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Thread: Get my tweak on

  1. #1

    Get my tweak on

    So I've got the chair in a basic setup- ie, it's got wheels and stays upright again.

    Now I need help in tweaking it for me, personally. Here's what I think I need to do so far-

    -Lower rear seat height for 1.5-2." of dump. I had 3.5 on my loaner and that was a hair too much, but new chair so who knows. (in lowering chair- readjust caster angle and backrest angle to maintain 90deg)

    -Shorten the backrest. It's pissing me off now- so I know when I lower the seat it'll really drive me crazy. It's at the lowest point so I'm going to have to cut the tubes to make it shorter. I don't really lean back and the sides are getting in my way. So, Dremel should do it? The aluminum in the chair isn't some special SuperAluminum that would require me to buy an angle grinder is it?

    -Raise footrest another inch or so. I like tucking my feet behind the rest but I'm 'toe sitting' and that's no good for long periods in the chair.

    -Try out high pressure tires in the next four months or so.

    Anyone see anything that I missed or have thoughts about the adjustments?

    Pics:

  2. #2
    Update- front casters have now been relubed- they still suck. Ok, they aren't horrible but I'm not really loving them either. The right one still doesn't spin very long. Also, I live in an old neighborhood and the sidewalks are murder- even the general tree debris stops me dead. So I'm moving up to five inchers, hope that will help a bit, especially when I do my charity roll in May.

    I'm going to leave the backrest alone for now while I draw up plans to bend my own backrest. I want a cutout for my shoulder area so I can have more 'roundhouse' movement. Probably go in about three inches on each side- along the top six inches of the backrest. I'll have to find a serger to resew the backrest up tight. Good weekend project.

    I just ordered new casters so I'll have to wait on ordering new tires- these ones are too low pressure. Cushy but a pain where I mainly roll. I have 26"ers and finding a colored tire (want yellow ones) in that size is being a pain. I hope it makes it easier to push. I feel like I'm dragging around the tire instead of riding on it.

    ETA- changing the COG tomorrow. Too busy crying over losing the BE Championship tonight.
    Last edited by BlueRing; 03-13-2011 at 12:34 AM. Reason: The sad, sad sorrow of loss

  3. #3
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    you're never gonna get a full push out of that chair until you drop the rear seat height drastically. When seated in the chair drop your arms straight down - your fingers should touch the middle of the axle of the rear wheels. Right now you are on top of the chair, not in it.

    You may have to cut the camber webs (aluminum pieces that bolt together to attach the frame to the axle) to get low enough. Start unbolting and playing with things, don't start mucking with backrest upholstery til you know if that chair is going to work for you.

    Honestly, if you're only wanting 1-2" of dump then I'd send the chair back. There's no way you'll get it in an optimal pushing configuration without dropping the rear seat height 3-4" which will completely change your front end angle.

    IMO, whoever sold you that chair has no business spec'ing wheelchairs.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tooley View Post
    you're never gonna get a full push out of that chair until you drop the rear seat height drastically. When seated in the chair drop your arms straight down - your fingers should touch the middle of the axle of the rear wheels. Right now you are on top of the chair, not in it.

    You may have to cut the camber webs (aluminum pieces that bolt together to attach the frame to the axle) to get low enough. Start unbolting and playing with things, don't start mucking with backrest upholstery til you know if that chair is going to work for you.

    Honestly, if you're only wanting 1-2" of dump then I'd send the chair back. There's no way you'll get it in an optimal pushing configuration without dropping the rear seat height 3-4" which will completely change your front end angle.

    IMO, whoever sold you that chair has no business spec'ing wheelchairs.
    Had to buy it used so I'm winging it. I know it isn't perfect but it's a good first chair. Tons of experience and stuff learned. It was this or stay in the rental chair- ugghhh

    Problem I've run into is that my legs are so damned long and any angle on a footrest hurts after about ten minutes. I'll most likely end up having to bend the angle of the footrest or fab an angled plate that will let me have my feet back further.

    Hopefully in the next two years we can get insurance again- then I can order one made just for me. Till then- just trying to make due with what I've got.

