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Ford AU Modifications Guide 2 - External

Welcome to the newly-written and comprehensive guide to modifying your Ford AU Falcon, Fairmont, Fairlane, LTD, XR or T-series vehicle. We will be adding sections as they are written and if you have any contributions you'd like to see under a section, please contact Dauphin with the details.

Please select an area you're interested in:
Body / External | Engine | Driveline | Exhaust | Wheels and Tyres | Sound / Entertainment | Suspension | Brakes | Painting | Interior
Body / External Modifications

Clear Side Indicators
This is the easiest modification you can do to your AU vehicle that has orange side indicator repeater lenses. Clear-lens side repeaters will "clean up" the look of your car, removing an ugly orange blot and giving it a modern clear touch. They can be picked up from Ford for about $13 each or sometimes cheaper from eBay. You'll need to update the clear bulbs inside to orange ones, available from K-Mart, your automotive retailer or Ford for about $4 a pair. To remove the old orange lenses, simply pull out one side of the lens and lift it off the front quarter panel (you may need a flat-head screwdriver to assist, be careful with it), unscrew the bulb mounted in the back and replace the bulbs. Screw it back into the new clear lenses and slide and put the whole lens back into the panel.

AUII Tail Lights
First series AUs had orange indicator lenses in the tail lights and the AU II had a new tail light with clear indicator sections. The best source would be a wrecker or eBay. You will need to replace the indicator bulbs with orange ones and they can be purchased from Ford, K-Mart or an automotive retailer. To remove the a tail light, open your boot and unscrew the hanging basket tie end. Pull out any trim screws and then pull the boot lining trim out from the corner. This will expose the rear of the tail light where you can unscrew two screws to allow it to slide out backwards. Be careful as you need to unscrew the bulb holders from the unit. Replace the indicator bulb and then do the reverse and screw it all back in, replacing the boot trim.

Altezza Tail Lights
Altezza-style tail lights are coloured or chrome units that feature circular bulb sections. While considered a "ricey" approach to styling, in many cases it works quite well on the AU. Consider how it will work with the colour of your car. You can buy them from automotive retailers and eBay.

LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are an alternative to traditional light bulbs for your external lights. They offer lower power consumption, much faster on / off times and look very modern. They can be purchased from an automotive retailer or eBay and to install them, follow the steps regarding the lights above to access the bulbs.

XR Head Lights
The AU XR series was the last of the "hole" style headlights and can be fitted to any SWB vehicle in place of the stock lights with a matching front bar.

Grille (AU SWB series 1)
Not everyone enjoyed the look of the new AU base Forte grille when it came out. It was popular for dealers to replace them with the grille from the Ute. These cars feature a "low-series" bonnet (as opposed to "high-series" that was used on the Fairmont). The options for an AU 1 owner is to fit a Forte, Futura or Ute grille, or go with an XR front. Painting / colour-coding a Forte grille is also an option. To remove a grille, open your bonnet and undo the screws mounting the grille to the front of the chassis, fitting is the reverse. Your best source is eBay or a wrecker.

Grille (AU LWB, all series)
The long wheelbase Fairlane and LTD grilles are interchangable and many fleet companies have used this to their advantage. The Tickford TL50 mesh grille will also fit a standard Fairlane and LTD. LTD grilles are rare and TL50 grilles are even rarer. To remove a grille, open your bonnet and undo the screws mounting the grille to the front of the chassis, fitting is the reverse. Check eBay from time to time.

Grille (AU LWB, mesh conversion)
It is possible to take a Fairlane grille and remove the horizontal slats and insert a mesh-style fill but it's a real cut-up job. The slats are removed by unclipping various clips and snapping the chrome section out, leaving only the plastic bracket. If you do this then you will also lose the outer chrome "ring" surround. If you have the tools (saw, sanding, etc), it would be better to simply cut up the chrome section to remove the horizontal slats, leaving the surrounding ring intact and sand down the leftovers of the slats to make a nice smooth bracket. Go to an automotive parts retailer and purchase some mesh and fit and mount it into the ringed section. You can use the Ford badge found on the original grille, or purchase a replacement from Ford.

