I recently had the valve cover gasket replaced on my 2000 Nissan and the 3 days later the head gasket blew. While they changed the valve cover gasket, they also resealed the intake manifold. Could changing the valve cover gasket have anything to do with the head gasket failing?
Changing valve cover gasket on 2000 Nissan Xterra
Typically no because head gaskets usually go because of high mileage or overheating, if intake had coolant traveling thru some ports and reassembly allowed leakage or coolant line/hose attachments on it and they leaked then low coolant could cause overheating and damage head gasket but there should have been a warning of some sort to the driver with low coolant warning light, high engine temp light or temp gauge reading high that you should have caught and shut down engine before damage. May have just been a coincidence also but would need disassembly to inspect for source.
While I was driving the temperature gauge shot up to "H" and that's when I pulled over. White smoke was coming out of the tailpipe. Someone pulled over to assist me because they thought the car was on fire. When they checked the radiator, there was no antifreeze in it. I don't know whether or not they forgot to put any in there or enough.
I can assure you that the temp gauge had to be there for a bit for the head gasket to go. The older the head gasket is the quicker it can go. I have done the same when driving and look down and all of a sudden see the temp gauge pegged at hot when I should have seen it climbing and shut down engine before the damage is done. I truly believe this to be your case and you did not shut down quick enough because you jusy didn't see gauge climbing. That is why it is recommended that all drivers check gauges/glance at them every 1-2 minutes. Sounds like a lot of checking but the gauges are there to help you protect your investment. Still need to have inspected to see what caused it. With any head gasket replacement it is always recommended that the tech look for original cause of overheat that damaged the head gasket when restart the engine after head gasket replacement unless found cause during disassembly or was readily apparent before disassembly was started. May still be related to intake work but need to check before finger pointing begins. Hopefully you have an honest tech that will admit to a mistake if indeed cause the problem you had. Good luck. Just remember that just because the tech was last to touch car does not always mean he caused problems. That is why there is a word called "coincidence".