I have an EF lemon in the backyard. It's leaking water from one side of the head gasket and oil from the other. To fix this will be the 4th head gasket. I had the AU head bolts fitted for the last (3rd) head gasket replacement, still no good : (
It has only done 168,000km.
The coil packs and ignition leads have been replaced.
The air con packed it in around the 135,000km mark.
When it's running it's a nice car to drive. Has plenty of get up and go, although it likes to drink. Putting it on dual fuel eased the hip pocket woes.
The clear coating on the paint on the bonnet is peeling off all over.
Front discs replaced and need replacing again, brakes shudder and are really violent when traveling at 100km/h and suddenly need to stop. Car really shakes a lot.
The interior headlining is starting to fall off/down.
Alas it really is living up to Fixed Or Repaired Daily.
I have owned a 1995 EF2 XR6 since new. This car has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. Apart from dealer servicing during the warranty period, I have done most of the servicing myself according to factory workshop manual (I am not a mechanic), and with 152000km on clock I have had no major issues with car at all, apart from normal wear and tear. The motor still runs strong, uses no oil, starts easily, still has original head gasket with no leaks at all (I check this regularly), factory fitted clutch still works perfectly, and T5 manual gearbox has given me no dramas at all.
The only things I have replaced in 15 years are the drivers side power window regulator, 1 thermostat, exterior drivers side mirror (after a large stone hit it!) and a couple of brake light switches.
I still have this car, despite buying a new Fiesta Xr4 recently, and I will keep it as a spare car/weekend toy as it has been so reliable (unlike my mum's VN Crapodore, which was also purchased new, and has been a constant source of trouble).
EF series II, been great after 260,000.
Have extensive experience with luxo-barges, take my word for it: all cars that have great lugging capability in top, at fairly low speed, will do their head gaskets in relation to how much they've lugged in top.
Most owners drive incorrectly: you should avoid economy mode in town, it really is a tall overdrive, that's why it is extremely frugal on the freeway. Owners of EF's seem to leave them in economy mode because they are just so smooth. Eventually that will result in stretched studs that lead to the head gasket just failing; this is a different type of failure to when you overheat, problem is that you may not notice, and that will lead to major overheating after your head gasket has failed due to stud fatigue.
Best thing to do on a virgin Falcon engine, if you've got a free weekend, is pull the head off and check it out, upgrade the studs and install a new head gasket and tension to recommended figures. All this should save you a sudden in the middle of nowhere overheating situation.
Otherwise buy a V12 Jaguar, the ultimate top gear lugger.
I had a 98 EL. One of the last ones with a normal dizzy, and I tell you, one of the best cars I've owned. I absolutely flogged the guts out of it, and it ran strong till I snapped a timing chain guide and broke the rockers LOL...
Before that, I replaced 2 gearboxes, 1 water pump, 3 air con pumps, (as they don't like to be on while over revenging the engine LOL), 1 cooling pipe, and 4 left hand front wheel bearings.
But still had same engine in for the 360000, and I drove it like a race car all the way.
I bought an EF GLI recently with 200000 km on it. It is better to drive than my wife's 6 year old Commodore, uses less fuel and hasn't used a drop of engine oil or coolant in the 2500km that I have driven in it.
Sure, it has a few issues, like sagging hood lining and faded paint on the roof, but that has to be expected from a 17 year old motor car.
I think that I might spend a few bucks on this one and tidy it up.
I've got a 1996 EF GLI Falcon wagon that I purchased in 2007. Ran it as a country taxi in SA for 2 years, and it has just clocked 751,000 km.
Only just replaced the original motor and transmission 3 months ago with a S/H low km unit, and it still goes like the clappers!!
Obviously I've spent money on other components over the years, but seriously these 90s Falcons are bullet proof if serviced and maintained correctly.
The only other cars that have even come close to this reliability were the old Chrysler and Mitsubishi Valiants that I used to also run as country taxis in SA (the best run out of one CM Valiant was 1,700,000 km in the 1990s).