Re: New Ride Time...EF/EL XR6...Opinions/Tech Feedback Please
I had a manual EF XR6 for 4 years, great car but they do have problems.
Aircon is flakey, the evaporator can leak which is a big job to replace, about $700 or so, compressors run hot on these models and fail, you have no choice but to replace them due to the serpentine belt drive neither, nearly a $1K job. When looking at them, operate the A/C, make sure its working well and listen closely to the compressor, any odd noises or rumbling could be the end.
The fresh/recirc vacuum motor will almost certainly have a broken rod, dash off job to fix, but not a big problem and not worth fixing.
Clunky LSD's, this is usually an easy fit with the addition of a friction modifier.
Clutch stuff -
Pedal swings from a post thats held into the main pedel box by about 3 spot welds, these break and its a big job to fix, although I know a shortcut :) look up under the dash, find the pin and ensure its sitting squarely, if not its on the way out.
The firewall can crack where the clutch cable passes through, this ones hard to see as the firewall is covered in sound deadening, ensure the clutch operation is firm, a 'spongy' clutch pedal could mean a flexing (cracked) firewall. It can be welded up reasonably cheaply.
Look at the service records, its highly important to look after the cooling system in these engines, and as EFECTV said, the water pumps are sometimes dodgy. Look at all the hose joints, the metal underneath swells (esp the thermostat housing upper hose joint) if the coolant is not kept up to scratch.
Check for smooth power window operation, if you can when its raining as they have to work harder. Any grinding and/or scratching noises indicates a partially broken cable which can be fixed if your handy, otherwise a new PW kit is around $350 iirc?
If the windows are slow or momentarily stop, spraying silicon in the track usually solves it.
I've seen rust where the rear spoiler bolts pass thru the boot lid but its rare.
Oh, definately get a manual, they are much better than an auto :)