Head gasket/Valve Job

Hello everybody,
I just got my truck back (1996 Ford F-250 7.5 Liter 460 EFI) from a mechanic that just replaced (purportedly replaced) my head gasket and had a machine shop do a valve job. I paid $1900.00, and he had it for two weeks instead of one. The truck has 119,000 original miles, I’ve had it since about 65,000 miles were on it. The way it happened is one morning I started up my truck and immediately noticed white coming out of the tail pipe, alarmingly because it never happened before. I’ve seen almost clear steam coming out on similar cold mornings, but this was noticably thick, but I didn’t know what to make of it. I pressed the accelerator a few times to see if it would clear up ( by this time I adjusted my passenger side mirror to directly view the exhaust pipes) and when I revved the engine, I noticed fluid coming out of the tail pipe!
Instictivly I looked at the temperature gauge and sure enough it had creeped to just passed center. I freaked out and shut the engine off, and began my internet search for those symptoms and causes.
Everything I read pointed to a failed head gasket. I called a few auto repair places and chose one that quoted me $1900.00. I had AAA tow it to the auto repair shop, and two weeks later I got the truck back. The first thing I noticed is the engine is noisy much like a combination of a low oil sound, and exhaust noise. I told the mechanic it didn’t sound like that before, and he said drive it around some and see how it goes. The temperature gauge is moving around between the center position and creeps up close to the 5/8 mark ( I know there’s no numbers but you can get my drift) and it just feels sluggish on acceleration.
That’s about it. Noisy engine, temp gauge weaving between center and slightly above, and somewhat noticeable power loss, stumbling on acceleration. Anybody have any ideas?
Thank you in advance.

Yeah, take it back to the mechanic who did the work and tell him to fix it!

The clatter sounds like your valve clearance is not set properly. Valve adjustment on heads that have been machined require shims under the rocker arms to set the valve clearance. Because the heads have had a valve job and have likely been decked, The lifters may be collapsed so far they won’t “pump up” with oil cause them to clatter (and produce less power) The shims then raise the rocker to the proper height.

Its also possible the exhaust manifolds warped when he removed them and now they no longer seal, even with a gasket. Its a good idea to touch up the sealing face before reinstallation.

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