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|Phone: 01752 403400 ~ Mob: 07970 301013|
|Opening time: Monday-Saturday: Hours to suit customers. |
|Address: Wixenford Depot, Plymstock, Plymouth, Devon, PL9 8AA |
|Directions: Follow the 'Wixenford' signpost from Haye Rd, Plymstock or|
Merafield Rd, Plympton. 'Directions' link.
|I am a member of: The Good Garage Scheme and The FSB and The IMI |
|MOT arranged. Loan car. Family & dog friendly waiting room.|
|WE BUY MAZDA BONGO FOR BREAKING! |
NEWS! FAULT DIAGNOSTICS for Mazda Bongo! My engine diagnostics scanner can identify the reasons for the fault codes on all Mazda Bongo or Ford Freda.
NEW! Mazda Bongo bulbs: Mazda Bongo bulbs are readily available. Here are the numbers you need:
Headlights 472. (H4)
Number plate light: 501.
Front indicator: 581.
Reverse light: 382.
Rear indicator: 382.
Rear fog light: 382.
Brake light: 380.
Front interior light: 501.
A big thanks to Bongo Fury, Ian Harley and Francis Hallam for the comments on THIS LINK!
I bought a few Bongos in for breaking. I looked at this black one a few times and got to thinking... It was too good to scrap, but might look pretty good as a pick up.
The rear tailgate opens. There's enough room in the cabin for the seats to slide. The fibreglass roof of the Bongo AFT was adapted to fit the cabin roof. The bodywork had some attention. The body was strengthened, adding necessary weight.I used a valeting product to dye the old, stained mats from faded grey to black. This has worked very well. (If you want details of this product, drop me an email.) I rebuilt the rear cross member, and after considerable bodywork, it was resprayed in black and laquered in metalflake. The seats and interior were recovered in leather. I added an aftermarket steering wheel and dials.
My Mazda Bongo pick up, at Bongo Fury's South West Bongo Fest 2011. I removed the stainless steel liner that I had orinally fitted to the bed, and added a heavy wooden liner. The additional weight improved the handling.
"Drive something different..."
My previous 1996 4wd Mazda Bongo. I don't just sell and service them, I also drive one!
The Mazda Bongo is also produced as a Ford Freda. They are mechanically identical. The front grill, interior fabrics, steering wheel and finish differs. They are versatile 8 seaters, suitable for every day use.
There's the Auto Free Top (AFT) with raising roof, giving standing height inside. Two can sleep in the roof compartment and 2 downstairs. And the flat top (tin top) which has a fixed roof and sleeps 2. Adding an awning to either model expands the living space for holiday use.
The commonly available 4 speed automatic 2.5 diesel engine is quiet and has plenty of power. Petrol engines are unusual and a 2.5 V6 is preferrable to the underpowered 2.0. The manual gearbox is hard to find. Both the rear 2 wheel drive and fulltime 4 wheel drive have power steering with adjustable steering wheel height and driving position.
It's similar in size to a VW T25, but many find the driving layout is more user friendly! It handles well and I fine it's easy and comfortable to drive.
The automatic gearbox coupled with a turbo boosted engine has significant pulling power. The torque converter locks between 40-45mph.
Built to the usual high Japanese specification with luxury interior as standard. Most vehicles come with air conditioning, heating, power steering, central locking, opening windows, electric mirrors, side impact bars, tilt steering wheel and blinds.
The dash layout is driver friendly with controls easily reached. The multi-purpose seating can slide, tilt or reverse. The backs of the centre seats fold for use as tables. Window blinds add privacy.
This versatile 8 seater has 2 rows of seats behind the driver and passenger. AFT models produced up to mid 1996 have a rear 60/40 split seat combination, which folds against the boot sides, giving plenty of space when needed. After this date they generally have a slide and tilt bench rear seat which does not split. (Pictured here: 1996 model with one split rear seat folded).
Accessories are steadily increasing in availability. These include awnings, removable or fitted kitchens, bullbars, A-bars, side steps, side and rear bars, ladders, bicycle racks, ski racks, roof racks, bars and boxes, spot and fog lights, towbars, body kits, spoilers, chrome handles, mirrors and grills, umbrella holders, fishing rod holders...
