A good XF review
The Ford Falcon XF.
In its day it was the word, beating the Commodore all the way with advanced styling, reliability, and Ford's proven work me till you're over worked attitude.
A Ford will always suffer from putting additions in its cars, ten years before they are proven or ready.
This is proven by simple comparison between Ford and Holdens of the same year, even up to now.
A Ford will always drive better, have a quieter transmission, a more beefy sounding engine and a more road hugging, due to more torque, not to mention towing capacity, but what about common problems?
One main problem you will notice with Fords, is faded paint, unless they are a one elderly owner gem. And rust.
Whilst gazing in awe at a lowered XF freshly painted black may be nice, it's all the body rust and "bog" they used to make the car look like that.
Transmissions will always be a problem, especially in the Fairlanes, as a similar gearbox as in the GL Falcon is used, and is therefore straining under a lot more weight.
A saggy suspension, which either grins or crunches when driven over speed humps, can also be a sure sign that the car has towed, and has had a hard life.
Remember, a Ford will be more commonly taken over a Holden for towing, even now, and with a tow bar, may have been pulling for over what is now fifteen years.
Sagging head lining is also a major problem in all Ford's above the GL and Fairmont (these models have affixed vinyl). Other models such as the Ghia, Fairlane and LTD have cloth head lining, which due to poor attachment when built, commonly come unstuck and sag. Although strange, this can also indicate a hard life, and also poor sales men if you are buying it from a yard, as most will generally invest in a few hundred dollars and have them replaced.
Power windows, digital dash and cracking or loose centre consoles are other major problems, and should be considered before purchasing. A Ghia digital dash is not an unscrew/rescrew job when it goes haywire, like on an analogue dash.
Other things to consider are parts, size, and fuel.
A ZL Fairlane that has been cared for with a factory electric moonroof can look great, but when you try and find one headlight, when or if you find it, expect to pay almost $300, depending on the yard.
Other things, look at the pillars the front doors are affixed to, these are usually major rust spots, as are sills, and Ford's major problem with sealing the bottom of the doors.
Whilst there is no real way to test the transmission, if you know what a good Ford of the same age drives like, plant your foot to the floor; sluggish response, smell, noise or shuddering will indicate major problems and a hard life.
Overall, a Falcon GL XF will not sell as well as a Fairmont Ghia.
There are millions of ZL and ZK Fairlanes, no car yards or many people one will touch them or buy them for any sort of decent price, due to their huge tank-like appearance, fuel economy and size, however don't fool yourself, a GL is even worse, a good Fairmont Ghia will fetch the best resale value. (LTD's in mint condition can fetch good money, but if the electrics are faulty, no one will buy them for more than roughly eight hundred dollars or so).
Keep your eye out; some mint condition XF's owned by one owner with low mileage, traded in on new cars for a steal, can be found for $1000, but for these cars, it's a lot of leg work, and driving to different car yards and "venturing out the back", where they are normally tucked away till they are passed on to mates or another car yard or so on.
Check for dust; if they are dusty, but in great condition, you'll pick them up cheap, because they are usually sick of it, if it's been around long enough to get dusty.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st May, 2003