I'm about to trade up from my (Nearly dead) XF to an EF or EL Fairmont or Ghia. I have a few questions I hope can be answered.
First, is there much difference between the EF/EL? If I remember correctly, there is differences with the watts linkage and ft. susp. as well I think. So would it be worth me really looking for an EL, even though they're a bit more expensive
2) Some of them have velour seats, while some have a velour inside/leather outsides, while others have full leather seats. Now I was thinking that leather would wear a lot better, but does it get really hot when sitting in the sun? I suppose the A/C would cool things down fairly quick though.
3) I was reading on this forum that EFII onwards have XR6 motor/box. How did tickford make the extra power?
4) Is there anything I should look for? Most of the car's i've looked at seem to be well looked after, and nearly all have low kay's.
Finally, What mods could I do for some extra power? I've heard good things about Redback systems, and Pacemaker extractors. And what about the intake box?
Good choice of car. I did the same 2 years ago, went up from an XF Ghia to a 98 EL Ghia. One of the best choices I made so far.
There are small changes between the EF and EL. EL have different grills (better looking I think), better stock suspension (handle heaps better), more sound deadening, better seats and different colour interiors. The ELs are the pick of the bunch as they eventually got the best bits of of all the previous models.
The ELs had a choice of full leather or partial leather. Just depends on the preference of the guy who first bought it. If its full leather, make sure they looked after it. If it gets hard cos it wasnt cared for (like in my mums NL Fairlane) it can be uncomfortable to sit in. And the seats do get bloody hot when they been sitting in the sun.
The EFII onwards got the XR6 motor as standard. The revised the head with bigger valves, bigger fuel pump and a different cam than standard. The engine is excellent compared to the standard 6, and alot more fun to drive. Uses a little more fuel though. The gearbox is the same for all models, just the computer was reprogrammed in power mode to rev longer and shift quicker.
EF and ELs are still plagued with bad head gaskets. My EL has done 82,000km and im on my second headgasket, only cos the service guys stuffed up the first one. Ask the owner if its already been changed, and that the coolant is clean and the is no water in the oil.
Make sure gearbox shifts are smooth, no jumping of revs between changes and it engages the gear smoothly and quickly. The 4 speeds are a $1500-$2000 replacement if they stuff up.
Valve lifters still make some noise high km cars, but not if the oil changes have been kept up.
The discs, if they are still standard ones, only seem to last 40,000km. This is normal my Ford dealer tells me. Hopefully you get a road worthy supplied as this can be a $400+ bill to rectify.
The wheel alignment is fixed on the EF and ELs. The only way to get over this is fit a camber and castor kit, around $300. Check the wear on the inside of the front tyres. If they are worn, and the car doesnt have a camber kit then its likely the front has taken a few bumps on a gutter. You will then have to include the kit soon after purchase.
Simple mods are to replace the intake snorkel with an XR8 one. Makes the engine rev easier and smoother. This was my last change. A good exhast does wonders. After that you start looking at chip and cam upgrades, but these couple of simple things make a world of difference.
I managed to get a May 98 EL Ghia in Sparkling Burgandy with half leather, tickford suspension and 16" XR wheels and only 32,000km on the clock 2 years ago. If you find something like this, grab it. It goes really well, handles great and is comfortable to cruise in. Still turns a few heads too, as its a good looking car.
Sorry for the essay, but you cant explain these kind of cars in a few simple words. The EFs are good cars and pretty reliable. The ELs take it a step further I think, so they are the best pick.
I have a ghia series 2 (the XR6 version)
It is a great car, but mine is let down by morons working on it
Just look for all the normal stuff when buying a car (rust shouldn't be a problem)
MAKE SURE ALL ELECTRICAL DEVICES WORK - they cost a bit to fix at a later date
Mine has leather and it is very simple to take care of, Just use some leather cleaner and conditioner every 6 months (I use mothers stuff from supercheap), only takes an hour or so.
As ARM79 said make sure you know the head gasket has been changed, I have had 2 go in the last 30,000K due to stupid mechanics (who I have to use for warrenty :( If unsure get a compression check before you buy, and check for water stains on the engine block. Also make sure the coolent is fresh and if you do buy, replace every year (Zantetsuken has written a doco on this). This is the most important part of the car to keep in good knick.
My gearbox is quite good (it should change gear in less than a second) although I don't hoon to much, but I would love a manuel :)
Things I don't like about my car
1/ Road noise: I am sorry ford but you suck at keeping out noise, you make cars for so bloody long and you can't keep the noise out of your top model, shame on you. It is really loud at times.
I took my car for a possible trade in the other day (and mine is in good knick too) and they would only give me 10K so that should help you take it to a salesman :)
There is also another mod you can do to car to take the majority of the road noise.
Clark Rubber sells a noise insulating foam, that is about 5mm thick. It is a very high density foam.
I bought 6 metres of it, and removed all my interior and laid it across the floor, gearbox and shaft tunnel, in all the doors, under the rear bolsters, in the rear of the back seats and under the parcel shelf. I also filled the big cavity on the top of the rear shockers. Also of the road noise comes in from the rear of the car, boot and under the seat etc.
The result is near silence at idle, and cut the road noise in half on the freeway. I still have to cover the floor. I wish I could easily take out the dash and run it under there, as I think it will eliminate most of the engine noise as well.
