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New Owner/Member and Acquiring our Alphard, 3.0 V6 2005


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We, being me and my wife, Tricia, are now the proud owners of a 2005, 3.0, V6, Alphard. Am I allowed to explain the journey? Admin will delete I'm sure, if we aren't.

 

I have been looking at Alphard's for about a year. It all started when we began thinking about small day/camper vans, and then our lad bought a VW Camper, which he raved about, but due to lockdown, we didn't get to see it in the flesh, (so to speak), until last month. VW Campers have that cache I think, (and as I have discovered a bit undeserved), but people were asking silly money for them. Every now and again I would trawl through Alphard and Elgrand listings on the usual sites, and just before Christmas pointed them out to my wife, who went 'Nah', as wives do if it is your idea!

 

The 'wonderboy' visited our home, (Highland Perthshire), in his day van, which proved a boon, as my wife thought it wasn't up to much. Especially as his return journey to Gloucester was marred by a gearbox failure, and guess who didn't have breakdown insurance, Doh! (And he's a Sergeant in the RAF who should know better). A week later my wife peers over the top of her laptop and says, 'Have you seen these? Aren't they lovely', (Alphard's and Elgrand's), Humph! was my thought, but it just isn't worth going there, she's from Yorkshire and could argue with her own shadow!

 

So we started searching - Alphard or Elgrand? 2.5 or 3.0 V6? converted or not converted? Preferred colour? Stick locally or spread the net wide? Dealer or Private Sale? Lessons learnt at this stage; Alphard for preference, I think they have a cleaner line and are very eye-catching, 3.0 V6 for preference as it seems to have a bit of 'grunt' when required, people talk about fuel economy and I'll mention that later. White, again for preference, and, I would usually go for dealer as an option as you have more comeback if something went wrong, but some of the dealer choices were over-priced. Plus as always do your homework and have a look at the 'real' dealer reviews, not the phony good ones. As an aside I heard of a dealer who asked the customer to write a 5 star review whilst the customer was still on the forecourt in return for a £20 Asda voucher - once written it is difficult to retract later. 

 

Things sped up suddenly, as I was only browsing, (obsessively every night, during the Yorkshire Vet - bloody Yorkshire!). However my wife's employer, and as it happens best friend, died suddenly, and the day after her funeral Tricia said, can we please get a Campervan now, as life is too short to wish you had done something you always wanted to do. You don't have to ask twice!

 

We found Mark and Daisy's 3.0 V6 Alphard, (2005), on both ebay and facebook and made contact -they lived about as far away from us as you can get without crossing the channel, but we did a whatsapp tour, at the end of which was the comment - please can we buy it, and we'll pay a deposit now. Mark was happy to sell, but not happy to lose the van - "Dog Forces Sale", was the reason, (shoot the dog, no, did I just say that!).

 

That was Friday - next question, how to get from Pitlochry to Kent in a day and back again? We have two dogs, one of whom is quite old and incontinent, so not readily foisted onto kind neighbours. Flying by sleazyjet, no chance! Ryanair - I'd rather walk over hotcoals! Drive, hmmm, maybe, but that means driving two cars back - not ideal. Train then - any strikes on Monday, doesn't appear to be, so, train it is then. Do you know how much a single fare to Rochester is on the following Monday? It's OK, I'll tell you, £214, if we left it to Tuesday, £411! and that's with Veteran Railcards!

 

Leaving Pitlochry at 0819hrs meant we were up and in our local taxi at 0645hrs. Mark would meet us at the Station in Rochester, due in at 1525hrs. I can't remember the last time I travelled by train, but I can assure you it is not an experience I wish to repeat anytime soon, I'll gloss over most of it, except Wifey and I weren't sat together, because of lack of seating, and the whatsapp messages got grumpier and grumpier as we travelled South. Take note next Prime Minster, I am now a very firm anti HS2 protester, and I am thinking of chaining myself to a tree, (any tree will do). Rather than invest an obscene amount of money to cut the journey time from Manchester to London by 10 minutes, which benefits nobody as far as I can see, spend that money on reinvigorating our existing rail network, not to mention the appalling state of the motorways. Anyway, 1 hour and 45 minutes late we met Mark in the Station car-park and headed for the Alphard.

