EF Falcon - 1994 to 1996 - series I and II.

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An Introduction:
Introduced in August 1994, the EF (code named EA77) brought welcome change to the EA's sheet metal that had remained more or less un-altered through three models and six years of Falcon history.  With the future of Ford in Australia once again under the microscope, the EF became one of the most important new models shown by Ford's enthusiasm in inviting all of it's seven or so thousand employees to the car's release in Melbourne.  Taking 3 1/2 years and $220 million to develop, the EF Falcon needed to be right - it had a lot riding on it's shoulders!
Making sure the EA was never repeated, more than 350 pre-production vehicles were constructed in various stages to prove out new parts, features and systems.  Along the way over 2.5 million test / evaluation kms were covered - including 750,000 kms by 1500 Ford employees in a special 50-car 'Focus Fleet'.  To top it all off, full barrier crashes totalled 31 brand new Falcons and another 5 bodies were tested to failure on various stress testing rigs!  A kangaroo was even sown up out of canvas, filled with bags of lead shot to represent the major organs until it weighed 75kg, given a rubber hose spine, sat on a block of polystyrene and an EF crashed into it at 100km/h!
 Every single panel bar the doors was changed radically - while the wagon got the usual second rate treatment with only the front receiving the EF's sheet metal changes.  But to stop at the exterior changes would do complete injustice to the radical change that was EF - with just as many changes made to the Falcon's mechanical and interior package giving the Falcon customer very real benefits in every way.  By September 1995, Ford had released the EF series 2 making many more changes to the original EA's structure and specifications levels.  Read on for a comprehensive listing of the changes for both series I and II and what they meant to you the customer.  Buying a second hand Falcon?  Then these pages are designed to help you decide whether an EF is the car for you or not.

Styling / Shape.
Windscreen Wipers.
Wheels & Tyres.
Ride & Handling.
Series II:
Front Suspension.
Front Seats.
Front Passenger Airbag.
XR & Fairmont Ghia.

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All of those changes paid off for Ford Australia with the EF quickly receiving awards from the RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria) being named as "Best Large Car" in it's annual 1994 Best Buy Awards.  This was quickly followed with the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia naming the Futura as the 1994 Family Car of the Year.  But the awards didn't stop there - also winning an Australian Design Award for the best product in the category 'Land Transport'.  It also went on to win the premier design award of the year, the inaugural Australian Design of the Year prize.
The judges said the Falcon stood out for its robustness, quality and excellent value for money.  Special mention was made of the Falcon's airbag-friendly bull-bar, strength of it's body structure, improved seat design, well designed control panel and handbrake, smooth braking and easy steering.

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Changed to a much more slim line appearance to suit the style of the EF, this is one of the few areas where they went backward more than they went forward.  While the ED's headlights provided quite satisfying levels of light for night driving, the EF's light quality deteriated dramatically especially on low beam.  Fortunately for Ford, the VR Commodore was far worse and never really improved until late VT / early VX.  The headlights scored plastic lenses in EF (no more cracked headlights) but in a bitter sweet victory these have a tendency to turn yellow with old age, necessitating a rather expensive replacement if yours have gone that way (something to look for when buying that second hand EF).
Still, the new lenses brought to an end the need to use headlight protectors with the new lights being 20 times stronger than the old ones and virtually shatter proof.  Please note that due to the plastic lenses and reflectors, it is recommended that you do not fit globes any larger than that specified by Ford as they have a tendency to melt / distort the headlight components with the increased heat - you've been warned!
Further changes came with the front indicators being fitted with clear uncoloured lenses - formerly amber in the ED.  This meant an amber coloured globe had to be fitted to give that usual bright orange colour - and these fade with time so new globes are required on a periodical basis whenever they lose too much colour.  A very inexpensive and easy replacement - but something to remember all the same.
EF sedans received a new 'jewelled' effect tail light lens which lead to brighter tail lights as well as lights that looked newer for longer.  Again, the wagon missed out on the jewelled effect continuing the EA's standard tail lights.  The sedan tail lights also received a clear uncoloured indicator lens relying on the same amber coloured globe used for the front blinkers.  Just like the fronts, these fade with time and should be replaced once the light begins to lose it's colour.