Please note, spec will vary between the models. Figures stated have been obtained from reliable Japanese sources but are general guidelines only, accuracy is not guaranteed.
2.5 diesel AFT 1995-99
Exterior dimensions (LxWxH)
4585 x1690 x2090mm
Interior dimensions (LxWxH)
2830 x1570 x1295mm
Elevating roof: (Sleeps 2 in roofspace
and 2 downstairs)
Upper birth sleep 2: 6’ x 4’ approx
Lower birth sleep 2: 6’ x 4’ approx
Wheel base: 2920mm
Treads (F/R): 1465 / 1440mm
Ground clearance: 175mm
Kerbweight: 2wd: 1770kg / 4wd: 1790kg
Gross weight 2260kg
Seating capacity: 5 or 8
Doors number: 4
Turning radius: 5.5m
Fuel tank capacity: 65 litres
|DIESEL 2.5 ENGINE|
Displacement: 2499cc diesel
Engine: Mazda WL-T B series
Max power: kw(PS)/rpm:
125ps (91.94kw) / 4000 rpm.
Max torque; N*m (kg*m)/rpm:
30.0 kg*m (294.20 N*m) / 2000 rpm.
Power density: 14.16.
Water cooled serial 4 cylinder OHC12 valve
Distribution type fuel injection system
Bore compression ratios: 93mm
Top speed: 112mph
Fuel consumption average:
Service intervals: 6,000miles.
|CHASSIS / TRANSMISSION|
Transmission: EC-AT 4 speed automatic
Power steering: Yes
Tyre size, front:195/70R15 92s
Tyre size rear:215/65r15 96s
Braking system: Ventilated disk
front and rear.
Suspension system, front:
Suspension system, rear: 5 link type
Calculated at 85% of
Nose weight: 85kg
A1H PZ + 4Z Brilliant Black +
A2B PZ + 4Z Brilliant Black +
A2G PT + 3L Chaste White +
A2T PT + 18G Chaste White +
A3D Pure White
A3W A3D + 22V Pure White +
PT Chaste White
PZ Brilliant Black
3L Silver Stone
4F Champagne Silver
4G Silver Stone
4Y Caribbean Blue
4Z Silent Silver
5S Neat Green
11P Blue Violet Mica
11V Silver Stone
11W Neat Green
12A 3L + 4Z Silver Stone + Silent Silver
12B 5S + 4Z Neat Green + Silent Silver
12C 6R + 4Z Bordeaux + Silent Silver
12E 11P + 4Z Midnight Blue
12K Twilight Blue
12N Indigo Blue
14D Greece Green
14E 5S + 4Z Neat Green + Silent Silver
14F 3L + 4Z Silver Stone + Silent Silver
14N 6R + 4Z Bordeaux + Silent Silver
15J 11P + 4Z Blue Violet + Silent Silver
15X Mid Green
16A 12K + 4Z Twilight Blue + Silent Silver
16S Medium Blue
16X Grape Purple
17P 15X + 4Z Mid Green + Silent Silver
17R 12N + 4Z Indigo Blue + Silent Silver
18G Highlight Silver
19N 18G + 4Z Highlight Silver +
19R 14D + 18G Greece Green +
21P 4F + 4Z Champagne Silver +
22R Platinum Silver
22V Sunlight Silver
24D Green Opal
24H 24D + 22V Green Opal +
25G Titanium Grey
29Y Titanium Grey
(some optional extra)
Air condition / Dual air condition
Steering wheel tilt
Drop down type rear seat
Split 60/40 rear seat.
