Because most of the Saturday race session at the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis took place in rainy and/or snowy conditions, drivers couldn’t flog their engines as mercilessly as they had at the rod-throw-a-palooza Real Hoopties of New Jersey the week before. The sun came out on Sunday, however, and that’s when the casualties started to mount.
A few of the Detroit entries suffered from non-spectacular engine failures, stuff like timing chains and oil pumps, but the engine-carnage party didn’t really get going until the Landshark MX-3 came limping off the track in a cloud of smoke, accompanied by terrible clattering noises. The timelapse camera on the Chicken and Waffles Quantum Syncro caught the Mazda’s final lap.
That engine-block hole with smoke and oil gushing out can’t be good.
This shard of the block was found lodged in the radiator.
Check out the radiator bulge created by the impact of that metal fragment! Given the violence of the connecting rod’s failure, we were all impressed that the Mazda managed to leave the track under its own power.
This Jetta managed to eat its engine bearings during practice on Friday, but the engine didn’t actually seize up until the kill-switch test portion of the inspections.
All those metal chunks in the oil pan can’t be a good sign.
The Team Euro Trash guys didn’t give up, however; a Craigslist-obtained replacement engine went in Friday night and the car ran most of the race… and then the bearings failed in the second engine, late on Sunday (this happens frequently with VW engines in LeMons). Euro Trash took home the Heroic Fix trophy their first time out, so it was a happy ending for them.
The BMW M20 engine is no stranger to the thrown rod, as most LeMons E30 racers can tell you, and that’s what put the Swiss Racing 325e on the trailer.
Most of the time, an M20 rod seeking escape goes out through the block. In this case, it went for the exit route preferred by Ford Windsor rods: through the oil pan.
The Soviet-themed Byte Marks Racing Ford Escort GT wasn’t very quick, but it held together pretty well Saturday and most of Sunday.
Unlike its MX-3 cousin, the Escort GT wasn’t able to limp off the track under its own power after the engine blew up. Plenty of oil on the track now!
The Wisconsin Crap Racing “Not An SE-R, Really” Nissan 200SX was another late-Sunday casualty.
When the track speeds go up at a LeMons race, you see this sort of thing every hour or so. Still, with only a few hours of pedal-to-metal dry weather for the weekend, the rate of engine failure was lower than usual. For the first time in, well, ever, not a single small-block Chevy or Ford Windsor puked its bottom end onto the track in a 24 Hours of LeMons race. USA! USA!
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