Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Real 2nd Gen Toyota Alphard

My blog has been focusing on the 1st Gen Alphard as that's what I am familiar with. I wasn't planning to do any posting on 2nd Gen Alphard since I can't afford one (now) and I don't have enough information to write something on that model. The only exception so far is that a reader asked me to put together the list of model code for 2nd Gen Alphard. I have to do a bit of research at the Toyota official website to come up with that list.

Recently I did a search on Google and noticed there are a lot of people blog about the new 2nd Gen Toyota Alphard. However one thing that baffle me is that they are not posting the picture/photo of the rear 2nd Gen Toyota Alphard. As I was doing research on the model code for 2nd Gen Toyota Alphard above I l so often looked the photo of the 2nd Gen Toyota Alphard that I instancely can tell how it looks like (see photo below).

If you do a search on the keywords "Toyota Alphard" in Google, the 2nd entry posted the photo of the FT-MV concept car but called it the "New Toyota Alphard 2009". The 11th entry also posted the same photo. As I go through the pages, I saw many other blogs also posted the same photo and yet called it the "Toyota Alphard 2009".

The Toyota FT-MV Concept car was launched in 2007 at the Tokyo Auto Show. The new Toyota Alphard took a lot of the styling cues from the FT-MV concept car hence they look very similar. Paul Tan actually did a write up on the FT-MV Concept car back in 2007.

So everytime I come across a blog showing the FT-MV concept car as the new Toyota Alphard 2009, I will just smile and move on.

PS. As the days goes by, the entry in the Google search results will change so if the above link doesn't work then it might have drop off/move to another position.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How difficult could it be?

I was always wondering how difficult it is to transfer a domain from one host to another host. I have done enough of research on the Net and have also confirmed with my hosting provider and it turn out that it is pretty easy. The steps are:

1. Backup the database from the old server
2. Upload the database to the new server
3. Unlock the domain
4. Transfer the domain
5. Restore the database

That it. Very simple steps and no rocket science is involved. In fact step 3, 4 and 5 are all done by the hosting company so I only need to worry about step 1 and 2.

Unfortunately my last experience trying to do a domain transfer was an unpleasant one.

The AOC domain was hosted in Singapore and the AOC owner has agreed previously to transfer the domain to the local team and host it in Kuala Lumpur. So he pass over the access to the Cpanel so to back up the database was not an issue. He wanted to be just a member and don't want to continue to administer the forum anymore. Well fine so let the local team administer it.

The most important step in the whole transfer exercise is to unlock the domain. So I send a private email to the owner and he said he will asked his staffs to looked into it. On the day when we wanted to do the transfer, the domain was still locked. So another follow up email and this time another email address was given to me. Apparently this is the email address of his brother who is the 'real' owner of this domain. So an email was sent to his brother but he never replied. So what's the last resort?

Well I met with the brother personally and he agreed on the spot that he will unlock the domain once he get back to Singapore. However two weeks go by and still nothing was done. Well as long as the 'owner' of the domain doesn't unlock it, no one can transfer that domain out of the registrar where it is registered to. Also, it is unwise to unlock a domain and leave it unlock for a long time because anyone can take control of that domain.

Further communications via the AOC forum on this matter suddenly become abusive and it turn out to be a unpleasant experience for all. Despite all the private communications, the AOC owner still can't facilitate the transfer in the most pleasant way. Maybe the owner of AOC have no means to convince his brother to unlock the domain so this transfer is definitely not going to happen. I have not dealt with anyone from that island country before and this experience told me that I need to take their promises with a grain of salt. Almost 3 months was wasted to plan and set up for the transfer.

Anyway recently it was highlighted by one of the member that the authority is monitoring the AOC forum. This has created a lot of uneasiness in many AOC forum members so many of them stop posting. As such it would be unwise for the local team to go ahead with the transfer.

We have now found a new place to share our passion about the giant (Toyota Alphard). If anyone is interested to join us, send me an email and I'll send you an invitation.

PS. Recently I came to know that the owner finally transferred the domain to another hosting company but at quite a high cost. Is this the reason why the previous transfer didn't work out. Well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toyota Alphard MZ/MZG Model

The MZ/MZG are high specification model of the 1st Gen Toyota Alphard and both are 3.0L engine model.

The MZ has cloth seats while the MZG comes standard with leather seats. The cloth in the MZ has a slightly different texture from those cloth used in the AX and MX model. The photo below shows the cloth used in the MZ (left) compared those used on the AX/MX model (right)

The MZ model comes in either 7-seaters or 8-seaters arrangement. It has wood panel on the centre console, the left and right side of the dashboard, and the top/bottom of the steering wheel. Shown below is the interior of a PFL MZ.

The interior of a NFL MZ is shown below Again the difference between the PFL and the new NFL model are in the HU and the lighter colour of the wood panel.

Electric driver seat is a standard feature on MZ and MZG.

