As it turned out, it was a lot earlier than expected that the silicone sleaves from this posting
Silicone Sleave for Merlin made the trouble worthwhile. Some peculiar behavior of Marlin lead to a thermal runaway for a couple of seconds at full power. The silicone, that is rated for 450°C deteriorated, but the extruder remains unharmed and even the hotend survived thanks to the new cooling.
For those interested, what happened was that while homing Z Marlin stopped working completely. Everything was frozen including menu and the PID for the hotend, which got stuck with the heater switched on. I haven’t found the reason for the behavior yet, but i’ll do the homing before the heating in the foreseeable future.