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If you aren't able to find an answer as to why that piston let go internally, I'd be really suspicious of the PTO crank seal.
In your shoes, I would reassemble the motor, get it running, and spray some WD-40 around the area of the seal, around the base of the carb, and the base gasket area.  With the engine running and the WD-40 being sprayed, you are listening for an increase in engine RPM. It won't be a problem hearing it. When you find a leak using this process, rpm will
pick up enough to be easily noticable. If the machine passes this test, I'd take it out for a ride and keep an eye on that plug. That piston failed for a reason, it needs to be found. Good luck.
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