Rear 3 point seat belt
Side impact bar
Airbag - Driver
Airbag - Passenger
AM/FM radio equipped
Sunroof / Moonroof
Front fog lamp
Rear or roof spoiler
ABS (Antilock brake system)
Privacy glass / UV glass
Limited slip diff
Seat back tables
Leather steering wheel
In car navigation
|MAZDA BONGO 2 litre petrol|
Engine technical specification:
Displacement cc 1998
Max power (Net) kw (PS) / rpm:
105 ps (77.23 kw) / 5000 rpm
Max torque (Net) N*m (kg*m) / rpm:
16.5kg*m (161.81 N*m) / 4000 rpm
Power density: 15.24
Engine type: Water cooled serial
4 cylinder SOHC 12 valve
Fuel system: Fuel injection
Fuel type: Unleaded regular petrol
Bore and Stroke mm: 86
Fuel consumption at 10-15 modes,
|MAZDA BONGO 2 litre petrol|
General technical specification:
Transmission: EC-AT 4 speed
Exterior specification (LxWxH mm)
4585 x 1690 x 1960
Interior specification: (LxWxH mm)
2815 x 1570 x 1295
Wheel base mm: 2920
Ground clearance mm: 175
Kerb vehicle weight kg: 1600
Min turning radius m: 5.5
Fuel tank capacity l: 65
MAZDA BONGO BRAWNY TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION DATA: CLICK ON THIS LINK
Small rips can be repaired with 'tenacious tape', 'spinnaker tape' or tent seam sealer. The sleeping compartment itself can be removed to undertake larger repairs. Repair patches are also available on this link:
Tools required for removal of roof tent: Phillips screwdrivers P3 for upper screws, P2 for lower screws. You may need a drill, 3/8 ratchet, a right-angled screwdriver, araldite glue or pop rivets. If screws are difficult to access, try using a ratchet or a right-angled screwdriver. Damaged screws can be either glued into place with araldite, or replaced with pop rivets. Removal time: 2 hours or less. Recommended: Don’t lose the screws. Two or more people to assist with final removal of roof tent.
|1. Raise the roof 3/4 way up.|
The fabric is attached to a metal frame.
The bottom of the frame is fixed to the vehicle
body with black plastic screws. These may also
be glued in.
2. Working from back to front, unscrew the
|3.The top of the frame is attached to the hard|
roof by metal screws. They are tight.
Working from back to front, unscrew them.
|The fabric is slotted into metal runners which |
make up the top and bottom of the framework.
|4. Pull the fabric left & right in the direction of |
the arrows, to slide the fabric out of the frame.
This can be tight, silicone lubricant may help
5. There are two springs at the rear of the compartment, attached top and bottom, from the hard roof to fabric straps. Unclip the springs from the fabric straps, leaving the springs dangling from the roof.
6. The metal framework with fabric will now drop down from the hard top and is ready to remove. It's not heavy but it's difficult to keep steady. To avoid damage, get help to lift it.
7. The bottom frame is pop riveted at the corners. You may need to drill rivets out and replace when reassembled. Once removed from the frame, the fabric is a managable, lightweight piece and can be machined or hand sewn for repairs to the netting, vinyl and zips.
8. To replace the roof compartment, reverse the above procedure. If the screws will no longer grip, they can be secured in place with 'Araldite' or similar glue. Any removed pop rivets will need to be replaced.
No drilling or carpet removal required.
It’s fairly common for the fuel gauge to read either intermittently or not at all. This can be due to an earthing fault. Here's a simple fix to try, before looking further.
First kneel down beside the driver’s door, and look underneath your Bongo. You’ll see the rectangular bulge of the fuel tank beneath the floor. A lipped seam runs around the tank. This seam has holes pre-drilled in it.
Now look towards the rear of the Bongo - Just in front of the (near/drivers side) rear wheel there’s a ‘T’ shaped metal plate that runs from the sill to the chassis. There are 2 holes pre-drilled in this plate.
Select a hole on the lip of the tank. Find the 10mm nut that holds the hoses in place, just behind the offside pillar. Measure the distance between these two. Cut a length of electrical wire to this length. Attach a connector to each end of the wire. Fix the wire to the lip of the tank, with a self tapping screw. Fix the other end to the bolt. The job's done, now check the fuel gauge operation.
Coolant leaks are likely to occur on an aging system, so check the level regulary. Even a small leak will eventually empty a system. If levels are dropping, there's a problem, don't ignore it.
Leaks can leave an obvious puddle. Or coolant may collect in the engine tray, or evaporate on a hot block, leaving no obvious puddle. Lower the tray to check for pooled coolant.
