Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Technical questions and answers about the Mazda Bongo

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Ian
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Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by Ian » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:06 am

Joan from Glastonbury has asked me to post this on her behalf. All observations welcome.

Hi Ian, I wanted to seek out some thoughts from other Bongo users regarding my overheating problem. I have had two heads replaced now and although I love the Bongo, I have lost confidence in it and fear the overheating happening again. Each time it has cost me almost £2000 and I simply could not afford for it to happen again. I have had a Hadyn alarm fitted now. The last time that the overheating happened, the needle shot up to hot suddenly and , although I stopped fairly quickly, it was too late. I was stuck with two grandchildren on a single lane road with no kerb for 6 hrs waiting to be rescued. It was more than a nightmare, we were in Cornwall at beginning of holiday, had no vehicle and had to leave the Bongo there and return by train. I do wonder whether the first head had been fitted properly because the second went after about 2000 miles. I want to keep the vehicle but am paranoid about it happening a third time. Would like your thoughts on it. Thank you, Joan
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by Flanners » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:38 am

Perhaps the lady could get you Ian or someone who will actually do a good job, IF she is going to keep the Bongo.

All about finances so I would be looking at the conditon of the Bongo inside and out and if not up to scratch/requires £££'s; I would be sourcing a new one rather than paying for another HG repair etc.

The HGF in 2K miles would suggest to me the issue/repair was not undertaken properly or the cooling system etc has not been maintained by the owner.....and she should change her recovery company because if it is 6hrs in such circumstances she describes that is derisory.
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by Bob » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:23 am

Have to agree with Flanners.

It might be worth getting an expert opinion and suggesting the garage fixes it FoC or speak to trading standards.

It does sound as though it wasn't bled properly in the first place, which is why we constantly recommend using a Bongo Friendly garage. :(
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by mikeonb4c » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:58 am

Dont blame her for losing confidence. As well as the possible poorly done jobs mentioned above, was any investigation done as to the cause of the failures (was it coolant leak/loss for example). It'd be good to know overall condition and age of Bongo and in particular the state of the cooling system, signs of crud, crunchy pipes, corroded metal hoses, rust stains in header tank etc. And it shouldnt be costing £2k to fit a new head? Fact is though she may be looking at cost of new head as well as cooling system components if she is to have a fighting chance it wont happen again :roll:
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by Doone » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:30 am

I'm not surprised she's lost faith, that sounds very very unlucky!

Assuming that the obvious cause of the first overheat was fixed;
Not everyone wants (or can afford) to have the seemingly 'working ok' hoses, pipes or components of the cooling system replaced when a cylinder head is replaced. And that can be OK. :)
But those parts might be the same age as whatever failed and caused the first problem and they've now been under extreme temperature changes. So it's possible that one of those parts failed and caused the second overheat.

I'd ask the first garage what caused the first overheat.
And the second garage what caused that overheat.

I'd modify the temperature gauge so it shows the actual temperature as well as having a low coolant alarm. Or fit an alarm that monitors both.
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by plonkatronix » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:20 am

I feel for this lady, it is a huge gamble with lots of money involved, and yes... there are many factors involved in maintaining these and some often overlooked too... Pipes are obvious on a bongo what with so many but what about the intercooler, start right at the beginning... Air flow...it's rubbish, a silly little plastic shroud scoop which with age warps and collapses inwards giving an even smaller entry point for the air to not get through, mine is modified here too, clean the intercooler or replace this too as this cools the turbo bolted to the head... all radiators/matrices, the list is expensive... i know :(
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by may333art » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:08 am

Thank you all for bothering to give me your thoughts on the twice overheating. The first time was my fault because I was travelling in snow, no garages around , when the heater guage went up and then down. I had nowhere to stop and the next day, because the guage had gone down, I drove a short distance and that was that!! My garage sent the head off to be tested and it was apparently not cracked and he replaced head and also hoses, cam belt, head gasket bolt kit, gasket set, thermostat,waterpump and glowplugs. this was in 2013 and I drove 5583K before embarking to Cornwall in 2016 when the van overheated suddenly, with no warning, the guage shot up to high and I stopped to find the engine steaming. It was a very hot day and we had travelled about 170mls, with a short stop . So that was a shock and with grandchildren in tow and just me it developed into a nightmare. I waited 6hrs for rescue , he put water into radiator and I got the remaining 20miles to where I was heading. Next day took to local garage to check for leaks, none found. After travelling for 20 mins it overheated again and I got it towed to a garage recommended in Penzance. We thus had no transport and stayed on caravan site and got train home. I went back to collect van, when done, by train. Bill was same as before, about £1800, though a new head was used this time. Bill states replacement thermostat, gaskets, bolts timing belt alternator belts x2. I believe that I bought the head but my memory is bad at 79yrs. Anyway I have only travelled 4600k since. I have just had van MOT'd and it got through with some advisories and will have the grandchildren again this summer [by the way the van is 1997 and no rust, upholstery a little grubby thanks to children but rest of it is good] Dilemma now is, I love it but cannot afford another disaster, have fitted a Hadyn alarm now, will this alarm be helpful in preventing overheating etc, or should I just sell it and get a better car with trailor tent?
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by BongoBongo123 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:39 am

We have to be honest and clear these vehicles DO have a potentially weak cooling system unless you replace everything at circa 20 years. We all run the risk I suppose, especially the diesel ones as I gather. Our head was cracked by a supposedly Bongo friendly garage on the list this forum supplies.