The MZG is the top of the range model. It has all the features of an MZ with the following additions:

  • Beige-colour Leather seats
  • Auto curtain
  • Cruise control
  • Mini-table in 2nd row on 7 seaters
  • Footrest (odoman) on 7 seaters
  • Heated Driver and Passenger Seats

Also most owners of MZG would normal specify the option of 5.1 theatre sounds system, power boot, VSC and TRC when they purchase the car. Therefore most of the MZG landed here would have the most complete specification of a Toyota Alphard. It is therefore not surprising that the MZG is the most expensive of all the Toyota Alphard model.

Toyota Alphard AS/MS Model

The AS/MS is the sporty version of the 1st Gen Toyota Alphard. It is differentiated from the AX-L/MX-L in the exterior as well as the colour of the interior. The AS/MS model comes in 7-seaters arrangement only. The exterior difference was covered in this post previously.

The AS/MS have all the following features:

  • Head Unit with CD/MD - PFL only
  • Head Unit with DVD, MD, MP3, Bluetooth and 30GB Harddisk (HDD) - NFL only
  • Smart door lock system
  • Front and rear camera
  • Black-wood panel centre console
  • Black interior colour
  • Black colour seats
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Aero bumpers and side skirt
  • Larger diameter tail pipe
  • armrest and back pocket on middle seats of 7-seaters
  • Round-shape front fog lamp

The AS/MS also comes in Alcantara package where the seats are fitted with Alcantara cloth. Shown below is the interior of a PFL AS/MS model.

Toyota Alphard PFL AS/MS Interior The interior of a NFL AS/MS model is shown belowLiToyota Alphard NFL AS/MS Interior

The NFL model comes with a larger HU with LD display.

Since the AS/MS has a sporty exterior, a lot of buyers would like to go for this model but unfortunately the supply of these models are quite low. Hence once a unit is available in any of the dealer it will get taken very fast by those eager buyers.

In the next post, I will cover the MZ/MZG model.

Toyota Alphard AX/MX model

The Toyota Alphard AX/MX edition is the most basic trim available. It comes with minimum features fitted and has beige-colour interior and beige-colour cloth seats. It is only available in 8-seaters trim only. It has orange-wood panel centre console.

Shown below is the interior of a PFL AX/MX model.

Toyota Alphard PFL AX/MX Interior The NFL AX/MX interior is shown below

Toyota Alphard NFL AX/MX Interior The main difference between the PFL and NFL interior are that the wood panel colour in the central console is lighter on the NFL, and the NFL comes with a large HU with DVD/HD/LCD display while the PFL model has a standard CD player fitted.

The AX-L and MX-L is considered the Luxury edition. They are available in either 7 or 8-seaters arrangement. The 7-seaters arrangement is also specifically fitted to cater for those owner who need a side lift seat (or what is called a wellcab).

The AX-L and MX-L have all the following features:

  • CD Player - PFL only
  • Head Unit with DVD, MD, MP3, Bluetooth and 30GB Harddisk (HDD) - NFL only
  • Roof mounted LCD - NFL only
  • smart door lock system
  • sonar sensor
  • Front and rear camera
  • Orange-wood panel centre console
  • Beige interior colour
  • Beige colour Seats
  • 16-inch wheels
  • No body kit
  • armrest and back pocket on middle seats of 7-seaters
  • Tray table on the back of the middle row of 8-seaters
  • Left Power Sliding door (standard)

If the AX/MX has any of the above options fitted, then it is an option that the original owner has chosen when he/she purchased the car in Japan.

In the next post, I will cover the AS/MS model.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What is a Toyota Alphard AX/AS/MX/MS/MZ/MZG Model?

Now that we have covered the different grade of the 1st Gen Toyota Alphard. Let look at what are those model type mean.

Let starts with the engine variant. The 1st generation Toyota Alphard is offered in either the 2.4L or 3.0L engine specification.











To denote whether the model is a 2.4L or 3.0L, Toyota uses the alphabet A in it model type to signify this is a 2.4L engine variant and the alphabet M for 3.0L engine variant. Next is the different edition available for each engine variant. The table below summarizes the available editions.

For each edition above, they are available in either 7-seaters or 8-seaters and 2-WD or 4-WD variant. This is the reason why it is so confusing for some buyers!

The 2nd alphabet in the table above represent the trims configurations available each of the edition. For example, the X indicates basic trims while the S indicates sport trims. The trimming is for both in the interior as well as the exterior. The 3rd alphabet L indicates that it is a Luxury version. The 3.0L has the MZ and MZG edition where the difference is in mainly the interior fittings.

From the exterior look perspective, the AX/MX/MZ are considered as the standard grade. The AS/MS has it own grade. Pricing wise, the AS/MS grade will definitely has a higher price than it sibling due to the sportier configuration.

In the next post, I will talk about the AX/MX model.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Three Grade of 1st Gen Toyota Alphard

I have been comtemplating to write a post on the different grade and type of 1st gen Toyota Alphard but has been stucked because there are just so many combinations to list out based on my research on this subject. I have been putting this on hold for quite a while now as I was not really sure how to put it in a way that make sense for most potential buyers. Then I read a book on another subject and it talks about keeping it simple. So it just dawn on me that why not just write on what's relevant from a reader viewpoint.