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The Falcon's 4.0 litre SOHC straight six came in for a heavy rework for EF releasing an extra 9kW over the ED's as well as increasing the engine's smoothness and fuel economy - adding up to a total saving of 4% over the ED.  Thankfully the traditional multiple vee belts were also banished to history with the introduction of the much quieter and more reliable serpentine accessory drive belt.  'Computer Torque Control' via the dual resonance intake manifold saw power and torque bolstered right across the range for a much wider power band than available on a conventional engine.  And although the EF only showed a 9Nm increase in max torque, torque between 2500 and 3000 rpm was up a massive 28Nm with the maximum torque figure being produced at 3000rpm - 750rpm lower than before. Due to the EF's much smoother and more refined engine, the redline was lifted 500 rpm to 5500 rpm where it stayed all the way through EL and then AU.  See EF History / Tech for full details of the EF engine change.
For the first time the XR8 featured more power than the standard V8 available in every Falcon including GLi - even if it was only another 5kW.  Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts by Ford's engineers had not been able to cure the EA's head gasket woes and if purchasing an EF six cylinder one needs to budget the necessary dollars for head gasket replacement every 100,000 - 150,000 kms depending on how the vehicle is driven.

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The EF recieved a newly specified 3.08:1 (manual) standard diff ratio (formerly 3.27:1) to take advantage of the EF's increased torque figures in increased fuel economy especially on long trips.


Styling / Shape:
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In my books, the EF was one of the best looking Falcons to come along in years. Both good and bad news came in the form of a much deeper front bumper - good news because it looked great!  Bad because it drastically reduced the approach angle of the vehicle making the bumper an easy target for heavy scratches and scrapes.  Brake ducts were introduced for the first time in a Falcon but were more for cosmetic purposes than the function from which they derived their name.
Notably the new bumpers also brought an improvement in low speed impact protection - with the bumpers being doubled in strength and now able to sustain a 4-5kph impact with little or no damage to themselves or adjacent bodywork.  As part of the package their hidden load bearing beams were converted to flexible polypropylene, replacing the ED's previously fibreglass reinforcements.

Styling Differentiation:
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The EF was the first Falcon to visually differentiate between the GLi / Futura and the Fairmont / Fairmont Ghia.  Yet many couldn't handle the deletion of the grill - despite it's obvious links to the US Thunderbird (a great looking car in the early 90's) - hence the re-introduction of the grill to the GLi & Futura for EL.    Further differentiating the models was different bonnets with a raised grill section in the Fairmont / Fairmont Ghia and a sleeker low slung unit for the GLi / Futura.  The XR range got it's own bonnet too - featuring twin bonnet scoops - although again more cosmetic than anything else.
Rear styling & roof:
Totally new rear styling included a new rear bumper, rear window, rear quarters, boot lid and tail light panel in the sedan - with only very minor changes made to the wagon (see EF Wagons for more details on the changes made to the EF station wagon.  Likewise the sedan featured an entirely new roof with strengthening ribs built in either side - while the wagon had to make do with the same old EA roof panel.

Marketing & Aerodynamics:
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The EF Falcon was designed purposely to look a smaller car than it's predecessors - a decision made to attract more women and small car customers.  Still, with it's new sleek aerodynamic styling the EF managed a credible Cd of 0.31 helping no end in the quest for increased fuel economy.

New paint colours and monochrome paint treatment on some models helped transform the exterior appearance of the EF.  New door handles gave a much smoother feel as well as body colour right throughout the range (previously black in ED GLi).  Ford began trying new paint technologies, introduced with the new colour 'Argon Silver' giving a flip effect overlooked by most punters and not nearly as radical as Ford's copyrighters had made it out to be.


