28th Jul 2006, 22:05

I have an 1985 Fair-lane with 163000 original kilometers on the clock, and agree they are both powerful and comfortable cars to drive. The only trouble I'm experiencing is the battery goes flat if the car sits in the garage for a week, very annoying. With the price of petrol at the moment I think this mileage will not change for a while.

15th Aug 2006, 23:32

Hey my car does the same I so hate it when it does that and it does it just when you need to do something.

19th Aug 2006, 17:05

Yeah, the only thing good about it is that my $49 battery charger has paid for itself many times over.

7th Sep 2006, 05:17

I have my very own Ford Fairlane 1985 ZL I am only young, 17, with my P plates and I love it. It has done 245 000 kms and I am going to sell it because it doesn't run gas and the price of petrol is through the roof, but it is in very good nick except the digital dash is blacking out every now and then. Something is up. My cruise control is stuffed too, just doesn't work for some reason, but anyway it's all good and I love it.

2nd Jan 2007, 08:42

I also have a ZL Fairlane mine was manufactured in 85 and is a beautiful car to drive and ride in.

I bought it the beginning of last year when it had 130000km on a reconditioned engine and have driven it for about 15000kms since.

I have had problems with the suspension being lowered improperly by the last owner.

The engine tends to idle roughly in drive, and I've heard that it is a fairly common problem with these engines.

The gearbox is extremely smooth and I barely notice it's changes. They are very nice for a 20 year old 3 speed automatic.

The killer with these cars is the electrics. When I bought mine it had very few problems, ones that I thought I could fix. But during the last 6 months things have started to quit left right and centre.

- All my electrical window clusters stopped working, to the point where not even tidying up the connections would help. (The drivers one actually short circuited to the point where I could smell electrical burning.)

- The central locking has stopped working in most of the doors.

- The cruise control quit.

- The electric aerial became brittle and the plastic inside the motor that retracts the aerial snapped

- One of my mirrors only goes up and down (not left and right)

- My interior light comes on when I Turn my air conditioner on, my windscreen wipers on and sometimes when I put my foot on the brake.

- The trip computer also flashes lights that it shouldn't when I have my foot on the brake and an indicator on.

Despite all of these problems, the car is so nice that I am contemlating trying to get them fixed. They are notorious for having dodgey electrical earths, which is what causes many of these problems.

12th Jan 2007, 18:09

Yes I can relate to quite a few of those electrical problems with my 85 Fair lane. I was told there were too many wires connected to the battery terminals and if one was loose or broken problems will occur. After having the wires checked and reinstalled and made sure they were tight the problems were fixed. I also have the rough idle when engine is in drive. Overall they are good cars to own and drive.

12th Oct 2008, 06:41

My boyfriend bought our 84 ZL for $650. It has only done 140000 kms, has an immaculate interior with minor sun spots and surface rust on the roof and bonnet However it is experiencing the same problems mentioned above with stalling sometimes in drive, no cruise control and no air con. It is so comfortable and roomy and would recommend one to anyone.

16th Nov 2013, 05:13

I love the cars too. Mine stalls in reverse and it's an 87 model. But that was about 10 years ago when it was still on the road.

Now I am doing a restoration and I am going to Lonsdale to get a new body if it's in good nick.

Also these cars tend to rust in strange places, and you may need to check the pillars, behind the front guards, where there is a piece of metal spot welded.

If I could upload photos of mine, you'd see where it rusts most commonly. Including the exterior of the firewall.

I am 17 and I love this car. I'd FREAKING cry if someone took it away to take to the dump. It would be like a piece of my heart being destroyed, and it hurts me right now to even think about it.

I love the look and design. The only thing I hate about it is how it rusts SO BAD.

I REALLY, REALLY want to fix it up to drive when I hit my P's, but I REALLY, REALLY don't want to have an accident and put dents in it... OR have it IMPOUNDED! That would hurt me BADLY!

Even thought it's a so-called: rust bucket, piece of junk, fuel guzzler, scrap metal, and worthless, I'd still try to get my way with it...

I wanted to get its body acid dipped, then dipped in paint to improve its structural protection, but my Dad threatened to dump it over that.

Now I am stuck looking for a new body, and hoping that it will be better condition and cheap... Or I will be told to kiss the car goodbye.

I have already pulled the car 30-50% apart. I say 50, but others say 30 or 20 because of pulling everything to tiny pieces.

I am HOPING I can afford a tow truck and a body soon for the car.

And if anyone calls it a piece of junk, if not family or friend, I'm going to get mad.

Other than that, my rating out of 10 is 100 :P


Even though I don't have ownership of it...

Asides from that, all I know about these cars is if you start the car with the aircon, fans, lights, radio or any major power sucking device on, you're going to fry your electrical system.

Getting some safe guards in-place so you can start it would be wise to do. That would be wiring a solenoid into the electrical system so they are all disabled when using the starter motor.

Unless you are smart enough not to turn the car on with all of them on; then it will be fine.

Other than that, a solenoid for the radio, lights, aircon, and a CRAZY one is the horn, you will make the car hardly have a problem with the electricals.

I got that from a guy in the RAA who told me the newer cars have those safeguards.


Also one last thing, the ZLs are becoming extinct, and because of that the value will skyrocket because of how enjoyable they are to drive.

Apart from what I was told at V-Tech Automotive, which is that the cars steer poorly, and to go around a 90 degree bend you need to put the steering in full lock... :(

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy your Fairlanes as much as I love mine :P :D :)

15th Jul 2014, 05:34

I would like to know how you stopped the interior light from coming on when you put your foot on the brake.

17th Jul 2014, 05:28

The reason the interior light comes on, is the actuator that turns the light on when you lift the door handle up was buggered.