So this is a (hopefully) the first of the many posts on the different specification on 1st Gen Toyota Alphard. This post start with the different grades available for the 1st Gen Toyota Alphard.

From the exterior perspective, there are really 3 different grades which are the standard grade, MS/AS and Hybrid.

The standard grade consists of MZ, MX and AX model. For these 3 grades, the design are boxy conventional minivan look and come with standard 16-inch rims. The photo below shows a pre-facelifted standard grade (on the left) and a face-lifted standard grade.

Toyota Alphard Standard Grade The MS/AS grade come with aerokit in the form of a sportier bumper and larger rim to emphasize the sportier design. The photo below shows a prefacelifted MS/AS grade (on the left) and a face-lifted MS/AS grade.
Toyota Alphard MS/AS Grade The Hybrid is very similar to the standard grade except the grille and the bumper design. Of course the Hybrid sports the Toyota Hybrid System-CVT including a 2.4-litre gasoline engine, front and rear electric motors, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), high-output hybrid battery pack and an E-Four electric four-wheel drive system. The photo below shows a pre-facelifted Hybrid grade (on the left) and a face-lifted Hybrid grade.

Toyota Alphard Hybrid Grade I have previously covered the different between pre-facelift and face-lifted model in this post. Basically the difference are in the front headlight, rear tail lamp and the grille.

Some additional notes on 1st Gen Toyota Alphard are:

- MZ/MZ/MS comes with 3.0L engine (1MZ-FE)
- AX/AS comes with 2.4L engine (2AZ-FE)

The V and G model are supply by two different dealers. Toyota Netz supply V model while ToyoPet supply G model. I have cover the different between V and G grille in this post.

In the next several posts, I will try to explore what is offered in each of these grades.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Maintenance Reminders In The HU on Toyota Alphard

One of the feature provided by the G-Book Information button is the maintenance reminder. It is a very simple setup where you enter the date and mileage when you should be reminded on the next maintenance interval for a particular maintenance item. In this post, I will show you how to utilize the maintenance screen.

Start by pressing the G-Book (情報-G) button to bring up it main menu.
Toyota Alphard G-Book Main Menu
Touch the Maintenance (メンテナンス) button to bring up the Maintenance Settings screen.Toyota Alphard Maintenance Screen On this screen, you find the following maintenance items (from top left to bottom right of the first two rows):
  1. Engine Oil Change (エンジンオイル交換)
  2. Oil Filter Change (オイルフィルターを交換)
  3. Tire Rotation (タイヤローテーション)
  4. Tire Change (タイヤ交換)
  5. Battery Change (バッテリー交換)
  6. Brake Pad Change (ブレーキパッド交換)
  7. Wiper Comb Change (ワイパーコム交換)
  8. Coolant Water Change (冷却水交換)
  9. Brake Fluid Change (ブレーキフルート交換)
  10. ATF Change (ATF交換)
The last row is for you to enter the personal items which I will cover later.

To enter the reminder information, press any of the first 0 button above and you'll get a screen similar to the one shown below
Toyota Alphard Maintenance Entry

If you have previously enter a maintenance reminder for that item, you should touch the Erase Setting (設定消去) button to clear the value for this maintenance item. You can also touch the Automatic Renewal (自動更新) button to automatically renew the item based on previously entered value.

Touch the Notification Date (お知らせ日) button which will bring up this screen for you to enter the date in Year/Month/Day format (Japanese format). Toyota Alphard Maintenance Date
Touch the Complete (完了) button to return to the previous screen.

Touch the Notification Distance (お知らせ距離) button to enter the mileage when this item was changedToyota Alphard Maintenance Mileageand then lastly enter the mileage from when the next change should be made.

For some items, you'll only enter the date while other you will have to enter all 3 values.

Touch the Setting Complete (設定完了) button and it will ask you to confirm the action, touch the Yes (はい) button to confirm it.

Toyota Alphard Confirmation Screen

When you touch any one of the 5 Personal Item (パーソナル項目) button, you will be brought to this screen.Toyota Alphard Maintain Personal Item
On this screen, you can enter reminder value for the following personal items:
  1. Professional Care 10 (プロケア10)
  2. 12 months inspection (12ヶ月点検)
  3. Car Inspection (車検)
  4. Coated Glass (ガラスコート)
  5. High Polymer Maintenance (ハイポリマー メンテナンス) ?
  6. Air filter change (エアフィルター交換)
  7. Insurance Renewal (保険満了)
  8. Driving Permit Renewal (免許証更新)
  9. Air Cleaner (エアクリーナー)
  10. V-belt (Vベルト)
  11. Personal Reminder (パーソナル リマインダ)

When you touch on any of the button it will bring up the same reminder screen as the standard maintenance item shown above for you to enter the value.

