From what I gather it's a heat problem which is worse running lean, as in running out of gas like you and I both did. I haven't really used my blower enough since repairing it last year to give testament on the head. In fact I hardly use it at all now that I got my 580. I stopped even loading it last year. I've been loading it this year but it hasn't come off the trailer yet. I did use it on my yard for a little while the other day.
I think the best you can do for now is keep the oil full and clean and maybe throttle it down a little rather than full bore, assuming you get it running again with a new rod.