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Thread: EZ Lock pros and cons

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Question EZ Lock pros and cons

    After 21 years my leg strength and Jay's hip/back are all aiming quickly at a ramp equipped van. We had been fine with a Braun Companion Seat in the front passenger seat place until the last 3 years or so.

    We have ruled out the MV-1 based on VPGs line being down indefintely and the dealer nearby with one is not getting any better answers than we are on the 3 year warranty and how to get parts down the road. And more conversion places here now carry brand new, ready to go already converted vans.

    We'll go check out the differences on Toyota, Honda and Dodge entervan differences tomorrow. I remember the ladies here discussing the back relief of an EZ Lock versus the tie downs and want easy for Jay. Questions to those with an EZ for a non-driving spouse: I have both a manual and powerchair and we normally use the manual for travel because powerchairs often don't seem to fit under many restaurant tables and even in the US curb cuts aren't everywhere but I am willing to hit more chain restaurants and research accessible areas so we can take the powerchair. The MV-1 dealer told us they could do the EZ Lock but warned us about problems inside our own home on floor changes from wood to carpet and I am having problems now (due I think to new casters that spin even in ramp/curb mode) going over the tiny lip to our deck/balcony. This was not a problem with my old powerchair or the vendors try out model with fairly well worn wheels. Does the EZ Lock leave scratches or other floor marks/problems in your homes? We have carpet, hardwood and pretty smooth carpet to tile in the bath and closet. Would it be better to add the lock to my manual? Any thoughts here would be very helpful! I do get how hard being a caregiver is. And Jay realizes that driving time in a chair with a non-retractable seatbelt but with airbags does mean 4 hours max a day for now. My new seats both have a built up side, cut down side and side stabilizers to fight off any new scoliosis but is currently hell on my tailbone even with the Jay gel cover.

    This is his retirement and we want to see the US we haven't especially the warmer areas especially during our cold winters. Oh, all the Entervans also come with the ability for me to learn to drive by removing the roll out driving chair after disingaging it if something happens with my guy.

    Opinions?
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
    After 21 years my leg strength and Jay's hip/back are all aiming quickly at a ramp equipped van. We had been fine with a Braun Companion Seat in the front passenger seat place until the last 3 years or so.

    We have ruled out the MV-1 based on VPGs line being down indefintely and the dealer nearby with one is not getting any better answers than we are on the 3 year warranty and how to get parts down the road. And more conversion places here now carry brand new, ready to go already converted vans.

    We'll go check out the differences on Toyota, Honda and Dodge entervan differences tomorrow. I remember the ladies here discussing the back relief of an EZ Lock versus the tie downs and want easy for Jay. Questions to those with an EZ for a non-driving spouse: I have both a manual and powerchair and we normally use the manual for travel because powerchairs often don't seem to fit under many restaurant tables and even in the US curb cuts aren't everywhere but I am willing to hit more chain restaurants and research accessible areas so we can take the powerchair. The MV-1 dealer told us they could do the EZ Lock but warned us about problems inside our own home on floor changes from wood to carpet and I am having problems now (due I think to new casters that spin even in ramp/curb mode) going over the tiny lip to our deck/balcony. This was not a problem with my old powerchair or the vendors try out model with fairly well worn wheels. Does the EZ Lock leave scratches or other floor marks/problems in your homes? We have carpet, hardwood and pretty smooth carpet to tile in the bath and closet. Would it be better to add the lock to my manual? Any thoughts here would be very helpful! I do get how hard being a caregiver is. And Jay realizes that driving time in a chair with a non-retractable seatbelt but with airbags does mean 4 hours max a day for now. My new seats both have a built up side, cut down side and side stabilizers to fight off any new scoliosis but is currently hell on my tailbone even with the Jay gel cover.

    This is his retirement and we want to see the US we haven't especially the warmer areas especially during our cold winters. Oh, all the Entervans also come with the ability for me to learn to drive by removing the roll out driving chair after disingaging it if something happens with my guy.

