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Discussion Starter #1
In May during a vacation, I ran into a rock slide and needed emergency repairs which included replacement of the broken springs and struts and the jawbone motor mount which had nearly come apart for my 2001 Focus ZTS. While it was in the shop repairs were done using OEM parts; however, they did not tell me how they had replaced the motor mount. When I left the shop I immediately found that I had a 15 to 18 percent reduction in gas mileage, down from 31-32 mpg to about 25 mpg. The car was operating well, but the mileage was way down and stayed that way.

Finally, after checking and replacing the plugs and rotation and balance to my fairly new tires but seeing no change in the mileage, I had it on the rack and found that the cross member that attaches to the motor mount had been removed - using a torch. This subframe cross member was distorted and misaligned and left in a weakened state.

I also noted that the now rear tires had extraordinary wear with some cupping. The front tires exhibited the start of wear.

The original mechanics denied that this was the cause of the poor gas mileage and extreme wear of the tires although when I replaced the cross member and had it realigned it smoothed out the ride and the gas mileage went back up to 31 mpg highway.

Apparently, if they had aligned the vehicle it was done before the motor mount was replaced. But they stated that this cross member would not be a problem and had nothing to do with the loss of gas mileage. They stated that the cross member had nothing to do with the alignment.

Did I do the right thing in replacing the cross member? And, would it have any effect on the suspension?

I have pictures of that subframe cross member before it was replaced, if necessary.
 

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Vince your Moderator
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Post pics for a more informed response.

Did you take pics of the other stuff before and after?

If you did, send copies of the and the story to your states attorney generals office and ask how to file a complaint.

After that, take them to small claims court.

Never put up with rip off shops cheating you.
 

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The repair of the crossmember may or may not have been a part of the reason for the low gas mileage.
But clearly they guy did not do any sort of four wheel alignement when he fixed your car. So the rear end must have been severely out of wack to the front.
So the dude who fixed your car after the wreck owes you for tires, and the correcting alignment. And the motor mount should have been correctly repaired as original .
So basically the dude ripped you off for about half the repair costs.
Sue.
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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try Photobucket, using the img link.

They should have aligned it or sent it out for alignment after repairing the parts. Since I'm not entirely sure what you mean by crossmember (the whole front is an assembly and the subframe is what I consider it so I will wait for pictures to confirm) I can't really say what the problem is but assuming you meant the whole assembly then I have to ask if you replaced the control arms along with it. If there was enough force to destroy the strut assemblies, it had to have bent something else.

as for the rear it sounds like they are underinflated. did you align it yourself or have it done? one of the first things you do when aligning is to check tire pressure and adjust if necessary. And yes, a poor alignment or lack thereof will drop your mileage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
suspension problems

What is photobucket?

Actually, for a old man that travels with his buddy Beamer, a service dog, we have limited knowledge of all of these various programs. I tried to copy the pictures (from a Nikon CoolPix) from Microsoft Picture Manager and then transfer them to this thread; it did not work - couldn't paste after copying.

The cross-member was the large portion of the subframe that has an attachment to the jawbone motor mount, or rear motor mount. The cross member designation came from my current mechanic. Unfortunately, because it involves the frame I have used the nomenclature that I am stuck with rather than actual knowledge.

I did not get new control arms.

When I took it in (actually, had it towed in) I informed the mechanics that they should replace anything that was damaged. That did include the broken springs and the warped or bent struts, but also the motor mount that is on the back side (towards the driver), and you could see that it was torn when viewed.

I was charged for an alignment after the repairs; there is some problem with that because it was later found that it was out of alignment. The car went into the shop with a full tank, having just filled it before we went over that 8 - 12 percent grade where the car finally broke down. It was towed to the shop and stayed there five days for repairs. We left the shop and the first stop was made where we gased up. From that point on, for over 1500 miles the mileage had decreased from the before of 31-32 mpg to about 25 mpg.

I tried a lot of things and finally took it to my mechanic who put it on the rack where we saw the tires that had been rotated and balanced were being eaten up and he informed me that the "cross member" had to be replaced in that the other shop had used a torch and left the darned thing mishapened and warped - and that could have had a negative effect on the suspension by pulling the thing together (and the tires seemed to be caused by that problem).

There was some dispute whether or not the alignment was done following the struts and spring replacement but not the motor mount. In any event the shop owner said that it would not have any effect on the suspension. However, upon replacement of the subframe assembly and reattachment of the motor mount (after nearly $900), the mileage returned to "normal." We did another 1500 mile trip to the national parks in Utah and averaged a bit over 31 mpg.

Thank you for the input, hope it helps.
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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That's alright. you can't directly paste images into these forums, so I suggested the best way to do so is by opening an account on www.photobucket.com and uploading them there. then after you do that, just copy the link it provides for the image that is surrounded by "
" and paste it here in the text box.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. I understand what you're talking about then. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I would have to agree then that they warped it. Not quite sure why the hell they would have to torch it in the first place. I'm assuming they probably welded it back together too but probably pulled it in while doing something else and it all got screwy.