When a Bongo overheats, there are a few that suffer no obvious damage at the time. But keep an eye on the head and hoses, as they can be weakened by an overheating episode. If yours overheats, it's very important to find out why it happened, and to rectify the problem.
Check the condition of the heater/coolant pipes and hoses regularly. Replace any that are soft or bulging. Also check for chaffing where the pipes pass across or close to body parts (see photo below).
Use the correct mix of anti-freeze and water, this helps to prevent corrosion of the system. I've seen corroded and blocked radiators many times. The wrong coolant mix can cause problems. Sediment can build up in the radiator and eventually block waterways. Blocked waterways mean poor coolant flow - the engine could overheat.
It's vital that the radiator is replaced where needed and you carry out regular maintenance. And always make sure the cooling system is bled properly.
Check the thermostat is fully operational and always replace it if the vehicle overheats.
Air is bled from the water system via a long bleed hose. This runs from the engine block and is clipped to the framework. If the clip breaks, the hose can rub against the bodywork. Eventually, this will make a hole in the hose, and the hose will leak. To help to prevent this, attach a cable tie to the hose and fasten it through the hole behind the clip. (Photo below shows bleed hose laying across the alternator. It should lay alongside the alternator).
Also check the hose under the drivers seat as similar damage can occur.
Fuel pipes are often overlooked, but should be replaced every four years.
Loss of power, black smoke, knocking: Amongst other things, these can all be symptoms of a fault in the EGR system.
Commonly, problems are due to faulty valve and/or pipe operation. The system can block, the valve remains open. Excess smoke or engine knock can be present. EGR pipes can leak and lose back pressure through the manifold or turbo pressure - with reduction in pulling power. But if the EGR system is working as it should, there's no reason to do anything to it. In other words, "If it aint broke, don't fix it".
Replacing the EGR system is expensive. You could attempt to clean it... Complete removal isn't easy. I prefer to blank the system and I sell blanking plates which can seal or isolate the EGR system, easily and quickly.
I would not blank with a coin or layers of thinner steel as they have been known to disintegrate and cause damage. Blanking the pipe with a ball bearing when the valve is stuck in the open position is not effective. On the internet, you'll find discussion on the pros and cons of blanking the EGR, which I recommend you read.
Broken black pipe/green one way valve near EGR: Many Bongos come in from Japan with this broken; it’s fairly brittle and can break if knocked. If you don't want to replace it, a couple of cheap fixes have been suggested (thanks to dobby and smac02).
Using a small piece of biro (or similar) as stub/spigot: With a drill bit, ream out the broken piece and the inside of the valve to a diameter that will receive the biro piece. Carefully glue the two parts together, checking that the valve still working. For added support, wrap repair with duct tape.
Or buy a non-return valve, as used with fish tank air pumps. Buy silicone tubing (from a model shop) that will fit the taper of the air pump valve and the connection to the bongo. Reconnect using these parts.
Accelerator pedal: The black button under the pedal is simply a 'stop', to prevent the pedal being depressed too far.
Beeping when key is in ignition and door is open: To stop the beeping, without cutting wires, remove the lower cover on the steering column. On the left side of the column, (under the wiper stalk), there is a small white connector (with 2 wires). Simply pull the connector apart. The beeping can be reinstated by reconnecting.
New! Bulbs for a Mazda Bongo: Bulb numbers. Mazda Bongo bulbs are readily available. Here are the numbers you need:
Headlights 472. (H4)
Number plate light: 501.
Front indicator: 581.
Reverse light: 382.
Rear indicator: 382.
Rear fog light: 382.
Brake light: 380.
Front interior light: 501.
The diesel engine is an interference type engine. Valve to piston damage is most likely to occur if the cambelt breaks. It should be repalced at least every 60,000 miles. When considering replacement, the previous use and service history of the vehicle should be taken into account. If in doubt, renew it.
As there's no 'low fluid' warning light, remember to check the level. Put the gears in 'Park' and check the level on the gearbox dipstick 9located under drivers seat). The fluid should be a nice clear/dark red, and not smell of burnt toast. If it needs topping up, use Dexron 3 and a funnel in the dipstick hole. If it smells like burnt toast, or there is any foaming, get advice.