    Opinions?
    Hi Sue,
    GJ has an Invacare TDX-SP (mid-wheel drive) wheelchair. I measured the clearance of the EZ Lock tie down bolt (pin) from hard wood flooring. From the bottom of the bolt (pin) to the floor measures a strong 1.5 inches. We have hardwood flooring and berber pile carpeting. We also have a 3/4 inch transition from hardwood, over a 2 inch wide ramped threshold on to an outdoor deck that is about .5 inch below the top of the threshold. GJ has never come close to hanging up on any surfaces or transitions in our home or for that matter anywhere out in the community. The tie down bolt (pin) is centered between the two large wheels (mid wheel chair have 4 casters/2 larger drive wheels). It may be a bit more problematic with a 2 casters (front), 2 drive wheels (back). That said, GJ had a rear wheel drive chair with a tie down bar, made by IMS (now out of business). The bar was about the same distance from the floor and he never had trouble with that.

    There are some door thresholds, possibly sliding doors and some patio and French doors (Anderson, as an example) that have thresholds that may cause the bolt to catch on the various levels of the threshold. When we replaced doors in our home, we purposely avoided doors with these thresholds.

    That said, automatic tie downs are not a luxury. Manual tie downs, especially where you live and the inclement weather you experience are essential. There is nothing that will put a damper on an evening out more than the caregiver having to stand out in a pouring rain to fiddle with manual tie downs entry door side. And while you don't have to be outside to use the tie downs between the driver's seat and the wheelchair, you have to be somewhat of a human pretzel to contort yourself into that narrow space to get the job done. With an automatic tie down, the person in the wheelchair is in the van and ready to go, just about as quickly as the caregiver. I've used both and really (especially as I age) would never want to go back to using manual tie down systems.

    As for the van. We are biased, of course, because we own one, but we would go with a Honda Odyssey, again. Great headroom. Great interior space. We have had 4 vans in 31 years and the Honda has been the best so far from the beginning. We have a VMI conversion with an in floor ramp. Our mobility dealer and repair service (for 22 years) is now looking favorably on the El Dorado Company accessibility conversion, Ameria-Van.

    Hope this helps a little.

    NL (GJ's wife and caregiver)
    Last edited by gjnl; 06-15-2013 at 12:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Thanks NL! Jay has finally gotten it after I read him your answer. I just couldn't find the thread where I remember the caregivers discussing their thoughts after switching to EZ Locks or other drive in-lock ins versus all the tie down work and sore backs. We'll use both. My powerchair will have an EZ Lock hookin as will what is looking like a Honda too. If we travel with my manual chair then we'll use the manual tie downs. We have a Braun dealer right here and the Entervan conversions look like our best bet. We were over looking at the Dodges they had on the floor today and the Honda has a bit more room and a nicer package all the way around.

    BTW, while I like the idea of the MV-1s they have some serious flaws in the DXs available still. There is no passenger side air bag. And there are only 35 left around the country most with up to 5000 miles as demos or rentals. But right now the big worry is the warranty. The sales guy told us everything he knew and if something needed fixed they need to be contacted for parts for the warranty to be valid. That dealer is about 90 miles away and anything that is not Ford built could require days to get parts. In a few years if they can get it all under one company they'll be good investments but not yet.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  4. #4
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    Well, lost my first lengthy reply. So will whittle it down to the fact that I could not do without the ez lock! that was a huge time and knee saver. Have had no problems with it indoors, just have to watch it around hoses and electrical chords outdoors. it does not catch on area rugs on our wood floors or thresholds. A sliding glass door could be a problem but surmountable with a threshold ramp. I have one you could have-- free! I put in French doors cause they look pretty and easier to use. A&J Mobility here in Madison reset the bolt when Jim got a new chair, since the new chair sat a little differently in the van. Jim uses a powerchair exclusively. and I use ez lock exclusively! Deb

  5. #5
    Sue, a lot depends upon the specific chair. When my mother had a Hoveround (shudder!!!) the pin did tend to catch on some higher thresholds, although never on carpet or tile/marble floors they had at home. My dad used to remove the pin when we went on cruises due to those seam hallway thresholds, door ramps, and door thresholds catching (kept the right sized wrench in the van for this).