Back at the Maintenance screen, remember to touch on the Do (する) button next to words Auto Reminder (自動通知) at the top right of the screen to enable the automatic reminder.

This will ensure that you'll be reminded on those item(s) that you have entered maintenance information when the mileage for that reminder has been reached. When the mileage for a particular mainteannce has been reached or the date has been reached, a message will pop-up in the LCD to remind you.

It is interesting to note that the Japanese has thought of all these for their car owners.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AOC August TT

Last Saturday, AOC central region members organized another TT for new members. It was held at the restaurant in Taman Tasik Permaisuri in Cheras. That location is quite a good place for TT as they have ample parking spaces to cater for the giants (Toyota Alphard). A total of 22 AOC members turned up for this TT.

I was not planning to attend initially as I have other prior appointment. Since I have a last minute cancellation, I dropped by after 3pm to join the TT. By the time I arrived at the restaurant, quite a lot of AOC members already there. After the normal greeting to regular members and introduction of new members, everyone sat down and have a lively chat on all thing related to our giant.

Some members also went out under the hot sun to admire the giants of other members.

Many of the new members also take the opportunities to learn more about their giants from each others. Also this is a good time to make new friends and to put a face to the nick name (as they appear in the AOC forum) for those who have not met each other.

The TT ended around 6:30pm when the last group bid farewell to each other and looking forward to the next TT.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Model Code for 2nd Gen Alphard/Vellfire

So far, my blog has cover only the 1st generation Toyota Alphard. This is my first post on anything related to the 2nd generation Toyota Alphard/Vellfire. After I posted the model codes for 1st gen Toyota Alphard, I have received a request from an AOC member to also put up the model codes for 2nd generation Toyota Alphard and/or Vellfire. After I did a bit of research on the Toyota official website, I managed to compile the following table:

Model Code






05/2008 -


350G L Package V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S


05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -


350G V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S with Side Lift Seat


05/2008 -


350S C Package V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S


05/2008 -


350S V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S *1


05/2008 -




05/2008 -


350S V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S with Side Lift Seat


05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -


240S V VAN 2AZFE 7SCVTi 07S *2


05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -


240X V VAN 2AZFE 7SCVTi 07S with Side Lift Seat



05/2008 -


3.5Z G Edition V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S


05/2008 -


3.5Z V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S *3


05/2008 -




05/2008 -


3.5Z V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S with Side Lift Seat


05/2008 -


3.5V L Package V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S


05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -


3.5V V VAN 2GRFE 6SETC 07S with Side Lift Seat


05/2008 -




05/2008 -


2.4Z V VAN 2AZFE 7SCVTi 07S *3


05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -




05/2008 -


2.4X V VAN 2AZFE 7SCVTi 07S with Side Lift Seat

Similar to the model codes for 1st gen Toyota Alphard, the 1st column in the above table is the model code that you will see in a 2nd gen Alphard/Vellfire's chassis number plate. An example is shown below.
Toyota Alphard Chassis Logo for 2ng GenThe 2nd column indicate the years in which this model was manufactured. The 3rd column indicate the frame type. ANH is the frame code for 2.4L model while GGH is the frame code for 3.5L model. The two digits after that indicates whether it is a 2WD (20) or a 4WD (25). In the table I only listed the 2WD model. Just substitute the numeral 20 with 25 for a 4WD model.

The 4th column indicates the characteristics of this car. The first set of alphabet is the model type. The Alphard will have the designation of 350 or 240 while the Vellfire will have the designation of 3.5 or 2.4. The next character Z/V/S/X is to indicates what fittings are available the model type. I will not go into details here as there are a lot of combination for each model type.

The next set of alphabet shows that it is of VAN (V) body type. The next set of code is the engine code (2AZFE for 2.4L and 2GRFE for 3.5L). The next set of alphabet shows the gear shift type (6SETC - 6 speed super ETC and 7SCVTi - 7 speed super continous variable timing) and final set of alphabet indicates whether it is a 7 seaters (07S) or 8 (08S) seaters. Some model also come fitted with side left seat to aid disable/elder to get in or out of the giant.

Note: Recently Toyota launched a few more variant of the Alphard/Vellfire. The side note in the table above indicates the following:

*1 350S “Prime Selection” Edition also share the same model code. It has Alcantara seats, and brown woodgrain for steering wheel, front door trim, shifting lever and shifting knob.

*2 240S “Limited” Edition also shared the same model code. It has special body colour (grey metallic) and special interior colour. It comes with twin power doors, original gross brown woodgrain decoration (for center cluster and folding side table).

*3 Vellfire 2.4Z and 3.5Z “Platinum Selection” shared the same model code as the 2.4Z and 3.5Z model. It is equipped with power boot, Alcantara seats, and brown woodgrain for steering wheel, front door trim, shifting lever and shifting knob.

