Bongo Virgin!

For Leicestershire, Lincs & Notts

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Bongo Virgin!

Post by JosephD23 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:44 am


I’m really keen on getting a bongo and having it converted to a camper, we’ve been umming and ahhing about getting one for years and this year we’ve decided to take the plunge. I’ve been doing research on how to buy, what to buy and where. But as I’m sure you can imagine I have a million and one other things that I’m unsure of.

I apologise in advance if you’ve heard all of these question before but as a Bongo virgin and a campervan novice I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing before parting with my money :)

Firstly I’ve been in touch with Phil at JAL Imports and by all accounts they appear to be very well respected on this site and I’ve read a lot of good things about them.

Ive also been in touch with New Dawn conversions which again have positive reviews. But there’s another I’ve found called Campervans4Fun in Macclesfield, does anyone have any experience with them. They seemed pretty knowledgeable when I spoke to them but I can’t seem to find any reviews or chat about them.

My next point is, should I be comfortable about not seeing the Bongo before I buy it? Obviously at the moment we can’t go and see it :( And Phil at JAL mentioned a few people do that and that they’re trusted!

And my last points are...which engine should I go for and do I need the LPG version? I see that there is the petrol V6 and the petrol 2l eco design.
In an average year we would go for a 10 day round trip to mainline Europe or Scotland/Ireland with a number of shorter trips around the rest of the UK.
And I would probably need to use it for commuting once or twice a week - which would be a 25 mile round trip.
I guess that might help with the decision?

I understand this is a very long post and might take up a lot of time to answer my questions but it would be really appreciated :D And I’m really looking to becoming part of the Bongo family! I’m based in Derby which is why I’ve posted in this group :)

Thanks :)
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Re: Bongo Virgin!

Post by Bob » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:01 am

Hi Joseph, welcome aboard. :)

New Dawn and JAL are, indeed, well thought of, ours came from Phil over 12 years ago and I'm still very happy. Bought it 'on the boat' and I'm pretty sure Phil said we could choose another if we didn't like it when we saw it. Not heard anything about the Macclesfield company.

What I will say is if you are having an after market lift up roof fitted you really need to see, and try, it. Some are quite difficult to raise and lower, you don't want to discover that on your first trip.

LPG, depends on your mileage, you'll need to balance that against the cost of the kit and work out your pay back time.

Engine wise the 2ltr is the simplest, without the need for the (pain in the ****) bleed process. I've not driven one so can't comment on power, but bear in mind the conversion will add some weight.

That said, you don't use a Bongo for racing. 8)
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Re: Bongo Virgin!

Post by g8dhe » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:17 pm

It would also seem that the supplies of LPG are drying up, we looked at it when we first got our V6 back in 2008 and even then we decided that finding filling stations when touring would be a pain so never bothered. There are very few filling stations in Sussex as well so for local use it seemed like too much hassle.
2001 Aero V6, AFT, full side conversion.
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Re: Bongo Virgin!

Post by JohnEtheridge1950 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:36 pm

The best idea is to choose the engine which takes as less gasoline as possible, because LPG is something I'd stay away from in general. It's a rule I will always stick to. I had a Honda with 2.3l and destroyed the engine with LPG. Many Japanese cars hate LPG, so I wouldn't risk it no matter what. Not worth it for me!
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Re: Bongo Virgin!

Post by JosephD23 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:44 pm

Thanks all! I think that pretty much is inline with what I was thinking with regards to the engine :)

And we've decided that we're going with JAL imports, they tick all the boxes in terms of what we want out of the van and it's been very reassuring talking to Phil about all the various questions I had for him!