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When people talk about rod bearing failure, the first thing that comes to mind is the instant, catastrophic destruction that occurs within an engine without warning. But sometimes bearing failure can happen over time, to the point where an engine can run for thousands of miles before it eventually blows up. That’s exactly what happened to this Volvo engine.

Eric from the I Do Cars YouTube channel recently got his hands on this junked 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, and took it apart to see exactly how it failed. According to the seller, it was taken out of a 2015 Volvo XC60 that needed a replacement engine. So whatever this engine is hiding, it’s not good.

From the outside, this engine appears normal. There’s no hole in the block or exterior signs of overheating. Tearing into the head reveals some varnished equipment and carbon buildup—nothing out of the ordinary for a direct-injection engine with this kind of mileage. But upon closer inspection, Eric discovers a thin lining of silver paste in the valleys of the head, indicating bearing wear. 

Sure enough, more of that fine metal paste can be found in the oil pan once Eric removes it from the block. He says this engine likely ran for a while before actually failing, giving the bearing material plenty of time to wear down and cause havoc to the rest of the motor. 

At some point, the bearings had enough and failed, spinning on the crankshaft and trashing the motor for good. The third cylinder’s bearings actually spun on top of each other, causing serious destruction. Eric looks a bit deeper, finding big chunks of metal in the oil pickup tube. We’re sure this engine sounded just fine until the fatal moment when the bearings gave out.

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