The alternator is located on the passenger side of engine very near the firewall and at the bottom of the engine. Another way to find it is to look at the larger serpentine belt. Follow it back to the rear of the engine compartment. The belt curves around the pulley of the alternator as it's travel approaches the firewall. You can't get the alternator out unless you remove the axle (half-shaft) and bracket.
After you take the mounting bracket off, THEN, and ONLY THEN, you are fairly easily able to remove the alternator. I was so mad I THREW IT 20-30 feet! Was TIRED of looking at it, holding it, and cussing it. It took around FIVE HOURS to get this blasted thing out...SEE YA! Then, you put your new (or rebuilt like mine was...paid 95 bucks online) alternator in. Go ahead and hook up the two electrical connectors at this point...it's easier then because everything is outta your way....then you push the alternator out of the way and bolt the mounting bracket back in place. Now you can bolt on the alternator. Don't tighten the two main bolts...wait. Just get them close because I did, and the top bolt (that you can only reach from the top of the engine in the "outside world" lol) wasn't aligned. Put that top bolt in and tighten it, then go back and tighten the other two bolts. Then you just put everything back together from there. But before you got to this point, you had to:
1. Take off the tire (good idea to loosen the 32mm axle nut when you loosen the lug nuts), and go ahead and take off the battery connectors too, so you don't forget. Once you're under the truck, go ahead and remove the large plastic guard that protects the underside of the engine on the passenger side. 4-5 bolts. Not hard. Get that thing outta the way asap.
2. There is a mounting bracket/housing where the half axle meets the intermediate axle. Remove those 2 bolts so that the housing hangs loose w the axle (photos attached if available).
3. Remove the 32mm axle nut ($8 socket from Advance Auto). It's not hard.
4. Remove the 2 big bolts that hold the entire brake assembly to the strut thing...lol (photo).
5. If you remove the brake assembly from that strut thing and play with it, turning it down and away from the axle, you eventually will be able to slide the axle forward (it has grooves in it and comes out fairly easily) and it will fall out under it's own weight. Keep holding it and slide the entire axle, half axle and intermediate together, from the transfer casing/transmission. It slides out pretty easily. Just be careful with all of the CV rubber boot housings. It's kinda like delivering a baby. Be careful with it. You don't wanna replace a CV boot too. This project is tough enough already!
6. Get some of the electrical wiring out of the way, like the one held to the alternator with a little black rubber piece. I used pliers.
7. Loosen the belt. Not hard. Uses a 1/2 size wrench. Just put your wrench into the tension pulley (closer to you when looking from underneath...it has a square in it that is 1/2 in size) and turn...the belt loosens, and remove. One of the easier parts of the project.
8. Then, you start on the alternator bolts and bracket bolts after that. Oh, and the alternator plastic splash guard...i just used a flat head screwdriver to pry the 2 little plastic tension pieces up and out...they go back in fine. Just take your time to not break them...and you can then move the splash guard thing out of the way to help create more space for the alternator to come out. And you will HAVE to buy a set of wrenches. I bought Fractional/Standard versus Metric. Wish I had bought both...8 bucks for a set of like 7 or so at Walmart. You will use the 1/2" wrench and 1/2" ratchet/socket a LOT!
someone out there that will go through the same ordeal I went through! My arms are tired. My neck is tired. I am COVERED in oil and grit that still remains after a shower...BUT, the battery light doesn't come on anymore and my headlights don't dim at night like they did when my alternator was going dead. What a PAIN!
Possible simpler method
There may be an easier way to remove/replace the alternator on an (01 V6 4x4) Escape -- remove the intake plenum. After completing the process of replacing catalytic converters, ignition coils, and spark plugs, I discovered the bearings on my alternator were going out. Since I had just finished putting the whole top-end of my engine back on, I was well versed in removal. The alternator does require unbolting from underneath the vehicle, but by re-removing the intake plenum, I was able to wiggle the old alternator out and new one in from above/between engine and firewall. I did have some assistance to hold a wiring loom back, but I would say it was way easier going out the top. One caveat to this method though....the new catalytic converter might be less intrusive into the space. But I don't think it made a difference. Total time, once disassembly was started, was about an hour, probably because I was already very familiar where all the bolts were. The hardest part was/is getting an exhaust valve, behind intake, by throttle body, loose and out of the way. Sorry you had to go through so much turmoil.
By the way, the mounting bracket STAYS on the engine. I ONLY removed alternator. 3 mounting bolts + removing wires.
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