Roof boxes

Anything non-technical about the Mazda Bongo Friendee van

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chipvan
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Roof boxes

Post by chipvan » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:10 pm

Hi can a aft handle a roof box ok and still lift up .

Was thinking of if it could when box empty then could put awning in there and remove before lifting roof
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sotal
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by sotal » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:01 pm

Yes if it is a factory fit AFT.

They have the 4 mounting holes. We have quite a large Thule roof box as per my profile picture. We keep all the bedding, 2 light weight tables, a couple of stools and things like that up there. First job when we pitch up is to remove it all.

The roof motors lift the roof OK with the rack and box on but sometimes struggle at the very top of the movement (they struggle sometimes anyway - even without the box on). If I push up on the inside of the roof it helps. Undoing the zip on the canvas before shutting the AFT helps as well as it doesn't have to lift the weight of the canvas in the same way.

We're in our third year of using the roof box. We keep it on from Easter to October (when we camp) and leave it full so we are ready to camp. We don't really notice any difference in fuel consumption between summer and winter.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by chipvan » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:29 pm

8)
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kandabongogirl
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by kandabongogirl » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:02 am

Hi sotal.

Newbie on here browsing for roof box and bike carrier tips, in case I have some loose change when my van reappears from MOT-land in the coming week. Really good to have found your response in this thread which directly answers my roof box question (my AFT is factory fit with the 4 mounting holes). I already have a 15 year old Thule Evolution that I have used on my estate and hatchbacks, that I am thinking of using on the bongo. Just need to fit a rack. Might have bars and just need feet.

Yes, my AFT motors struggle a wee bit at the very top sometimes anyway like you say (seems 33.333%ish of time on mine :wink:). That was one concern, about what would happen with the extra weight, even of the empty Evolution. So glad to read that your experience has been good. My Evolution looks to be the similar size to yours.

Also liked your tips on bike racks in other threads as I need to be able to carry 1-4 bikes (1 often, 2-3 sometimes, 4 rarely).
So will be on the look out for a Thule 973 this month.

Keep up the excellent techie tips! 8)

ATB, kbg
23 year old salt and pepper AFT who loves a twerk to a kandabongoman tune.
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sotal
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by sotal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:39 pm

We use the New Dawn Conversion roof rack to hold the roof box but there are some others too.

The only thing I'd say it's that you do need to be quite tall to reach all the stuff inside. I'm 6'2" and it is a stretch. Our roof box is half with and sits over the passenger side so that I can stand on the step inside the door to reach up. It works well for us though.

The Thule rack has been absolutely fantastic and is well worth it. I had a cheap tow bar mounted rack before and it was ok. It held two bikes (was advertised for 3) but they bounced about and I never felt comfortable. They also took ages to put on and take off. Putting two bikes on the Thule takes seconds. Putting 3 on takes a minute or two. Putting 4 on takes a bit of fiddling about to get them to not interfere with each other!
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by g8dhe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:46 pm

Get yourselves a 2m Telescopic ladder like these on Amazon saves a lot of grief and small enough to tuck away in the van itself.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=2m+telesco ... ss_sc_1_19

http://www.g8dhe.net/bongo_images/roof_ ... .php?ind=2
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Bob
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by Bob » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:51 pm

These are jolly good, I've got the bigger size for household duties.

I can recommend collapsing them by laying it flat on the ground, place the top against something solid, then release the clips and push the bottom towards the top.

I have the scars from dropping it verticaly. #-o
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kandabongogirl
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by kandabongogirl » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:29 pm

Thanks for the extra tips. At 5' 5" I may need two ladders. :)
Funnily enough I need one of these for some attic decoration - so might kill two birds with one stone.
Scarring not nice - I will watch how I drop it.

kbg
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kandabongogirl
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by kandabongogirl » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am

sotal wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:39 pm
We use the New Dawn Conversion roof rack to hold the roof box but there are some others too.
Hmmmm...new to me...just looked that up....I very much like the look of that - both technically (load spreading / robustness) and aesthetically, and price looks decent too. Thanks.

kbg
23 year old salt and pepper AFT who loves a twerk to a kandabongoman tune.
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mikeonb4c
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by mikeonb4c » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 pm

kandabongogirl wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:02 am
Hi sotal.

Newbie on here browsing for roof box and bike carrier tips, in case I have some loose change when my van reappears from MOT-land in the coming week. Really good to have found your response in this thread which directly answers my roof box question (my AFT is factory fit with the 4 mounting holes). I already have a 15 year old Thule Evolution that I have used on my estate and hatchbacks, that I am thinking of using on the bongo. Just need to fit a rack. Might have bars and just need feet.

Yes, my AFT motors struggle a wee bit at the very top sometimes anyway like you say (seems 33.333%ish of time on mine :wink:). That was one concern, about what would happen with the extra weight, even of the empty Evolution. So glad to read that your experience has been good. My Evolution looks to be the similar size to yours.

Also liked your tips on bike racks in other threads as I need to be able to carry 1-4 bikes (1 often, 2-3 sometimes, 4 rarely).
So will be on the look out for a Thule 973 this month.