Return visit to an almost forgotten food outlet

In one of the thread in AOC forum a member was going through his list of favourite food outlets and I saw a place he mentioned that I have not been there for almost 15 years. I was surprised that this shop is still around after all these years. That place is called Hing Ket Grill House in Kampung Jawa, Klang.

The last time I was there was with a group of friends which include my wife while I was still single! This shop is famous for their grill lamb then and we always order grill lamb whenever we visited it. Back then to get to that shop, the only access road was from Federal Highway and have to pass through a single lane bridge. You'll have to wait for the cars on their other side of the bridge to pass first before you drive through. A short distance after the bridge and you'll see the shop on your right.

For some reason, the shop just didn't come up in my mind everytime we want to go for seafood in the Klang area. The mention of this outlet by that member bring it back to my memory. I wanted to revisit this place again one of this day.

Today my wife came home and out of the blue suggested that we should have seafood. I said why not we try out Hing Ket after all these years. So off we go in our giant looking for the shop. Initially I was hesitant to take the giant out since there has been quite a lot of JPJ road block lately. However given that it is almost sunset, I guess it is safe to go out with the giant today.

I wasn't sure of the location of this shop now that we are using the Kesas Highway to go there. I look up the Net and found a map that shows it location. Unfortunately that map was not correct so I have to call the shop to get better direction. When we get to the shop, the parking lot is filled with cars. We have to wait for a while for one of the customer to leave before we get to park the giant.

The shop is used to be a shack and it still hasn't change much except that the place where they grill the food is now partitioned with cement walls. Even on a weekday, there are still quite a lot of customer but not full. We ordered a grill crab, two grill sotong and a plate of "tang hun" noodle. We wanted to go for the grill lamb too but my wife saw how they burn the meats on the grill so decided not to try it this time.

The "tang hun" came first and it is alright but nothing to shout about.
The grill sotong came about 20 minutes later and we both agree that it looks good from the outside but after a first bite it was nothing special.

The sotong was just bland without any grill taste and it was on the hard side. We will not be ordering sotong again if we go back there.

Then another 25 minutes wait before the grill crab finally came. The size of the crab is a little bit disappointing as we expected a bigger crab.

Anyway, the crab meat was just nice and tasty. If not for the crab, we would think that this place don't deserve a second visit. This is what left of the crab after the meal!

The biggest let down of the whole experience is that they are slow. It took us almost two hours just to sample 3 dishes even though the outlet is not packed. We were originally thinking of adding a grill fish as well but were glad we didn't commit to it.

Will we go back again? Maybe we will give it one more try but we will definitely stick to the safe choices - grill crab and grill lamb.

PS. As for the direction to this outlet. If you are coming from Kesas Highway, take the Kampung Jawa exit (3rd tolls if you are coming from Cheras), and turn right. Go straight until you reach a small roundabout, take the 12 o'clock and go straight till you pass an Esso petrol station on your left. Look out on the left after an Indian temple. The shop is at the bend on your left. If you miss it, look out for a big mosque on your right and you can u-turn back.

What's the ruling on privacy glass?

Recently several members of the AOC was given an inspection notice (Arah Periksa Kenderaan) in several road blocks set up by JPJ (our Road Transport Department) on the privacy glass in their giant (Toyota Alphard). It seems JPJ now deems that the privacy glass in our giant doesn't meet the specification for tinting.

But what is the guideline on the specification on privacy glass for imported car like the Toyota Alphard? The JPJ website doesn't has specific guideline on this and the only way to read the above ruling is listed in theis page. Unfortunately it is written in Bahasa Malaysia which translate to "all the glass at front must have vehicle light transmission (VLT) >70% while side and rear glass must have VLT > 50%". If this is the ruling apply by JPJ then I guess all Toyota Alphard imported into this country would not pass the specification. Also, without a clear guideline, they are only issuing the inspection notice rather then issuing a summon to the owner for violation.

Then the question would be if JPJ doesn't allow imported car to have privacy glass that doesn't meet the specification, why would the dealers are allow to import these vehicles into the country.

The logic goes that our Ministry of Trade International (MITI) issues permits for vehicles to be imported. Its permits specify brand, model, etc but does not go into details regarding specification for privacy glass. Then our Customs Department is only interested in whether the cars have a legal Approved Permit and determine any payable tax. With these two conditions met, the cars get into the country legally and cannot actually be stopped since they meet importation laws.

The issue starts when the cars are sent to JPJ for registration. JPJ will evaluate the cars on technical specifications which must comply with our Vehicle Construction Rules, which include permissible levels of tinting. This is where the problem starts. JPJ will find that the tinting is beyond permissible levels but because it is not a film and actually the glass itself, it cannot be changed just like that. But the importer has already sold it to the dealer and the dealer has a customer who has paid a deposit for it.

To get around this ruling, the dealers will change these dark glasses (temporarily) to clear glasses before sending the car to Puspakom for inspection. After getting the report back from Puspakom verifying that the glass has passed inspection, the dealer changed the glasses back to the original dark one before delivering to the customer. From the customer perspective, since there is an approval by Puspakom, then there shouldn't be any problem with JPJ. The recent operation by JPJ seems to indicate that they are strictly enforcing their ruling on privacy glass.