It was the best $130 I spent on my car so far, and is a worthwhile mod to do if you already have a Falcon, or are looking to buy one.
Two more things I forgot to ask, Are aftermarket stereo's very hard to put in? Things like an interior dimmer switch, antenna up/down and the factory speaker wiring. I remember having lots of problems in my current XF and my XE with there not being enough room behind the deck, so the stereo would sit out a couple of mm from the faceplate.
And I found a site most of you probably know about, www.trueblueford.com and that says that EL Ghia has 3.45 diff, while EL Fairmont has 3.25. Is there much diffrence in RPM at, say 120KM/H??
ARM79, how hard was it to remove the front and back seats?? My back seats, all you do is put your hand under the bottom part, push back & pull up at the same time, then it pops straight out, while the back just has 2 screws down the bottom.
95 EF Fairmont 5.0 - Heritage Green - 4 Speed auto with AU S5 - 3.23LSD - 17x8" LWT Wheels - King Superlows - 76mm Cobra MAF - 65mm throttle - BPT Underdrive Pulley Kit - 3" Mandrel-bent Lukey exhaust - Tinted Windows - MP3 CD player - White faced dials.
The road noise isnt that bad. From the front seats its OK. I have 16" wheels with a fairly agressive tread on the tyre, so it doesnt help. The average kinda tyres arent too bad.
There is plenty of room behind the head unit for extra stuff. I fitted a Pioneer 4150 to my mums NL Fairlane, and the hardest bit was making new slide brackets to sit on each side, as there is no support on the back. The existing unit sits on the slide rails. The deck does sit about 2mm out, but thats only because I was a little off with the measurements with the brackets. Wiring is easy, and the antenna and dimmer wiring is all there for use.
I dont think the aftermarket units fit the original faceplate as well, so it will stand out a little. All Ghias have the double din unit, with the amp, rear and front speakers running of the DSP unit on the bottom. So if you replace the head unit, you will have to buy a new Fairmont faceplate. The factory units arent that bad. All the hardware is Alpine. The amp is a 250w Alpine. The speakers could be better though. They are basic pioneers, and the splits in the front arent too crash hot.
All XR6 engined cars have a 3.45 diff. At 100km/h the engine is doing about 2050-2100rpm instead of 1850-1900. This accounts for the slightly higher fuel consumption on the freeway.
Seats are easy. Base is the same as your XF, push back and it will pop up. The seat back is split fold. There is 4 bolts on each side of the seat. The front seats are easier than the XF. 4 Bolts in the cabin, but you will need a torx bit to get it out. I think the bolts are a T20. About $10 from a tool place.
Firstly, think about how road noise gets into the cabin. It's not through the air, it's through the suspension bushes, chassis, subframe, rails, steering column and firewall (from the front) and rails, rear arms, shock mounts and boot (from the rear).
The quality and stiffness of the suspension bushes is the major factor in transferring road noise into the cabin. The bushes are selcted based on an analysis of the bush which provides the best noise isolation. The softer the bush, the better noise isolation. However, there is a constant conflict with handling - hence the stiffer urethane XR bushes. Adding extra insulation increases the mass of the panels of the body and damps the vibration of the panel, so more "vibration energy" is required to achieve the same level of noise.
Anyway, my point is the car is designed to be quite with factory tyres and new bushes. Change these parameters (bushes wear quite quickly on heavy cars like these) and you get noise, sadly.
The other guys have brough up some really good points, and if you follow these, you'll be on a winner. Make sure you check the LSD for any noise as well. $1000-$2000 for a new diff.
A couple of others tips form my experience:
ELs built in '98 have a hybrid crank (basically AU crank machined for EL conrods) and revised oil pan I think. Much better off getting a 98 model.
Belt tensioners/pulleys often go after 100k km ($20 each x 2)
Thermostat housing leaks near head (replace with new metal gasket off AU)
Dizzy's often seize due to being trapped in a hot air region under the inlet. This heat can often cause the TFI module to go as well (both happened to me 2 weeks after I bought my EL, no way to tell it was in trouble - it just didn't start one morning). If you feel like, take the dizzy out and inspect it (pain in the arse though). Check for grinding or friction when you move the shaft in your hands.
Spark plug leads can burn out. Check for any hesitation down low on WOT up a hill.
Ive got an EFII Ghia, and very happy with it.
Some other stuff to watch out for include,
Shocks tend to go very very quickly.... I bought new shocks last year, and they are already starting to go on me again.
Check for smooth operation of electric windows. (Especially front ones). If they dont wind smooth, it could mean that the plastic bits on the winder may give from the stress.
Also, the EF's got a Coil pack (similar to the AU models), but was removed for the EL models (Reverted back to TFI Dizzy)....
1 of the reasons for this is that the coil packs were not too good in the heat, and would die ?????? (Though Ive had no probs with mine).
As for head gaskets, also check the coolant condition, and Radiator overflow bottle, as this can give you a good indication of potential problems with regards to Head Gasket condition, and Head Bolts.... (Its very important to flush the radiator on these cars, often !)
Apart from that, you may wanna check out www.fordmods.com - (Insert Shameless plug HERE)
There is info on the Premium sound system fitted to the EF/EL Ghia's, as well as wiring diagrams, EF/EL Model Specifications, Common problems, and info on some mods you can carry out.
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