While on a camping trip on May 9, 2011 my car went in for emergency repairs to Bill Wilcox's Jim Charlon Ford agency of Ridgecrest, California.
After a $1725 payment to that Ford agency I experienced a reduction in mileage, dropping from 30-31mpg to 25-26 mpg, a 17 to 18 % drop. It began immediately with the initial purchase of gas - in Visalia, that same day.
The lowered gas mileage and extra tire wear was later confirmed to have been caused by the improper use of a torch used on a suspension cross member.
The car was taken to Rob Holbrook's Auto Crew in Clearfield, Utah; and, it was checked for undercarriage damage and evidence that the Charlon Ford agency's repairs caused the problems. Mr. Holbrook is a licensed safety inspector for the State of Utah.
He found widespread damage to the main cross member, where the attachment for the rear motor mount is affixed to that portion of the sub frame. The sub frame was quite distorted, bowed in and out, and exhibited evidence that the mount had been removed by use of a torch so the rear dog bone motor mount could be easily replaced.
Deformation of that cross member and resultant changes to the suspension were the reasons for low mpg and extra tire wear - because of improper camber.
Bill Wilcox stated to California Bureau of Automotive Repair that toe-in was only adjusted while the camber was overlooked or could not be adjusted. But, the use of a torch to this cross member is not called for - unless it is to replace that unit. And they left it there for future repairs without so stating the facts of its destruction.
Leaving the suspension cross member in that condition, leads to a stress point that could lead to cracking and tearing, and could prematurely cause rusting which weaken those attachments to the suspension. When repairs are made it is imperative that it and surrounding structures be returned to proper dimensions. However, problems arise when improper heat affects strength, creates permanent softness and increasing brittleness of the suspension cross member.
The cross member had to be replaced and a new alignment performed - at a cost of $851.74. Despite asking for the Ford Motor Company's assistance, Mr. Wilcox of the Charlon Ford agency offered only a refund for the alignment charges - $49.95.
Review about: Ford Focus Repairs.