Ford Falcon BA to FG 5 most common repairs
Friday, 16 August 2019
After the harsh sales drop and customer acceptance of the AU Falcon series (1998-2002), Ford Australia went back to the drawing board. After spending $500 million dollars on upgrading almost all aspects of the Falcon, the BA series was officially released in September 2002, at the same time Holden unveiled their VY series Commodore.
Ford had the wood over their traditional rival with the BA as it took home Wheels Car of the Year award in 2002 and went on to win Australia’s Best Car Award four consecutive times.
Ford continued development of the Falcon, including the XR6 turbocharged variant and luxury models such as the Fairmont, and introduced the BF update in late 2005. This update brought with it more efficient engines and the introduction of the latest six-speed ZF automatic transmission.
The BF continued until 2008, when the FG series was released. Ford discontinued the Fairmont name, replacing it with the G Series line which included the G6 and G6E models. The FG moniker stands as a tribute to the Fairmont Ghia.
With some of these models now 17 years old and having travelled many hundreds of thousands of kilometres, components will start to deteriorate. As with many vehicles, a number of ‘common issues’ can appear and the Falcon is no different. Using the repairs and servicing information we receive here at AutoGuru, we have compiled a list of the five most common repairs requests for the BA - FG Falcon in all its variants, including Fairmont, XR6 including turbo, XR8 and G6 series.
Note: This list does not include normal wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes or servicing costs, as these are applicable no matter which vehicle you drive. If you are interested in the annual running costs of the Falcon, you can click here.
1. Driveshaft Centre Bearing Replacement
A problem on the rear-wheel drive Falcon is a failure of the driveshaft centre bearing. As the driveshaft is of a two-piece construction, a centre bearing is used to support the two pieces as well as providing a mounting point onto the vehicle body. These are predominantly made of rubber, which perishes over time.
Vehicles that are driven hard, such as the XR6 and XR8 variants, are more susceptible to centre bearing failure due to the harsh operating conditions. A telltale sign that the centre bearing needs to be replaced includes vibration when driving or a thud or thumping noise when taking off from a stop. Some vehicles have a replaceable centre bearing but some later models are not able to be replaced so a new driveshaft will need to be fitted.
2. Alternator Replacement
A common issue that has plagued the six-cylinder Falcon models are failed alternators. Located underneath the power steering pump, the alternator is subject to fluid leaking from failed hoses which causes internal damage.
From the BF model onwards, the alternator is controlled via the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to regulate how much output the alternator is producing. This allows for less drag on the engine when the battery is fully charged or when there is a small electrical load on the charging system. This increases fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. Correct diagnosis is crucial to ensure that the alternator does require replacing as a low charging rate is not always an indication of a failed alternator.
The 2005 BF Ford Falcon
3. Front Ball Joint Replacement
A problem for all models of BA - FG Falcon are failed front ball joints. The double wishbone front suspension is designed with an upper and lower arm that work in conjunction with a spring and shock absorber to provide stable handling characteristics at all speeds. This design utilises an upper and lower ball joint to connect the arms to the hub assembly.
These ball joints are put under large amounts of stress and if not inspected at every scheduled service for play and wear, can fail when driving. This will lead to the wheel hub and brake assembly coming loose from the vehicle, leaving it uncontrollable.
4. Automatic Selector Cable Failure
On all automatic transmission-equipped BA - FG models, the automatic transmission selector cable transfers the movement of the selector inside the car down to the linkage on the transmission. This cable is fitted with a rubber bush on the transmission side and this can crack and fall apart over time, leaving the vehicle stranded and unable to select gears.
This is such a common problem that many companies have designed their own replacement for this failed bush that is much more durable and it is much cheaper than replacing the whole cable.
5. Rear Differential Bushing Failure
One of the most well known failure points on the Falcon models is the rear differential bushes. These bushes are designed to hold the differential within the subframe and also absorb any driveline vibrations so they are not transferred into the cabin. Unfortunately, the rubber components they are made from are not durable enough and failure occurs.
The telltale sign that the differential bushes require replacement is a thump under acceleration, as the bushes cannot control the movement of the differential. Many aftermarket companies have created stronger bushes for the rear differential to eliminate this problem. The rear subframe needs to be removed from the vehicle to allow access to replace them - a very expensive exercise.
As one of the true Australian-designed vehicles, the BA - FG Falcon and its many variants were a huge seller - often trading the top spot on the new car sales boards with its main rival Holden.
Unfortunately, as times changed, the Australian public moved away from these large sedans in favour of smaller vehicles and SUVs, which ultimately spelled the end for the Falcon. The last Falcon, a Blue XR6, rolled off the Geelong factory line on the 7 October 2016, and thus ended the longest running nameplate in Ford’s history after 56 years in production.
Should you be having any trouble with your BA - FG Ford Falcon, help is at hand and an Autoguru technician will be able to provide quotes to carry out any repairs on your Falcon in a timely fashion.
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.