Bongo fans come here and help me please! Especially if you've had chil d seats in yours!

(21 Posts)
Oodsigma Fri 01-Feb-13 19:04:35

We've been looking today and dh test drove one ( I'm heavily pregnant and get stuck behind the wheel so didn't fancy it with a stranger in blush)

We think space wise it'll work and costs seem similar to the alternative of a galaxy etc.

We've currently got dd3 in a Two way elite and dc4 will be in a baby seat. Has anyone had either seat in a bongo? Worried about seat belt length !

homeappliance Fri 01-Feb-13 19:18:43

We used to own a bongo and quite easily fitted my son's maxi cost car seat on the back seat.

I'm sorry to say I'm not a Bongo fan and would definitely advise you to do more research before buying one. They are notorious for coolant problems (just look at the bongo fury website to get an idea of what I mean). Of course, you'll get people telling you how wonderful their bongo is and how they've never had any problems, but our experience was very different. As they are a imported car, you can't have any old garage service or fix them - and there are only a handful of specialist Bongo garages in the Uk. We had a Bongo for 6 months or so, the only time we drove it was between specialist garages to "fix" the coolant problem. We've lost £2000 on it and its knocked a few years off my husbands life too because of all the stress it caused!

Oodsigma Fri 01-Feb-13 19:38:30

That sounds like our Renault! We've had it two years and its cost £2k in repairs plus 6 tyres.

Will add coolant to my list of research, thanks.

WMittens Fri 01-Feb-13 22:02:11

you can't have any old garage service or fix them

Any decent garage (with mechanics, rather than parts fitters) will be able to fix them; the advantage of a specialist is they will carry a stock of parts specific to the vehicle, saving time ordering from Japan. You (or a garage) can probably mail order parts from a specialist or importer in the UK.

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 06:28:27

Thanks wmittens we are looking at buying from a specialist and are prepared for them to service it too.

There is also a Mazda garage not far away if they are any more likely to be easier to deal with than a general garage?

zumo Sat 02-Feb-13 20:21:56

The Mazda garage will just cost a fortune.
Look on Bongo Fury forum its free, loads of help
The cooling system is a bit more complex that some cars, it will suffer if the coolant runs low, so most people have these fitted
http://www.coolantalarm.co.uk/shop/index.php
Hes a top bloke sold loads to industry then designed a kit specifically for the Bongo
We bought ours cheap with a couple of issues that we fixed our selves, we fitted a low coolant alarm and a engine temp alarm
http://www.coolantalarm.co.uk/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=25
OK its near £200 but if the Bongo dumps its water it will warn you in time to switch off and just have a leak to repair.
You need to remember the newest Bongos are 10 years old, mines almost 18 years old.
WE often go out as a family withe two kids who are 6ft and two OAPs we find it ideal, we get 22mpg around town and 30mpg on a run, but its cheaper than taking two cars and we have it on classic insurance as we only use it for trips out and best.
If your OH is handy they are quite straightforward to service too

If you do lots of miles I wouldn't recommend as they are v thirsty. DS sits up front in a Group 1 seat and it's fine.

zumo Sat 02-Feb-13 20:25:47

We added this to the boot
http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj618/winchman10/Bongo/Bongokitchen.jpg
Some insurance cos will then class it as a camper as it has a bed ( the seats convert to a big double) hob and sink.
Some dont so check.
Ours dropped from £1000 to £320 fully comp, this year its down to £185 on a classic camper policy but no commuting, second car and 3000mile limit

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 20:40:53

One we are looking at was 2004 I think. From Wheelquick if any if you are northerners.

Dh has been on Bongo fury but my baby brain is kicking in big timeblush and I'm just passing things to him to research.

Insurance is a big worry as we currently use the second car for 10k ish a year. Mpg is similar to our current car (shit Renault). It certainly needs to be used for commuting and preferably business use too. Colleague has one so it must be possible (we are both off sick at the moment so he's not an option for quizzing!)

I was advised to get an earlier model for better reliability, so have a 1997 one. Not had it long though, so can't comment yet.

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 21:19:18

The bloke had a 99 and said it would be good for another 5-7 years but if we wanted longer to go newer. Lots of the older ones seem to be converted and we need at least 6 seats which is our whole car hunting problem!

homeappliance Sat 02-Feb-13 21:23:13

It won't be a 2004 model because they had stopped making them by then. I suspect the dealers mean it was first registered in this country in 2004.

Wheel quick have got a good rep, so hopefully you'll be ok if something does happen.

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 21:28:26

[Blush] Might have been 2003 then, told you im not on the ball over this! was newer than my car anyway! Was a new import they were just overhauling, just happened to be on the ramp when we arrived. Dh test drove another one that was 2002.
They were really helpful , knowledgable without trying to force a sale. I'm just not 100% sold on it but the other options are not happening

IsobelEliza Sat 02-Feb-13 21:30:11

We have found ours incredibly useful. We had the extra coolant warning device fitted. We have found it so useful for day trips out, nice for waiting outside in when waiting for activities to finish, putting the seat down for a short nap, flattening seats to transport furniture. We used a polystyrene car seat, thinking that if the issue was belt buckle then a polystyrene one would be unlikely to break it though I will admit it might still have sprung it open( but it never did).

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 21:33:27

Dh says the one we saw on the ramp was a Freda?

WMittens Sat 02-Feb-13 21:54:33

It won't be a 2004 model because they had stopped making them by then.

They're still making them now confused

Oodsigma Sat 02-Feb-13 22:33:04

Wiki tells me it's to do with when Ford joined in?

zumo Sun 03-Feb-13 10:01:56

A Ford Freda is a Bongo with a different grill and a Ford badge.
I live 20 mins from Wheel Quick and a have used him once for a repair and cambelt and twice for parts, he also diaganosed a fault for me that I could fix my self and wouldnt take any money, they are just a top garage, Look past it being small, they offer excellent service, I know of Bongo Fury members who travell a long way to get him to service them as he knows them well and is veryu good on prices
Mines a camper but still has 8 seats
Fell free to PM me if you need to talk Bongo

Oodsigma Sun 03-Feb-13 11:15:05

Thanks zumo got a good impression of Wheelquick and dh says Bongo fury likes them.
How much camper is yours? We need the boot space for pram and then for holiday stuff ( which would include a cot) so reluctant to take out too much although we'd like camper eventually.

Do you have a pop top and if so how much does it add to height. Do you manage multi story car parks/restricted height ones( with or without)

zumo Sun 03-Feb-13 11:55:38

My camper conversion is removable six screws I think, Did you see the link above? it fits in the boot and allows you to make a basic meal drinks etc, I did it as my insurance company then classed it as a camper, to be honest you can still pile luggage on top of it so we have found it worth while.
Mines a tin top as I couldnt find a pop top for my low budget, even tin tops are a tight fit so I avoid multi storys as most of the time I keep a roof box on mine.
The thing to remember is a Bongo comes out of the factory with 8 seats for travelling, this makes a big double bed, or folds into four seats and a table.
I can also reverse my middle seat a 20 min job and have a removable table in teh middle

Oodsigma Sun 03-Feb-13 12:00:24

Y he showed us all the seat positions. Will have 2csr seats in so limits flexibility a bit.

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