1988 Ford Falcon EA 3.9 mpfi from Australia and New Zealand


Reliable workhorse, but fix that cooling problem with a bigger radiator


Electronic ignition replacement at 130000

Head gasket replacement twice. The car has an overheating problem. Was towing caravan occasionally and given wrong advice by "experts", caused radiator to blowup. Eventually, through self diagnosis, realized the car required a 3 core radiator. Best thing I ever did. I installed a 3 core radiator, been towing 1.5 tonne caravan with A/C on in summer, no worries! Forget the transmission oil cooler, throw this sucker in, never look back!

Converted to gas, runs about 6km/L city. Can't comment on country because I was always pulling a caravan, but this only gives me 4km/L. Economy drops dramatically when pulling heavy load, but still cheaper that petrol, even with WA country prices!

Lots of probs with boot and bonnet air-struts. Have been holding them up with 4x2 pine! I like the old fashioned bonnets with the piece of steel you prop under it!

General Comments:

This car is a workhorse. With 6 in the family the front bench worked well. Besides the initial problems, primarily the cooling system,which I found could have been solved with some correct advice, I think it has been pretty reliable. Some rust on doors and rear hatch after 7-8 years and the outside rubber trims on doors are a pain in the you-know-what! Can't they stick or what?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2003

17th Nov 2007, 07:15

Cooling problems in EA Falcons was due to pressurised filling at the Ford plant which left radiators only part-filled. Problem was identified and cured.

My EB2 had a cooling problem. When radiator was dismantled there was most of the grey casting sand used to manufacture the engine block inside it!


1988 Ford Falcon S Pac 3.9 Singlepoint injection from Australia and New Zealand


With a little work done and some money spent it is a well performing reliable vehicle


Cooling system problems.

Tappets are shot.

Squeaky when braking.

General Comments:

I beleive the ford falcon to be a god reliable car for what they are worth.

I have put a set of extractors and a 2 1/2 sports exhaust on my ford and it has made a hell of a difference.

It is now a 5 speed manual and it handles very well.

The engine has not been touched since manufactured and it can pull 16 second quarter mile with a sports exhaust and 5 speed manual.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th April, 2003

1988 Ford Falcon GL 3.9 OHC MPI from Australia and New Zealand


A rugged reliable big car that's Aussie made


Replaced the motor as it was originally underpowered by the 3.2 CFI motor 3 years ago. The motor was otherwise reliable, if leaky, and was prone to overheating. We also got a bigger radiator (from a EB Falcon), which greatly improved things. The 3.9 reconditioned motor makes a world of difference.

Oil leaks due to improper seals on a cam.

Fixed with newer plastic mesh instead of the earlier plastic and even semi-cork compound used in cam sealing on the first EA's released!

Pinging also coming from motor. Fixed with adjustments on the timing chain and using better fuel (premium unleaded) and good quality oil (Mobil1, Shell Helix).

Car computer was having problems at low revs/low speed. It stalled/surges in park on the auto transmission or while stationary at stop lights for example. Generally due to the car's temperature switch and ignition timing. Take it to an auto-electrician to get it fixed.

Acceleration can sometimes lag. Check the cable and ECU. Take it to an auto-electrician to get fixed.

Transmission on the 3 speed can sometimes slip out of gear at low revs. An auto transmission service will help. Generally though, the 3 speeds are just as reliable, if not more so than the 4 speeds.

Brakes/discs can sometimes make a unearthly squealing noise for no apparent reason. Machine the discs and or replace them with aftermarket discs (eg DBA pads www.dba.com.au) with decent pads - works wonders. Making the car brake like a XR Falcon, and greatly reducing the noise.

General Comments:

My EA Falcon is kind of a workhorse passed on from father to son. It was one of the first EA's released, so it was originally a bag of worms, though Ford was very happy to help fixing these teething problems.

After that it's travelled half way round Australia, many trips on the freeway (plenty of power on the highway at high speeds with very good fuel economy - 700k/tank), and it's proved to be ever reliable. It's a heavy drinker in traffic generally, but that's expected for a 3.9 motor.

The car is no XR Falcon, and due to its transmission limitations, does not accelerate that quick, but after 60km/h it accelerates faster than a VN Commodore due to the more favourable gearing at higher speeds and lower revs.

You can improve the performance by 25% putting on big extractors and a 2.5 inch exhaust. Sounds like a rorty V8 then :)

It handles average, but slides out on corners at speed. Get better tyres and a performance shock suspension kit.

A nice and roomy Falcon, as they all are, with plenty of room for just about everyone. Not to mention the fold down seats that act as a proxy station wagon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th October, 2001

21st Dec 2003, 02:33

Great write up and I have exactly the same Ford Falcon 1989 with the same amount of problems. I agree that it does overheat and the transmission is really ready for a service. At the moment it is the shed because of the transmission not going forward, but it will go in reverse its because of the oil being low. I just got some yesterday, but will still not go into drive at the moment. I'm going into town to get some advice because it might or most likely could be a oil air lock. I'm putting a 4inch exhaust on it and open up the valves. Great write up its given me ideas on how to fix it and take care of it.

16th Nov 2004, 04:17

Just brought a 1987 Ford Falcon off backpackers. It's an auto, and reverse gear doesn't engage. What could be the problem?