 

By now we think we know what we are getting, but actually driving it as a long journey experience is very different - and actually, very much what we hoped for. It was 558 miles from Kent to home, done in a series of bounds which my wife and I are very familiar with, but a series of over night motorway closures along the M1/M6 and M74 put a serious dent in our time estimates. We did have to catch a couple of hours sleep in the van on the way up which helped. Petrol consumption, I think, worked out well, around 28-30 mpg, which is better than my Discovery and far better than a works Volvo XC90 I have access to, (don't get one, they are crap). The van ate the miles at a steady 65 - 70, but I do miss that Cruise Control. It is very comfortable though, I think my wife reclined her seat back just outside London and didn't really wake up until we got to Pitlochry, well into the following day.

 

Things on my mind that I need to purchase or sort out immediately:

 

  • Regimental Cap-Badge - sorry, once a Gunner always a Gunner.

 

  • Decent Alloy Wheels - I think the Toyota ones aren't brilliant and it could look better. Can you change to 17" alloys without modifications? If you have any recommendations that would be kind.

 

  • Change the Japanese configured head unit for one that will run Android Car-Play. Has anyone done this, is it easy to do yourself? Could Halfords do it - any advice please.

 

  • Fit Cruise Control?

 

  • Underseal - I've seen somewhere, facebook I think, where someone tried to do it themselves - I'll pass.

 

Our first away day is planned for a couple of days hence - visit other son, who is a downhill mountain biking 'Dude' in Fort William, who only works in the Black Isle Brewery for something to do when he is not 'Downhilling', (not a clue!). Return via the Great Glen to Inverness.

 

So that's us - sorry it is a bit long. I look forward to joining in with the Forum, and if you are in the Loch Rannoch area, stop in for a chat and a brew, with your Alphard of course. I should have said as well - my retired job is as the Senior Warden for Loch Rannoch - so myself and my team go around all the fishermen, motorhomers, campervaners, and camping visitors to our wonderful area, and contrary to what you might read in the press, we welcome visitors to our area, just follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
 

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56 minutes ago, Stevearty said:

We, being me and my wife, Tricia, are now the proud owners of a 2005, 3.0, V6, Alphard. Am I allowed to explain the journey? Admin will delete I'm sure, if we aren't.

 

I have been looking at Alphard's for about a year. It all started when we began thinking about small day/camper vans, and then our lad bought a VW Camper, which he raved about, but due to lockdown, we didn't get to see it in the flesh, (so to speak), until last month. VW Campers have that cache I think, (and as I have discovered a bit undeserved), but people were asking silly money for them. Every now and again I would trawl through Alphard and Elgrand listings on the usual sites, and just before Christmas pointed them out to my wife, who went 'Nah', as wives do if it is your idea!

 

The 'wonderboy' visited our home, (Highland Perthshire), in his day van, which proved a boon, as my wife thought it wasn't up to much. Especially as his return journey to Gloucester was marred by a gearbox failure, and guess who didn't have breakdown insurance, Doh! (And he's a Sergeant in the RAF who should know better). A week later my wife peers over the top of her laptop and says, 'Have you seen these? Aren't they lovely', (Alphard's and Elgrand's), Humph! was my thought, but it just isn't worth going there, she's from Yorkshire and could argue with her own shadow!

 

So we started searching - Alphard or Elgrand? 2.5 or 3.0 V6? converted or not converted? Preferred colour? Stick locally or spread the net wide? Dealer or Private Sale? Lessons learnt at this stage; Alphard for preference, I think they have a cleaner line and are very eye-catching, 3.0 V6 for preference as it seems to have a bit of 'grunt' when required, people talk about fuel economy and I'll mention that later. White, again for preference, and, I would usually go for dealer as an option as you have more comeback if something went wrong, but some of the dealer choices were over-priced. Plus as always do your homework and have a look at the 'real' dealer reviews, not the phony good ones. As an aside I heard of a dealer who asked the customer to write a 5 star review whilst the customer was still on the forecourt in return for a £20 Asda voucher - once written it is difficult to retract later. 

 

Things sped up suddenly, as I was only browsing, (obsessively every night, during the Yorkshire Vet - bloody Yorkshire!). However my wife's employer, and as it happens best friend, died suddenly, and the day after her funeral Tricia said, can we please get a Campervan now, as life is too short to wish you had done something you always wanted to do. You don't have to ask twice!