The trickiest part is zeroing the needle after changing the face. Fit the speedo unit (without the glass) back into the dash, with all wires connected into the back of it. Don't fit the needle-stop post to the speedo face yet. Switch the ignition on. Then fit the needle in the zero position. Once it's in position, fit the stop-post and glass.
Speedo Chip: I prefer to replace the speedo face and leave the odometer in kilometers, confirming the original vehicle history. You may prefer to chip the speedo and have the odo read in miles. Buy a good quality chip as some can cause problems. The wiring colour sequence is generally: red - acc live, black- earth, grey - speedo, yellow - gearbox.
Roof jammed and the usual fixes haven't worked? If the roof motors will not operate, the motors can be removed without raising the roof.
Door lock barrels - are they interchangeable? The door barrels are colour coded and not interchangeable.
Footrests/seats: They're easy to fit into anchoring holes under the carpet. Cut holes in the carpet above them, and fix 2 retaining bolts through the bar of the footrests, into the captive nuts.
Interior light: The interior light tube for the pre 99 model can be bought at most electrical stores – take your old bulb in and get it matched.
Japanese radio removal: The Japanese radio does not pick up many UK stations. A band expander will help, but to get really good quality reception, you need to fit a UK unit. Unclip the plastic cover on each side of the radio. You'll see 2 holes. Insert either standard radio removal tools or 2 small teaspoon handles into the holes. Pull on the handles to draw out the radio. Adaptors for UK units are available from Halfords and similar stores.
Sluggish sunroof: Some Bongos have a sunroof. If the sunroof is reluctant to open, stand up with your head through the sunroof hole. Look down at the sunroof and you'll see the rails/slides. Lubricate them with liquid spray grease, not WDF40.
These can look tatty, but it's easy to make them look as good as new.
Use a 12ml socket to remove undo the nut on the wiper arm. This may be located under a rubber cover. Once the nut has been removed, tap the arm where the joint/bend is in the arm. The arm will now lift off.
Press the clip that holds the wiper blade to the arm, then knock the blade off the arm.
Use some fine sandpaper to clean up/smooth the old paint.
Spray the arm with satin black paint, or a paint and colour of your choice. Applying several light coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry, gives a better result.
Hang the arm up, to dry between coats.
Replace the blade and arm.
To remove the grille, lift the bonnet. Undo the Phillips screw in the centre top of the grille. There are clips attaching the grille to the headlights, and sometimes another in the centre. Use a flat blade of screwdriver to push the clips to release them, then pull the grille off.
Lightly sand the grille with fine sandpaper. Spray it with several light coats of paint, allowing it to dry between coats. Silver wheel paint works well, of use a paint of your choice. Replace the grille.
I changed my standard dials to the white ones and fitted chrome rings to finish them off. BDC sprayed the surround with metalflake. The new faces match the after market turbo boost and coolant temperature gauges I had already fitted, in the space above the stereo.
|Speedo face photos, top to bottom:|
1. Smoothing rear of rings with pen barrel. 2. Dash surround seen from rear, after rings fitted. 3. Removing the speedo face screws. 4. Showing slot in dial face.
5. Lining slot up with short end of needle. 6. Fitting fuel/temp gauge face.
7. Speedo face lit, orange indicator LED's. 8. Metalflake glint.
How to re-cover a Mazda Bongo drivers arm rest.
1. Mazda Bongo drivers arm rest showing wear.
2. Lift lid and remove screws.
3. Flip lid back.
4. Peel off old cover.
5. Cover removed.
6. Open small lid, remove screws.
7. Remove tray and peel off cover.
While covers are off, clean plastic pieces if needed.
8. Use the 2 fabric pieces as pattern.
9. Remove 'latch' screws from small lid.
10. Remove latch.
11. Re-cover, use spray adhesive or similar to glue into place (optional).
12. Re-attach latch.
13. Small lid, new cover.
14. Remove screws from hinge of larger lid.
15. Re-cover, glue into place if required.
16. Re-attach hinge.
17. Screw underside of lid back into place.
Ian (Scobo's) chrome rear bar, fitted here under a towbar.
