Sleuthing what caused piston failure >> no compression>>> oil in sparkplugs >>> engine is (likely)toast.
Brother in law driving his car. Overheats and coolant coming out of timing cover just a mile after leaving the house, he comes right back driving hot. He doesn't think he drove it hot for very long, but could be that he had driven it hot the day before without noticing because of the puddles on the ground showing it had been leaking the previous day, too, and he got in late night, tired, etc. Car never shut down on him as he drove back, and we started it a while after cooling to move it into my driveway.
So I do the timing belt, water pump kit. I've done several of these on several engines including DOHC Hondas. So I am not a pro, but I know the ins and outs of timing, tensioning, TDC, lining up teeth, marks, etc. Replaced coolant.
Car starts. Sounds like its running fine. Test drive with about a 10 mile drive up to 70mph. Performing dandy. Top off coolant. Voila. $170! High fives!
So he drives off a while later and after about 40 miles, loses all power. Dead. Calls me for help. Says it did not overheat, check engine light never came on. Starter is running, but sounds funny and nada from the engine.
I think, "damn it, what did I do wrong on the timing belt? Did it break already? No tension? Skipped? Didn't torque something correctly?" Feel bad that I probably destroyed his engine by screwing something up.
Got the car towed back. Starter is turning motor with no resistance (AKA no compression). Lots of Oil in at least two spark plugs.
BUT timing seems fine. All components in tact, timing marks line right up on all revolutions still. No damage i can see.
I have not done any compression tests. Will pull plugs and check compression in all four cylinders for good measure when I have a moment. Certainly at least one or two cylinders have no compression based on how easy it is to rotate the engine.
So trying to figure out what I'm missing about my timing job to learn something.
OR would heat damage occurring when it was run hot (maybe longer than we think) cause piston failure to sneak up a while later? And the timing has nothing to do with it?
Thanks. Checking out used engines on Ebay, but if I get one, I'll likely do the timing belt on the bench and want to make sure I know what I missed.