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jayHK69 Offline
#1 Posted : Friday, 24 February 2017 10:10:20 PM(UTC)
jayHK69

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going to have a look at a 2004 Ba Falcon Sr & a 2006 Bf Futura on the weekend & just wanting to know if there are any issues/common faults i should be looking for in either model ?

any help from the member knowledge base would be greatly appreciated

cheers
Jason
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#2 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 7:13:38 AM(UTC)
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Engine wise, there's little that goes wrong. And the engine is cheap to service & maintain.
The BA will have the 4 speed auto, which is pretty much bulletproof, and cheap to replace if it does let go.

There's a chance the BF may have the 6-speed ZF auto - a far superior box, but optional on BF (well worth it if you find one). The 6-speed can have issues with the cooler mixing coolant & trans oil, so fitting an aftermarket cooler in front of the radiator (to isolate the trans from the coolant) would be a priority.

All BA-BF-FG sedans (and Territory) run an IRS assembly that's almost the same across all models (with minor evolutionary differences).
On all models, the diff bushes (the 3 that locate the diff) chew out, and can result in clunks & vibration.
They're expensive to fix as you have to drop the whole IRS cradle assembly to change them.
Factory rubber replacements will fail again. Polyurethane bushes cure the issue once & for all, as the expense of slightly more noise & vibration.

The rest of the suspension is quite cheap to repair/maintain.

If it feels like the rear end wants to wiggle around while you're driving, then it's likely the control blade bushes (mounted up against the body structure, basically under the rear seat) are stuffed. They are also easy - they're about $220-240 for a pair of replacement arms with poly bushes already fitted into them, and are easily DIY fitted in 1/2 hour per side.

The rubber seal where the boot wiring enters the cabin can leak, causing the RH rear 1/4, under the rear seat, and the RH rear floor to be wet/smelly/rusty.
Check around the boot opening/rear window seams, the perimeter of the boot floor, and the spare wheel well for rust.
Also look closely up & down the A & B pillars (particularly near the front door hinges) for rust.
Under the wiper motor cover panel is also a prime spot.

Electrically they're pretty good, but if they've been wet in the cabin, it can cause all sorts of gremlins, so avoid any that show signs of damp.

Nearly all of them will suffer from "brake shudder" which can be attributed to a number of factors - and it's not all that often that the actual disc rotors are warped. Don't despair if that's the only fault you can find, as the shudder can be fixed quite easily (often without replacing or machining rotors).
I've got 200,000km up on an FG I've had since new, and had shudder once - which was easily fixed at home with bugger all tools. People whine about FGs also having brake shudder.

If the driver's seat creaks or "clicks" when you accelerate or brake, then the base frame will have cracked around the mounts (common) and is easily fixed by removing the seat & welding up the frame (or get a couple of good passenger base frames from the wreckers - they're the same on both sides).

There's probably other things to look for, but I can't think of that much.
Cheers,

Mick
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jayHK69 Offline
#3 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 8:37:52 AM(UTC)
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thanks for the detailed reply Mick,greatly appreciated.will certainly be taking your list with me.

we had an Au a few years back which all in all was a good car, except that when it rained we would get water down on the ecu in the passenger footwell which we didn`t know until it was too late.do the BA/BF have this problem that you`re aware of ?

many thanks
Jason
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#4 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 10:09:11 AM(UTC)
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That was something they improved - in the BA onwards, the ECU is in the engine bay, and is very reliable. There's a BCM/BEM inside the car - under the dash, but it's well protected from any chance of getting wet.