    On her Permobile C400, we found we did have to remount the EZ-Lock van lock-down box higher, due to the fact that the wheelchair pin was also higher, and we never had a problem with that catching on anything, even on a cruise ship ramp.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    I've never seen EZ locks, only heard of them in different discussions on CC.
    When we bought our Uplander Entervan it only had 7000 miles on it and was wide enough for my husband to sit in the front by me.
    The Dodge and Chrysler vans were a tight squeeze and at rehab the Uplander was recommended if you could find one-only made a few years. Ours is a 2008 and bought from a local mobility dealer.
    The more I hear I wish we had known about EZ lock. The pulling and yanking the tie downs is hurting my back-and the "pretzel" NL described true.
    I'm bent over with my butt in the air trying to be the front tie down on. The few times I'm dressed up I try not to get dirty. ARGH!
    The older I get and the worse my scoliosis gets.......

  7. #7
    Senior Member chris-k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
    The MV-1 dealer told us they could do the EZ Lock but warned us about problems inside our own home on floor changes from wood to carpet and I am having problems now (due I think to new casters that spin even in ramp/curb mode) going over the tiny lip to our deck/balcony. This was not a problem with my old powerchair or the vendors try out model with fairly well worn wheels. Does the EZ Lock leave scratches or other floor marks/problems in your homes?

    Opinions?
    Sue, I have had an EZ on my power chair for over 12 years. If I put it on my manual chair it wouldn't fold. Our house has wood, carpet & tile. No problem moving from one surface to another. The bolt is about 1.25 inches from the floor. I clear most things, but catch on cords, throw rugs, and such. No scratches on the floor, but once or twice on our door threshold.

    Besides, my wife also hates using tie-downs!

    We have a Braun Entervan conversion for a 2000 Grand Caravan with over 120K miles on it. EZ only failed to lock twice that I can recall. Had to use tie-downs until it was fixed. I use an aging Invacare Ranger X.

  8. #8
    The Dock-n-Lock bar does not hang down as far as the EZ-Lock bolt does.
    Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
    Pete C6/'97

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BRASWELLF5 View Post
    The Dock-n-Lock bar does not hang down as far as the EZ-Lock bolt does.
    I much prefer the dock-n-lock over the EZ lock, but recently discovered they are no longer being made.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    I use a power Invacare TRX-SP with tilt now and it seems like our home is really flat including into the condo elevator. I can see a problem with going out the garage door because of the drain but will check out the maintanence door. If that is flat I'll ask for a key.

    KLD, for now we're just going with the powerchair getting the lock and getting tiedowns for traveling with the manual if it involves flying or cruises. At least until it loooks like Jay would prefer we deal with possible mangled powerchair problems than a couple trips to airports with tie downs. He balks at taking both chairs and the travel shower chair and the new one has wheels to avoid even more transfers. Thanks for the tip on getting the correct wrench if we want or need it on trips. I'll add it to what we need now. I just heard from a Permabile user who has a few problems but not at home. A Hoveround? ACK!

    Deb, we're going through A and J too. We checked out the VPG dealer over near Milwaukee and they had two MV-1s but both were the stripped down model. They weren't up on what wheelers want and they don't include a front passenger side airbag or retractable seatbelts on that side. I'm going to call my chair person about the sliding glass door lip to see if it is the wheels just slipping first. If it's a ramp problem I'll give you a call. We need to get together once we're mobile again anyway!

    LindaT, the reason I asked specifically about the EZ-Lock was hearing the relief caregivers had after switching to that kind of system. I just didn't know of other brands but it seems the easiest to get installed, serviced and deal with overall. I understand that it can be retro installed and the VA should pay for it.

    Right now it looks like it will be a Honda Touring version van with the Braun Entervan conversion. Our current Dodge Grand Caravan has 100k miles on it and we've been using a Braun Companion Seat since we bought our Ford Windstar 2 years post injury. The spouse is aging, I am not..., but my quads are not what they used to be for standing transfers. :-)
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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