Not sure if they do the alignment in-house (our shop is too small for a rack like that which is disappointing because I love alignments) but they should have done it correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
suspension problems

Thank you, and I think that I will pass on photobucket. Another expense and I only use these forums infrequently at best.

First, whether they do it in-house or not they billed me for the alignment. Whether they 1) actually did an alignment; 2) did the alignment prematurely in that the cross member or sub-frame unit could have a bearing on the suspension; or 3) they failed to do an alignment is a point of contention. In fact, although I paid them over $1700 this Ford agency refunded my alignment charge.

Actually, it was a Ford dealership that really screwed up that cross member or sub-frame, and it is way out in the California desert, near Death Valley. I doubt that the service guys informed the owner or other supervisory personnel that they had taken a torch to it. But they did, and they did not (NOT) inform me of that "work." I found out about it later when I finally got my mechanic to look into it.

As for welding the parts together, there is something to that in that my mechanic who had to replace that unit ran into a "welding" problem and had a dickens of a time in removing the motor mount. One of the reasons why the labor costs were so high. And like you, he did not have a rack that could accomodate alignments so the BigO in Layton, Utah did that portion of the work. But he had a problem in salvaging that unit.

What I am wondering now is whether or not the torch taken to that unit and the warping left it in an unsafe condition (other than just pulling it together and thowing it out of alignment). It was the contention of the owner of the shop, and confirmed by California's BAR, that it would not affect the suspension and alignment (nother was said about the safety of that unit). It was my belief at the time I had it replaced that it would - so wallah! another $900 spent on corrcting that Ford Agency's error.
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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Unsafe? not likely. sounds like the BAR is covering the shop's butt though.

That's great they refunded the alignment but they should have replaced the sub frame if it was torn instead of cutting it up and trying to fix it. Surprising it was at a dealer too.... I know some dealer guys and they wouldn't dare take a torch to something. They thought it was weird I rebuild fuel pump assemblies (buying a new pump vs replacing the sender and everything).

Honestly, and this doesn't help at all, but $1700 and $900 sound like a ton. I understand they ran into problems, but that's a LOT. Sorry it has cost so much. I'm not too sure on what to do. Maybe try to get your $900 bill taken care of by the first shop that was incurred from their incompetence.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
suspension problems

Mike, thank you.

The $1700 that I paid to Charlon Ford was for a lot more than just the cross member and quite frankly I feel a lot better about that. It was the screw-up with that cross member that sticks in my craw. Other than one part, a bearing, everything that was replaced (not including the sub-frame which should have been) is OEM. But the additional $900 that I paid to replace that member need not have been that high and should have been done at that time - rather than hiding their incompetence in using a torch from me.

I had to replace a couple of things that were proximately caused by the accident, including the shield or schroud, belt tensioner mount and pully, things like the mirror assembly and DPFE sensor. The real mystery was this use of the torch to extricate the motor mount bolt that they never told me about and I had to find when I returned to Utah.

As to the BAR investigator, I would have to agree that he is accepting the blather of this agency's owner and has mde all kinds of excuses. I have been trying to obtain a copy of his final report, but having problems obtaining it. I will continue to try and obtain it because I am familiar with California's Bureau of Automotive Repair and the legalities around that area.

It was the incompetence of the service employee of the shop followed by the probable incompetence of the BAR representative that created a problem. So I will be doing all that I can to bring it to the light of day[screwy].

The good thing is that the Focus still is running very well with 138,000 miles, of which a vast majority has been long trips with lots of mileage.

Again, thank you [:p].

Jim Carroll
 

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Discussion Starter #11
suspension problems

Mike raised a couple of interesting points, not the least of which was the reference to the control arms. I have to say, NO I did not have those changed and Charlon Ford of Ridgecrest did not indicate that there was a problem with them.

However, now that I have replaced that suspension sub-frame cross member I am wondering could the use of the torch on that unit changed the distance that the control arms were from the cross member? I mean, that cross member was distorted and left in a catty wampus fashion and it seems, intuitively, that it may have some connection with those control arms.

Just what is it that the cross member pulls together and keeps the engine and transmission from falling to the ground - in that it does attach the jawbone motor mount to it? What are the functions of that unit?

Thanks all!
 

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w/ my magic bag
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Being unibody construction, mean's you have a cradle, where the engine/trans./ suspension= A arm's/ steering rack & sway bar, are bolted to, & that intern is bolted to the sub frame of the car. The strut's/ trans./ & motor are also bolted to the top of the sub frame, of the body. 6 bolt's hold the cradle to the sub frame. the alignment should have started w/ the cradle= If you have to much neg. or pos. camber on either side, their should have slid the cradle over to make it fairley even, then finished the alignment up w/ checking the thrust angle & castor & & then check the rear toe 1st & then the front toe last, & make sure the S. W. is straight. Any time the suspension is tore down for anything it need's a 4 way alignment. I also love doing alignment's too! No torch, use a good cradle, Make sure the point's from one side to the other are even, w/ a big slide rule, by Xing across the from say the front fender bolt on one side to the backside of the other side, & doing the other side.
 
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