1988 Ford Fairlane NA 3.9 EFI from Australia and New Zealand


I bought a lemon


The following items were replaced due to failure between 168,000klms and 172,00klms:

I had the ignition tumbler replaced as there was a lot of slack.

Head gasket blew three days after I bought the car. Head was completely rebuilt.

The differential had major problems from being used as a tow vehicle and has been replaced.

Universal joints replaced.

Power steering switch replaced.

Water pump had a "knock" so it was also replaced.

Complete rebuild of the rear brakes including handbrake set up.

Master cylinder replaced due to leaks and brake fade.

Radiator, top radiator hose and thermostat.

Alternator and battery replaced within 3000klms of each other.

Front struts.

Wiper arms were "warped"

Air-conditioning at this point still needs to be replaced.

The following problems with the wiring still need to be fixed:

Cruise control operates the horn.

Rear drivers side window motor needs replacing.

Electric aerial needs to be replaced.

Central locking motor on drivers door needs replacing. This has already been replaced once since I've had the car.

Other items I'm still yet to fix:

Tail lights have cracked after years of exposure to the sun and heat.

I have to replace the front handbrake cable after it snapped recently.

Possibly needs to have the rear bushes replaced and rear shocks.

General Comments:

Lots of room on the interior.

Holds the road well.

Economic for a large car.

If you are going to buy a Fairlane get it checked out first by a trusted mechanic.

If possible get hold of a second Fairlane for spare parts and save yourself a fortune.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st June, 2004

8th Jul 2006, 04:58

I have found the NA Fairlane to be a very reliable car, capable of achieving huge mileages without major work.

However, you have touched upon most of the niggly repairs that these cars often need. These engines are capable of up to a million kilometres and it is common to see odometers with 500,000 or 600,000 kms. I know because I have worked as a wrecker. But even needing a head gasket at 170,000 KMS is not that bad, although premature, you have to remember that is 6 times around the planet!! And even then it's cheap to fix...

If the tail lights are as faded as you say, the car has probably never had much love or been parked in a garage. A well cared for example is almost bullet-proof.

11th Jul 2020, 23:25

I have just picked up a 1990 NA2 with 46,000 genuine k’s. To me it is a nostalgia purchase.

13th Jul 2020, 12:13

You should enter it in this: www.24hoursoflemons.com

1988 Ford Fairlane NA 3.9 Litre Multipoint from Australia and New Zealand


The car was purchased unregistered. Climate control had to be fixed - costs $1200 for air con company to fix it.

Head gasket did not blow - was found to be leaking my mechanic and replaced at 200,000 kms.

Radiator tank had a crack in passenger side and had to be replaced.

Radiator core was flexing - replaced.

Catalytic converter/mid mufflers and rear mufflers all had to be replaced - corrosion problems.

The battery lasted only two and a half years.

Self levelling suspension shocks leaked and replaced with a Pedders kit - then pedders shocks leaked and both replaced.

Power steering pump, auto gearbox seal leaking and all replaced.

Universal joints had to be replaced - worn out.

Power window switch for the driver wore out - whole switch pad replaced.

Fuel sender in tank died and had to be replaced.

Dashboard panels for glovebox, fusebox, centre console and radio were all cracked and were replaced.

Gear selctor panel for three speed auto is getting harder to find, it cracks over time, and I found one, and replaced it.

Headlining was replaced as the lining was sagging in some places.

General Comments:

This car travels well on the road - smooth as silk.

The boot is huge and can carry lots of luggage.

Don't make the same mistake I did - I bought an early model NA fairlane - buy a series two model - less faults.

The cabin is a bit bland in vinyl and cloth - had the door trims and seats replaced from a DA Ltd. Much nicer and the front seats are electric - they can wire straight into the NA's so easily.

Fuel consumption is good for a big car. I get 450/500 km around town from one tank.

Highest ever record for highway fuel consumption was 680 km - Melbourne to Albury and then from Albury North to Melbourne - all on one tank and trusting the trip computer's range meter.

A bit big to park as the body is long.

Good horn when warning other drivers.

After market stereo and CD stacker are easy to fit - good access to remove parts.

The engine bay has lots of space for access to parts.

Removing lower radiator hose can be a tight squeeze.

Engine a little noisy when cruising at highway speeds.

Windows are elctric and surprisingly quick when going up and down.

Paint quality was poor - primer was showing, mismatched panel, a blend job on rear was found due to a dodgy past paint job.

Rust was very minimal - some found under weather strips.

Good dash layout - easy access to all features.

Digital speedo was very accurate and futuristic looking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th May, 2004

1st Mar 2005, 14:17

Disagree about easy Under Bonnet access, ever try to replace the Distributor Module... easy if half the car is dismantled... only the most useless parts are easily accessible, the important parts difficult to get to without considerable dismantling. Apart from that, would agree with most comments.

The Automatic Rear leveling system was a pain, replaced with conventional springs and shocks, disconnected the air compressor, and it's been a great car to drive.