There has been many attempt by JPJ to enforce the ruling on tinting before and their efforts was stopped by the Government several times. I am wondering if this is an indication that they are going all out to target all Toyota Alphard owners.

The privacy glass on the pre-facelift model is actually darker than those on the new-facelift model. Therefore if this new "ruling" by JPJ is strictly enforced, then all pre-facelift model owners will have to change the privacy glass to clear glass. I don't know if the new-facelift model privacy glass will pass the specification but very unlikely.

Another AOC member who recently bought a 2nd generation Toyota Alphard was also "caught" in a recent operation and was also asked to change the privacy glass. I don't know how long all Alphard owners can hold out before they see the next JPJ Operation and get a notice in their hand. I am not looking forward to that day myself. In the AOC forum, many members have started a discussion on putting up community voice to the media to highlight this concern.

I heard that our Transport Minister also drive a Toyota Alphard. I wonder if he has to change his privacy glass!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Alphard Owner's Club

If you own an Toyota Alphard in either Malaysia or Singapore and you are not aware the existence of a Alphard Onwers' Club in existence, head over to

Back in late December last year, a few enthusiatic Alphard Owners mooted the idea of forming an Alphard Owners Group. The objective is to have a common place for passionate Alphard owners to share their knowledge on their giants as there are not much information available on Alphard on the Net other than Japanese website.

On the 1st week of January, a dozen or so Alphard owners who used to meet at the Toyota MPV threads in the Motor Trade Online Forum met for the 1st time in a little café in Bukit Jalil. When I said passionate, I really mean it because the first gathering actually have Alphard owners coming all the way from Johor Bahru and Singapore! The group agreed to set up a dedicated forum for Alphard Owners. A fellow member from Singapore took up the challenge and offer to set up this forum on his own expenses. On January 8, 2009, the Alphard Owners' Club (AOC) online forum was officially launched. Even though the forum is called AOC, it is not an official club registered with ROC yet. There is plan to register the club eventually but at the moment, it still exist as an online forum only.

Within the first month, there is already 95 members joined the forum. The founding members that forms the online forum have been actively participating to make the forum more lively from the very beginning. There hasn't been much publicity done to promote this forum but through words of mouth, more and more Alphard owners found the forum and started becoming a member. As of the writing of this post, the forum just passed the 600 members mark after almost 7 months in existence. I believe the number of new members will continue to grow in the coming months. Hopefully we can pass the magical 1,000th member mark before the end of this year.

Currently the forum has members from all over the world. By then I mean other than majority of the members from West Malaysia and Singapore, we have members from East Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Hongkong, New Zealand, Ireland and St Lucia (West Indies/Caribbean - the one and only one Alphard on that island!). Not all members own an Alphard but we do welcome them. Maybe after they learn more about the giant, one day they will become an Alphard owner too.

Currently the online forum has many threads covering various topics including General Discussions, Technical Discussions and the Classified Section. The forum is only accessible by registered member hence general public will not be able to view any of the topics posted in the forum.

The founding members have also been very active in organizing various event trying to attract more members. Since January this year, the following major events were organized for the members:

March 14, 2009 : Day 1 - Gathering of Alphard Owners in Putrajaya; Day 2 - a Day Trip Convoy to Genting Highland
Apr 25th, 2009 : Gathering of Alphard Owners in Awan Besar Rest Area
May 9th, 2009 : Convoy to Kuala Selangor
Jun 6th, 2009 : Gathering of Alphard Owners in Bukit Jalil Golf Driving Range
July 25th, 2009 : Durian Trip to Bentong and Raub.

In between there are also many smaller TT gathering in various locations in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Johor Bahru and Singapore for Alphard owners in those regions. This month we hope the planned TT for Brunei Alphard owners will be a successful event. The next major event is the proposed family day for Alphard owner somewhere in a beach resort down south during the next school holiday.

If you would like to become a member of this fun-fill forum head over to

Below are photos of some of the major events.

Toyota Alphard Gathered At Putrajaya
Toyota Alphard at Putrajaya BridgeToyota Alphard in Genting Highland
Toyota Alphard Gathered At Awan Besar

AOC Convoy in July 2009

Two weeks ago, the Alphard Owner Club (AOC) group orgainized its 2nd outstation drive for the year.

AOC is curently not an official club yet but there are plans to formally register it with the Register of Societ once all the paper works are done.
Most of the members of AOC currently "meet virtually" at the online forum ( In fact other those members who regularly meet up during TT, there are members who joined this drive without even met any of other members! But the spirit of AOC prevail and those who are able to make it come forward to make this event a success. Also, many bring along their family members to join in the fun.

