1998 Ford Falcon Futura 4.0 OHC from South Africa


I really love this car and would do anything to get it right.


This is my first Falcon Futura, and my purchase was based on sound advice received from caravan owners throughout the region. I own a SA manufactured caravan which weighs in at about 1,3 metric tonnes and in this instance, the Falcon was recommended as the most effective tow car currently available on the market. At this point, I wish to stress, that although the car was fully imported from Australia to South Africa as rolling stock, the agents here carry full back-up stock and have a sound working knowledge of the vehicle. As I took delivery of this extremely well-maintained previously-owned car, I was assured that the vehicle was free of 'problems.' Needless to say, that was when the fun began. Two and a half months later, replaced items included the windscreen, the complete steering rack, the entire speedo-cruise system including servo, the rear bench seat, the headlamp selector switch, both front shock-absorbers and the glove box lock and lever. The air-conditioner has been completely overhauled, but still leaks into the car near the front left-hand floor pan.

Over and above this fantastic comedy of errors, there exists the most astonishing groan in the front end.

It's hard to clearly describe the sound, perhaps it is closest to the sound an old wooden fishing vessel makes while moored to the side of a jetty - that sort of creaking, flexing sound - and this happens every time the steering wheel is turned to the left or right while the car is in motion.

The noise is loudest when braking and turning simultaneously.

General Comments:

The local agents - Pioneer Ford - have gone far beyond the call of duty to track down this problem, but to no avail.

Is there any Falcon owner out there who is aware of this problem and can possibly shed some light on this matter?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th February, 2003

9th Jul 2006, 15:52

I think you definitely got a lemon. I live in Australia and my family has owned several Falcons, and they have been completely and utterly reliable.

If you have a 1998 Falcon, it is either an EL or AU. If it is an AU, I know many of them had problems, as they were a completely new car at the time, and I don't believe that Ford put enough into engineering it, but if it is an EL, I think you got a lemon, pure and simple.

Anyway, good luck with it.

30th Jul 2012, 01:38

I'm not sure if you ever got this sorted. The groaning you speak of could be the two mounting bolts that hold the steering rack in place. It was a repair they called the AU in for.

1998 Ford Falcon AU XR6 HP 4.0 Intech from Australia and New Zealand


More care on detail would have made a good performance buy a great performance buy.


Directional tyre on backwards from new.

Wheel alignment problem from new.

Some exterior badges missing from new.

Seat frame kept coming through foam wearing out fabric.

Limited slip diff was sticking.

Engine idled roughly.

Tape player used to play up when hot.

Panel fit not good by modern standards.

General Comments:

There is no doubt that of the first of the AU XR models, the XR6 HP is the cut-price performer.

While down slightly on power on the variable camshaft timing (VCT) models with 164kW as opposed to 172kW, it made up for the shortfall with a superior power-to-weight ratio thanks to the absence of the VCT's independent rear suspension.

While the live axle does make the HP jump around more on uneven surfaces, high-speed touring is this car's forte and it does this with ease.

The car has performance aplenty, even if the enjoyment of this is dampened somewhat by driveline snatch and gear whine from the 5-speed manual.

But the car goes hard, and handles brilliantly for a large car. Tickford tuning makes the steering pin-sharp and the car turns into corners with a neutral to oversteer stance, depending on how buried your right foot is.

Aftermarket Goodyear F1 Eagles helped the handling too as the original Dunlop Bathurst 1000s weren't up to the task.

While the HP is the bare-bones XR model, it is by no means without features. It comes standard with alloy wheels, ABS, driver's airbag, air-conditioning and good-sounding stereo, albiet tape player only.

Where the car is let down is in the area of quality control. Some interior trim and panel fit was not what you would expect from a $40,000 car.

On my car pre-delivery and servicing was also a problem (in Australia). For example, it managed to get through it's pre-delivery and first service without anyone picking up that a directional tyre was on backwards.

It also had a front wheel alignment problem that wasn't fixed for months, and only then by a dealer in another state while I was on holidays. They had to shim the suspension arms to fix it.

The driver's door was out of alignment by about half a centimetre and the nosecone was not much better.

The rear tail-lights leaked water and the front headlights kept getting condensation on the inside of the lenses.

The seat frame came through the foam and fabric and was replaced with a new seat back, which was about to be replaced again under warranty when I sold the car.

The limited slip diff made horrible cracking noises and the constant gear whine and driveline snatch under acceleration, all long-time Falcon traits, were highly annoying.

If you can look past the quality problems though, what you get is a great sports touring car with plenty of go and surprisingly good fuel economy for a big 4.0 litre six-cylinder.

With the new Falcon just around the corner, there will probably be some great bargains about, I might even buy another one myself - If my wife lets me of course.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2002

4th Sep 2002, 01:14

I am in my thirties and have driven a 1998 AU XR6 VCT 5 spd man owned by my Mum on a trip from Dubbo to Melbourne and back. The car was a joy to drive the whole way, however roadnoise did become annoying towards the end of the trip.

I am a die hard Holden fan, but would be quiet happy to own an XR6. The car is four years old now and has only completed 35,000kms and a few build problems have surfaced.

The power windows are out of alignment, the paint work is very shabby (black) and seems not to have many coats, water leaks in headlights and tail lights just to name a few.

Overall, I found the car exciting and fun to drive and always ask my Mum if I can take it for a spin whenever I visit. The 172kw of power is plenty of power for the average driver and it handles very well.

I own a VX SS Commodore and although it has a lot more power than the Falcon, it is not as fun to drive.

26th Nov 2002, 05:30

I've been driving Ford's for over ten years.

The new AU is a much better car than it's predecessors.

With a few bad points such as the condensation in the head lights and the leaking rear tail lights I find the Ford is made for the Australian family sedan.

With plenty of grunt and a pretty good fuel economy, it's quite well built compared to other family car's in the market.

If you look after it and use quality engine oils and have the car serviced at regular intervals you shouldn't have any problems, problem's start arising when you don't even lift the bonnet up to see if all fluids are correct.

Only Milk and Juice comes in 2 Litres.

1998 Ford Falcon GLi 4.0L MPEFI petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Nice and cheap to buy, still a good car


The front windows had got tight to wind up, all the dealer did was lube the runner's and that made it easier to use.

Speedometer lamp had blown.

High pressure fuel hose had come off the fuel pump at the fuel tank, and fuel filled up in the pump well (hose was replaced).

As I'm a mechanic, I know that:

The head gasket's are still leaking coolant from the gasket.

The brake light switches have been faulty for year's (watch the cruise control).

Diffs are noisy.

Transmission get very hard shifting between gear changes.

If LPG is fitted to the car, make sure the PCV valve is changed to a steel body unit, because if the car back fires the PCV valve will drop down the front of the engine and break the timing chain runners.

Could go on and on.

General Comments:

I like this Ford, it's a family car, doesn't get treated roughly, but the Commodore's have their lists of problems also, six of one/half a dozen of the other!

They perform well enough, I drive lots of cars, I feel that it's pretty comfortable.

I think that the transmission should be serviced every 40-50,000 km or so, as they don't service them at all, and if you service them it voids your warranty on the transmission. That stinks big time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2001

1998 Ford Falcon XR6 4.0 from Australia and New Zealand


A very high performance factory car


Door seal rubbers discoloured.

General Comments:

The car is definitely quick, it sticks to the road like glue. It is a serious V8 killer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2001