Two of the most common problems that Bongo owners encounter are mould in the Auto Free Top and rust. We have now owned out Bongo for 4 years and I am happy to say that we have managed to keep both these problems at bay.
This is mostly due to my extremely diligent husband who takes the time to maintain, clean and protect the Bongo with care and attention to detail. He has kindly written a brief of what he does to prepare the Bongo for winter.
Over to him.
Dealing with and preventing mould in the AFT
Having cleared out the van of the camping gear and ensured that everything is dry, the first task is to check for any mould spots in the roof.
We have found HG Mould Spray very effective. However, it is a harsh chemical and needs to be used sparingly.
Next wipe down the canvas, the surfaces and the felt roof with a solution of water and clove oil that is a great at preventing mould. This should be done on a dry day so that the roof can be aired and dried.
We remove the sleeping platform panels (and store them in the house for the winter) to allow air to circulate in the roof. We then insert a number of dehumidifier bags in the roof space to absorb any moisture over the winter. Think about drying them in the oven in January to ensure they protect all the way through the winter.
Preventing and dealing with rust spots.
The next step is a good clean, inside and out. Pay particular attention to cleaning out the wheel arches to ensure there is no mud as this will retain moisture and encourage rust.
Ensure that the water drainage channels at the back of the engine compartment are free of muck. There are three channels, the two outside channels allow water to drain down inside the wings and can get blocked by leaves.
The centre channel has a clear tube to take the water away from sensitive engine components and electronics. Make sure that water is draining through the tube as it can get blocked.
Whilst cleaning the Bongo make a note of any stone chips or signs of rust. Stone chips should be dealt with using a stone chip kit like this one for the standard silver Bongo.
You may notice discolouration around some of the panel seams. I use a rust stop paint on these. It turns black on rust so only use in out of the way locations. Remember to check inside all doors and the boot.
I use some rubber conditioner on the roof seal to stop it drying out and cracking.
Next is to check the underseal. Bongo’s rust as they were not designed for the UK. If you have had your bongo under sealed you can patch any areas. I give the rear arches another coat, on the inner rim.
If you haven’t had your Bongo undersealed consider getting it done professionally. This can cost a bit but is 100% worth it.
Even if you have had your bongo undersealed, think about giving it professionally refreshed every few years. This is particularly important if you are going to drive it during winter as the UK uses salt during winter which kills unprotected metal.
If you are going to store your Bongo consider removing the batteries. As we use the Bongo all year round we don’t do this but occasionally use a battery charger with recondition mode on the leisure battery to keep it in good condition.
Ideally, a battery should be stored with a partial charge as a full or very empty battery will damage the cells. Impossible to achieve without some fancy electronics!