What's Wrong With This Picture?

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

In this vivid demonstration of how steel differs from aluminum, we see how a junkyard-turbocharged Mitsubishi V6 eats one of its own pistons.

This Dodge Shadow, which won the coveted Index of Effluency trophy at the ’09 Goin’ For Broken 24 Hours of LeMons race, showed up to the Buttonwillow event with a hooptily installed remote-turbocharger setup (complete with intercooler in the passenger-seat area) force-feeding its Mitsu V6. It worked just fine… for several hours.

Hey, what’s that terrible noise? Better come in for a pit stop!

When the team got the head off, they discovered that the #6 piston was just gone. The rod and wrist pin were still there, but the aluminum piston got vaporized. Hey, maybe it ran a little lean?

The only remnants were some tiny metal particles on the other pistons. Yes, racers, ghettocharging your engine can result in unpleasantness when your kludged fuel-delivery system doesn’t work exactly right.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Dec 23, 2010

    Not enough Slick 50!

  • Itsgotvtakyo Itsgotvtakyo on Dec 25, 2010

    Ahhh, the ghettocharge. I have fond memories of my first. Exhaust manifold gasket made from the cardboard back of a three subject notebook, junkyard mitsu turbo with more shaft play than I had as a hormonal teenager at the time and only the vaguest understanding of air/fuel ratio and the role it would play in keeping the engine's insides inside. Car was fast until it puked it's guts all over the street... a 1/2 mile away from my house. A necessary sacrifice though, car was in desperate need of an engine with two bump sticks.

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