Piston disintegrated!

Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
55
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
My last vehicle, a 1998 Escort w/4 cyl, had a piston break apart while driving. It had 180k and I generally stuck to an OCI of 3k with 60/40 hwy. I wasn't pushing it when it broke apart. What would cause this? Simply age? Poor maintenance previously? As an aside, I spent $1100 to rebuild the engine and it lasted another 16k before getting totaled by someone running a red.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
128
Location
Ladson, SC
A piston breaking apart while just driving is very odd. The only time I've seen that is when another part failed (piston smacking a valve) during a race not just driving. Even the cheapest of pistons don't just fall apart, I would suspect it had a major problem prior to ownership.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
IDK, but something similar happened to my fiancee's old 95 1.9l SOHC Escort at ~140k miles. The engine shut off fine and trashed itself when re-starting. She also ran that thing like the beater it was. It had the oil changed every ~4-5k miles, which is about the only maintenance it saw engine-wise for the past few years.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
43,676
Location
'Stralia
I've seen quite a few broken pistons, usually #2 or #5 on a holden 202 c.i. 6 cylinder. Something to do with harmonics, and the oil ring slot behind the groover, but seen three lose the tops, and one about to fail on stripdown.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2004
Messages
2,441
Location
snowblind in TX
If you don't have valve damage(bent/broken) then preignition is a prime suspect. It burns holes in the middle of forged pistons and cracks/shatters cast pistons, and it does it quickly. Hard to tell sometimes what let go first in a cylinder.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2003
Messages
2,703
Location
Lincoln, NE
There was a thread a little while ago about Escort 1.9's dropping valves into the cylinders after high miles or overheating.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
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Apr 28, 2008
Messages
47,087
Location
Ontario, Canada
 Originally Posted By: 94 saturn sl1 2000 saturn sc2
thats called a F O R D period.
Yes, if it was burning 1qt of oil every 200Km, we'd call it a Saturn instead.....? Come on, what kind of [censored] comment is that?
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
16,099
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
 Originally Posted By: Challenger71
valvetrain failures usually cause piston damage, Virtuoso's comment is the most likely culprit.
+1 seen more than a few. those SPI motors are usually good buys for dealer employees to flip to make some quick money.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
3,756
Location
CA
Detonation period. I've never seen a valve take out a piston and I've nailed quite a few valves in my younger years.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
3,756
Location
CA
 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
 Originally Posted By: 94 saturn sl1 2000 saturn sc2
thats called a F O R D period.
Yes, if it was burning 1qt of oil every 200Km, we'd call it a Saturn instead.....? Come on, what kind of [censored] comment is that?
Agreed. I mean, you have to have a Honda or Toyota to make fun of Ford. Kidding. Dumb comment.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
47,087
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Ontario, Canada
 Originally Posted By: BuickGN
Detonation period. I've never seen a valve take out a piston and I've nailed quite a few valves in my younger years.
Exactly. Hypereutectic pistons especially. Shatter like glass.
 
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