Toward the end of February I mentioned that we replaced our Mazda 323 SP20 with a 2004 Ford Falcon XR6 in preparation for the arrival of our next child in May. When we first took ownership of the vehicle, the car was in immaculate condition inside and out.

Since that time, we’ve managed to find a few little gremlins within the vehicle that needed to be addressed, some more severe than others:

  1. Accelerator Stopped Working
    Claire, Hugo & Lucy were driving along on the M1 motorway when the accelerator stopped working. The majority of people aren’t aware but the Ford Falcon was one of the first cars to offer drive by wire throttle or in plain terms, an electronic accelerator with no direct connection to the throttle body on the car.
  2. Rattle
    When you start the car and it is either idling or at low RPM, there was a periodic rattle that sounded as though it was coming from the engine bay somewhere. You didn’t hear it when you were driving, either because it wasn’t there or was masked by road and wind noise.
  3. Break Shudder
    For the first couple weeks we had the car, the breaks were working as you’d expect. However after taking a trip out to Chinchilla we noticed a severe break shudder on the way home while driving down the Toowoomba Range.
  4. CD Player
    When I took the car for a test drive, I had the radio on for part of the drive just for something to do. I didn’t have a CD with me, who does that really, so I didn’t think to check and assumed that the CD player was working.

I dropped the car into Hinterland Toyota Nerang at 7:30AM on Thursday before the Easter long weekend and Jacob met me there to chauffeur me to work. Only about 10 minutes after we arrived at work, I got a call from Nerang Hinterland Toyota to inform me that while they can service my car, they were unable to do the repairs under a statutory warranty claim as it needs to go back to the place of purchase – which was Hinterland Toyota Burleigh Heads. I told them that was horribly inconvenient and to see if there was anything they could do for me and they arranged to handle the warranty work on behalf of the Burleigh Heads dealershsip which was great.

The afternoon rolled around and I had expected to get a call to pick up my car, however instead the call informed me that they had taken the disc rotors off the car and had them machined to resolve the shudder but it hadn’t fixed it. I needed the car for the long weekend, so picked it up anyway and the shudder was in fact worse than when I took it in which I didn’t understand. On Tuesday after the long weekend I dropped it back in again and they again took the disc rotors off and inspected everything but didn’t find anything wrong, so put the brake discs back on the machine to recheck they were smooth and they were. After putting them back on, still a sever shudder when breaking at any speed and in the end they replaced the disc brake rotors and pads – no more shudder.

When I first arrived home with the XR6, Claire immediately noticed a burble in the exhaust and mentioned that she is now a bogan mother. Well it turns out the rattle at idle was in fact the catalytic converter, which should have been an easy replacement. However when the new catalytic converter arrived, it didn’t fit because the exhaust on the car isn’t standard – so they had to take it to an exhaust specialist to have it refitted – but now no more rattle.

The throttle stopping was weird and I’d never heard of that happening before. A combination of dash lights turned on when it happened, so it was a known fault in that respect – which is good. The strangest thing is though, after pulling over, turning the car off and back on – the start up checks all passed without any warnings and the accelerator was working again and we haven’t had the problem again. Nonetheless, Hinterland Nerang hooked up the equipment to the onboard computer but it wasn’t registering a fault at the time – so there was nothing for them to fix as far as they could tell. If it happens again, I’ll have to take it back down to them as soon as possible so they can investigate again.

The last remaining thing to get fixed was the CD player which appeared to have a CD stuck in it, though the display didn’t indicate that there was a disc in there at all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get that repaired while it was in with Hinterland Nerang as it isn’t covered as part of the statutory warranty claim apparently but I’ll give the Burleigh Heads dealership a call and see what they can do about it.

While it took three days with Hinterland Nerang to resolve the brake shudder and the rattle, they were really helpful and kept me in the loop which was good. The only thing that was an inconvenience about it was that they weren’t able to supply a courtesy vehicle because they were booked out – so unfortunately Claire and Hugo were home bound for a couple of days.