  5. #5
    I just wanted to say that I am in the same position with a chair that I bought on my own that I am having to tweak a lot to get it to fit me. It is a TiLite ZRA so it is pretty adjustable

    I am getting there and in the long run it will be pretty darn close.

    I am working on seriously lowering the seat, as you will be, and was told there were parts that could be sawed off to get me as low as I need to go.

    I am also waiting on some special washers to be able to move the cog forward a hair. Then depending on how low the seat ended up going to get me down low enough I might need to lower the front by raising the casters.

    Once that is done I will work on lowering the backrest and raising up the foot rest a hair and then poof, I should have almost the perfect chair!

  6. #6
    Oli- sounds like we have good project chairs. Didn't intend to buy a project chair but I'll enjoy it! We should start a club- The Great Chair Modification of Aught Eleven.

    I crunched some numbers last night and I would need to have a dump of nine inches to reach halfway down my wheels. Yeah, that's not gonna happen. If I put the 24" back on I'd need an 8 inch dump. That would wreck my foot angle, obviously, as well as making it harder to wheel around again. So, say I adjust the foot rest angle (thinking saw and cap with adj pins) to close to 90deg again- I wouldn't have footrest clearance once I lowered the chair. My feet would be under the floor.

    Even if I bought a bespoke chair, I would need a lot of dump. I'm not sure how I would withstand the pressure on my coccyx. I've already had a pressure sore there a few years ago and I'm not looking to repeat it.

    All the crap people give DME suppliers and techs on this forum- I'm not so quick to judge because this kind of thing must be something they handle all the time. Let's just say I don't think I could do their job any better. Hell, I had to draw a picture of myself on graph paper before I could figure out why I wasn't 'in' my chair further and why I couldn't get enough footrest clearance.

    So, I'll keep trying to figure it out and keep the search feature working here on CC. Very grateful for all the good info on here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member garyv's Avatar
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    Hey BlueRing,
    by looking at the picture I agree with everyone else , that chair is going to take a bit of change to get right,,
    My advise is if those tires are 26" I would go down to 24" and the front castors must be 4" or so I would bring in a 6" soft roll , you can get them in colors and they will not dump you on the ground if you hit a small pine nut or rock..
    And even with 24" rears can you raise the axle on the chair at all? It does look like you need a lot more drop in the rear it looks like you are at a bad angle in the rear of the seat.
    And the rear tubes are just 6061 aluminum and some chairs have and adjustment when you take the apholtery off you can move it up or down and if you need to cut it a regular hack saw will cut it easy.. But if you want anything modified I might be able to help but I am in FL and you cant be without parts for long I know, BUt I do have a welder and power saw and CNC machines for working with aluminum as well..
    WHat model chair is that so I can see how the rear axle is held in position , I cant see from the first picture you have posted..
    Also I am from KY originaly born in Louisville little town of Shively and my Father and Mother born in Junction City ,, I still have a lot of family in Junction City , small town or 1700 or so last time I was there..
    Gary

  8. #8
    Yes, The Great Chair Modification!!!! Yours is a TiLite too yes?

    What size wheels do you have again? I have 24's but I would like larger because it would even things out a little bit for my chair. I have to do a LOT more adjusting because of my wheel size because my chair was built for a 6'2" man and I am a 6' woman. What I really want are larger wheels... but I digress...

    My plan of attack is,
    wait for washers to come in
    move cog
    lower seat a lot
    figure out if dump is too much
    lower front if necessary
    raise foot rest a bit
    then deal with my backrest issues
    then get side guards

    I am moving my cog up a tiny bit because it is attached the the backrest screw which makes it so I can't lower the seat any more than it is. My fingers still won't reach the center of the wheel and are about 4" off still.

    So I am waiting for some washers to take up the space of the backrest screw. Moving my cog forward slightly. Then sinking my seat as much as I possibly can. That is step one.

    I might have to cut off (approved by TiLite) some of those holes in order to really get my seat down there.

    At that point I will have to figure out if the dump is too much and if it is I will have to raise my casters to lower the front a little. I need to raise my foot rest a bit so that will handle clearance. That is my step two.

    Then I will deal with lowering my backrest if I need to. Step three.

