Ford Falcon EA series

Ford unveiled the all new EA in March 1988 to replace the XF, which was becoming a little long-in-the-tooth at the time.  Ford were riding the top of a wave on the Australian market outselling Holden for much of the 80’s and with the new EA released Ford was aiming to increase its market share over Holden’s VN Commodore.

The $700 million investment in development saw the release of a totally new design inside an out.  The smoother design was a success and the EA, despite being almost 20 years old, still looks modern as the design enjoyed longevity in the Australian market.

There were also plenty of changes under the bonnet with a new engine and suspension.  Ford replaced the old 3.3 and 4.1 litre 6 cylinder engines with a 3.3 and 3.9 litre SOCH fuel injected engine.  The V8’s were still not back in the market in the Ford series until 1991 with the EB. The V8 was removed from the market in 1982.  The V8 engine wasn’t missed with the fuel injected 6 cylinder engines producing just as much power as the previous V8s.

As well as improved performance of the new engines the upgraded suspension also provided improvements over the XF series.  The EA, while still being one of the biggest family cars on the market, had an improved turning circle and the suspension helped to reduce engine roll and road noise.  One criticism of the handling was in the new power steering system as the light touch helped manoeuvre the large car in traffic, but was too touchy for comfortable highway driving.  

Over time the EA was criticised for its reliability with several ongoing problems, including a few recalls from the manufacturer, lead to the EA receiving a bad reputation.  One of the main problems of the EA was the increased temperature of the engine.  It resulted in head gasket failure, leaks from the head gasket and other systems, and also battery damage including the battery actually exploding.  The disc brakes also didn’t wear evenly causing shuddering, which only further increased cabin noise.  Thankfully most of these issues have been fixed in the model, with some being taken off the road completely.  Critic claim that the EA was rushed to market and testing was not extensive enough to right these wrongs before the model reached the market.

Ford released Series II of the EA in October 1989, reliability issues were not yet at the fore so problems persisted, but one significant change was with the transmission with a 4-speed automatic replacing the 3-speed.  Road tests by some motoring bodies claimed the new gear box gave the series II a better ride without the previous chunkiness.

The EA was released in GL sedan/wagon, S sedan/wagon, Fairmont sedan/wagon, Fairmont Ghia sedan/wagon, NA Fairlane and LTD.  Over 220,000 units were manufactured and it was finally replaced by the EB in July 1991.    

Unfortunately the heyday for Ford in the 80’s was fading after the release of the EA.  With ongoing problems tarnishing the reputation of Ford and the increased competition of Holden, the early 90’s brought about more competition and Ford were force to continue rapid development in direct response to competition from other manufacturers in all its E series cars.