If they get a bit of rust in the plenum or front pillars, water gets into the multi-way electrical plugs in the bottom of the A-pillars, which causes issues with body functions (central locking, radio etc).
Cheers,

Mick
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jayHK69 Offline
#5 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 10:17:31 AM(UTC)
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thanks again Mick greatly appreciated.good to know Ford had fixed the ecu & water problem.

i`ve seen in quite a few ads where a window or two wont work,come with new motors etc.would that be caused by the water getting down the a pillars ?

thanks again
Jason
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#6 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 10:51:17 AM(UTC)
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Switches, motors, and then plugs - in that order, is what I seem to find. I have a lot of friends with BA/BF and I've become a bit of a "go to" guy on those parts. I wouldn't say they're any better or worse than other makes with window reliability. You can disassemble & clean/refurbish the window switch yourself. I'm sure there would be a youtube video on the topic

Also, the central locking motors can strip a gear inside them. Normally you have to replace the whole latch assembly, but nowdays you can buy just the gear (search eBay) and replace it yourself.
Cheers,

Mick
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Judge a successful man not on how he treats his peers, but on how he treats those less fortunate.
jayHK69 Offline
#7 Posted : Saturday, 25 February 2017 11:51:33 AM(UTC)
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awesome information Mick,thanks once again.

my wife also sends a big thank you for putting it in terms that are easy for her to understand too.

cheers
Jason
jayHK69 Offline
#8 Posted : Sunday, 26 February 2017 7:38:46 PM(UTC)
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Mick a couple more questions if you don`t mind.

the 2003 we test drove today has the brake shudder,in your first reply you said this was easily fixed at home.would you mind telling me how it`s done please ?

also at 100kmh it has a slight vibration in the front end,i was thinking wheel balance.do you think am i on the right here ?

cheers
Jason
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#9 Posted : Sunday, 26 February 2017 9:50:35 PM(UTC)
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If the steering wheel was shuddering in tune with the vibration, or you could clearly feel it through the wheel, then it points to front wheel balance. It can also be worn front hubs (sealed bearings) which you can check the traditional way of checking a wheel bearing.

If the car is doing it (but not through the steering wheel) and the rear wheel balance isn't to blame, then look at the tailshaft centre bearing - the rubber on them can fail, letting it droop or flop around, but the vibration usually only occurs on acceleration.

As far as the brakes, here's some tips, in order from what I've found as least required (#3) to most common (#1):

3. Properly diagnosed warped rotors. People pay $$$ to machine supposedly warped rotors, when the real problem is # 1 below.
This is one thing that gets me annoyed - when they put a supposedly warped rotor on the skimming machine, and it takes off a very thin layer - with no high & low spots.
True warped rotors will go "choof-choof-choof" when you machine them, as it goes through the thicker & thinner sections. When it's a constant "Shhhhhhh" noise, it's a good sign they didn't need machining.
However, sometimes they do need machining, but rather than simply take them off and deliver them (or leave the car there & come back), spend some time checking.
Jack it up and take the wheel off. Then decide on simple or detailed methods:

Simple:
Put some large nuts (or spacers) over the studs, and put all 5 wheel nuts back on.
Rotate it by hand, and see if you can feel any tight or loose spots as you spin it.
If it's completely free, use a screwdriver to apply a little force to one of the pads, and see if the 'drag' as you rotate the rotor stays constant, or varies the same way, at the same angle of the rotation (maybe mark the rotor to keep track of this).

Detailed way:
Remove the 2 bolts securing the rotor, and remove the disc - check for debris caught between the rotor & hub. Also spin the front hubs a few times to check for smoothness & tightness. Wire brush it all, and re-assemble.
Put some large nuts (or spacers) over the studs, and put all 5 wheel nuts back on.
If you have a dial gauge, you can use it, otherwise some stiff coathanger wire will do.
Using vice-grips, clamp the wire to the upright just behind the rotor.
Bend the wire so it's almost touching the rotor. Rotate it, and watch the gap. Keep bending it in closer, until it just touches. When it does, the noise it makes as you rotate the rotor should remain the same. If it grabs & wants to bend, you have a high spot, indicating a warp.


2. BA/BF have an adjustable pushrod on the booster that activates the master cylinder. For some reason, on some of them, when things warm up & metal expands (sometimes on cold cars too) it can be a fraction too long, and cause brake drag, which gives a shudder. You need to unbolt the master cylinder off the booster it to access it, and wind it in (shorten it) one full turn. Be careful not to lose the rubber reaction disc if you pull it out (which you'll need to, to hold the main body in a vice or grips. A dot of grease will stick the disc onto the end of the pushrod so you don't risk dropping it on reassembly. I've done this on a few cars that have needed it. The little bolt can be really tight.