The bar should be supplied with a fixing plate. On the drivers side, if there's no towbar, you slide the fixing plate above the mounting holes and fit 2 bolts. If you have a towbar, it's 1 bolt.
On the passenger side, there are 2 bolts (with or without towbar).
Cylinder head damage due to water pump failure on this Bongo. Also note damage to sensor.
Cylinder head damage due to radiator failure on this Mazda Bongo.
Click here to go to a Mazda Bongo Facebook page!
Thinking about importing your own vehicle? You'll find useful advice from DVLA on THIS LINK
IVA Scheme: Vehicles need to be approved to ensure they meet required standards. Details on THIS LINK
Auction Grades - Exterior:
S - As new condition, under 5,000km
5 - Like new. All original body parts. No repair needed. (Vehicle usually less than 3 years old.)
4.5 – Excellent condition. No slight dents or scratches.
4 – Good condition, few dents, scratches - normal wear & tear.
3.5 – A few dents or scratches – generally average condition.
3 – Dents or scratches, some paint blemishes.
2 - Very badly corroded, modified, non standard vehicle.
1 – Inferior vehicle (‘a dog or lemon’) Or heavily modified vehicle.
RA/A1 – Vehicle involved in minor accident, repaired to acceptable standard.
R or A- Vehicle involved in accident and parts have been replaced or repaired.
Auction Grades - Interior:
A- As new, no faults.
B- Very clean or slightly dirty.
C- Clean, with cigarette burn.
D-Dirty/smelly/very worn/ripped seats.
AC - Air conditioning. SR – Sunroof. AW - Alloy Wheels. PS - Power steering. PW - Electric windows.
FA - Automatic gearbox. F5 - 5 Speed gearbox. F6 - 6 Speed gearbox.
A1: Scratch or crack, 2-3cm.
A2: Scratch or crack, less than 10cm.
A3: Scratch or crack, more than 20cm.
U or B 1: Dent, very small.
U or B 2: Dent, less than 10cm.
U or B 3: Dent, more than 20cm.
W1: Re-painted in as new condition.
W2: Repaired & re-painted, good condition.
W3: Repaired but poor paint finish.
In the late 1990's when I started working on Japanese imports, the Mitsubishi Pajero was the main 'grey import' coming into the UK. At that time, the technical information we needed was not available. 'Applied knowledge' was our only option!
Main dealers were not geared up to work on imports and there are tales (now legendary) of Pajero owners being discouraged from main dealer forecourts.
The early owners in their Mark 1 Pajeros were the pioneers. We started out as a few like-minded individuals who put our heads together and exchanged information by phone or post. Then the internet took over. 'Import owner' clubs sprang up and the information spread faster.
It's fair to say that without us, many of you would not have bought a grey import and would probably not be reading this!
I was Technical advisor for 10 years, to a Japanese Import Owners Club, which was formed in 1999. I have worked on Japanese imports, bought throughout the UK. I have established a very good reputation and work hard to keep it! I chat on a few car and import forums, when I have time!
In a nutshell, 'grey imports' are vehicles manufactured for the local Japanese market, that are not usually brought into the UK by any of the main dealers. However, all Japanese cars sold in the UK are imported, even the new ones! Japan has the largest domestic car market in the Far East. Intense competition between manufacturers means that models are constantly upgraded or re-designed. They have many extras fitted as standard, which would usually add thousands to the price of a UK car. The cars we call 'grey imports' are produced in the same factories as the cars made for the UK market. In the UK, new vehicles are sold through the main dealer networks.
Where are Japanese 'grey imports' sold? This starts in Japan, where auctions are the main source of used cars (with a few coming from dealers’ yards). Japanese car auctions are heavily regulated. They sell several thousand vehicles a day, start early and can run all night. The vehicles get a pretty thorough inspection before being advertised and all known faults are expected to be declared. Usually buyers can also look the vehicles over before bidding. Bids take place in the auction room, where the vehicles are displayed on large monitors and named by chassis number, not make and model.
As any visitor will confirm, Japan has a huge congestion problem. With a general 60mph speed limit and the best public transport system in the world, their cars have less on the clock than equivalent UK vehicles. They don't use salt on their roads, (preferring to rely on 'winter tyres'), so there is less or no rust.