 

We found Mark and Daisy's 3.0 V6 Alphard, (2005), on both ebay and facebook and made contact -they lived about as far away from us as you can get without crossing the channel, but we did a whatsapp tour, at the end of which was the comment - please can we buy it, and we'll pay a deposit now. Mark was happy to sell, but not happy to lose the van - "Dog Forces Sale", was the reason, (shoot the dog, no, did I just say that!).

 

That was Friday - next question, how to get from Pitlochry to Kent in a day and back again? We have two dogs, one of whom is quite old and incontinent, so not readily foisted onto kind neighbours. Flying by sleazyjet, no chance! Ryanair - I'd rather walk over hotcoals! Drive, hmmm, maybe, but that means driving two cars back - not ideal. Train then - any strikes on Monday, doesn't appear to be, so, train it is then. Do you know how much a single fare to Rochester is on the following Monday? It's OK, I'll tell you, £214, if we left it to Tuesday, £411! and that's with Veteran Railcards!

 

Leaving Pitlochry at 0819hrs meant we were up and in our local taxi at 0645hrs. Mark would meet us at the Station in Rochester, due in at 1525hrs. I can't remember the last time I travelled by train, but I can assure you it is not an experience I wish to repeat anytime soon, I'll gloss over most of it, except Wifey and I weren't sat together, because of lack of seating, and the whatsapp messages got grumpier and grumpier as we travelled South. Take note next Prime Minster, I am now a very firm anti HS2 protester, and I am thinking of chaining myself to a tree, (any tree will do). Rather than invest an obscene amount of money to cut the journey time from Manchester to London by 10 minutes, which benefits nobody as far as I can see, spend that money on reinvigorating our existing rail network, not to mention the appalling state of the motorways. Anyway, 1 hour and 45 minutes late we met Mark in the Station car-park and headed for the Alphard.

 

By now we think we know what we are getting, but actually driving it as a long journey experience is very different - and actually, very much what we hoped for. It was 558 miles from Kent to home, done in a series of bounds which my wife and I are very familiar with, but a series of over night motorway closures along the M1/M6 and M74 put a serious dent in our time estimates. We did have to catch a couple of hours sleep in the van on the way up which helped. Petrol consumption, I think, worked out well, around 28-30 mpg, which is better than my Discovery and far better than a works Volvo XC90 I have access to, (don't get one, they are crap). The van ate the miles at a steady 65 - 70, but I do miss that Cruise Control. It is very comfortable though, I think my wife reclined her seat back just outside London and didn't really wake up until we got to Pitlochry, well into the following day.

 

Things on my mind that I need to purchase or sort out immediately:

 

  • Regimental Cap-Badge - sorry, once a Gunner always a Gunner.

 

  • Decent Alloy Wheels - I think the Toyota ones aren't brilliant and it could look better. Can you change to 17" alloys without modifications? If you have any recommendations that would be kind.

 

  • Change the Japanese configured head unit for one that will run Android Car-Play. Has anyone done this, is it easy to do yourself? Could Halfords do it - any advice please.

 

  • Fit Cruise Control?

 

  • Underseal - I've seen somewhere, facebook I think, where someone tried to do it themselves - I'll pass.

 

Our first away day is planned for a couple of days hence - visit other son, who is a downhill mountain biking 'Dude' in Fort William, who only works in the Black Isle Brewery for something to do when he is not 'Downhilling', (not a clue!). Return via the Great Glen to Inverness.

 

So that's us - sorry it is a bit long. I look forward to joining in with the Forum, and if you are in the Loch Rannoch area, stop in for a chat and a brew, with your Alphard of course. I should have said as well - my retired job is as the Senior Warden for Loch Rannoch - so myself and my team go around all the fishermen, motorhomers, campervaners, and camping visitors to our wonderful area, and contrary to what you might read in the press, we welcome visitors to our area, just follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
 

 

Hello Stephen,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

Admin, me, have not deleted this but it has been moved to a more appropriate area !

I considered General Chat; but have placed it in the relevant year section.

 

As you have asked several questions, it will be better if the answers do not appear in the Introduction section.

 

Many of your questions have already been discussed in the Forum.

 

So, time for a bit of searching, and a lot of reading !

 

Happy Camparding.

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