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Thread: Braun vs. VMI conversion

  1. #1

    Braun vs. VMI conversion

    We could be in the market for a new van (have the current van in the shop for over a week, with no explanation why it broke down). My current van is a 2000 a full-size Chevrolet with a raised roof over the center, with this unexplainable event we are thinking about replacing it with a minivan due to MPG and parking situations. We rented a Honda Odyssey with the VMI Summit (foldout) conversion last year for a week, and enjoyed it. Now that we maybe back in the market, wich conversion is better Braun's Entervan, XT (I need the XT for the added height of my Permobil) VMI Summit's, or VMI's Northstar (in-floor) conversion? A couple years back a read that in-floor ramps are hard to maintain and difficult in emergency situations. Is this still the case? When we had the rental we did not go over speed bumps, in general how do the lowered floors do across speed bumps and other raised surfaces. Thanks for the replies.
    Last edited by stuck1; 02-25-2012 at 01:13 AM. Reason: added more content

  2. #2
    i've had 2 summit conversions and 1 northstar (current) since 1994. by far the latter is superior. no problems and in emergencies, you use a lever either to deploy it fully or enough for someone to grasp cut out handle and pull (though i suggest the lever method).

    as always, just take speedbumps slowly as well as any other bump. have driven my vans all over half this country. i like vmi.

  3. #3
    I have a 2010 Chrysler T & C with the Braun Entervan conversion. I have the remote fold out ramp, kneeling, reduced steering, emergency steering pump, Sure-locks, switch operated parking brake and MTD hand controls with a steering spinner. I have never had a problem with this van and August will be two years. I have seen where people with the concealed ramps had some problems in areas of the country where there is a lot of ice and snow.

    Good luck.
    Millard
    ''Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid!'' -- John Wayne


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by stuck1 View Post
    We could be in the market for a new van (have the current van in the shop for over a week, with no explanation why it broke down). My current van is a 2000 a full-size Chevrolet with a raised roof over the center, with this unexplainable event we are thinking about replacing it with a minivan due to MPG and parking situations. We rented a Honda Odyssey with the VMI Summit (foldout) conversion last year for a week, and enjoyed it. Now that we maybe back in the market, wich conversion is better Braun's Entervan, XT (I need the XT for the added height of my Permobil) VMI Summit's, or VMI's Northstar (in-floor) conversion? A couple years back a read that in-floor ramps are hard to maintain and difficult in emergency situations. Is this still the case? When we had the rental we did not go over speed bumps, in general how do the lowered floors do across speed bumps and other raised surfaces. Thanks for the replies.

    What's you seated height to the top of your head?

    As I recall the xt is the very close to a Eldorado Amerivan lowered floor conversion.

    I really like the VMI Honda lowered floor conversion!
    imho: it's the best lowered floor mini van i've ever driven.

    If you need the extra head room I like the Eldorado and there stainless steel floor.
    Jim, MA, MMET
    Bridgewater, MA

  5. #5
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    I just got a new to me, slightly used 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan (I had to get the high horsepower 4.0L engine because I was a car person b4 my injury & still am) with a Braun mod...it's great overalll. I had a 2001 Dodge (that was reliable & took me 90,000 miles) with a Braun mod and found the updated design to be much better. The fold-out ramp in the new van is really quiet compared to how noisy and annoying the ramp in the old van was.
    The VMI mod would probably be fine as there is a battery backup for the ramp and a manual crank in the floor just in case...I still thought Braun was a better option..

  6. #6
    I have the VMI Northstar conversion- the infloor ramp seems to need routine maintenance to keep it working good- I had it greased and adjusted every 6 months while it is under warranty, now just yearly. This is my first conversion, so I can't really compare, but I test drove several, and this is the best one for us. The in floor ramp gives you more interior space, and doesn't rattle as much, or make a mess with snow and water dripping all over (we get lots of snow). A previous post said that can be a problem, but it has not for me. The only thing I have issues with is the obvious difference in quality between the Honda parts and the VMI parts- they are definitely not as nice. The trim looks cheap and has already cracked in several places (just over 3 years old). The ramp has large patches of paint that have flaked off. The lowering pump went out after 2 years, but was replaced promptly and for free. The Honda portion has given me zero problems.

  7. #7
    Zapp- thanks for the info on the VMI conversion. I'm having to decide between Braun and VMI for a Honda Odyssey. I'm leaning towards Braun.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz19 View Post
    Zapp- thanks for the info on the VMI conversion. I'm having to decide between Braun and VMI for a Honda Odyssey. I'm leaning towards Braun.
    Why do you like the Braun better than the VMI?
    Jim, MA, MMET
    Bridgewater, MA

  9. #9
    My vote is on the VMI conversion on a Honda Odyssey.

    All the best,
    GJ

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Automotive Innovations View Post
    Why do you like the Braun better than the VMI?

    Over the years I've heard a lot of negative reports about VMI. I think because of my location and interchange with a variety of people who have worked with and for Ride-A-Way. I am starting to look over my prejudices and think I need to do a little more investigation. Can you provide any information on VMI Honda conversions?

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