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Q: Blown Engine? on 1995 Jeep Cherokee

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When I got to work yesterday I pull into a spot and turn the vehicle off. Steam is coming out of the engine compartment so I pop the hood and there's coolant pouring out of the water pump. After letting it sit for the day, thinking that I just need a water pump, I fill the radiator and the over flow with some water. It started right up, I figured I'd be alright for the 30 mile trip home. About 10 miles in with a rising temp gauge and steam coming out, I hear a loud snap and lose power steering. I continued for another 2-3 miles and now the temp gauge is pinned hot. I pull over and shut her off. Pop the hood and I notice water pouring out of the water pump and the serpentine belt had popped off and was entangled in the pulley of the fan. I get it towed to the local franchise car repair place. Still thinking that I need a new water pump and now a new belt. The guy calls me this afternoon and tells me his tech says the engine cranks but won't start, it has no compression, and the engine is blown. He's telling me that there's no sense in doing this water pump as the vehicle needs an engine. I'm stunned! How could this be? What would cause this? By driving it with no water pump for those few miles have destroy the whole engine??? I'm at a loss.
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Severe over heating is very unfriendly to an engine. I would suspect that something has happened to the cylinder head or head gasket. When the engine overheats the metal expands more that expected which can cause the cylinder head bolts to stretch, this can cause damage to the head gasket and/or the cylinder head to warp. A complete loss of compression is uncommon but not unheard of. More diagnostic testing may or may not reveal the actual cause of the loss of compression. If your 1995 Jeep Cherokee has high mileage that could be one of the reasons a replacement engine has been suggested.
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