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Thread: Speedy Lift, XL-Seat, Ford Transit Connect Wagon compability (or HI-LIFT)

  1. #1
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    Speedy Lift, XL-Seat, Ford Transit Connect Wagon compability (or HI-LIFT)

    I've been planning my switch to a more adapted vehicle...I've been injured over 18 years now, and I have a bad arm (various torn ligaments & ruptured muscles, non-union shoulder separation, "messed up" elbow) and my job requires that I visit several job sites most days. I don't want to spend all of my energy loading & unloading my chair every day, and I don't want to avoid activities because it's too much hassle to load one more time (and the work stuff is unavoidable). I'm working with DVR to get help with funding for the equipment, but I have to buy the vehicle myself. They are having me work with a driver rehab specialist.

    Anyhow, I was all set to get a Ford Transit Connect Wagon (which is what they call the passenger version of the van - it's the same vehicle, just with a finished interior), and I found out that the XL-Seat doesn't work with the 2016 model. I'm unclear if it works with the 2015, but I know it's been done (spoke with someone at Sanderson Ford in Arizona a few months ago). Another company is making a kit that will allow the XL-Seat to work, but Adapt Solutions doesn't recommend it. One possible issue is the amount of leg clearance that it allows. I'm fairly long-legged, so this is a concern for me. I can't tell if this is just politics, or if Adapt Solutions really doesn't think the kit is a good product. Does anyone know more about this?

    I am capable of doing the transfer info the driver seat without a XL-Seat, but I'm worried that it's a bit far once I'm inside the car to hook my chair onto the Speedy Lift hook (the HI-LIFT is also an option, but you have to have the XL-Seat to do it). I also think that over time that transfer will be harder - with various safety features (yay for safety!) the gap between the door and the seat is getting to be bigger - I transfer better on the passenger side because I can push off with my good arm.

    So I'm feeling stuck. I like the Ford, and it's a lot more affordable than a full-size mini van. We test drove one and it feels smaller than a full-sized mini van as well. I currently drive a non-adapted Honda Element, which is great fun to drive, very small and maneuverable. We will keep this car for my partner to drive, as we both love it.

    I know that the Mazda 5 is an option, but since they've stopped making them they're a bit hard to find...we'd prefer a higher trim level than the Sport (which we currently own, and I hardly ever drive because I don't like it). The closest Mazda 5 with "Touring" trim level (mid-range) is about 800 miles away, which makes it hard to check out. I don't like the seats, I don't feel supported in them, and I don't love the feel of it when driving (for example, when I ease off the gas on my Honda, it slowly slows down...the Mazda is much jerkier and more sensitive).

    So are mini vans now my only option? They are quite a bit more expensive than the Ford T.C.W. (at least $3-6K depending which features we pick). I don't care about the "image" of a car, I just care about the function. I like vehicles that are easy to see out of, easy to drive, and don't require an engineering degree or an advanced understanding of physics to park in a small parking garage (I live in the city). I started to get excited about a van when I looked at some of the fun options that come in the nicer trim packages, but wow are they pricey! One of the nice things about a van versus the Ford would be that power doors are usually an option (not an option with Ford).

    I'd love some advice! It's been a difficult process to get used to the idea of the fact that I need more equipment in my life, I prefer to keep things simple, but I want to save my muscles for the fun stuff.
    Last edited by jgrant27; 03-25-2016 at 09:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ugh, mini van is actually about $10-14k more than the ford.

  3. #3
    If you can do the transfer to the transit connect seat, I don't see why you would need the XL at all. I have a homemade mazda5 lift mechanism, that does a similar thing to the speedy-lift. My chair has to start out farther than it would with the speedy-lift and I can reach it (I'm 5'9"). So my guess is you'd still be able to reach out far enough to get the chair onto the speedy-lift without the XL.

    Could you go try a Transit Connect out and see how far away you can manipulate the chair?

  4. #4
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    I'll give it a shot. My worry is that I can do the transfer now, but maybe I won't always be able to. And although I can do it, it's definitely work, and I'm trying to reduce that.

