1989 Ford Falcon Ute 4.1L cross flow 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Ford's best everyday Falcon to date

Faults:

Leak in fill hole of rear diff (LSD), could never seem to fix it, but it didn't leak enough to be a problem.

Blocked jets in carby.

Hole in breather hose from rocker cover was causing water to condense into the oil.

Leaky sump.

Leak in radiator.

Dirty terminals in rear indicators have caused rear indicators to stop working until cleaned.

General Comments:

For a 20 year old workhorse, this Falcon ute has remained in excellent condition.

I bought it as a second car for a mere $650, gave it a service, cleaned the carby, and fixed all the above listed faults within a week for less than $300.

The car is rust free, and fairly dent free. Since getting the car, it has been looked after, which I believe has helped keep it in such good condition.

The key to keeping a XF Falcon running mechanically fine is to only drive it on the longer trips where the engine has plenty of time to get to operating temperature.

Another vital rule is to use coolant, NOT WATER. Doing these simple things will keep a XF running for a very long time, even if it is not serviced within 20,000 kms.

Not the most comfortable car, but good enough that I'm happy to take it on long trips.

Any minor problems can generally be fixed easily, and parts are readily available and cheap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2012

1989 Ford Falcon GL 4.1 Litre six from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Tough and Strong

Faults:

The car was given to me with a blown head gasket, a damaged oil sender unit, broken door handles, and a leaking power steering pump. I have fixed it all up.

The driver's seat is really worn.

I have replaced all the door handles twice - don't bother now. I just leave a window open and reach inside. Now the drivers door won't open, so I get in via the passenger side.

General Comments:

It's slow and thirsty. When it's going, it will overtake well, but she is slow to get going!

It's a ex tradesman's car - I think I am the fourth owner. It always starts! Its uses a bit of petrol, and the cabin gets hot in Summer, but it's okay to lug stuff around in.

I have overloaded it at times - The front end really lifts and makes the steering feel very light - The back tyres rub against the body, but it made barely any difference to the performance. It's not to supposed to carry a ton, but it can do it.

I treat this car pretty harshly. It always goes. That's the way it is with Fords. If you can tolerate the coarseness of them and minor things breaking, they will go forever. I will keep it until she dies or the police take it off the road!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2011

5th Apr 2011, 12:27

If you wish to use your car as a load lugger. may I suggest you get an old Peugeot 504. Boy could they lug loads, and very comfortable at the same time. Should be no problem to come across a good one out there.

1989 Ford Falcon EA Wagon 3.9L MPFI from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Plenty of power and a tough old beast, but starting to show its age

Faults:

Fuel pump failed suddenly at 400,000kms.

Valve stem seals wore out at 350,000kms, meaning it would burn oil and blow grey smoke upon acceleration - I was told it was because they were fitted at some stage with after-market cheapies, which were unlike the usually reliable ones fitted in the factory.

Reverse gear crunches unless I put it in first before shifting into reverse - worn synchros??

Dash cracked - standard for a car this age.

Roof lining has sagged a little bit, but is better than most.

Speeds 1-3 on the fan heater have stopped working.

Paint is now average - standard for a car this age.

Has an ongoing idle speed problem, which is annoying more than anything.

Clutch cable pulled through the firewall at 300,000kms. I repaired it with a new plate and cable, and since then it has been nothing but problems. The clip attaching the cable to the pedal has broken and needed to be replaced 4 times, and the cable has broken at the point where it attaches to the gearbox 3 times. I really don't understand it. Whoever decided to fit these cars with cable operated clutches was really not thinking.

The front rotors seem to warp too frequently, and the wheels are always going out of balance. I am not an erratic driver.

Rust has appeared in various spots such as the bottom of the rear doors.

The boot lid now rattles fairly regularly during normal driving.

Drivers door leaks water.

Power steering rack and pump leak.

It's overheated a few times due to hoses cracking.

General Comments:

It's a rare 5 speed manual multi-point EFI wagon.

It's fitted with a trip computer from a Ghia, and I was pleased to see that the fuel economy is really quite good for a large car. On the highway at 110kph it sits between 7.5 and 8.5L/100kms. Driving around town, it doesn't seem to go over 10.5 as an average.

I drive a Holden Captiva turbo diesel for work, and it's more expensive to run than this car.

It's got heaps of torque and really good acceleration - especially when overtaking.

It's been professionally lowered, but it tends to roll around the corners (typical leaf spring rear end wagon) but generally handles really well.

I do 1000kms a week in this car, and it's very comfortable and generally OK, but I think it's really starting to show its age, and is starting to complain about the sheer amount of use it gets.

Very practical for roadtrips with a carload of friends.

The interior is very tough, and it's as tidy and quiet as it was when it was new.

I've always been impressed with Ford interiors. They don't fall apart and they date really well.

Parts for these cars are cheap and readily available, and they are as easy as anything to work on.

This is a great car, but it's just getting old now and problems are becoming more common. But after 405,000 kms and 19 years I can't really complain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th October, 2008

8th Nov 2008, 05:47

I owned a 1989 Falcon GL station wagon, with 3.9 MPI engine and three-speed automatic transmission, from 1998 to 2002. The car was generally reliable and I agree that they have a fair bit of power, and reasonable economy for a large vehicle. They also have a huge amount of space, both for passengers and luggage.

Two things that may help you. If the engine is idling erratically, check the idle speed control, located on the top of the throttle body, at the front of the intake manifold. It is held on by two bolts, and can be pulled apart by removing two screws, from memory, and cleaned with brake cleaner. Don't use carburettor cleaner, because it may attack any plastic seals inside the unit. I fixed mine this way, and I gave my brother-in-law the same advice with his car, and it fixed his idling as well.

Also, if the heater/aircon fan is not working on certain speeds, you probably have a build-up of dead leaves and debris in the aircon unit, around the resistor. To fix this, you need to remove the glove box, and then unscrew the resister from the a/c unit. The dead leaves will become damp from condensation when the a/c is working, and interfere with the action of the resister, presumably by earthing out the resistor wire. If you clean out the dead leaves, etc, this should fix it. If the resistor needs replacing, they are not expensive to buy at a Ford dealer.

I hope this helps. The EA Falcon had a bad name, but once Ford fixed a few problems with the early series, they were pretty good from then on.