Mazda Bongo?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by EricPolymath, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. EricPolymath

    EricPolymath Funster

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    I am thinking of getting a vehicle to convert into a simple motorhome for one person (up until now I have been a tent user). My budget to spend on the whole project is about £5,000. I was thinking about a Bongo for the following reasons:

    1. It's no bigger than a estate car so will fit in the area I've got available to park it.

    2. If I get one with the elevating roof I will be able to stand up in it

    3. If I get a 4wd model I will be less likely to get stuck off tarmac.

    4. A diesel model won't be too expensive to run

    5. Parts availability seems to be reasonably good even though they are grey imports

    Are they good vehicles? Are there any disadvantages that I need to know about?
     
  2. Ed Excel

    Ed Excel Funster

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    Main disadvantage, they are inclined to blow cylinder head gaskets. Otherwise, a better buy than a similar aged VW camper.

    Also, it's probably better to get a converted model because the multiple seat versions are more expensive to insure; think mini bus insurance levels.

    They are usually 2.5 diesel engines and struggle to achieve much more than 25mpg.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  3. SUGGY

    SUGGY Funster Life Member

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    Hi, we had the petrol version best we managed was about 26mpg that was only after i put high profile tyres on it ,diesel about same mpg but quite noisy ,

    great to drive , good Bongo owners club for parts n info and rallies ,

    Have a look at a few that have been converted , there is not a lot of room inside ,we had ours 2 years but had to buy a drive away awning to give us some space ,
    better to go for VW T4 or Transporter better on fuel and loads more room ,

    Best go to a MH show and look at the different van conversion ,:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  4. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    We've had ours for 8 1/2 years and it has been fantastic. Although 2wd, it has never been a problem on damp sites, sand etc. We only bought a larger mh last summer as our two lads are getting older and we need more space for 4 of us to travel the UK etc throughout the year. It would be fine for a single person or couple but 4 is cramped when it rains.

    We are reluctantly selling ours - we've never had a vehicle that has given us so much pleasure, is so comfortable to drive and is so versatile.

    Your budget should get you a good vehicle and some conversion bits or you may be able to find one already converted or, if you find one like ours, a vehicle with a removable kitchen unit that would give all that I would need based on the criteria you listed and then the option of converting it to a 7 seater when required or a huge payload plus quite a lot of change from £5000.


    Just seen the post above. We have managed 35mpg out of our diesel (on French autoroutes at 60mph).

    I wouldn't use £5k for a VW - imho, you get more for your money out of a Bongo than a VW.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  5. Ed Excel

    Ed Excel Funster

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    We picked up a fully converted, '96 plate, 2.5T diesel, 4WD with rising roof for just less than 5k late last year. Agree with Mattyjwr Bongo is much better value. We also have a VW T4 which doesn't compare with the Bongo for standard equipment and IMHO is overpriced and relies too much on the badge on the front.
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    I considered a Bongo but the poor MPG put me off.. mid 20s for a diesel.. urban cycle.

    as most of my driving would not be cruising at 60 mph on a French autoroute.. I decide against one..

    found this site with some decent info ..

    http://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/buying.htm


    also check out the Bongo owners forum http://www.bongoforum.co.uk/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl/forum/Blah.pl?m-1284398296/
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  7. mta

    mta Read Only Funster

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    just sold a 4x4 (I have never been stuck with this system),diesel bongo for £5700 fully kitted out in v good condition after 6 yrs ownership and loved it.
    My advice after camping in this with 1 wife and 1 teenager, get an awning (quick erect Khyam is superb (opens up living space, marks pitch when drive away and took me 4 mins to erect ((not incl pegging down))and 3 mins to pack up ).
    25 mpg is the best,
    bongo fury website is all you need incl vehicles being sold, for advice, get togethers
    turned me onto automatics it' so easy to drive.
    be careful when buying - rear wheel arches are prone to rust and
    cylinder heads can warp if the coolant system fails (the bongo's achilles heel - get one with or get it fitted asap, a hayden coolant alarm.
    get it undersealed asap.
    hope this helps
    regards
    Martyn:thumb:
    ps find someone close from the Bongo fury website and go and check it out, owners enjoy doing this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  8. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    I have achieved 36 mpg in a fully laden automatic 2wd bongo with AFT (raising roof); it had 2 adults, one child, a removable kitchen unit, food & drink for 3 days and all of our clothes. We were driving through France on Autoroutes at 58-60 mph using cruise control. I was also using AC.

