AFT Problems

The AFT (Auto Free Top) can be a concern for people, as it sometimes hesitates to go up or down and sometimes gets stuck. Not so bad if it won’t lift, but a real problem when it won’t come down! If I could go back in time and talk with the team that produced the AFT for the Bongo, and be offered one wish – it would be to request a proper mechanical override system.

The following is all of the key information you need to troubleshoot problems, provided by Bongo owners.

Raising the AFT

Is the handbrake on?
(If not, pull it up. There is a switch connected to the rear of the handbrake, which is part of the roof operation circuit).

Is the handbrake light showing on the dashboard?
(If not, remove the centre console and check the wire is attached at the back of the handbrake).

Is the auto gear in Park?
(You will need to be in Park or Neutral, to start the engine).

Is the engine running?
(This helps to maximise the current through the system, by using the engine’s alternator).

Is it beeping when you press the switch?
(Are your fuses okay?) Various fuse arrangements shown here.

Is the van level?
(If you are parked on uneven or sloping ground, this can affect the roof operation. If necessary, drive slowly to an even level, or use levellers to raise the wheels to get a better position).

Has the roof seal become stuck to the roof?
(This can happen in freezing weather conditions, or if the roof has been left closed for several months – run a card around to release it).

Is your open/close switch worn or dirty?
(Sometimes, rocking the switch open and closed a few times, is enough to get things working again. However, if you suspect a problem with the switch, you can prize it out, take it apart, and clean it – see video below, on this page).

Have your motors become corroded and stopped working?
(Generally, this is more likely to occur if you haven’t used the AFT for a few months or more. If it was working very recently, check everything else before moving to this stage. Some people find a way to put a 12 volt supply directly to each motor to test them. If you have to remove the motors, it’s a bit more of a job, removing the interior roof headlining, for access. However, To access the roof motors you only need to pull off the plastic trim pieces located on each side, under, and at back of the roof. They should come out by squeezing them and pulling them downwards. The motors should then be visible).

Lowering the AFT

In addition to all of the above:

Have you pressed the ‘cancel’ button, in the roof?
(Most Bongos have to have the cancel button pressed, before the roof will go down. The thinking behind this, was to make the operator check that the roof space was clear, before lowing the roof. Personally, on my Bongo, this switch didn’t seem to be connected, so raising and lowing was easily done from the main switch, without having to press a cancel button).

Replacement roof seal

Over the years, the rubber seal around the AFT can become perished and ineffective. You may see seals on eBay, but the original seal has a very specific profile:

AFT seal -

Bongo owner, Geoff Mather, says: “It’s designed to fold inside the edge, so that the roof comes down very low otherwise it will keep the roof raised too much and unable to lock down.”

You can buy new, genuine Mazda manufactured seal, from Bongo Fury for around £180 (discount for members), or you may be able to get hold of a reasonable second hand one from one of the Bongo specialists mentioned in the garage businesses of this website.

Mazda bongo roof beep light flashing fault when closed fix problem micro switch:

Switch cleaning, by Geoff Mather:

Roof micro switches diagram

Roof struts
If your roof won’t go all the way up, and leaves the tent looking a bit baggy, you may need to replace your roof struts. In the short term, a gentle push with a stick, whilst the motors are running, will help to extend the roof to full height.

Use a white lithium grease spray (some have PTFE additive) on the runners, rollers, pivot points, etc. Try not to use grease that will collect dust and dirt.


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