Keep up the excellent techie tips! 8)

ATB, kbg
Have to admit I live in fear of my AFT failing (esp at the wrong moment). It gave trouble several years ago (went dead when asked to raise) and the cure was two new electric motors, which weren't cheap but its been fine since. Since then someone has done a fact sheet I think on stripping down and refurbing the motors so that might be an alternative. But I'm very wary of anything that adds to the load put on them and the roof mechanism generally. That includes putting too much compressible stuff inside the roof and that might cause it to strains when closing. Also, given the Bongo is enough of a brick to push through the air anyway, the load lugging space that will not add to that (and thus decrease mpg via drag) is behind the tailgate. Taking all this together, the natural place for a storage box would be on the back, maybe using a Thule storage box like this:

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=ht ... mrc&uact=8

Mounted on this kind of bike/back rack:

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=ht ... mrc&uact=8

And if doing that then air assisters on the rear suspension would be sensible, to avoid bottoming.

But, since you're already going to carry bikes there then I guess a roofrack and box is the best, and many seem to have done it without issues. But I'd be very strict about emptying contents out to minimise load before raising the roof, and I'd mount the roof box as far back as possible to minimise the lifting load for the motors and drive mechanism. I might also look at uprating the gas struts to account for the load (though I can see an opposite problem arising if they are uprated and then the roofrack and box aren't used).

One last thought is that a lightweight trailer is very little bother to tow and has some great advantages. I use mine (a small Daxara) as permanent storage for camping gear, in the garage, which means it can all be moved out if I need to move around using the garage as a workshop. Similarly, as mine has a weatherproof hard top, it provides valuable storage for other stuff when camping and once the awning and camping stuff has been set up for use. You can also carry bikes on a bike rack at the same time when using it, and aerodynamic drag penalty for all that stuff is minimal as it is slipstreaming behind the Bongo. It takes only a moment to unhitch it on site and it avoids the hassle of unloading stuff from the roof before raising it (at which point the roof box is no longer easily useable for storage). On my old DIY trailer, I even fitted 'roof bars' which meant bikes could be carried on top of the trailer, so everything could be pulled away from the Bongo in one move. So I think the small trailer option (if you have a place you can keep it when at home) has a lot of points to recommend it. You hardly notice them when towing.

Others may want to comment on all this but those are my thoughts. 8)
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kandabongogirl
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by kandabongogirl » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:15 pm

mikeonb4c wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:00 pm

Others may want to comment on all this but those are my thoughts. 8)
Thanks. Lots of food for thought there. But also a few weeks for me to ponder the roof vs back box options before the main Summer break.

Re load on AFT electric motors – I understand you and have similar concerns, so will ponder and read up more. I guess it is just that as I already have a good Thule roof box I am interested in that option, recognising as you say, the need to have a strict emptying policy.
Even if I decide not to go the roof box route I would still like to have the option to carry sports kit (like surf board / light kayak) on the roof, load that would be definitely taken off at destination before any AFT motor action.
So the NDC design is of definite interest to me. I have been in touch with them today and they tell me they will be at NBB-Stourport 22-23, which, should I make it, would be an opportunity for me to have one fitted.

I think my strict need for roof / back box overflow capacity might be limited to 1-2 week trips when carrying the full kbg-quartet (e.g. school holidays), rather than for weekends when the overall gear carried will be less.

So….my current thoughts...I might (after fitting a NDC) trial out a strict emptying policy using my Thule Evolution (I am also happy to take it on and off periodically between main trips) before deciding whether a Thule back-box is better.
But as you know, thoughts evolve…and get altered with experience…

kbg
23 year old salt and pepper AFT who loves a twerk to a kandabongoman tune.
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mikeonb4c
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by mikeonb4c » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:42 pm

All sounds good kbg and good luck whichever. Seeing NDC myself at the Bash to have a reversible passenger seat fitted :-)
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sotal
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by sotal » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:14 pm

kandabongogirl wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:15 pm
So….my current thoughts...I might (after fitting a NDC) trial out a strict emptying policy using my Thule Evolution (I am also happy to take it on and off periodically between main trips) before deciding whether a Thule back-box is better.
But as you know, thoughts evolve…and get altered with experience…

kbg
We started with taking it off each time, but it isn't actually that easy to take off / put on. The two U clips at the passenger side are easy enough but the two in the middle of the roof aren't easy to reach at all. I can do it but it was enough of a hassle for me not to volunteer to do it any more than is necessary!

We now put it on for the first camping trip (usually Easter at the latest) and take it off again after the last trip of the year (Oct Half term). We leave it full and haven't really noticed any difference in fuel consumption between summer and winter.

I'm tempted to get a back box to go on our Thule rack but it would be an addition to the roof box to store more bits! However I really need the spring air bags to stop it bottoming out before I add any more weight! At the moment with 4 bikes on, a full roof box, a mid conversion, 2 adults, 2 kids, a dog and all the rest of the stuff piled up inside it does get a bit low at the back.
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by mikeonb4c » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:01 am

All I can say is that, should you decide that 6 wheels turning is ok, and you can store one, nothing makes life more 'hook up and go' (and provide out of vehicle storage on site) than something like this:

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3117104758

I grew to hate the back wrecking business of loading, unloading, loading wet, unloading wet....everything in the Bongo before it could return to its everyday car duties. A hard top trailer sorted all that. And of course, minimal load on suspension.
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Re: Roof boxes

Post by g8dhe » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:21 am

The other solution that suits some is a box on the towbar;
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