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Thread: Need general advice on how to make it easiest to transfer into sedan w/ manual chair

  1. #1

    Need general advice on how to make it easiest to transfer into sedan w/ manual chair

    (Sorry for the long post. Summary: wife needs a new car, we want a sedan, we need to find easier ways of getting the chair into the car... what's out there?)

    Hi all,

    I've searched a bit, but honestly not sure what I'm looking for (ie. what's out there, what are my options, etc).

    My wife needs a new car. She's T7 (I think? T8?) incomplete, but has rods (so no core muscles, no balance). Right now we have a saturn ion coupe with the suicide doors. She can transfer in, disassemble the chair, pull it into the seat behind her, and go. But we need a new vehicle, and no one makes suicide door coupes/sedans anymore (no ion, no RX8). Ideally we'd like to get a sedan (we already have a SUV w/ bruno lifting seats, so we don't need another van/SUV/etc). We want something close to the ground to ease transferring and allow her to load the chair in herself.

    We tried out transferring into a friend's car. She's able to get in, disassemble the chair, and pull in the wheels. But the main chair itself is very hard & akward (tilite zra). First, lifting the chair from on the ground up to her position is hard (heavy, akward, gets caught on things). Basically like arm-curl lifting 25+ lbs with the left arm, while she holds on & balances w/ the right. Second, once she has that up it's really hard to get the chair into the passenger side due to the space between her & the steering wheel, even with the seat all the way back.

    Here's some general thoughts I had, but I'm very curious if there are other things I haven't thought of...

    * Get a chair roof lift, her chair would be pulled on top. Very easy on the muscles, but leaves the chair outside the car (in freezing temps). Plus the chair is non-collapsible, so I'm not sure if they make roof lifts for rigid chairs. It'd be big & ugly.

    * Find some kind of mechanical arm/pulley that would assist pulling the chair off the ground and into the driver's seat, and then she can maneuver it to the passenger seat. Not sure if this exists or how it would work.

    * I've seen some power chair users who remote-control the chair into the back on a ramp. I wonder if some crazy mad-scientist (ie. me) could make this setup for a manual chair + 5-door hatchback. I'm thinking RF transmitter/controller, FPV screen & camera, 12v batteries, couple small drive motors on the chair. Batteries could run out, radio could have interference, chair could tip over. But if it worked (reliably), it'd be fairly cool. Would also need an automatic hatchback ramp & opener in the back.

    * Get a folding chair, like the RGK TIGA FX? That would be much easier to get into the passenger seat.

    * Get a built-in transfer board, like http://vancitymobility.com/vehicle-a...er-boards.html or similar. She uses a wooden board, this would just be a little more stable.

    What other options out there? Does she really just have to be able to lift her entire chair one armed? Or are there devices & equipment that can help?

  2. #2
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Dodge Challenger. Full size car, and full size ease of entry with 2 doors. I'm a big guy and it is really easy to manipulate a rigid chair in it. Frame can go either in front or in back depending on needs, lots of room. 4 door cars are annoying with the B pillar in the way of easy disassembly. I have one as a winter beater, but I modified the door hinges so the door would open 90 degrees, and even like that, it is a noticeable PITA compared to the Challenger. In other words, if the car is for her and you already have a rolling breadbox, forget about a 4 door. As far as the one-armed aspect, no getting around that. But with a ZRA, hopefully without a goofy questionable value 'ergo' back on it, should be much less than 25 lbs. At any rate, seat recline mitigates the angles involved with this, and since it is a 2 door with no B pillar clearance issues, you can take advantage of that.

    You can get a Challenger as a sub-30K V6 model (which is actually pretty good) all the way to a 700hp monster, so the entertainment value within this platform is very good.

    Some clumsy how-to video of how this works in this car:


  3. #3
    @Andy, very neat. We actually thought about 2-door challenger type cars before, since they are easier w/ the larger doors. But we need AWD, due to the area where we live; that rules out most cars of any kind . There *is* an AWD challenger, the "pursuit" model... aka the police car variant. Not sure if they sell those to normal citizens, or how much that would be. So I'll look into it, but I'm guessing that's not going to be that feasible for us.

    Right now the candidate is the Subaru Impreza. It meets our needs, as long as we can find an easy way to get the chair in & out.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Take a look at the Dodge Challenger. Full size car, and full size ease of entry with 2 doors. I'm a big guy and it is really easy to manipulate a rigid chair in it. Frame can go either in front or in back depending on needs, lots of room. 4 door cars are annoying with the B pillar in the way of easy disassembly. I have one as a winter beater, but I modified the door hinges so the door would open 90 degrees, and even like that, it is a noticeable PITA compared to the Challenger. In other words, if the car is for her and you already have a rolling breadbox, forget about a 4 door. As far as the one-armed aspect, no getting around that. But with a ZRA, hopefully without a goofy questionable value 'ergo' back on it, should be much less than 25 lbs. At any rate, seat recline mitigates the angles involved with this, and since it is a 2 door with no B pillar clearance issues, you can take advantage of that.

