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OT Modern vehicle engine and transmission longevity

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  • OT Modern vehicle engine and transmission longevity

    OT What are your thoughts on Turbo Charged Engines and CVT transmissions in modern vehicles with regards to reliability and longevity.

    As the gear head mechanic of the family, I tend to be the one they ask for vehicle advise. My sister is ready to upgrade to a 2019-2021 SUV and has asked my advice on longevity. She will probably keep the next vehicle until it is 12 to 16 years old and past 200K miles.

    CVT transmissions.
    I just don't feel that CVT's have the life expectancy for 200K plus miles yet.


    Turbo Charged Engines.
    I am still not sure about the 200K miles + longevity without some major top end and Turbo work, but if you want to tow the turbo engine vehicles tow more.

    My advise to her was the following.
    Stay away from anything with a CVT. Long term maintenance costs will likely be less if she can live with a non turbo option.

    If she must buy a turbocharged vehicle, consider brand new, use synthetic oil, and change regularly.
    Used turbo'd vehicles be very wary unless they have records of regular oil changes. Lots of 2Y old's are lease returns.
    Either way, be prepared for an expensive turbo related maintenance event say at 120K-170K miles.

    Any dissenting thoughts or similar thoughts or something I didn't consider?

  • #2
    My dad has had excellent luck with Subaru's the last 3 cars.... being retired all he has to do is drive just for the hell of it. He usually does 30-40K miles/yr. All of them have gone over 200K miles before stuff starts going. -- he uses the synth oil that the dealers recommend. They get their regular maint on the strict dealer schedule, the most that ever happens is the routine brake jobs, tires, and the occasional O2 sensor. Tune up (plugs) at 100k. CVT service at 125k.

    I work on very hi-mileage vehicles at work sometimes -- semi trucks,. A few times a month. Mileage can easily go over 700k. They all are using the big turbo cummins, and rarely if ever do they need engine/drivetrain work. Usually the chassis and cab rusts apart first. The newer ones are using auto trannies.

    I don't think turbos are needed on smaller engines, unless it was way too small for the vehicle to begin with. At higher altitudes it maybe a good thing to have.
    Last edited by nickel-city-fab; 02-21-2021, 11:21 PM.

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    • #3
      If I were to consider buying a new vehicle, I would only look at electric or hybrid. I have a feeling that a CVT would present reliability and longevity problems, as well as poor efficiency. And I don't see the need for a turbocharged engine in a passenger vehicle like an SUV. But that's me and my priorities based on environmental concerns.
      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
      USA Maryland 21030

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      • #4
        In that never ending hunt for more efficiency, I think the manufacturers are squeaking as much as they can out of the turbo charged engines, doing it at the cost of longevity. As an example, and just an example, I don't mean to single out any one manufacturer for criticism, I was looking at the engine specs on the new Ford F150 and see the smallest displacement engine is a 2.7 V6 with twin turbos. It's the smallest displacement yet the cooling system capacity is second only to their largest engine option. That suggests to me they're asking all and then some from that little engine. It may well put out the power, but doing it for 200K?

        Don't have any experience with the CVT transmission. However, it's hard to beat the efficiency and reliability of a simple manual transmission IF it's connected to a skilled operator.

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        • #5
          Re: CVTs. There are many different CVT designs, so generalizing is probably not going to be accurate.
          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.

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          • #6
            The belt kind last the shortest, or the longest time, depending on maintenance maybe?

            It IS very hard to beat a manual tranny used by a good driver.

            Turbo? The Ranger uses a 2.3l 270HP engine. And if those are the "chinese horses", they have a lot of pull...... But one wonders if they upsized the mains, and big ends etc to take the added forces, or if that 270 HP is intended only for passing and "occasional use" towing. I can see it being used a lot in hilly or edge-of-mountains areas.

            It surely does work fine when you floor it at 65 mph for passing. But is there a hidden time limit, like "war emergency power" on a radial engine?
            2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan


            It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by danlb View Post
              Re: CVTs. There are many different CVT designs, so generalizing is probably not going to be accurate.
              Nissan CVT's are having major issues. Subaru CVT's of late are also garnering consumer complaints. Have not heard about Honda or Toyota. Jeep was using CVT's (2016-2019 ish) but does not appear to be offering them for 2020 or 2021.
              Last edited by DS_park; 02-22-2021, 02:14 AM.

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              • #8
                I woudn’t worry that much about turbos, generally they last pretty well. There has been some bad apples in history but I wouldn’t worry that about turbo much at 200k miles.

                You americanos consider 2.7l small engine and 200k high mileage
                German granny drives 1.0l ecoboost at autobahn 110 miles per hour and after couple of years and 200000 kilometers it is imported to here
                Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                • #9
                  My Mitsubishi Mirage came with a ten-year warranty on its CVT. I am not aware of any warranty of that duration on a manual or a conventional automatic. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.