Grille (AU LWB, chrome blackout)
Some people have also painted black some of the chrome slats on the Fairlane grille, leaving one or three.

High-Series Bonnet
The Fairmont right from the start of AU had a high-series bonnet, meaning it was raised in the center while lower AUs such as the Forte had a low-series bonnet, meaning it dipped downwards with the headlight lines flanking the center. AU II and on took in the highs-series design allowing for a stronger appearance and fitment of larger grilles.

Grille (AU SWB series 2)
The Falcon moved to a high-series bonnet for the AU II run and that means that a Falcon owner can even fit a Fairmont grille if they desired, or select from the new Forte or Futura Grilles. To remove a grille, open your bonnet and undo the screws mounting the grille to the front of the chassis. To complete a Fairmont front you'll need to get a chrome Fairmont bonnet tip, see next section.

Chrome Bonnet Tip
The Fairmont and LTDs came with a chrome bonnet tip, to match the chrome grilles. They can be purchased from Ford, a wrecker or eBay from time to time. They also suit the Fairlane with a stock grille particularly well. To remove a stock unit, open the bonnet and look under the tip. There are some nuts that need to be undone and the unit will come off. Fitting is the reverse of that procedure.

Chrome Mirror Scalps
The BA MkII Fairlane and LTD introduced chrome external mirror scalps and, luckily for AU owners, the scalps are physically exactly the same as AU ones and will clip right one. They can be purchased for around $105 - $115 from Ford and eBay. To remove your stock scalps, turn the mirror all the way to one side inside the mirror housing. It will expose retaining the clips inside the mirror and you must use a flat-head screwdriver to unclip the clips. There is one on one side and then another two on the other side, so move the mirror all the way to the other side and you'll find the others. The scalp will come off and you can mount the new one onto the same clips and it will snap on.

Side Skirts
The side skirts changed between II and III series. They started featuring a thicker design that pops out a little more and had an inner groove. They can be fitted between series. BA side skirts also look the same but fit slightly differently.

Body Kits - Official Ford Sports Parts
The official Ford bodykit parts consisted of unique AU, AUII and AUIII XR and T-series designs, a subtle bolt-on Tickford bodykit for base AU bodies and the XR Rebel kit. There is also the Havoc / C2R bodykits which are now discontinued. The XRs have the hole-style headlight units and matching front and rear bars while the T-series had standard but coloured headlights and more aggressive bodykits with mesh. For LWB cars the TL50 had a unique mesh grille, cut-in front air intake insert and bolt-on rear bar.

Body Kits - Aftermarket
Fibresports is a big name in aftermarket bodykits and they supply everything from fibreglass T-series fronts to XR-TE/TS hybrids (known as the XR50) and bonnet bulges from the later B-series models. There is also the Hawk bodykit and a few other lesser-known brands.

Chrome Items
External chrome items consist of various badges, the Fairmont / Fairmont / LTD bonnet tip, Fairmont rear garnish, T-series bonnet badge and chrome strips along the indent in the body. The chrome strips can be purchased from an automotive store and fitted quite easily. All SWB AUs have the indent.

Removing Coloured Strips From XR
Some XR models had a coloured (red) strip. Many people remove the red strip for a cleaner look. Some people replace it with a different colour to be different, or chrome.

Painting Items (Colour Coding)
Early AUs had black (very dark grey) parts that are colour-coded on higher models, and later colour-coded in later base series. Items such as the wing mirror plastic housing, side strips and some other trim parts were left basic black at the factory but can be colour-coded (painted to your car's colour) for a more complete and younger appearance. For a complete guide on painting, please have a look at Whoosha's guide to painting car parts.

Document last updated 10:32 Sat Apr 19, 2008
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