Cleetus McFarland Tears Down Blown Engine of Auction Corvette

By -

Engine in C6 Corvette failed during a hard track pass, destroying bottom end of 5.3-liter mill.

Garrett Mitchell, host of the Cleetus McFarland YouTube channel, recently had the engine in his “auction Corvette” fail dramatically on the drag strip. As expected, he chronicled the tear-down process of the engine to share the carnage with all of his fans and followers. As you might expect, the damage in terrific in a bad way, with broken pistons, broken connecting rods and random bits of metal scattered throughout the engine from top to bottom.

The Ill-Fated Run

The video begins with Mitchell showing us how much metal was in the oil sprayed across the windshield when the engine blew, followed by a look at the run during which the engine failed. We watch the run from the in-car camera that is pointed at Mitchell, and things appear to be going smoothly until smoke begins to stream into the cabin. He struggles to keep the car straight as oil covers the windshield and smoke fills the cabin, but the incident ends without any further issues.

Auction Corvette Windshield Oil

However, there was no doubt that the engine was toast, so Mitchell and his crew made a video of the tear-down process, allowing us all a chance to discover the amount of damage right along with the guys from the Cleetus McFarland channel.

The Tear Down

The “auction Corvette” is powered by a 5.3-liter truck engine with more than 200,000 miles, fitted with a custom turbo setup that puts the snail up in the air over the engine. This looks cool and creates the ability to shoot flames from the boosted engine, but the downfall is that when the engine fails, it vents the oil across the windshield.

Auction Corvette Blows Up

The damage is apparent from the amount of metal in the oil on the windshield, but the fact that the oil looks more like dark silver paints drives home the fact that there is massive internal engine damage. The engine is seized, so they can’t turn it over to remove the flex plate, so they are forced to remove the torque tube from the transmission to pull apart the driveline.

Pulling the Engine from the Auction Corvette

Once the turbo setup is off and out of the way, we can see that the crank balancer has come apart, serving as another sign of things to come. From there, the crew removes the steering rack, providing just enough space to pull the engine forward and up out of the car.

Inside the Engine

With the 5.3-liter engine hanging free of the Corvette, the team begins to survey the damage. In looking through an exhaust port on the cylinder heads, we can see that there is a piece of piston holding one of the valves open, at which point the team discusses how many pistons they expect to find broken. Mitchell predicts two while the others all predict three, and it looks like they might all be wrong.

Corvette Engine Carnage Cracked

When the first head comes off, there is one piston that appears to be broken free of the rod, sitting near the top of the bore. When they move around to the other side, we can see where one piston hit the valves, another piston cracked in half and one piston is completely gone. In the cylinder where the piston is missing, most of the rod is gone as well. There is also significant damage to the head, with parts of the pistons jammed in the valves.

Corvette Engine Carnage Missing

As Mitchell puts it, “it was low on oil pressure, it was high on boost, things were getting pretty intense”. As a result, pistons disintegrated and this engine turned its final revolution. As they pull the oil pan, they find many of the pieces of the rotating assembly that were missing from the cylinders, including many piston chunks and a few large parts of connecting rods.

Corvette Engine Parts Coming Out

Mitchell jokes that “the cam looks alright – I see some score markings. We can sand’er down a little bit”, but it is jammed in the block so hard that even beating one end with a mallet and part of a broken rod don’t budge it in the engine.

Corvette Oil Pan

In the engine, Garrett Mitch proclaims “verdict is, this engine is blown.” However, his plans to find another 5.3-liter truck engine, buy the parts needed to reassemble the turbo build and get the auction Corvette back on the track.

Join the Chevrolet Forums now!

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments ()