Top Fuel Engine Explodes On Startup. (1 Viewer)

Butch

Nitro Member
Possibility that the engine didn't get rolled back down before attempting to start.
I remember when the starter was made mandatory, BIG fought the idea saying that the possibility of crew getting injured was
too great and unsafe.
 

4onthefl4

Staff member
Nitro Member
Didn't something like that happen to Joe Amato once? He was on the starting line, hit the throttle and boom, I think his (then) wife Jerri was hurt.
 

J. S.

Nitro Member

So absolutely nothing said about the incident itself and what caused the explosion.
 

scratch

Nitro Member
Part of running a nitro engine. We lost two chambers in our cylinder head, (#5 and #7),two sleeves,two pistons and two rods,headstuds and even burnt the deck in our Nostalgia Funny Car last year. The thing exploded at the instant we pulled the mag wire. This was after backing it down and spinning the motor.Even blurred my drivers vision for ten minutes afterward. The pair of cars that ran before us heard it 3/4 mi away coming up the return road.
Maybe an errant spark from the magneto at the wrong time.
Maybe a run nozzle dripping a few drops into the cylinder.
Who knows.
 

J. S.

Nitro Member
It's obvious, they didn't back the engine down and it hydrauliced .

Of course, that is a possibility, but that seems too obvious of a mistake to make for a more-or-less Professional team. Maybe Eric S's theories are more likely.
 

Just Paul

Nitro Member
Didn't something like that happen to Joe Amato once? He was on the starting line, hit the throttle and boom, I think his (then) wife Jerri was hurt.
Final round 1989 Sonoma. Engine let go on the burnout, Frank Bradley took a single for the win.
 

Flicka

Nitro Member
Of course, that is a possibility, but that seems too obvious of a mistake to make for a more-or-less Professional team. Maybe Eric S's theories are more likely

Sorry I'm not very good at this but in 1964 carbureted Fuel dragster push starting the driver left the clutch out and the 354 cylinder head with 4 carbs blew off the engine and into the parking lot kill switch was
 

Flicka

Nitro Member
Sorry I'm not very good at this but in 1964 carbureted Fuel dragster push starting the driver left the clutch out and the 354 cylinder head with 4 carbs blew off the engine and into the parking lot kill switch was on
 

TSK

Staff member
Nitro Member
It's amazing how you can pour nitro on the ground and throw a lit match on it, and the match will most often be extinguished.
But, add that same bit of nitro in the cylinder, then pressurize the cylinder and add an arc welder-like spark, and things can go bad quickly.
Thankfully, the injuries were not more serious than they ended up being.
 

the guy

Nitro Member
"backing down" a modern top fuel engine with a "backdown bar" doesnt clear the cylinders of all the fuel due to the exhaust valve angle....the incident was unfortunate, but spinning the engine with the starter, with the kill wires in is your best bet on not doing what happened there. Its Nitro...**** happens.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

twostep

Nitro Member
Some of you guys who recall the days of hydrazine might able to confirm this story I read in National Dragster a long time ago, which explained that after about an hour the hydrazine and its vapors would form a quite combustible mixture - in the oil pan, after a pass. If the oil wasn't immediately drained and discarded as soon as the engine was turned over the impact from the rotating assembly could cause an instant explosion and often did - eventually leading to NHRA's banning the fuel for safety reasons.

Yes, no ?
 

Cliff

Nitro Member
The Greek ran 204 MPH in 1960 on hydrazine. Heard lotsa stories about speeds off the chart on that stuff. Also heard that you could make one all out run and the 2nd pass would melt the engine. It was nasty stuff, could cause cancer if you were around it too much. Not surprised it was banned. Does work great as rocket fuel.....
 

ZWeinstein

Nitro Member
Every once in awhile you see an incident like this that reminds me how nasty and violent nitro can be. I am glad everyone is ok. I've seen a fuel engine hydraulic twice over the years. Once was a top fuel boat on the holding rope when he went to fire up. The worst one I saw was an a/fuel car had a very bad one at the front of the staging lanes. I was probably a good 4-500' away in the stands and it sounded like someone fired a shotgun 20 feet away. I could not imagine what it sounded like in the lanes. If I remember right the valve cover came off the one side and had someone been standing over that side of the engine it probably would have broken their neck, scary ****.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Ways To Support Nitromater

Users who are viewing this thread


Top