1999 Ford Fairmont AU Ghia 5.0L V8 from Australia and New Zealand
A bold car for bold people
Coolant leak at the back of the motor; heater core was bypassed and the hose was not connected properly. The size of the motor made it difficult to reach the hose.
As said above, the heater core was bypassed (probably should have checked before buying the car). Cost to take the dash out and replace the heater core is anywhere from $750 to $1000.
Transmission a bit clunky, was just low on fluid - the size of the motor meant there is no transmission dipstick, have to use a hoist and reach under the bell housing to check the transmission fluid.
Headlight globe was blown, replaced for $4.
An absolutely amazing car for the price!
I bought an AUII Fairmont 4L I6 last year, and that was totalled, and I made a profit on the insurance, so I bought an RX7, which was a piece of junk, so I sold that after two months and bought another Fairmont, this time with the V8. What a difference in performance! The car has more power than you would hope for, leather seats with electric driver's seat, climate control, 6 CD magazine in the boot, Tickford body kit and wheels, and all that for just over $4k driveaway.
If there was one thing I did wrong in buying the car, it's that it's not on LPG, and living in Melbourne city, it can cost a bit on petrol. It starts first time every time.
There is plenty of support on the cars online as well. Common problems that the car has is a leaking heater core (which means you get coolant leaking onto the carpet in the car, which stinks out the whole car), and it is cheaper to bypass the heater core and use the car with no heater, than to take the dash out. For what that is, the car makes up it for in gadgets and dials.
The performance is very impressive as well, smoking turbo Japanese stuff at the lights effortlessly. St Kilda road in Melbourne is notorious for lane drifters and road rage; the Fairmont comes out first when fighting another driver to overtake a cyclist or someone's grandma driving 40km below the speed limit; plenty of overtaking power.
I love the looks of the car. The car's low value is mainly on the way the car looks. To be honest, the base models such as the Forte look quite crap and plasticky on the inside, and the waterfall grille doesn't do the car any good. The Fairmont however, with its big chrome grille and woodgrain inserts, makes so much difference to the look and feel of the car. I wouldn't buy an AU Forte, but I would definitely buy another AU Fairmont.
It just seems like a hassle when I wanted to check the fluid levels in the car, and because of the size of the V8, it means it's more of an effort to do work on the car than the straight 6, which also means when servicing the car, it's a longer time to service, which means higher cost, about $100 more I got told.
Because the V8 revs so much lower than most cars on the road, it means the motor lasts much longer. It has just over 250,000km on the clock; my old Fairmont had 320,000, and it was a 6. I wouldn't expect less than 600,000km before the car starts to head downhill. I'll probably end up having the Fairmont as my weekend show car by the time it reaches that!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st August, 2011