Exploding Duramax Silverado Rocks Ultimate Callout Challenge

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Catastrophic diesel explosion by one team’s Silverado turns into a runaway firestorm seconds into dyno run.

The Duramax diesel used in the Silverado and Silverado HD is a powerful mill. The L5P version (made since 2017) makes 445 horses and an astounding 910 lb-ft of redwood stump-pulling torque, while performance upgrades from the factory squeeze out 550 stout stallions and 1,050 lb-ft of mountain-pulling torque.

For some, that’s still not enough. The crew behind YouTube channel 1320video was attending their first-ever Ultimate Callout Challenge at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana when they got more than they bargained for from the Duramax-powered Silverado of Michigan-based Dirty Hooker Diesel.

DHD Chevy Silverado Duramax

According to 1320video, each truck competing in the UCC must do a run on the strip, a dyno pull, and a sled pull for the chance to take home the crown as that year’s champ. The DDH Silverado, campaigned by shop owner Tony Burkhard, did fairly well on the first course, knocking out a time of 5.621 seconds at 135.39 down the eighth-mile. But the next event had a few of the members concerned about what could happen.

DHD Chevy Silverado Duramax

“We just put it together last Sunday,” said Burkhard. “[We’re hoping] it stays together and makes a good number. I’ll tell ya in about 20 minutes.”

The monster Silverado locked and loaded upon the dyno, the Duramax reached 1,572 horsepower and 1,799 lb-ft of torque before the inevitable happened: it blew up.

DHD Chevy Silverado Duramax

Unfortunately, the explosion took out more than the front clip of the Silverado. The resulting damage immediately caused the diesel to run away on the dyno, continuously pumping flames into the air while everyone did their part to put out the towering inferno. The Duramax howled in anguish for what seemed like an eternity before it finally died in a fog of fire extinguishers.

DHD Chevy Silverado Duramax

“Near as we can tell, [the] charger exploded,” said Burkhard. “When it launched the turbine wheel out, it blew the elbow off of it. It went back, hit the cold side just above the air intake, which aspirated the engine. Then, there was nothing stopping it, and all the shut-offs would’ve failed. It continued backwards, hit the breather filter, sheared that off, and shattered the windshield. It just rain away on its own oil after that. There was no way we could stop it.”

Burkhard added that his driver, Mark Broviac, escaped unharmed from the Silverado fireball, along with the two operators of the dyno. He also presented the remains of the LMM’s turbo’s compressor wheel from his pocket, amounting to little more than shrapnel.

DHD Chevy Silverado Duramax

“It was a little warm,” Broviac said of his experience behind the wheel of exploding Silverado. “I had a fire suit on. The firewall did its job, kept the debris out. The smoke it did not keep out. Shut everything off. Stood on the brake pedal trying to stop it, but psh. By the time I went to get out, it was full of white smoke, couldn’t see anything. Held my breath trying to find the door handle, got to the point where I was like, ‘Yeah, gonna have to breathe now.’ Ricky Bobby-bailed out the window.”

Broviac added that the DDH team were working hard to rebuild the truck in time for the sled pull, proclaiming that if any team was going to fix the diesel Hindenburg, it would be them.

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Since launching her professional writing career nearly a decade ago as a fashion blogger, Cameron Aubernon has written for a handful of online and print publications on a wide variety of subjects, including expat issues, fashion, music, and, of course, the automotive industry. The automotive expert was even the editor-in-chief of a popular online lifestyle publication, where she reviewed luxury cars and interviewed fellow automotive enthusiasts.

A graduate of The Evergreen State College Class of 2005 with a bachelor's in liberal arts, Aubernon took a left turn from fashion writing into the automotive realm when she asked a fellow writer via Facebook if she could write for their site. Following an internship, stints with a couple of hyper-local online publications, and a move to Seattle, she made her then-biggest impact with The Truth About Cars, writing full-time for the publication from 2013 to 2015.

Currently, the highly-regarded automotive journalist is a frequent contributor to the high-traffic Internet Brands Auto Group websites Rennlist, Club Lexus, LS1Tech and Mustang Forums, among others.

Aubernon’s expert knowledge of all things Ford trucks has also made her a mainstay as one of the most prolific writers on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and F-150 Online.

Aubernon can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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