Bit of steam, top of radiator

Technical questions and answers about the Mazda Bongo

Moderators: Doone, westonwarrior

User avatar
mountainmummy
Bongolier
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:30 pm
Location: Stirlingshire

Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mountainmummy » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:08 pm

Hi, it's been a while since I posted on here.

My bongo is still going strong after 8 or 9 years of ownership. It's meant to be going in to get its arches done on Tuesday, however tonight we noticed a small bit of steam coming from the top of the radiator. It's not overheated, we don't seem to be losing loads of coolant (though I'll have to check the level in the morning to be sure). Looks like a new radiator is required, it's still the original and it's a 96 so has to happen sometime.

My question is, do you think the van is OK to drive just 3 miles to get the arches done then we'll get the radiator replaced in the next few weeks. Or do you think we should delay the arches and get the radiator fixed first.

Sara
Why, oh why did I chose such a naff forum name????
Bob
Supreme Being
Posts: 14693
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Bob » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:46 pm

Hi Sara

Good to see you in here.

If there's steam coming out I'd get the rad done.

It will have blown out coolant, then as it cools sucked in air. As we know, this will find the very place you don't want it and do serious damage.

Just my view, not mechanical advice. :wink:
User avatar
Doone
Supreme Being
Posts: 2712
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:58 am
Location: Devon

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Doone » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:15 am

If the radiator is leaking, I'd get it fixed. The bodyshop probably wouldn't be happy if they moved it and it blew at theirs. 😉
Repairing Bongos since 2003, in Plymouth, Devon: http://www.allansvehicleservices.co.uk
User avatar
mountainmummy
Bongolier
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:30 pm
Location: Stirlingshire

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mountainmummy » Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:53 pm

Well no dilemma this morning as coolant alarm screaming on start up. Bodyshop cancelled and booked in with my mechanic for the 9th.

Thanks for the replies by the way.
Why, oh why did I chose such a naff forum name????
Bob
Supreme Being
Posts: 14693
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Bob » Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:00 pm

Well done.

Glad you spotted it before any harm done. 8)
User avatar
Doone
Supreme Being
Posts: 2712
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:58 am
Location: Devon

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Doone » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:02 pm

Mountainmummy re your signature... I *think* admin can change forum name for you. 😀
Repairing Bongos since 2003, in Plymouth, Devon: http://www.allansvehicleservices.co.uk
mickc
Bongonaut
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:35 am
Location: Fylde

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mickc » Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:11 pm

I had a slight weeping around the swaged edge at the top of the rad in one corner when the engine was up to temperature, only a slight drop in the level in the header tank. I ran some solder around the lip and it's been fine since, I check the water level daily and it's not losing any.

Saved me the price of a new rad (so far anyway).

If it does leak again I'll try Steel Seal before considering a new rad, the one fitted is only 6 years old.
User avatar
mikeonb4c
Supreme Being
Posts: 22844
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:49 pm
Location: Living with Mango Bongo in the North West but with a tendency to roam

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mikeonb4c » Tue Mar 23, 2021 10:56 pm

My radiator went like that when the Bongo was about about 18 yrs old. They are known to give out with age, where the plastic meets the metal. A new radiator should sort it all and of course make sure the garage bleeds using proper Bongo method.
I Bongo, therefore I am...
Bongoing, BonGoing, BonGone
User avatar
mountainmummy
Bongolier
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:30 pm
Location: Stirlingshire

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mountainmummy » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:10 pm

Hi

Thanks for the replies, thought I'd update you all. New radiator fitted yesterday, van bled up well (according to my mechanic) we picked it up today, gave it a good run and all seems fine.

Hoping to have a run up to Tyndrum at the weekend as we're now allowed out of our council areas a bit earlier than expected up here in Scotland. Just a day trip but will be good to be somewhere a bit different.

9 years of Bongo ownership and the biggest bill we've ever had was £350 back in January for some welding and a new sill.

Hoping we get to use it for actual camping this year and that we can all fit in it. Kids are now 12 & 14 and we've got a dog so it'll be a bit of a squeeze.

:D
Why, oh why did I chose such a naff forum name????
Bob
Supreme Being
Posts: 14693
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Bob » Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:28 pm

Well done Sara

Great to hear Bongy is all better. =D>

We're on our first Bongo trip since things eased, 6 nights in sunny Bewdley, with 2 days out on the Severn Valley Railway.

As you say, just a change of scene is so good. :D
User avatar
Doone
Supreme Being
Posts: 2712
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:58 am
Location: Devon

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Doone » Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:58 pm

That's good to know. :) Many Bongoers are saying they're back on the road again and feeling so much better for it.
Repairing Bongos since 2003, in Plymouth, Devon: http://www.allansvehicleservices.co.uk
User avatar
mountainmummy
Bongolier
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:30 pm
Location: Stirlingshire

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by mountainmummy » Sun May 02, 2021 12:26 pm

Sooo the day after I last posted we drove up the motorway to Stirling, walked up a hill and drove home. All good, no overheating, no strange noises no apparent loss of coolant. That evening I jumped in the van again, started up and the coolant alarm is sounding. Popped the bonnet, coolant below alarm screw but not below the pipe. Topped up with water (about 3/4 litre). Then drove to shop and back. Can see no sign of a leak anywhere, though there are several damp stains and the undertray is moist with something (coolant or oil). I've driven it a few times since, meticulously checking coolant level and it doesn't look to be dropping but I'm too scared to drive far just in case. Anyway to cut a long story short, have ordered UV dye and a torch in the hope this will enable me to identify the location of any coolant loss. Two (silly) questions, do I need to check in the dark? If I can't find any evidence of a leak, would the next step be a block test? Thanks Sara
Why, oh why did I chose such a naff forum name????
Bob
Supreme Being
Posts: 14693
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:54 pm
Location: North Somerset

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Bob » Sun May 02, 2021 7:17 pm

Hi Sara

I can only think checking with the torch in low light would be easiest.

As for the leak, let's hope it's just a pinhole in a hose. [-o<
User avatar
Northern Bongolow
Supreme Being
Posts: 7592
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:33 pm
Location: AKA Vanessa

Re: Bit of steam, top of radiator

Post by Northern Bongolow » Sun May 02, 2021 9:34 pm

It's normal to sometimes have to top up a tad the day after a bleed has been done, if the person has bled it with the funnel method or similar as it relies on the coolant getting hot to open the stat etc, this is done with the the expansion tank cap off, so the system has no pressure in it so the coolant expands more than with the cap on.
Or it could be just a little bit of baby burp trapped and now dislodged.
Everyone is a little nervy after their bongo goes under the knife, that's normal, ( for us). Just keep checking for a week, it should be ok.