    At this point I am hoping I will be 'sunk' into the chair quite will and will be able to push fairly easily. Then I will probably need some side guards because I will actually be sitting 'between' my wheels and not on top of them! I am going for the cloth ones from TiLite because I think they are way cheaper.... Step four.

    Lets keep each other updated on our adjustments!
    You should have seen how proud my husband was coming home with a super fancy allen wrench set the other day.

    I am just waiting for TiLite to send me some missing washers and I will be attacking my frozen bolts and gettin busy!

  9. #9
    Hi Gary,

    Yeah I've got 26" on there, I love them because they're so easy to roll. The 24s were killing me- push push push all the time. I don't relish the thought of going back to them but if I have to, I have to. At least they're easier to find parts for. I have 4s on the front- got a pair of 5s coming in- think that'll work? Bought them on sale so I'm not sure if I can return them, but might be able to sell them. The 6s I had on before made it real hard to get around my apartment- but that was a different model chair so that's probably a moot point.

    The rear axle is all the way down- I have about five inches (give or take a half inch) of room to move up. Plenty of room for adjustments there! It's an aero z so it's very simple. Just need to make sure I put enough torque in there when I put it all back together.

    I took off the upholstry and took out the adjustable piece inside the backrest frame to lower it as far as it will go. I've got a hacksaw just waiting- might Dremel it because, hey, Dremel. Anytime is a good time for a powertool. That'll be later once I get all this angle stuff figured out.

    Thank you for the offer of your skills and tools- depending on how this goes, I'll end up contacting you about that. I appreciate it very much. Hubby has some welder friends and I'm a whiz with powertools in general but sometimes it's best to let someone who already knows what they're doing have the helm.

    Well, you're from Lively Shively, eh? I'm in Old Lou. Born in TN and moved up here about twelve years ago- it's a great town. Got a bit of heartache last night with the Cards but looking forward to the Cats game today. I'll never admit to rooting for the Cats but I root for anyone playing against the Gators (bad blood from living in TN). If you ever get up here for a visit- let me know.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Oli View Post
    Yes, The Great Chair Modification!!!! Yours is a TiLite too yes?

    What size wheels do you have again? I have 24's but I would like larger because it would even things out a little bit for my chair. I have to do a LOT more adjusting because of my wheel size because my chair was built for a 6'2" man and I am a 6' woman. What I really want are larger wheels... but I digress...

    My plan of attack is,
    wait for washers to come in
    move cog
    lower seat a lot
    figure out if dump is too much
    lower front if necessary
    raise foot rest a bit
    then deal with my backrest issues
    then get side guards



    At that point I will have to figure out if the dump is too much and if it is I will have to raise my casters to lower the front a little. I need to raise my foot rest a bit so that will handle clearance. That is my step two.

    Then I will deal with lowering my backrest if I need to. Step three.

    At this point I am hoping I will be 'sunk' into the chair quite will and will be able to push fairly easily. Then I will probably need some side guards because I will actually be sitting 'between' my wheels and not on top of them! I am going for the cloth ones from TiLite because I think they are way cheaper.... Step four.

    Lets keep each other updated on our adjustments!
    You should have seen how proud my husband was coming home with a super fancy allen wrench set the other day.

    I am just waiting for TiLite to send me some missing washers and I will be attacking my frozen bolts and gettin busy!
    Congrats on the wrench set- always a great moment

    Your list looks about as long as mine lol I'm all for keeping each other updated. I'm hoping that other people who might need to deal with the same thing could use our experience- good and bad.

    Your chair was made for a tall person and mine was made for someone who was proportional to themselves lol

    Ugh- footrest clearance. That's my nemesis. I have these short little arms and huge legs. No torso to speak of. I don't even know where my stomach is- it's either in my throat or my thighs So when I lower the chair at all I get no clearance- I'm talking about 1/4". I'm nervous about the footrest area the most. I think that's where I'm going to have to make the most adaptions just because I'm not sure if I can handle a huge dump ratio.

    Looks like you and I are going to have one interesting Spring! Definitely keep me updated on your progress! Who knows what I'll learn.

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