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XR6 Turbo Guide - Part Two

A look at current used Ford XR6 Turbo pricing and the problems to watch out for...

By Michael Knowling

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At a glance...

  • Prising
  • Problems
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In the first part of this series we looked at the evolution of the Ford XR6 Turbo since its introduction in 2002 (see XR6 Turbo Guide – Part One). Now, in this second part, we examine current second-hand prices and look at problems that used buyers should be aware of.

Current Prices

When introduced in late ’02, the appeal of the Falcon XR6 Turbo was boosted with a pricetag that was hard to ignore. With the five-speed manual sedan offered at just AUD$43,965 (AUD$920 extra for the auto), the turbocharged Ford made the similarly quick Holden SS Commodore look way overpriced...

But XR6T pricing didn’t stay below 45 thousand for long.

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In 2003, the manual sedan rose to AUD$45,095 and the auto jumped to AUD$46,005. Another incremental price rise came with the release of the Mark II update – you were looking at AUD$46,350 for the new six-speed manual or the four-speed auto. And today we have the BF XR6T whose latest updates up the ante to AUD$46,405 for the manual and AUD$47,655 for the six-speed auto. So, over little more than three years of production, the price of a new XR6 Turbo has risen between around AUD$2500 – AUD$3000.

But let’s look at where things are really happening – in the second-hand market.

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At the time of writing, the cheapest XR6 Turbo on the market is being offered at just AUD$24,200 – a 2003 automatic sedan with a higher-than-average 79,000km on the odometer. You can’t get a much bigger bargain than that!

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter whether a car was built in 2002 or 2003 – if a particular vehicle has relatively high kilometres (more than about 50,000 – 60,000km) it typically hovers at a shade over twenty-five thousand. However, if a car has been decked out with Premium Sound, Premium Brakes, a sunroof and an array of accessories, you might be looking at around AUD$30,000. Certainly, there’s a big price variation when factory options enter the equation.

For a Mark II XR6T (from late ’04) there's a considerable price jump – especially if you want the Tremec six-speed manual gearbox (which debuted with Mark II). The cheapest XR6T six-speed we’ve seen is just under AUD$35,000 and the price quickly ramps up as you start looking at ’05 build vehicles; understandably, after only a few months of ownership, most sellers want to recover as much as possible of their AUD$47,000-odd outlay.

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In scouring the classifieds it’s obvious that the cheapest examples are advertised in Sydney and Melbourne and, in some instances, you might save enough money to justify an interstate purchase. Interestingly, at the time of writing, there’s only one modified XR6T being advertised nation-wide – it seems it’s the ‘done thing’ to remove any aftermarket bits prior to sale. Keep that in mind when shopping.

Problems

The Ford XR6T is fundamentally a very strong and durable car. However, there are a number of issues that any potential buyer should be aware of...

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The biggest complaint we’ve heard applies to XR6 Turbos with the standard brake package (rather than the optional Premium Brakes). Lee from Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) tells us the company’s development vehicle has quickly chewed through three sets of front discs and pads - apparently the standard brakes are good for only one or two high speed braking manoeuvres before they overheat and start to warp. Then, once the disc begins to warp, it gets more and more out of shape and the brake pedal starts to shudder. Fortunately, there are some aftermarket solutions to this situation – we’ll look at upgrade brakes in the final part of the series.

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Another complaint is driveline shunt. In some cars, you’ll hear and feel a clunk from the rear of the driveline when gently reapplying throttle. This seems particularly noticeable in cars with a manual gearbox. There are all sorts of suggestions on how to fix this problem – everything from simply loosening and re-torquing the rear sub-frame mounts to a complete differential and half-shaft replacement. If you’re looking at a car with exaggerated clunks from the rear, we strongly suggest putting the car up on a hoist for close inspection.

Be aware that, in some instances, the driveline shunt can be confused with a clunk from the rear suspension – this can be caused by broken diff mounts (common if the car has been thrashed) or split suspension bushes. Diff whines are also widely reported but in many instances they can be hushed with a fluid change. Differential failures are rare.

In early XR6Ts, many people (including us!) commented that the engine is very easily to stall during manoeuvring. Where this has been raised as a problem, the engine management will have been re-flashed with a new program which is said to improve rpm stability. A re-flash may also have be applied to early examples which suffered from a rough idle – however, this can sometimes be remedied by cleaning the throttle body.

Other small problems to watch out for include a noisy power steering pump, a creaking or clicking steering rack, ineffectual or dragging handbrake and a crunch when engaging top gear in the T5 manual gearbox. There has been a lot of talk on the valve springs employed in the XR6 Turbo and, while there have certainly been related problems at increased outputs, you’re almost guaranteed hassle-free operation if you leave the engine standard.

Interestingly, Ford has issued two safety recalls for BAs – the first regarding a circlip that holds the inner CV joint to the half shaft and the second for fitment of earthing wires to eliminate the possibility of static electricity deploying the side airbags (where fitted).

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If you’re in the market for a FPV Typhoon or Tornado, you should be aware that the first batch of vehicles was prone to breaking the clips that hold the intermediate section of the twin-plate clutch in position. A recall was issued and production was temporarily halted until the clutch was reengineered and passed testing. We believe that all FPVs affected have been fixed and the revised clutch is fitted to all subsequent Typhoons/Tornados.

Clearly, there are a few problems for XR6 Turbo buyers to be aware of but, as stated, the turbocharged Ford is fundamentally a strong car that’s unlikely to suffer a major catastrophe - not in standard form, anyway...

And that brings us to the subject of the third part of this series. Stick around for the next instalment where we explore the huge range of aftermarket engine upgrades.

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