We seem to have generated a little additional discussion - so we'll add a few more points of our experience. Dealer network (somewhat lacking at present - 2010) outside of Europe
makes these engines less than desirable at the present time.
Fed Ex is only your friend if you can reliably source the parts
in the EU.
Dealers seem to be unaware of upgrades or modifications required for reliability
- our "new" engine was misssing some.
The ONLY way to properly diagnose these engines is with the VW proprietary computer (not supplied) and if there are significant issues you (unless you are VERY fortunate and find a VW car dealership willing to go against VW [current posted] policy and do a partial diagnosis) WILL remain, quite literally, dead in the water (or in limp mode).
We'd consider (based upon our own experiences) anyone utilizing these for long distance or blue water work to be the wrong side of the fine line between genius and insanity, unless you have twin engines or a very good back up power source.
Irrespective, in our opinion, if one of these units is to be used on your vessel, you must, absolutely must, install a very high quality fuel polishing system as the on-engine final filter will clog due to the immensly high pressures that the fuel system creates, which we've been informed can create "mini tarballs through polymerization" - this information came to us after (clean tanks
, new fuel, dual racors @ 30 & 10 micron) we averaged plugging up the on engine filter every 20 hours or so of running time.
Having said that - properly installed and set out for inshore cruising, with good local back up and service technicians on hand, if you're ready for that up to 8 hour bill just to have a belt changed (been there - done that - at 30 hours use - 6 cylinder) - they are perhaps something you might consider. The 5 cylinder (yes - we've now owned both) is by comparison VERY user friendly and easily serviced (after the problem is identified).
cruising on a single
engine, the first thought is [at this time] - don't - but if you do then Racors, Fuel polishing, a VW diagnostic computer, good parts supply, and back up power are needed.
They have incredible future potential - just not there yet in our opinion.