Once again this year’s Ultimate Callout Challenge has come and passed which left us with a lot to talk about in the coming weeks. The highlight of the event, however, was the massive explosion that took place on the dyno with Power Driven Diesel. The PDD crew had been making multiple test pulls at 2700-horsepower in the coming weeks to the event with hopes of hitting that coveted 3000-horsepower chassis dyno number.
Engine failures like this are familiar to Todd Welch the driver of the truck and Will Terry from Power Driven as they experienced a similar block failure a few years ago at the drag strip. The Power Driven crew had been fighting issues tuliping the valves on their main engine at high power and high heat which forced them to swap to their backup engine.
After logging 200+psi of boost during the drag racing portion of the event the crew discovered they had some pushrods that seemed a little shorter than usual. After inspecting the pushrods and dialing the cam the verdict was a lifter failure was taking place. A swap to the backup engine was required.
Both engines were solid casted block with the main engine having a more desirable casting number on it. The PDD team swapped the engine out overnight and put fresh clutches in the transmission to prepare for the dyno competition. Once on the dyno and lit up the truck was making a hard pull north of 2000 horsepower when the engine slit around the camshaft and main bearings laying down a whopping 2369 horsepower and 3040ft-lbs of torque.
Splitting blocks in this fashion has become increasingly common the Power Driven crew did it at a drag strip a few years back doing over 150mph. This event has also taken place on an engine dyno for the crew at Firepunk diesel and again on the chassis dyno for Shawn Baca in the quest for 3000hp.
The issue with the Cummins block in the effort to hit 3000hp on the chassis dyno is that the lower end of the block simply isn’t strong enough to withstand the forces being exerted on it. The end of the main bolt holes and the cam tunnel land in the same area of these blocks which creates a large cavity where there isn’t much material holding the crankshaft to the block. This is what causes the jaw-dropping block splits that we are seeing in performance diesel today.
Many aftermarket billet blocks have solved this issue by increasing the amount of material in the block in these key areas. Some blocks are even wider at the bottom to allow for more material and reinforcement structure. We will have to wait and see if our friends at Power Driven Diesel decide to step up into the world of billet blocks in their efforts to be the first to lay down 3000hp on the chassis dyno.
We are thankful that no one was hurt in the incident and look forward to seeing the PDD crew back out there in their quest to take the mechanical mafia all the way to the top of the podium! Stay tuned to Diesel Army Magazine in the coming weeks for more coverage of the Ultimate Callout Challenge and to stay up to date with all the cool builds we found on our weekend in Indianapolis.