US Passport renewal; Any recent experiences timelines?

I am currently planning a multi-country bucket list travel dream.

However, it was just brought to my attention that countries probably will deny my entry if a day short of 6 months is left in my passport. I assume I could re-enter Ecuador on my valid investor visa and cedula. Yeah, assume?

I have heard that if you present a plane ticket to the consulate in GYE they will expedite?
Any recent time frames with and without it expedited? Costs?

Anyone with recent post covid time frames and procedures?
Best contact method for embassy and consulate you can share other than the obvious Google it?

Due to it being in South America, delaying it much changes the weather and I really don’t want to delay yet another year on checking this one off the list.

Thanks in advance for your guidance.