Catastrophic Failure

Ever since I started getting into the mechanical side of things at a tender age, I’ve wanted to know what happens to an engine if you just keep dialing up the boost. At first, the answer seems straightforward enough: You blow a head gasket. So you’ve o-ringed the heads? You’ll crack a piston, then. Beefed up the pistons, you say? You’ll twist a rod. Extreme duty con rods? You’ll crack the head. So you’ve milled your head from a piece of the Bismarck torpedo belt? Hmmm… This is when the main cap bolts let go, and things get really interesting.

If you stop to think about it, the main cap bolts are really the only thing keeping your cylinder block anchored to the frame, and with the amount of violence going on inside when they finally give up, the block is going skywards, and the hyperbolic “my engine blew up” gets literal. Happily, there’s a sport where this keeps happening on a regular basis, so we get to watch the fireworks:

I just wanted to share. Other modes of catastrophic failure are welcome in this thread. I wish I’d documented the F2000 outboard I saw after it ingested water at 10.000 rpm… it was essentially reduced to a pile of shrapnel.