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Structural improvements:
Continuing Ford's continual improvement program the EF contained many structural improvements over the ED's already strong body shell including an improved side impact protection structure and roof crush strength to 'best in class' and exceeding then incoming European Design Standards.  In total, roof crush strength was up 23% and could now withstand 3.3 tonnes or 2.25 times the car's weight - or exceeding the tough US standards by 50%!  Compared to the Commodore and other cars in it's class, the Falcon was built like a battle ship (although no where near as hard to handle) and equally equipped to protect it's occupants...  Body wise, the Falcon could now boast one of the strongest body structures available in the world at that time - and still represents a good investment in safety especially compared to many newer but similarly priced small cars.
Both the A & B pillars as well as the roof rails and side intrusion beams received strengthening.  The EF Falcon's dynamic side impact performance was even tested in the United States and recorded among the best crash resistance of all Ford products available world wide at the time - exceeding US standards by a healthy margin.  Ten new high strength steel structure reinforcements were added to the body side and roof along with another fourteen located else where around the Falcon's body structure.
With all these improvements it is no wonder that Ford claimed a 36 percent improvement in crashworthiness when compared in a 56km/h barrier test - rumoured as being typical of a collision at twice this speed.

Air Bag Introduction:
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A driver's air bag finally made it into Falcon ranks as standard equipment across the range beating Commodore to the punch.  While the Commodore had beaten Falcon when it came to bringing an airbag to market first, it could still be had without making the airbag an expensive option in the VR.  Further more the Falcon's air bag came with three sensors (verses the then Commodore's single sensor system) and was the most advanced of any fitted to a locally built car at the time.  Where most cars had one or two sensors, the EF Falcon had one in the front crash zone, a second on the dash panel - helping detect frontal offset collisions - and a third 'safing' sensor that separates electrical faults or service work from a genuine collision and remains active even with the ignition off.
The EF's 45 litre airbag capacity (600mm diameter - larger than the "Eurobag") helps protect the driver from the steering wheel in offset as well as straight on impacts, and is designed to inflate in impacts equivalent to a minimum 25kph (approx) into an immovable object.  See also "Front Passenger Airbag." under EF series 2.

Air Bag friendly Bullbar:  
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To help compliment the newly introduced air bag, Ford Australia developed the world's first "air bag friendly" bull bar (or 'protection bar' in Ford speak) - a Ford accessory specially developed with shock absorbers to retract towards the body in a minor impact without triggering the airbag.  - Yet still complementing Falcon's safety engineering including airbag sensing and deployment in a major impact.


Windscreen Wipers:
All models now came with intermittent wipers with all models from Futura up including variable adjustment.



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ABS Braking:
With ABS on the Futura, GLi was the only Falcon model to miss out.  However, the ABS module was now located (wait for it) under the left hand headlight just in behind the bumper!!!  - Right where it would cop an ear bashing at the first sign of an accident...  Still, the EF received the (then) latest Bosch ABS-2E 4-sensor 3-channel system.  Included was Ford's improved gravel road strategy to reduce stopping distances on certain corrugations which had previously given the ABS designers grief.  Fittingly Ford claimed reduced stopping distances of 7% from 100km/h on smooth gravel and 19.4% on certain corrugations.  All EF Falcons had ABS standard except GLi where it was offered as a "low price option".
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Finally, all those who hated Ford's under-dash mounted handbrake got what they've been asking for, with an ergonomically designed and easy to use central floor mounted unit.  Along with the front seats and Hendersons of Geelong, the development of which created Ford history with PBR handling the entire process from go to whoa, also winning Engineering Excellence Awards for it's work.  Using a new system invented by PBR's Chief Engineer - of Advance Engineering Mr Nui Wang, the system was dubbed the 'banksia' park brake and is based on a single hoop shaped shoe giving lighter weight, less complexity, easier maintenance and reduced wear.  As an added bonus, the new park brake gave increased holding ability with even less effort on the driver's part.
The brakes themselves:
The EF was given improved pedal feel and performance due to thicker front disc rotors, while the rear discs now incorporated a concentric brake drum dedicated to the hand brake.  A new asbestos free disc pad material was introduced as standard with improved friction, anti-fade and squeal suppressing qualities.



