Multiple reality check needed - water pump and ac compressor

(1987 300E)
I had a not entirely unexpected water pump failure today. The needle touched the red line for perhaps 30 seconds before I could get safely
off the road.
I was a mile from the house. It cooled off and I was able to get home without it overheating again. Started the removal of the water pump this evening. Since there was a fair amount of crud on that part of the engine I removed the power steering pump instead of just moving it out of the way. I want to get a good clean up going before I put everything back together.
Of course now that those two items are out of the way, I'm getting really good access to the AC compressor, which also need replacing.
So here is the three point reality check request:
1: What are the chances that I escape unscathed from the very short red line incident? Should I just go ahead and set aside the money for the head gasket right now, or do I have a realistic prayer.
2: Since the power steering pump is out, what should I do maintenance wise before putting it back together? I figure since it's out already I'd like to clean it up as well as possible before putting it back.
3: This is the big one. Should I even consider getting the AC compressor out since I'm in this far? Safety considerations would be my first concern, secondary concern is that I may be opening a can of worms that I can't get closed. On the other hand it seems I could save a bundle on labor if I can pull it off.
Thanks.
Mutant Bluegrass That Rocks! http://www.thepickadillos.com
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I think you are okay here if you are able to drive home without overheating again.

Change the screen insided it...

If you don't have any freon left in it... then you can simply disconnect it. If you do still have some pressure, then evacuate it. It is a very straightforward design... 4 bolts on the side... and one allen bolt hold the refrigerant lines. You need all the washers and you need to change the A/C drier.
On this part... of getting a new or rebuilt compressor... you need to shop around. They are expensive but they can be obtained very reasonably... such as ebay... where I scored a new aftermarket one for $125!!! There are sellers selling them for around $200 range. Or you can send in your old one for rebuilding for less then $200.
I think I got an used one if you are interested... not mine... but from another part car.
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Why did the motor overheat? Did it overheat for lack of coolant or lack of coolant flow? Hopefully the latter since you drove it afterward. Or is the radiator plugged?
Are you changing the water pump because it leaks? If not a leak, why?
Power steering pump's oil and filter could be changed. Unless it leaks I'd do only that.
A/C is complicated and should be taken on only as needed, not voluntarily.
Is this compressor not working?
If the compressor needs to be replaced and the system converted I'd work with an A/C shop by doing the "dog work" of changing the compressor and them the technical aspects that ensure it will cool as it should.
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On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 17:32:35 -0700, "T.G. Lambach"

A leak that had existed for a while rapidly got worse. I haven't been driving the car much for the past few weeks and was just keeping things topped off. Was watching the temperature like a hawk and it started to climb too high, Pulled into a grocery store parking lot just as it was going to the red line. Went into the store for about 1/2 hour, refilled the coolant and was able to get home with the temp gauge just above normal.

Both the AC and water pump had been diagnosed as needing replacement by my mechanic.

Will do.

That's the route it appears I'll be taking. Just going to replace the compressor which is very accessible right now and bring it to my mechanic for the rest.
Mutant Bluegrass That Rocks! http://www.thepickadillos.com
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On Sat, 12 Aug 2006 17:53:00 -0700, Steve Harder-Kucera

It looks like I never really answered the question. It was lack of coolant, which I replaced before proceeding.
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IMHO the motor is probably OK for its hot flash but it may be prudent to first determine that's so and then attack the A/C compressor etc. because ......
What if the head needs to come off? Or worse (and very unlikely here) that the rings lost their temper and need to be replaced?
And those horribles arose after a new A/C compressor was installed and charged etc.
I'd do the minimum, see that it was OK, then move to the next step.
That's my reality check.
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