1. Debris/coating/surface contamination issues with the rotor. This is by far the most common thing I come across. I have 2 pics below - both are off my FG at approx 135k.
When you are doing the check for truly warped rotors, inspect the friction area - if there's blotches or other contaminants in the surface, then it's likely this will be the problem, not warped rotors.

I see this very often on Falcons and Commodores. Whilst I can't prove it, the theory is that it is caused by the pads outgassing some of their compounds when they are worked hard - emergency stops, or even just slowing fairly hard for that orange light. The heat causes some of the compounds in the pad material to heat up, releasing gasses, which are trapped between the rotor & pad. As you sit there waiting for the light, the intense heat is localised in that one spot where the pad is, and with the brakes on, there's no way for it to escape. These gasses/compounds then spoil the surface of the rotor, creating a "sticky spot" that causes shudder when the brakes are applied lightly.
To minimise the chances of this happening, I always release the brakes & roll forward a foot or so every few seconds after a hard stop, and I have not had an issue since. Others I have advised to do the same are finding the same positive results too. Cheaper pads also seem to do it worse - with the exception of the ceramic Hi-Q ones, which are good pads, at a cheap price.

While it's true that machining the rotors will cure this - and it does, hence so many people saying "machine your rotors", you don't actually need to go that far. It's only on the very surface, and can be removed with a bit of time and emery paper. I use 120 grit (only because I have a whole roll of it)and work my way around the rotor - just doing straight lines (like 10 o'clock across to 2 o'clock) but all the way round - so you end up with a slightly cross hatched pattern all the way around.

The rotors below were like this at 135,000km, and would cause severe shudder when you touched the brakes lightly to commence slowing down, and even when you were nearly stopped, they'd still grab every rotation. Sanding them with 120 cured it 100%, and I haven't had an issue since then.


Blotches:


"Shooting stars" contamination:
Cheers,

Mick
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jayHK69 Offline
#10 Posted : Sunday, 26 February 2017 10:44:37 PM(UTC)
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thank you once again mick for another very detailed reply.i did see the car up on a hoist & the tailshaft center bearing had no movement in it,that`s why i was leaning towards wheel balance.and yes the vibration i felt was through the steering wheel.

the info on the brake shudder is great.we are otherwise rapt with the car so we will be buying it,just have to wait for business hours for the bank to release the funds. i have a HK & have done the adjustment on the booster/master cylinder push rod before, so that`s not a problem if i need to do that.everything else is straight forward,i see why you said previously that it`s easily done at home.

our VT rotors that i replaced last month had the shooting stars patterns all over them.your theory on the brake pads is interesting,would you say this has only been happening since asbestos was removed from them ?

many many thanks for taking the time to explain all of the above to me,i definitely owe you a couple of beers

cheers
Jason

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#11 Posted : Sunday, 26 February 2017 11:03:25 PM(UTC)
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Sounds like you've found a good one. You may find the front vibration could be the pads grabbing "sticky spots" on the rotors too, so don't bother getting them re-balanced until you sort out the brakes.

There are quite a few others who have the same train of thought with the pads outgassing. I used to cut a groove across pads with a hacksaw blade before installing them, but after having a good DBA crack up & lose chunks near my DIY groove, I stopped doing it.

I can't really say whether or not asbestos is related - I personally think it's more to do with the resins they use to bond the friction material together - be it the old asbestos fibres, or the modern day "organic" equivalent. I've seen the same problems with "metal" pads, as well as ceramic, and the only thing they all have in common are resin binders.
Cheers,

Mick
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Judge a successful man not on how he treats his peers, but on how he treats those less fortunate.
jayHK69 Offline
#12 Posted : Monday, 27 February 2017 7:35:52 AM(UTC)
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yes the car is pretty good overall,a few little nicks & scratches in the paint that you would expect for a car of it`s age.interior is immaculate,all the gauges,air con,lights,blinkers etc work.has 229k on the clock with service history.for what we are paying we are very happy.

thanks for the info re the pads grabbing,first thing i will be doing is the brakes.

all the info you have helped me with is greatly appreciated & given me a good insight into these models

cheers
Jason

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