All togther, a total 17 Toyota Alphard turn up on a sunny Saturday for the convoy. Member from as far as Penang and Johor Bahru joined the convoy as well.
All members gathered at the petrol station after the Gombak Toll as early as 9:00am for breakfast and then the briefing for the convoy.
Toyota Alphard at Gombak Toll Courtesy of Bro Tamkm54

Once all the cars has been assigned the convoy number, the convoy was led off by our organizer bro Bigphil.

The convoy depart the petrol station onto the Karak Highway heading toward the Bentong exit. Being a weekend, there was not any heavy vehicle traffic so the drive was very smooth. The group stop by at the Petronas station just before the Karak toll to pickup two members who over shoot the rendezvous point!

Toyota Alphard Convoy to Bentong Toyota Alphard Convoy Waiting at Petronas Station
The group departed the highway and turn into Bentong town where we got into a bit of local traffic as we negotiate our way to drop by at one of Bentong famous ais kacang shop. It was nice to find that there is just enough parking space to cater for all 17 giants. Apparently we are not the only tourists to this shop as we there are already many others customers there enjoying the shop specialty which is the ais kacang or their own brand of ice cream.

After the group has quence their thirst, we have out first group photo.

Courtesy of Bro Tamkm54

The next item in the itenerary is the main event - Durian Feast. The group depart for Raub to one of the durian farm to feast on the King of Fruit. The route to Raub is a stretch of winding trunk roads that cut across many tiny towns. Contrary to popular belief, the trunk road is actually well paved and wide enough to accommodate the giant. I am sure many in the convoy must have enjoy driving on such roads compare to the monotonous constant speed cruising on our highway.

However the slip road to the durian farm is quite a challenge tough as it is narrow and can barely allow two cars to pass each other. After a 10 minutes of manevouring over pot holes ridden road, we finally arrived at the durian farm.

After short walk from the cars into the farm, the durians and other local fruits are already waiting for us.

Above photo courtes of bro Tamkm54

Everyone take turn to try the various variety of durians such as D2, D101, D24, Gua Musang, Bamboo legs etc.

After the durian feast, the convoy now heads to the Camang waterfall. The journey take the group back toward Bentong town and head towards Camang. Again the road leading to the Camang waterfall is narrow and winding. By the time we arrived at the waterfall the car park is already full. Apparently this waterfall is a favourite weekend hideout for many local. We have to drive out and park at the other car park at a higher ground.

The children had a great time playing in the shallow section of the stream below the waterfall.

Around 5:30pm, the group reconvene at the car park again and took one more group photo before our return journey.
Toyota Alphard at Camang Waterfall Courtesy of Bro Tamkm54

We bid goodbye to each other and then the convoy make our way back to Kuala Lumpur and all giants return home safely.

For more information on AOC and it activities, logon to

Monday, August 3, 2009

Model Code for 1st Gen Toyota Alphard

I was looking through some parts reference site and found the following information that will be useful. The table below shows the model code for all the 1st generation Toyota Alphard.

Model CodeFrom FrameCharacteristics
MNH10W-PFPGK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10MX V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH10W-PFPQK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10 MZ V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH10W-PFPSK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10MS V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH10W-PRPGK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10MX V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S
MNH10W-PRPQK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10MZ V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S
MNH10W-PRPSK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH10MS V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S
MNH15W-PFPGK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MX V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH15W-PFPQK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MZ V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH15W-PFPSK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MS V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 07S
MNH15W-PRPGK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MX V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S
MNH15W-PRPQK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MZ V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S
MNH15W-PRPSK05/2002 - 03/2005MNH15MS V VAN 1MZFE 4FC 08S

The 1st column is the model code that you will see in your giant's chassis number plate. An example is shown below.
Toyota Alphard Chassis Number
The 2nd column indicate the years in which this model was manufacture. The 3rd column indicate the frame type. ANH is the frame code for 2.4L model, ATH is the frame code for Hybrid model while MNH is the frame code for 3.0L model. The two digits after that indicates whether it is a 2WD (10) or a 4WD (15).
The 4th column indicates the characteristics of this car. The first two alphabet is the model type (AX/AS/MX/MS/MZ). The next set of alphabet shows that it is of VAN (V) body type. The next set of code is the engine code (2AZFE for 2.4L and 1MZFE for 3.0L). The next set of alphabet shows the gear shift type (4FC - 4 speed automatic floor shift and 5FC - 5 speed automatic floor shift) and final set of alphabet indicates whether it is a 7 seaters or 8 seaters.
If you see a giant and wanted the absolute confirmation, just match the model code of that giant to the table above to verify the model and characteristic.
Hope this help with the identification of your giant.

Update: I have uploaded the table here. Click the link to download it.

Less AP so the price maintain

I got a call last week from a fellow forum member who enquire on what to look out for as he is looking for his giant (Toyota Alphard). We spoke at length on the various models and features that comes with each model.

