Used Ford Falcon review: 1991-1993
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The EB Falcon was a rather minor facelift in the big scheme of things automotive, but it played a key role in keeping Ford at the head of the pack in the early 1990s. Ford was the clear market leader through much of the 1980s and into the 1990s as Holden went about rebuilding its fortunes following a lean patch dating back to the end of the ’70s.
But while Ford was in the lead the EB had to regain some of the ground the company lost when the EA, the massive model change that preceded it suffered a series of embarrassing problems.
The EB was little changed visually over the EA. About the most significant thing Ford did was to move the blue oval badge from the bonnet to the grille, but the EA was an attractive sedan at the time. Its proportions were balanced and it had clean lines that were both sleek and aerodynamic.
There was lots of speculation about Ford’s plans for the EB in the lead-up to the 1991 launch, much of which proved to be way off the mark.
There was no independent rear suspension as was predicted, Ford instead stuck with the tried and true live rear axle with Watts linkage while tinkering with the suspension in detail to sharpen the handling.
Uprated springs, gas shock absorbers, along with negative camber and increased castor at the front, made a measurable improvement to the handling.
It seems Ford was awakening from the performance slumber it had slipped into in the 1980s and there was a significant change in the company’s approach to the Falcon in the EB.
Most notably it saw the return of the V8 for the first time since 1983. Unlike Holden Ford dropped the V8 engine as sales of the big engine slumped, but the Falcon’s image had suffered as a result, which hastened its return.
This time it was a 5.0-litre Windsor small block engine fully imported from the USA. With fuel injection the pushrod engine managed to pump out 165 kW at 4500 revs and 388 Nm at 3000 revs.
While the V8 was an image engine the main engine choice was the 3.9-litre single overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine introduced with the EA model.
There were two versions available, the entry level had throttle body injection (TBI), but was rather confusingly called EFI, the other had multipoint fuel injection and was tagged MPFI.
The TBI engine put out 120 kW at 4250 revs and 311 Nm at 3250 revs, while the MPFI engine made 139 kW at 4250 revs and 338 Nm at 3500 revs.
A mid-model EBII upgrade in 1992 saw the MPFI engine become standard across the range and the power climb to 148 kW at 4500 revs and 348 Nm at 3750 revs.
Falcon buyers could choose between a five-speed manual gearbox and a locally developed four-speed electronic auto, which had come into play during the life of the EA.
Underneath the suspension was the familiar Falcon package of independent front suspension with unequal wishbones and coil springs and a live axle rear end with coil springs and location by a Watts Linkage.
The GL provided the stepping off point in the Falcon range; the S was a sporty newcomer while the Fairmont provided the luxury touches. When the EBII arrived the GL became a GLi.
IN THE SHOP
All alloy-headed Falcon sixes have a problem with head gaskets. It’s not unusual to blow head gaskets at any time, but they seem to be more prone to it from about 80,000 kays up.
Cylinder head reco experts say there’s a problem with coolant circulation through the head, which leads to a steam pocket at the rear of the head that can then lead to a number of problems, including failure of the cylinder head gasket and cracking of the cylinder head itself. Some even relieve the problem by tapping into the head an allowing the coolant to flow from the problem area through an external pipe.
There is also a belief that the Falcon’s water pump suffers from cavitation, which diminishes the coolant flow through the engine.
Engine oil leaks are also a common problem. Look for leaks from the front cover, power steering pump etc.
The Falcon’s auto is a problem. Auto trans experts say the problems are due to insufficient oil capacity in the transmission causing the oil to overheat. Another problem they can suffer from is one caused by small flakes of brass coming adrift in the oil cooler in the radiator; these then block the filters in the transmission, which again causes the oil to overheat.
It’s not such a problem in light driving conditions, the trans could last as much as 200,000 km before a rebuild is needed, but add a trailer or some hilly terrain and you could cut the trans life by half. The best solution is to fit an external oil cooler.
Suspension bushes can be a problem at higher mileage, and require replacement to restore the Falcon’s handling.
Falcon electrics can also be troublesome. Body control modules are a headache and replacements are expensive to replace so check the operation of the car’s system as thoroughly as you can to check that all is well.
IN A CRASH
Airbags were yet to be deployed on the Falcon so safety is a matter of the basics of body structure, handling, steering and braking.
Check the seat belts for wear and tear, and don’t hesitate to replace them if there is any sign of damage. It’s even worth doing that as a precaution.
Don’t forget to carefully check the tyres. Worn tyres render other safety systems useless when there’s no grip on the road.
• Clean pleasant lines
• Return of the V8
• SOHC sixes deliver plenty of zip
• Auto trans troublesome
• Sixes tend to overheat
• Dodgy electrics
|Year||Price From||Price To|
Range and Specs
|GL||4.1L, ULP, 3 SP AUTO||$3,190 – 5,060||1991 Ford Falcon 1991 GL Pricing and Specs|
|Classic||3.9L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$2,640 – 4,070||1991 Ford Falcon 1991 Classic Pricing and Specs|
|GL||3.9L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$2,640 – 4,070||1991 Ford Falcon 1991 GL Pricing and Specs|
|S||3.9L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO||$2,640 – 4,070||1991 Ford Falcon 1991 S Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data