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With the EF came entirely new interiors right across the range, making for a much neater and much more attractive package overall that would eventually be drawn upon by Holden for inspiration when creating the VT dash.  Featuring a new wrap around style, the dash flows into the door trims with a new centre consol featuring a twin cup holder for the first time.  And finally Ford managed to get the centre consol to meet up with the carpet neatly and the entire interior package carried a new found quality look and feel - even in GLi.
 Indeed the VR & VS interior designs looked no where near as well thought out with an awkward combination of round and square shapes - if only Ford had taken inspiration from the EF when constructing the AU!
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 More comfortable and supportive seats meant that the Falcon long distance traveller was finally able to climb out after a long hard drive much more refreshed than his Holden driving counterpart while supporting you better in the twisty stuff.  New seat materials also contributed to the new luxury look and feel found in the new Falcon.  Safety was not forgotten in Ford's interior redesign with anti-submarine technology now built into the Falcon's front seats consisting of a solid steel tray supporting the foam seat cushion instead of the more usual spring arrangement.  In an accident this would prevent the front seat passengers from moving down and underneath their seat belts giving further protection in the worst case scenario.  Keeping with Falcon's traditions of strength, the seat back recliner system exceeded 1995's then proposed ADR3/01 - by an amazing 200%!
Adjustable lumbar support was now included from the entry level GLi up for both driver and front passenger as well as adjustable thigh support for the driver giving both height and angular adjustments at the turn of a dial.  Winning the 1994 Engineering Excellence Award for Engineering Project Management, the seats and Hendersons also managed to make Ford history, with the entire design & development phase being handed over to Ford's supplier for the first time.  The driver's seat was also moved 12mm further outboard to better centre the driver behind the steering wheel.
Steering Wheel & Cruise:
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A new curved look steering wheel was required to house the now standard driver's air bag and new cruise control buttons.  Which when combined with an entirely new cruise control system allows operation from 40km/h with improved speed holding ability in hilly terrain.  According to Ford, the steering wheel and seat "featured new ergonomically shaped wheel controls with smoother and fingernail friendly actions."  With the EF also came steering wheels colour keyed to that of the interior adding a nice touch from the 'any colour as long as it's black' ED & EB items.
Central Locking:
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Unfortunately, the EF brought with it a plague of central locking actuator failures - showing itself to the customer as a locking mechanism that continually locked / unlocked itself over and over again (known as 'cycling').  This can be an expensive problem to fix and is exasperated in hot or dusty conditions.  This was most often fixed by the complete replacing of the door mounted solenoids (actuators) which most times cured the problem - but frustratingly for some customers they were doomed to return time and time again.  By EL the incidence of this was reduced greatly but not entirely stamped out and most EF's retrofitted with the EL's components should enjoy a trouble free life time - but unfortunately this is not true in all circumstances.  EF Falcon solenoids operated with an irritating mechanical 'whir' even when new - which was fortunately replaced by a solid 'clunk' by AU.  However, disappointingly the AU's solenoids cannot be retrofitted to the EF / EL.
Instruments & Audio:
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Adding to the already comprehensive instrumentation package available in every Falcon were audible lights on / high temperature warnings and a service interval indicator to remind you rather than simply relying on a sticker in the corner of the windscreen.  A new door sealing system cut wind noise by 30% over the outgoing ED, and was so effective at keeping the air out that a new cabin venting valve was put in the boot / rear cargo area to restore acceptable door closing efforts.  As a bonus all sound systems also included one hour keyless play - a huge advantage for trades people and just about anybody who wanted to work / stand around their vehicle and still listen to the tunes!

Final touches:
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Making life all the more easier from the interior were electric remote fuel and boot releases giving the ultimate fingertip reality.  Standard illuminated keyhole and interior illumination when using remote door opener give just that added little bit of convenience, while an audible warning for door ajar meant that there was no longer any excuse for travelling down the road with the doors only on the first catch or not shut properly.

Wheels & Tyres:
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The EF received for the first time 15" wheels as standard - no matter what model you bought bringing improved handling and looks.  And when it came to providing good looking wheels, there simply wasn't a bad looking wheel in the entire EF Falcon range - hubcaps included!  In fact they looked so good that quite a few sets of hub cap equipped 15's have made their way onto earlier Falcons and combined with a good lowering lose nothing to alloys in the looks department.  Tickford's 16" wheel option made for a particularly attractive package although should be fitted along with an alarm due to their desirability.