Last week I took a drive to the dealer whom I bought my giant from. I was surprised to see that his yard has only a few unit of giant remaining. I remember when I was searching for my giant at his yard 7 months ago, his yard was full of giants. So I enquire with my Sales Advisor (SA) what's going on there. He highlighted that lately there is a lack of Approved Permit (AP) hence the lack of supply of cars.
The rumours goes that there is a new person looking after the AP issuance now and strictly enforce the usage of the AP. It seems owner of AP cannot sell the AP to dealers anymore. Also, dealer who is also AP holder must display their car within their own yard and hence non-AP holder who is getting their cars from those AP holders must now ask their customer to visit the yard of the AP holder. This will make it difficult for the non-AP holder dealer to sell their car now and inconvenient the customer to have to go to different places to see the car and then back to the dealer yard to negotiate the price etc.
I actually asked the SA to show me what he got and he took me to another dealer yard 5 minutes drive from his place. I had a look at that giant which is same year and selling the same price as mine but come with one less power door, no bluetooth and no roof-mounted LCD. Looks like the price of the giants has maintained for the last 6 months.
Due to the lack of supply of AP, the number of giants that are brought in also getting less. I also took a trip to Cheras AutoCity a week later to check out the availability of giants there. I remember back in early January I visited AutoCity almost every weekend just to check out if any new giant have arrived at the dealer yards.
Back then, almost every dealer would have a few unit of giants in their yard waiting for buyers. However, this time I noticed that only a handful of dealers are have stock for the giants. These dealers are also AP holder so they can afford to import the giants.
Also I noticed some of the larger dealers also started to import the 2nd generation Toyota Alphard and Toyota Vellfire. That means the number of 1st generation Toyota Alphard imported will also be smaller as the dealer will make more money selling 2nd generation Alphard/Vellfire as these cars cost almost double the price of the 1st generation.

While I was there, I did check out a few dealers to find out what spec are available now. Most the 1st generation Alphard are either 2005 or 2006 2.4L new facelift model. However, the spec are quite low compared to what was available many months ago. Most of them has one power door, rear camera and HU without the bluetooth function. There were some with twin power door but fitted with after market HU that don't come with bluetooth function.
The 2005 model was asking for RM185K onward while the 2006 model is going for RM195K before negotiation. Given that the spec of these cars are not high, I would imagine the price should be lower. But then since there is lack of AP which means less car to choose from so it also drive the price high up again. I would recommend any potential buyer to wait for another batch to get a better spec giant.

Ultrasonic sensor triggered

I was doing my online application for a forum today and then suddenly I got a call from my car. Yes, thats right. As I have installed an IES GSM alarm system onto my giant (Toyota Alphard), it will "call" me whenever any of the sensor in the alarm system is triggered. I quickly rush to the balcony and have a look. Well, no one was near the car so what's trigger it? The alarm also sent me an SMS stating "Ultrasonic Sensor trigger". So something has triggered the ultrasonic sensor.

Then I suddenly remembered I did wound down the windows this morning to "air" the car. The place is very windy now so the breeze has blown into the car and triggered the ultrosonic sensor. I did experimented with this feature before during the installation of the alarm system. The installer did demo'ed it to me by blowing air from the fan through the opened window and it triggered the ultrasonic sensor. Well imagine that even breezes can trigger the ultrasonic sensor, any movement in the car will definitely trigger the ultrasonic sensor. Now I am very confident that this alarm system can provide preventive warnings to me.

I went down to the car to wind up all the windows and now it is back to normal again.

PS. The ultrosonic sensor can be a nuisance at time especially when you are at the petrol station. The moment all the doors are closed the ultrosonic sensor will be activated, any movement from your family members waiting in the car will trigger the sensor and the alarm will be activated. The only way to avoid that is to leave the driver door unlocked, which is something I would try to avoid as much as possible.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Follow Up Since My Last Incident

After I have fitted the IES GSM alarms in to my giant. I am glad that my phone has not received a single SMS on further attempts. I hope it will never send me any SMS at all. To make sure that it is really working I am going to test it twice a week to ensure that it is functioning.

Also I have fixed the immobilizer light blinking issue. After the locksmith has replaced the ignition module, he couldn't reset the immobilizer light from lighting up and blinking continously whenever I drive the giant (Toyota Alphard). According to the locksmith, he had never encountered such an issue before. He said he has to do some research and get back to me on it. So I was driving the giant with this blinking light on for a few days. Two days ago, he came to my place and reset that light and now it is no longer blinking. I am really glad that this is finally fixed.

Today the Joint Management Body (JMB) of my condominium has their 2nd Annual General Meeting (AGM). I took the opportunity to say my case. During the questions and answer session, I highlighted the attempted break in to steal my car and also the needs to beef up the security in the compound. They Head of Security promised to look into it and has also directed the Management Office officer to give priority in ensuring the security guards take extra percaution near the area where the break in attempt occured. I will continue to monitor how well the security guards are doing their job. I will continue to provide feedback to the JMB to ensure that such incident will not happen again.

I spoke to another owner during the break and she mentioned that her car was stolen from the compound 1 1/2 year ago. Even though the compound is now being guarded by a new security firm, I still want to make sure that I have all the precaution to ensure that my giant is safe.