The Japanese can't purchase a vehicle unless they can prove they have a regulated parking space for it and there's rarely more than 1 carefully maintained vehicle per family. When they buy a new car from a dealer, it comes with 3 years 'Shaken'. After this has expired the 'Shaken' must be renewed every 2 years. The tests are a series of safety and emissions inspections combined with compulsory insurance, weight and vehicle tax. The cost of renewing is relatively high as their government's policy is to reduce car ownership, due to the limited space available and pollution concerns. These tough regulations and attractive new model deals make it economically desirable to get rid of a used car quickly.
Therefore the Japanese generally sell or part-exchange their car to dealers, who sell them at auction. As used vehicles depreciate quickly, it makes sense to keep them looking and performing at their best, to maximise trade-in value. At auction, the vehicles are checked independently, points are awarded and they are graded to reflect the condition. The grades are a reflection of the vehicles bodywork and interior condition rather than its mechanical condition, and bear in mind that some auction houses seem more strict than others. Mechanical faults should also be noted on the auction sheet.
The vehicles are then listed by chassis number (not make and model) on large viewing screens and bidding is carried out electronically. 'Hands on' viewing is rare.
How do they get to the UK? In the main, they’re bought and shipped here by the bigger import companies, in response to UK demand. You’ll see them lined up, row upon row at any of the large docks including Bristol, Liverpool, Southampton and Tilbury. They are generally sold on to dealers in the UK.
As the popularity of a specific model increases, smaller dealers may also import their own and eventually individuals will also, often using an agent in Japan, who’ll carry out the whole process. Then there’s the few who’ll make the trip to Japan, pick their own vehicle and arrange for it to be shipped back.
There are also UK auction sites, usually based on the docks. They sell ship-loads of recent grey imports or others that haven’t sold elsewhere. Some auctions require a deposit to register the buyer, others don’t. Deposits are refunded if you don’t buy, or off-set against a purchase.
It is possible for Japanese cars to stand on the docks in Japan for a long time before they are sold at auction. In Japan, they will have rarely been driven above 60mph and the auction sheet will tell you little about the mechanical condition. Paper Service records are scant as details are stored on computer. It makes sense to always check your import carefully before driving it anywhere and you can get the mileage (as recorded at the Japanese auction house) checked via BIMTA.
Japanese imports are generally in better condition than UK models of similar age. Over the last few years Japanese cars have dominated reliability surveys. A survey previously carried out by What Car? magazine in conjunction with Warranty Direct only reinforces the bullet proof reputation of Japanese vehicles.
The top ten in descending order were Mazda, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Nissan, Fiat, Audi, Ford. Subaru and BMW were joint 11th with Peugeot, whilst VW managed 16th, Saab and Renault were joint 18th. Land Rover and Alfa were the tail enders. The only surprises were the high placing of Fiat (must have hit on a good batch) and the very poor showing by VW.
The Japanese dominance was no surprise at all, confirming my personal experience of these vehicles.
Which companies insure Japanese imports? 'Grey' imports have been arriving in the UK for many years and the early problems have long gone. Many companies now insure them. Here are a few from the many you can try: Lifesure: 01480 402460 / Chris Knott: 0800 9172274 / Adrian Flux: 01553 845945 / Safeguard: 01132 581614.
Why aren't Japanese imports rustproofed? The climate in Japan is generally drier than ours. The Japanese don't use salt or grit on their roads, preferring to rely on Winter tyres. This means that the bodywork on an import is generally in much better condition than a UK model of similar age. Apply a liberal amount of rustproofing to help maintain that condition and 10 years from now, it could still be looking as good as new.
Speedos and foglights: To pass the MOT, all cars in the UK (including grey imports) need a rear fog light with a visible warning light on the dash. This light illuminates when the fog light is on. Speedo rules: If a vehicle is sold as road legal, it should have a speedo that reads in MPH, while the odometer can still turn over in KPH. The police can prosecute you, if you are stopped and they notice the speedo does not read in MPH.
