Ford uses its turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in a wide range of vehicles. This particular mill once powered a 2014 Ford Escape, and for blatantly obvious reasons, its glory days are over. The block is wrecked, there are chunks of piston and rod in the oil pan, but here's the thing: The cause of all this carnage is a mystery.

We do have a bit of background on the engine. As explained in this latest I Do Cars video, it was pulled from the Escape with 164,000 miles. The motor was allegedly being driven by "someone's daughter" who didn't check the oil, and one day, it simply wouldn't start. The SUV was towed to a shop, at which point the engine was pronounced dead.

The video raises some questions, starting with considerable damage to the engine block that we see right off the bat. One side shows cracks where something tried to break through, but the other side has a big ol' hole in it. There are more holes at the back of the engine, so clearly something exploded inside with considerable force. Once the head comes off we find one piston is missing, which is later found (in pieces) in the oil pan. This is obviously what destroyed the engine, but what caused it to happen?

Oil starvation is always a prime suspect in these cases. Low oil or extremely high rpm can reduce lubrication on the rod and main bearings, which leads to heat, wear, and eventually, failure. This can cause the piston to hit the top of the combustion chamber, thus wrecking an engine. The damage here is consistent with an oil starvation issue, save for one significant detail. The bearings for the wrecked piston show no signs of wear or damage.

Unfortunately, the engine sat outside for some time after it was pulled so there's quite a bit of water inside. That could mask other issues such as a hydrolock situation. The prevailing theory is that something happened, but instead of stopping the driver continued on, ultimately causing all the damage. Simply having it not start one day was just the consequence of the root cause, which remains a mystery.

The moral of the story here is pretty simple: Always check your oil. And if you hear something bad under the hood, for the mercy of all the car gods, just stop.

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