It could be it had a very slight hairline crack or a partial crack and whatever they did finished it off, I might have given them the benefit of doubt if they did not say job was a good un', then sent me off on a Friday evening to overheat on way home and then saying it was nothing to do with them and all fine at the garage, saying it was ok after they checked it out (after setting all air con/heater and fans to dump heat from engine) and then in 10mins it had overheated again and was steaming. ******s more like, never mind about Bongo friendly.

Similar head stories are repeated over and again. It needs to be balanced with the potential immense costs of other camper vehicles that are similar in nature.

Maybe you could appeal to the garages sense of good will and get some kind of deal worked out ? Tricky really after 3 years I guess they could say it was anything that caused it and technically they would be right but just depends if they want to help you out a bit and do it at cost or something.

I would get a temperature alarm on it whatever happens. Maybe you could get it to a TRULY Bongo friendly garage every year for a pipe check over as a compromise ?

You can only do the best and what you think is right to balance the cantankerous nature of the cooling system. i.e we plan getting our engine pipes done and a few other things later in the year (water pump cam belt/air con belts etc.) A balance between preventative spending and averting a
problem out on the road. There are no guarantees, you just cannot get it right all the time, but all vehicles break and cost, that is something to consider.

You could drive a brand new £46,000.00 VW camper out the forecourt and it is worth £38,000.00 the next day. (we paid around 1/10th of the cost of a new VW camper) So...best of luck to all. Like many things in life it is about weighing up risks, likelyhoods, preventive care and balances.

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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by teenmal » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:27 am

With overheating problems its often a case of jacking up the wing mirrors and replacing the van, and a lot of peeps/mechanics stick on new heads and never give the block/water jacket a thought [-X .the water jacket is a vital part of the cooling system and can get severely blocked (excuse the pun) and then they wonder why it overheated AGAIN.


Take care.
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by mikeonb4c » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:51 am

teenmal wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:27 am
With overheating problems its often a case of jacking up the wing mirrors and replacing the van, and a lot of peeps/mechanics stick on new heads and never give the block/water jacket a thought [-X .the water jacket is a vital part of the cooling system and can get severely blocked (excuse the pun) and then they wonder why it overheated AGAIN.


Take care.
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Tough on Overheating AND Tough on the Causes of Overheating (and of course you need good survelliance equipment).
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by Bob » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:06 am

Very nicely put Bill. :lol:
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by BongoBongo123 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:17 am

In all of this we have remember some vehicle are around 24 years old. That is service time in my book. :lol:

I had a car that was almost same vintage, I cannot ever recall ever doing the coolant, I think my dad had done it once during those 23 years.
That is not something that is good for a Bongo given the long length of the pipes etc. Getting 5 year coolant done every 5 years or a touch earlier will surely reduce such corrosion.(of which the long and multiple mild steel heater pipes are of main concern).

As we keep hearing even a pin hole leak can end up with terrible consequences unless resolved.

I did not know about checking the engine block channels but that makes a lot of sense as it is doubtful many Bongo owners have had the
coolant changed the ideal amount of times, whether 2 year or 5 year coolant. (Who would have wanted to bleed their Bongo 12 times over 24 years with 2 year coolant ?) It simply won't have been done.

They need preventative maintenance and even then there are no guarantees. But you know... £46,000 for a new VW Camper !!!!! :shock:
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by rita » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:33 pm

BongoBongo123 wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:17 am
In all of this we have remember some vehicle are around 24 years old. That is service time in my book. :lol:

I had a car that was almost same vintage, I cannot ever recall ever doing the coolant, I think my dad had done it once during those 23 years.
That is not something that is good for a Bongo given the long length of the pipes etc. Getting 5 year coolant done every 5 years or a touch earlier will surely reduce such corrosion.(of which the long and multiple mild steel heater pipes are of main concern).

As we keep hearing even a pin hole leak can end up with terrible consequences unless resolved.

I did not know about checking the engine block channels but that makes a lot of sense as it is doubtful many Bongo owners have had the
coolant changed the ideal amount of times, whether 2 year or 5 year coolant. (Who would have wanted to bleed their Bongo 12 times over 24 years with 2 year coolant ?) It simply won't have been done.

They need preventative maintenance and even then there are no guarantees. But you know... £46,000 for a new VW Camper !!!!! :shock:






£46.000 for a new VW Camper!! you can pay that sort of money for an right old VW Camper unfortunately bongo is not in the same league as the old VW Camper when it comes to SH value.
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Re: Overheating: Third Time Lucky?

Post by mikeonb4c » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:14 pm

.....although the specification for an AFT Bongo is arguably streets ahead of a VW of similar vintage. As Mikexgough used to say on here:

Yer pays yer money and takes yer choice :lol:

(I believe he's still trundling around happily in a beautiful and well maintained vintage Bongo) \:D/
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