    You can get a Challenger as a sub-30K V6 model (which is actually pretty good) all the way to a 700hp monster, so the entertainment value within this platform is very good.

    Some clumsy how-to video of how this works in this car:

    I second this, I went from a Toyota Camry (4 door) to a Toyota Solara (Basically a 2 door Camry, same dimensions otherwise) and it was significantly easier to load my chair, plus I didn't end up scraping the shit out of the forward portion of the rear driver's side door like I did with the Camry because of all the extra room.

    Learning anything new is going to be a bitch though. When I transfer into my friend's two door hatchback Toyota, I fumble around like a noob just because I'm not used to loading from the passenger side, so I feel like that makes it hard to judge how "difficult" a transfer is until you've done it a couple hundred times.

    If I had to get a new car today it would probably be the biggest two door coupe I could reasonably afford. The Challenger would be a nice option (until gas prices go back up), but I'd probably lean towards a Honda Accord. Of course if you've got the money and aren't worried about the gas, a V8 Challenger sounds like a lot more fun than a V6 version.

  5. #5
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unlaterico View Post
    @Andy, very neat. We actually thought about 2-door challenger type cars before, since they are easier w/ the larger doors. But we need AWD, due to the area where we live; that rules out most cars of any kind . There *is* an AWD challenger, the "pursuit" model... aka the police car variant. Not sure if they sell those to normal citizens, or how much that would be. So I'll look into it, but I'm guessing that's not going to be that feasible for us.

    Right now the candidate is the Subaru Impreza. It meets our needs, as long as we can find an easy way to get the chair in & out.
    The AWD 'Challenger' is actually a Charger, which is 4 door. You can also get that non-cop car version. Door opening angles and if they are wide enough need to be checked though. But don't be too afraid of RWD or the need for AWD, people have been driving without for nearly 80 years. I actually had some FWD car get stuck in front of my garage in the alley last winter. Those are basically one wheel drive cars, and it was interesting seeing it going nowhere. After my neighbor helped push it out of the way, my 'bad in snow' RWD old battle axe with no fancy electronic stuff just went through the same area like the snow wasn't there. Of course some winter-specific tires (Goodyear Ultragrip) and a track-loc rear axle helped, but still...

    Quote Originally Posted by funklab View Post
    If I had to get a new car today it would probably be the biggest two door coupe I could reasonably afford. The Challenger would be a nice option (until gas prices go back up), but I'd probably lean towards a Honda Accord. Of course if you've got the money and aren't worried about the gas, a V8 Challenger sounds like a lot more fun than a V6 version.
    That V6 Challenger has the new-ish 8 speed Chrysler version of the ZF 8 speed. Ultra low first gear and a nice selection of overdrive gears make for brisk acceleration and respectable mileage. The V6 is no slouch either power-wise. Of course you GOTTA get a V8 version, lol

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Of course you GOTTA get a V8 version, lol
    Otherwise what are you doing with your life, innit?

  7. #7
    This is what I found to be easiest and I'm a quad, less function than your wife. Not saying you should do the same, but food for thought: https://youtu.be/0KgyWxqC1Y0

  8. #8
    Just want to add another option: We're a two wheeler couple and always had a full size van and a car. Once the shoulders started to shred from using the car, we got a second used full size van and never looked back. Yeah, I know the comments about 'ugly vans', but now we're old and still driving. It's easy to make additional stops when needed. Both our vans have two 6 way power seats so we can use gravity transfers. We have leather seats which we use Pledge spray on to keep them slippery, for even easier transfer. We each have our separate activities to get out for.
    Once when I had a lengthy medical issue, I had to ride in the back with tiedowns while sitting in a power chair for several months.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tsquared View Post
    This is what I found to be easiest and I'm a quad, less function than your wife. Not saying you should do the same, but food for thought: https://youtu.be/0KgyWxqC1Y0

    Great setup, but what i want to know is how many times have you gone to push away still connected to your winch???
    Last edited by Arcalis0; 11-08-2015 at 03:41 PM. Reason: mistake quoting

  10. #10
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    Is that the way most people sit in vehicle to transfer chair? Legs inside and already under wheel? Or sit on seat with feet on ground and then do all of the chair work? I have not driven since '02 and in process of regaining license. I thought easier way was feet on ground. Yes, I guess there are many factors that could determine 1 or the other.

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