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                  • #10
                    I've got 216K on my Jetta with a turbo diesel engine and a auto tranny.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MattiJ View Post
                      I woudn’t worry that much about turbos, generally they last pretty well. There has been some bad apples in history but I wouldn’t worry that about turbo much at 200k miles.

                      You americanos consider 2.7l small engine and 200k high mileage
                      German granny drives 1.0l ecoboost at autobahn 110 miles per hour and after couple of years and 200000 kilometers it is imported to here
                      Remember, we are counting in miles, and not kilometers. So that would be 321,868 KM. At least in North America, most vehicles will start having expensive problems at 200K miles just due to wear. It's gonna be expensive to fix when my truck engine starts having trouble -- 2.9l non-turbo, 5-speed.

                      My jeep is 35 yrs old, with a 2.5L 4-cyl 5-speed. 250,000 miles. It barely even goes fast enough to get on the road safely. Probably all of 75 HP. And in the last 4 years I've put ~ $2,000 in repairs, doing the work myself.

                      This is very different from the old style GM V-8's that I grew up with. Anyone could fix them, cheaply and easily. Usually about 7.5 liters, no turbo necessary, (plenty of power already) and they could go 250k miles without really trying. Spending its entire life at 1800 R/Min at 100 kmh. You could rebuild those engines on a weekend completely, for less than $500 and be driving it again on a Monday. I've done that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post

                        Remember, we are counting in miles, and not kilometers. So that would be 321,868 KM. At least in North America, most vehicles will start having expensive problems at 200K miles just due to wear. It's gonna be expensive to fix when my truck engine starts having trouble -- 2.9l non-turbo, 5-speed.

                        .
                        Taxes on cars are crazy high in here and they are used (and maintained) as long as they contain more steel than rust..

                        Most of the cars I have owned had more than 200k miles when I bought them.
                        1.9 TDI VW Jetta gave up the fight at 410 000 km. Turbo was fine but hydraulic lifters cracked and destroyed the engine.
                        Common failure point with those engines, if you do preventive overhaul for lifters the rest of the engine goes 400k miles.

                        These would count as a high mileage vehicle in here:
                        515k miles https://www.nettiauto.com/en/toyota/...uiser/11939493
                        390k miles https://www.nettiauto.com/en/mercedes-benz/e/11803754
                        390k miles https://www.nettiauto.com/en/volkswa...orter/11848394
                        Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                        • #13
                          Not sure but I think that most engines in European cars are now turbocharged, and I don't hear of many problems.

                          I did have a turbo fail (Toyota Avensis 2.2 turbo diesel). A rubber inlet pipe perished and the bits were sucked into the turbo, so hardly the fault of the turbo. An aftermarket replacement cartridge for the turbo was around 300 Euros, so not a major expense. The biggest pain was getting to it, it was between the engine and the firewall.

                          I once had a 2 liter Ford Capri. 100BHP. Buy any 2 liter engined car now, and it'll give between 200 and 300BHP, have much lower emissions and be more fuel efficient.

                          CVT transmissions are pretty uncommon in Europe. We tend to get either 6 speed manuals, or automatics. Most automatics are the double clutch type, torque converters are a thing of the past here. I have a car with a 6 speed automatic DSG gearbox, it's brilliant. The only way to know it changes gear is by watching the rev counter, it's smooth as silk. Performance was once an issue with automatics, but they're now quicker than manual cars.

                          Ian
                          All of the gear, no idea...

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                          • #14
                            I agree with DS although I would advice people when they want advise.
                            Most cars these days are time bombs. Especially anything German. I'd avoid them at all costs. Yes nothing turboed as they don't last and cost a ton when they crap out. I cringe when I hear things like 'Ford and GM joined forces to develop a new 8 speed transmission'. They always are disasters. Yes CVT's are also problematic yet a buddy has one of those crappy Nissan CVT's with 250,000 miles on it. I have a 14 Altima that is flawless.Still don't like CVT's and bought an extended warranty for it.

                            The old KISS philosophy still holds true but it's difficult to find something simple today as we want all the toys in a car. The newer Fords are better but avoid turbos. It's almost impossible to find a three pedal car in north America as we've become too lazy to shift. The best bet for reliability is still Toyota.

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                            • #15
                              I have a 2016 Subaru Forester with 111,000 miles, and I love it - but, I just had to have the CVT valve body replaced. Didn't have any issues with shifting or drivability, but when it periodically malfunctioned it would cause a cascade of other warnings and failures, including taking out the Eyesight crash avoidance system. Technician said that Subaru doesn't allow them to try to service the valve bodies - they just replace them. $1300

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