Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Disconnect The Battery If You Don't Plan To Drive Your Toyota Alphard For A Long Time

Somehow I didn't get the chance to drive my giant (Toyota Alphard) over the Chinese New Year holiday periods. I was planning to drive the giant to visit relatives and friends as part of the CNY tradition of getting together. Somehow I just left the giant and took the other cars out all the time and didn't even remember to start the car for once in more than 7 days.

So when I try to start the giant today it just won't start. I can hear rattling sound from the engine bay but it just won't kick start the car. The immobiliser indicator on the stachometer started to flash once I pull out the key so I initially thought it has something to do with the immobiliser. However since the flashing light goes off once the key is inserted again, it is obvious that the immobiliser is working properly.

Since I ICEd my car so I have one of those volt meter display installed next to the battery. It was showing around 11.5v which is just slightly less than the required voltage to kickstart the engine. Given that the giant has a large alternator it really need all the power from the battery to start the engine. Interestingly that at this voltage the power door still can be operated (I wanted to test it to see how bad the battery was). Looks like the power door motor don't required so much juice to drive the power door.

Also the IES alarm system I installed doesn't seems to be affected. It continue to operate without any hitch. This is different from other alarm system where the alarm will make annoying buzzing sound when it detected the battery is weak. I think the reason being that this alarm comes with a battery pack that continue to power the system even though the car battery is weak.

Anyway I borrowed a jumper cable from a nearby workshop and jump-started the engine. After driving the giant for a while now the battery is re-charged and maintain a voltage above 12.5v which is sufficient to start the engine. Once the engine is started the voltage will fluctuate between 13.9v to 14.1v.

I must remind myself to frequently start the engine every other day even though I haven't been driving my giant lately. Now you know why every morning the dealers will ask their worker to start the engine of every cars they have on display in the showroom. This is to ensure that the battery are probably charged while the car is on display.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toyota Alphard AS Prime Selection

I have read about the Toyota Alphard 2.4L AS Prime Selection in many places but have never really seen once until today. My SA called me today he has one unit just arrived and I quickly grab my camera and drop by this place to take a few photo shots. In this article I will share with you what I have found in a Prime Selection.

It is a 2006 Pearl White 2.4L AS Prime Selection (Prime Selection is the trim for AS-G Alphard G while Premium Selection is the trim for AS-G Alphard V).

Toyota Alphard Toolbox Cover
As usual I will check the toolbox cover and confirmed that this is a '06 model (July 2006).
Toyota Alphard Side Panel

This car carry the standard model code for AS which is PRPSK and I think the suffix K is for the Prime Selection.

Toyota Alphard 2AZ-FE Engine
The engine is the standard 2AZ-FE 2.4L model and surprisingly the engine compartment is very clean even though the exterior is pretty dirty as it has not been washed yet.

Toyota Alphard Front View

Toyota Alphard Rear View
From the front or the rear you can't tell the diffrenent between the normal AS and AS Prime Selection. Most of the differences are in the interior.

This AS Prime Selection comes with the following features:
Toyota Alphard Steering Wheel

Toyota Alphard Left Dashboard

The panels on the dashboard and the doors are orange wood colour. Normal AS have black wood panel.

Toyota Alphard Alcantara Label
The seats are Alcantara Suede Leather. Actually they are semi-leather where the middle section of each seat are make of Alcantara materials while the side are make of Suede leather.

Toyota Alphard Front Seats

Toyota Alphard Rear Seats
The AS Prime Selection comes with beige colour seats compared to the black colour seats on normal AS.

Other interior features are pretty standard as those in the normal AS.

Toyota Alphard Right Side Button
It comes with twin power doors and AFS projector lights.
Toyota Alphard Left Side Button

It has a lane monitoring system and a power boot too. However it doesn't come with adjustable suspension.

Toyota Alphard Optiron Meter

It has a standard Optiron meter and the mileage on this car is still pretty low.

Toyota Alphard Original Head Unit
The head unit is original but without theatre sound system. It also doesn't come with a roof-mounted LCD.

It has a multi-function steering and come standard with 3 cameras - front, rear and passenger side mirror.
Toyota Alphard Side Camera

This is the view of the 3rd camera from under the passenger side mirror. This feature is only available in the late 2006 and 2007 model.

Toyota Alphard Bicycle Rack

Another nice feature that comes with this car is the bicycle rack fitted at the rear of the car. It looks like a factory fitted feature.