    On holidays, I usually average 30-32mpg but have had it down to 18mpg when driving at 120kph so as ScotJimland says, if you are not able to cruise on open roads when travelling, you may find the fuel costs higher but then again, the relatively low initial outlay and reliability means that the fuel costs won't hurt quite so much.

    Maybe such fuel economies are not possible with a 4WD version but I've had mine for 8 1/2 years and have driven around France 3 times and down to Croatia once on top of my UK trips and monitor my fuel use. I also use it as my every day car and get about 25mpg around town.


    My P plate Merc Sprinter La Strada has not given more than 28 mpg on long UK trips so far (only had it 6 months) and is far noisier and not as comfortable as the Bongo.

    We have also found the BongoFury website a useful source of info: http://igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum/ - the Bongo community is great fun and very welcoming.

    We only bought the larger vehicle because we want to explore the UK throughout the year rather than just during the warmer months and with two growing boys, needed more space when the weather is not so good. We also decided that we would not wait until we retire to achieve our dream of getting a motor home to enjoy life even more. We have moved from sleeping in tents to sleeping in the back of our Ford Mondeo to the Bongo and now the La Strada. Next vehicle will be ....?
     
  9. EricPolymath

    EricPolymath Funster

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    Thanks for the replies. Looks like a Bongo is the best bet for me. :thumb:
     
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  10. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    One here looks a belter eBay 321356343119 wasn't looking for one just looking at motorhome sand it came up second one £3700 at the moment 37 mins left
     
  11. mta

    mta Read Only Funster

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    good decision. Any more queries just ask. Make sure you get a good one, check it over well,and can only reiterate that Bongo fury web site forum will have answers to everything you need to know. they also have some good ones for sale.
    bye the way, there's a Bongo page on face book which often lists sales and sometimes advice.
    Martyn:thumb:
     
  12. lugnutt

    lugnutt Funster Life Member

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    i have a bongo permanent 4 wheel drive 2.4 derv auto with 8 seats, pop up roof, air con .it is a 95 n reg been France in it but it only goes to Morrisons these days has the drive away awning . had her for 6 or so years no probs have all mot's and tax dics just dont use or need it anymore as i have two more motorhomes :BigGrin:
     
  13. kat_lewis

    kat_lewis Read Only Funster

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    Thanks guys some interesting pointers. We are considering one as a day van to use when MH is too big for purpose. Our son has special needs and doesn't like eating out etc so I think this maybe a possibility :Smile::Smile:
     
  14. mentaliss

    mentaliss

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    I purchased a white 2000 year 'Aero' (factory fit body spoilers) 2.0cc petrol JUNE 2011 and converted it myself and Im proud to say the finished project was pretty good as we were asked at many rallies if we would like to show the vehicle as an example of what could be done:Smile:...2.0cc petrol engines are not prone to head gasket failure only diesels and some year 2.6V6........We travelled all through Italy and Sicily and the vehicle never had any issues in my view the vehicle is far better than the same year equivalent Volkswagon and a lot less money:Laughing:
    PS, if you intend to purchase a diesel version buy the vehicle from a known 'dealer'
     
  15. gibbon

    gibbon Read Only Funster

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    Google " JAL" or "Japanese Auto Locators" Phil sources low mileage vehicles with a "BIMTA" certificate guaranteeing the mileage.
    We purchased ours before it left the warehouse in Japan after seeing photo's and miles on the clock etc.
    We loved it. It went like the clappers & was sooooo smooth with its auto box.
    We only sold it because we wanted something bigger with a proper toilet.
    Still miss the way it drove, sadly everything is a compromise unless your loaded.
    I have no connection with JAL other than the fact that I was a happy customer.
    That BIMTA cert made it very easy to sell when the time came.
     
  16. Mattyjwr

    Mattyjwr Funster Life Member

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    We almost bought a diesel from one of the most well known dealers and were lucky that he hadn't got it ready for us when we went to pick it up - it turned out that their vehicle was twice the price of the one that we got from another dealer and the one that we got was in a better condition.
     
  17. mta

    mta Read Only Funster

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    we bought ours from JAL (just outside Worcester) and he has some excellent vans. You have to book an appointment because they are kept on a farm site in a massive unit behind locked gates, ie you can't just turn up to browse. Don't be put off by his brusk manner, the vehicles are good but you will obviously get cheaper by buying private.
    martyn
     
  18. EricPolymath

    EricPolymath Funster

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    I finally went to have a look at a possible Bongo at the weekend. Looked good on the dealer's website for the price. Not quite so good in the flesh and then while examining the "solid" sills I put my finger through one of them. I quickly made off before anyone noticed!

    Anyway I think I might have had a better idea............
     

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