If you think back to last year, when Firepunk Diesel‘s Lavon Miller had his engine on the dyno, it scattered and dominated the internet for a few weeks. There was shrapnel thrown everywhere and it really was an incredible sight to see, although it was more than likely very expensive. Fortunately for Miller, this happened on the engine dyno and not going down the track. Over the weekend, at Weekend On The Edge, Todd Welch with Power Driven Diesel experienced the same catastrophe, but it was down the track at over 130 MPH.
Welch is a big advocate for the mechanical 12-valve engines and has stuck to his guns to prove that they can make some serious steam alongside all the common rail enthusiasts. Although it does, well, did, make huge power, it came at a cost. After splitting the Cummins engine block, it took out the hood, grille and some other exterior parts.
At a glance, not speaking with anyone there at the event, it looks like Welch continued down the track after trapping a 6.16 at 120.57 MPH at the eight-mile to see what the truck would do in the quarter-mile. The aftermath is a truck that will no longer move under its own power as the camshaft is sticking up towards the sky, and the now two pieces of the engine block has a gap between to the two big enough for your arms to fit in.
In a recent statement from the crew at Power Driven Diesel, here is what they had to say. “The throttle stuck/possible rack hung after powering through the 1/8th mile at 120 MPH in 3rd on a moderate Fuel-Only tune-up that started at 370 cc’s and ramped up to 960 CC’s. When Todd lifted after the eighth-mile finish line, the truck kept pulling.
He hit the emergency kill switch which activates the Power Air Shutoff and it failed to actuate. (We’ve used/tested this combo of Shutoff butterfly/charge pipe blowoff valve a couple times in the past with successful shutdowns that did not hurt the engine nor the turbos at full boost) Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do as the brakes are useless when the engine is churning along at full throttle so, in an effort to preserve the rest of the truck and his life, Todd shifted the truck into neutral.
At first glance, it appears that the connecting rods experienced a rod bolt failure on #3 or #4 hole at which point the crankshaft ejected them through the sides of the block starting a chain reaction. The remaining still under full power #1, #2, #5, and #6 cylinders then had enough force to finish off the weakened block by lifting the entire upper half off the lower rotating assembly.
Todd was uninjured despite the big fire and flying metal parts. Thankfully no one was hit by the engine debris. The truck safely skidded to a stop after the engine failure punctured one of the front tires and Todd steered the remaining good front tire away from the wall. As much as we’d love to claim we made enough power to blow up a solid Hamilton block, the rod bolt failure is most likely the real culprit in this engine failure.
We’re glad that Welch came away unscathed from this accident and look forward to seeing their rebuilt monster back on a track soon. For more information on their build, be sure and check out the Power Driven Diesel website.