinder diameter79.5 mm
piston stroke95.5 mm
Compression ratio16.2
ICE featuresBalance shaft
hydraulic liftersYes
Timing driveBelt
Phase regulatorNo
What oil to pour4.5 liters 5W-30
Fuel typeDiesel
Environmental classEURO 6
Sample resource275,000 km

Such units love only high-quality diesel fuel and oil with a Volkswagen 507.00 approval.

1.4 TDI EA288 Engine Modifications

Diesel engine 1.4 TDI were produced from 2014 to 2018 in five different versions:

Engine SeriesCars Installed
CUSA (75 hp 210 Nm)
VW Polo 5 (6R), Seat Ibiza 4 (6J)
CUSB (90 hp 230 Nm)
Audi A1 1 (8X), VW Polo 5 (6R), Skoda Fabia 3 (NJ)
CUTA (105 hp 250 Nm)
Skoda Fabia 3 (NJ), Seat Ibiza 4 (6J)
CYZA (105 hp 250 Nm)
Only VW Polo 5 (6R)
CYZB (75 HP 210 Nm)
Only VW Polo 5 (6R)

1.4 TDI EA288 Engine Problems

Too Little Data Yet

Since these diesels have appeared recently and have become widespread only in Europe, we still have too little data on their breakdowns. So far, they haven’t shown up in any way.

The few reviews of car owners with this engine are still encouraging, it seems that the new 1.4 TDI diesel engines have a good resource. Many over 200,000 km have no problems.


1.4 TDI PD is a compact and economical turbodiesel designed for city driving. As an alternative, you can consider the youngest in the 1.2 TDI family, but it does not win much in terms of fuel economy, and is more finicky in terms of maintenance and repair.

Buying a car with a high mileage with a 1.4 TDI only makes sense if you know the full history of its service, because repairing the engine in case of serious problems will hurt the new owner’s budget.

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