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I have question regarding what happened to my turbocharged engine. I was running hard down the track and the engine leaned out (I think). I damaged two pistons. The damage is on the thrust surfaces. Why does the damage occur there and not on the top of the piston?

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Heat yes, lean mix will do a lot of damage. On boosted motors most piston makers recommend more clearance. Another helpful way to control skirt damage is to look at making the skirt hold more oil on it's surface. A lot of piston makers just smooth finish the skirt instead of using oil retaining grooves on the skirt. I have ran many new pistons through the bead blaster to roughen them up to hold oil. Another method is a coating on the piston skirt.
 
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