Ford Escape - Low Milage

I took my 2002 Ford Escape into the shop to have the alternator replaced. (4hr job) Prior to the service, my car has always got about 19 to 21 mpg. Immediately after getting it from the shop my gas just seemed to disappear. I filled it back up and set my mileage to 0 to track my usage. I got 12 mpg that tank. - and still does. I filled it back up and the next morning it would not start back up at my boys daycare. - It acted as if it was flooded but did not smell any gas - I called the shop that put in the alternator and told them about the low mpg I was getting since I got it out of the shop two weeks prior and how it would not start at the daycare. They told me to bring it in and if they are at fault they will fix it and if not it will be $75 for looking at it. The car did start after a couple of tries later when I got back to the daycare. I have not had an issue with it not starting since then.

I am taking it into the shop tomorrow. I am hoping someone mite know if this is just a coincidence or it is possible this could of happened taking out the alternator. Also, I would like to know if someone mite know what it may be and what it may cost me.

The one thing I could see might be causing this is if they have the improper belt tension after the replacement or the new alternator is faulty and causing serious drag on the engine.

But 4 hours?!?!?!?!!?!?! I’m not familiar with the layout on these, but I’ve only ever worked on one car where the alternator took more than an hour, tops, to replace. That was a Mitsubishi Eclipse with a horrid design where we had to remove the radiator fan and move the power steering and A/C systems, IIRC, to get to the alternator.

The alternator is behind the engine block above the transmission next to the differential. Apparently the frame had to be dropped to get to it. How stupid is that. I actually went down to a junk yard and bought one figuring it would be like the last three I have put on myself over the years. But when I went to look for it i could not find it anywhere. I guess I should have looked first.

Those are good points about the alternator which I will bring up in the morning.

How stupid is that location?

VERY stupid.

It annoys me when manufacturers do that sort of thing. Like on my Taurus, when they have the strut held in a socket by a pinch bolt. That means you’re typically pulling the axle from the hub, disconnecting the tie rod end, sway bar link, AND the balljoint to get the strut off. On my Camry, you simply disconnect the sway bar link, remove two pinch bolts from the strut, and take the nuts off the tower, and you’re done. EASY repair. Amazingly enough, when you price out the repair cost at shops, they tend to price the two replacements the same for labor, or even cheaper for the Taurus!