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Watch This Open Turbo Setup Destroy Itself by Sucking Up a Shop Rag

That’s why they make filters, folks.

byKyle Cheromcha|
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An exposed turbo may not have the same cultural cache as a big ol' bug catcher intake, but there's a good reason most snails stay safely hidden away under the hood. After all, the whole point of a turbo is to cram massive amounts of air into the engine to boost its power. So what happens when a foreign object meets a turbine spinning at 150,000 RPM? Nothing pretty for either party, unfortunately.

A video surfaced on Facebook this week showing exactly why most turbos are tucked away out of sight—and if they're exposed, you can bet they're usually covered with a filter or screen of some kind. It shows a faceless car's dyno run that starts out great and takes a turn for the tragic when the turbo manages to pick up a shop rag right off a nearby bench. It hovers majestically in midair for a moment before being sucked into the blades and instantly vaporized.

The man behind the wheel immediately backs off the throttle, but some weird noises and a few puffs of smoke seem to confirm that some serious damage has been done. Apart from breaking the turbo, tiny bits of the rag also likely made it deep into the engine, possibly into the cylinders' combustion chambers. At the very least, the owner is probably looking at completely rebuilding the turbocharger, but an engine teardown may be necessary to make sure there are no hidden problems.

All this could have been avoided by using some sort of filter. Even a 50-cent piece of metal mesh with a ziptie (not officially recommended by anyone) could have prevented this from happening. Still, we thank whoever recorded this video for the great demonstration of just how much air a turbo takes in. 

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