    What age of Mazda 5 is too old to bother spending the money to adapt? Maybe I'll look for them again. Hate to adapt a 5 year old car with 60k+ miles.

  5. #5
    Oh man that mazda5 question is a totally personal preference. I bought my '06 in' 13 with 67k on it, and it has 101k on it now. But I've always bought vehicles of that age, but didn't worry about doing the adaptations in a vehicle that age because I did them myself: https://youtu.be/0KgyWxqC1Y0
    All that said, there is a wide range of used ones available with many much newer than an '06 and with far less miles. But sounds like you like the Transit Connect as a vehicle more. Maybe they'll come out with the XL for the newer ones some day, and until then you can handle the transfers without??

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much for your input! I agree that my Mazda5 question was definitely one of personal preference. We found a new (but 2015) Mazda5, which we will likely be getting today. Hopefully it will grow on me! It's a Touring, which is one trim level above our current 2008 Mazda5, so hopefully that will make it a little better. Anyhow, it was nice to hash it out a bit with a third party, and my significant other and I were having a hard time making a decision (ultimately my decision since I have to drive it).

    I just couldn't do the van without being able to see an adapted one in person. My concern was that the transfer board would stick up (when folded up) and be higher than the armrest, or maybe even be in the way of the hand controls. The armrest for the xl-seat also sticks out more in the ford, I watched the videos on the Adapt-Solutions website, and neither the Mazda nor a minivan had that problem, so I was concerned that it might poke me in the side or be hard to transfer around. I've attempted to attach a photo of this with the arm circled. In the videos the arm rest is tucked further away when folded up. I'm including this in case anyone is thinking of buying a Ford Transit in the future, maybe they can figure out how well it works (or are willing to risk it).
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
    Congrats on the new ride. Post pics of the setup when you have it complete.

  8. #8
    I think you got the best of both worlds.. The Transit Connect which has the Mazda 2.5L I4 engine. But I do feel Ford should have redesigned the front doors slightly differently. I would prefer that the front doors open like the sliding doors.. this would have allowed for way more options to access the vehicle. 19,000 miles and 1 year later.. it's our little travel van as well as our sports car.. Just has plenty of room in the back to store/carry a few more items. Enjoy the van.. we have and will continue to do so.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jgrant27 View Post
    Thanks so much for your input! I agree that my Mazda5 question was definitely one of personal preference. We found a new (but 2015) Mazda5, which we will likely be getting today. Hopefully it will grow on me! It's a Touring, which is one trim level above our current 2008 Mazda5, so hopefully that will make it a little better. Anyhow, it was nice to hash it out a bit with a third party, and my significant other and I were having a hard time making a decision (ultimately my decision since I have to drive it).

    I just couldn't do the van without being able to see an adapted one in person. My concern was that the transfer board would stick up (when folded up) and be higher than the armrest, or maybe even be in the way of the hand controls. The armrest for the xl-seat also sticks out more in the ford, I watched the videos on the Adapt-Solutions website, and neither the Mazda nor a minivan had that problem, so I was concerned that it might poke me in the side or be hard to transfer around. I've attempted to attach a photo of this with the arm circled. In the videos the arm rest is tucked further away when folded up. I'm including this in case anyone is thinking of buying a Ford Transit in the future, maybe they can figure out how well it works (or are willing to risk it).
    For what it's worth, I had some issues with the arm rest on the Adapt Solutions Board on my Mazda5 (It broke). The installer ordered a replacement about 5 weeks ago (still waiting). In the interim I've been getting used to executing the transfer without the arm and it's actually coming along well (to the point where I may decide to not have them install the arm when the new parts arrive). I purchased this device from Amazon and occasionally use it when I feel like I need some extra support.
    http://www.amazon.com/Stander-HandyB...ilpage_o05_s00

    Also, I have the Menox controls in my Mazda5. I found they provided better clearance for transferring into the vehicle (and I love the hand controls).

    Hope that helps.

  10. #10
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    Do you use any type of tool to pull the door closed once your chair is loaded? I asked Adapt Solutions, and in the videos on their site it's a retractable back scratcher.

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