Ride & Handling:
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Unfortunately this is one area where non XR EF series 1's suffered.  In fact, the change from the Falcon's usually stable chassis dynamics to the EF I's nervous reaction was so great it had quite a few wondering if Ford had taken one too many leaves out of Holden's book and should have left this type of handling where it belongs - on the Commodore.  Not one to show it's head in everyday driving, it was only when pushed to it's limit that you discovered the EF's disturbing habit of roll steering mid corner.  More annoying than anything else, if you ignored the sensation the EF was still quite controllable and comfortable to drive.  Fitment of Tickford's sports suspension package usually solved this as did moving to XR specification.
The EF also saw new stronger suspension control arms and bushes, with different steering geometry and shock absorbers all aiding to sharpen handling, turn-in and steering response.  The EF's turning circle was reduced a whopping 100mm to 10.9m.  Fortunately Ford saw the light and settled the Falcon down for series II making for a much more pleasant car to drive on the edge.  The EL finally solved this one for good via the adoption of the XR's rear axil mounting points.

With the EF also came a new two piece stamped & spot welded K-frame linking the front suspension together replacing the complicated and weaker (but not by much) multi piece item used on the ED.  Where as the ED item looked like it had been whipped together in a racer's workshop the EF finally looked the beefy item it should have been from the start as Ford's engineers learnt more about suspension design getting further and further away from that which had been included in Falcons since the XR of the 60's and only significantly changed for the first time in the EA of 1988. 


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The EF's security and smart locking system remained un-assailable during the life of the EF but was cracked shortly after by well organised thieves.  While still able to comfortably stop the amateur burglar, it is advised that you fit some sort of security system especially if your car is either a Fairmont, Fairmont Ghia or XR due to their higher levels of equipment and increased desirability.  - All the more so if your car is fitted with factory options or after market accessories such as bigger wheels & stereos.  You have been warned!
New for falcon station wagon came "Smartlock" control of the tail gate locking mechanism enabling easy entry - a feature sorely missed by some with the coming of AU.


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Making proper use of the increase in performance available in the new Falcon six, the EF was not only quicker but now more economical as well.  New, the Falcon could accelerate from zero to 100km/h in an then amazing 8.2 seconds and from 80 to 120km/h (the crucial overtaking zone) in 5.6 seconds.  The XR6 and XR8 Falcons of course bettered this considerably and showed up quite a few more expensive sedans at the same time.  Although now eclipsed by much newer models, the EF was and still is no slouch - and is highly responsive to a well thought out modification route.


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Towing capacity for all models has been increased to a best-in-class 1600kg from the previous 1200kg and all are now available with the Class 2 Towpack which increases the towing capacity to a massive 2300kg (State and Territory regulations permitting).


EF Series II:

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While showing little change on the outside, the EF series II boasted a surprising number of changes costing Ford an amazing $18 million to bring the series II's 1000 plus changes to market.  The EF series II included all of the series I's advancements plus:

Front Suspension:
Responding to criticism of the EF series I's overly nervous handling, the series II's front suspension was revised to provide much more stable cornering conditions.

Front Seats:
Front seat comfort was improved especially for taller occupants.

Front Passenger Airbag:
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Released for the first time with an passenger air bag, much of the $18 million tabled for the series II was spent developing the new 150 litre uniquely shaped bag and verifying it's performance in ADR69 frontal crash tests.  Important to Ford was the ability to protect a wide range of occupant sizes from an average 6-year old to a '95th percentile' adult.  This was made all the more important when you consider that the passenger air bag also had to protect a possible centre seat passenger in the GLi's no-cost option 'Centrafold' front bench seat.  Optional on GLi through Fairmont and standard on Fairmont Ghia, Fairlane and LTD.

XR & Fairmont Ghia:
The EF series II also meant many changes to individual Falcon model specifications - for those and more please refer to our 'Specifications' pages.

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Most EF series 2's could be identified externally by a body coloured 'B' pillar verses the normal black 'B' pillar cover of the series 1, however this did not apply to to XR.  And since that is easy to change, the safest bet is to look at the actual build date when deciding whether the EF you are looking at is in fact a series 2 or not..

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Info By Doug Bevan, site by Anthony Robinson.
Copyright 2001 by Doug & Any . All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 Nov 2002 .