Over the years, I've had enquiries about excessive smoking on Pajeros and consequently how to blank the EGR valve, even where the cause of the smoke is unknown... My thoughts are that the EGR is working, it serves a purpose. If it’s shot, you could do something about it. I have compiled this so you can make up your own mind.
Here’s my understanding of how the EGR works on the Mitsubishi unit.
1. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) detects accelerator position, engine speed & transmission information. It decides when the EGR is needed. When needed, it sends a signal to the EGR. It should not trigger EGR at idling, low load, or full load.
2. The signal activates a solenoid, which opens a vacuum line.
3. Vacuum is separately generated by a pump as a diesel engine does not have vacuum at inlet manifold. The same vacuum is used for brake booster.
4. The spindle in the EGR valve moves when the vacuum is applied. This allows inert exhaust gas to be introduced to the engine.
5. The inert gas (exhaust) has of course been produced by the engine.
6. The engine responds to inert gas. Oxygen concentration is decreased by addition of inert gas, resulting in lower combustion temperature, and thus less nitrous oxide.
There are 3 general operating modes for the EGR system. These are some of the causes of failure.
Mode 1: EGR works properly: Engine produces less nitrous oxide.
Mode 2: Excess EGR: Poor idling, smoke when idling, flat spots when accelerating, lack of power at full power.
The main causes for this failure are:
1. ECU generates the wrong signal: Replace ECU.
2. Control signal not received by solenoid: Check wiring
3. Solenoid not moving: Replace
4. EGR valve spindle travels too far: Spring weak – Replace.
5. EGR valve spindle does not move: Stuck by debris in open, closed or intermediate position (intermittent or persistent): Clean valve or replace.
6. EGR valve spindle does not move: Diaphragm torn: Replace.
7. Idle speed too high.
8. Exhaust back pressure: Possible obstruction: Replace exhaust.
Mode 3: No EGR effect: Combustion temperature rises, adding thermal stress to engine, consider the possibility of adverse long term reliability. (I understand that in 7 years, no members have yet reported adverse effects?) Increased Nitrous oxide production, therefore increased pollution.
Possible causes of this are:
Same as points 1-5 above and
6. Vacuum line blocked or deliberately plugged: Check vacuum pressure
7. Blockage (blanking plate!) in pipe
Is your EGR valve working? Try these 2 simple tests.
1. If you can access your EGR valve stem, push it against spring pressure. It should move freely and return fully. If it doesn’t, remove the valve for cleaning or replacement.
2. With the engine at normal operating temperature, open the throttle to 2,500 rpm while watching the EGR valve stem. It should move, then return.
If it doesn't, remove the hose and feel for vacuum as you rev it again. If you find some, the valve's at fault.
If there’s no vacuum, see mode 3 above. This applies to the Mitsi units, some operate differently.
Blank it or not? There's a lot of discussion on the internet about this.
Excess EGR (mode 2) reduces the performance of the vehicle. In this case, it is possible to disable the EGR system entirely, so that it operates in mode 3. This has some possible negative consequences, including possible hotter combustion temperature and the possibility of reduced engine life.
If you plug the vacuum line with a ball bearing and the EGR valve is stuck in an open position, it will have no effect. In my opinion, blanking the EGR with a plate is better than using a ball bearing.
The blanking plate will need to withstand temperatures of at least 500c, so quality stainless steel would do the trick. (Don't use layers of thin steel or a coin as these have been known to disintegrate and cause damage.)
There is also the option of cleaning the EGR system.
Light ON = Overdrive OFF.
When overdrive is in use, the engine will produce less revs.
Overdrive ON = Light OFF = lower engine revs = generally more miles per gallon.
Where's the engine oil dipstick?
The dipstick is under the passenger seat. Undo the 2 clips that hold down the passenger seat. Tip the seat back. There’s a wing nut under the front section of the carpet. Undo it and slide the panel out. The dipstick (usually yellow) is towards the front. The oil filler cap (black) is higher up, at the back of the opening.
Check back regularly for new tips!
Technical specifications are obtained from reliable sources but are approximate and for general guidance only. Specifications vary between models. Tips are for general guidance only. © Allans Vehicle Services.
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