Toyota Alphard 17-inch Rims
Toyota Alphard Tires

On the exterior, it carry the stock factory 17-inch rims but the tires are rather worn. This doesn't reflect the mileage on the car but I guess we can't really tell if this is the original tires that come with this car.

Toyota Alphard Door Handle
It also comes with keyless entry feature for the driver door only.  I also learned how to use the keyless entry method from my SA. it is interesting to know that little black button on the door handle is not for opening the door. In fact it is designed to lock the door. It is very difficult to describe in words how to open the door using the keyless entry method. Anyway this is the same system used in the 2nd generation Alphard/Vellfire so those owners would know how.

Toyota Alphard Owner Manual Bag

Toyota Alphard Owner Manuals

Not sure if this is specific to the Prime Selection but the owner manual booklet bag is also make of Alcantara-like materials which look very classy.

As I explore further I even found a Pre-Delivery Inspection Sheet for this car before it left Japan.

Toyota Alphard Pre-Delivery Checklist

The date on the delivery checklist is Nov 2009 which is very recent and there is no major areas that needs attention of the new owner.

The asking price for this unit is RM215k before negotiation. My SA said this will be come with a local AP.

I think this is a rare model and anyone who buy it will have a one of a kind model around. Not sure who will be the lucky owner of this car.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feb 2010 AOC TT

Last night I join the AOC's TT held in the same old place. It was like an anniversary to the very first major TT they held a year ago in the same location. Back in January last year many founding members of AOC gathered at the location and mooted the idea to form AOC. AOC stands for Alphard Owner Club and it is a gathering of owners of Toyota Alphard.

Since then many founding members have drifted away from AOC so it was nice to meet up with them again last night. I have also not sign on the AOC for almost half a year so I have not meet many of the old faces so I am glad I turn up. As usual many new AOC members also joined the TT to get to meet other members and put some nicks into faces.

From 9:00pm onward, many AOC members started coming in and by 10:30pm we filled a long tables with 16 owners chatting away enthusiatically. The topics of discussions again center around what have other done to their giant (AOC members like to call their Toyota Alphad as giant) and how is their ownership experiences. By about 11:00pm, every decided that it is the customary viewing time for each other giants. Everyone marched to the parking lot outside the cafe and gather around each other giants. Some owners showcase their modifications on the exterior while other climb inside to admire the interior of others giant.

Again I had a busy times answering some questions from newer members on certain features of their giant.

Previously I wrote that retroffiting a feature doesn't equal original was evident in one of the AOC member's giant. He asked me a question what is that "extra" button on his dashboard that he never touches before. After experiementing with the button for a while I confirm that it is the button for the front camera.

As mentioned previously accessory shop here can retrofit a front camera for those giant that doesn't come with a front camera but they can't retrofit the button onto the steering wheel to operate the front camera. This giant already has a front camera button on the steering wheel but it doesn't operate the front camera. When you push that extra button on the dashboard to "ON" position, it switch on the front camera and the front camera view appear on the head unit monitor.

The problem with this kind of retrofitting is that the button operate independent of the ignition switch. That means you can turn on the front camera even when the engine is not started. This means that the owner has to remember to switch off the front camera every time he switch off the engine. Otherwise the front camera (and the head unit monitor) will continue to operate even when the car is not running.

One interesting thing that come out of the disussion is that many owner don't know what's the use of the "AC 100V" button. I have previously highlighted what are those buttons in our giant and briefly cover this button as well.

I also had some interesting discussion with the members on the power sliding door. We experimented with one of the member giant and confirmed that once the petrol tank cover is opened the power door on the passenger side cannot be operated electrically. We can manually pull the power door open and then push it toward the back of the car and it just stop short of hitting the petrol tank cover. There is a built in "stopper" that "sense" that the petrol tank cover is opened and the door will not move any further.

Another test we did is to lower the windows on the passenger side power door. It can be operated electrically and again it will stop half way. This confirm my observation that it has built in safety feature. This feature prevent incident where young kid who stick their head out of the window from hitting the rear panel when the power door is slide open.

Another member encountered an issue with his passenger side power door not opening electrically. Since I didn't remember what's the procedure to reset the power door, I was not able to help him on the spot. I did tell him to send me an email so that I can show him the procedure.

Time passes very quickly and by midnight, many members start to leave and only a few remaining die-hard members stay back and chatted until almost 12:45am before they bid goodbye to each other.