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Thread: Adaptive Vehicle "Horror Stories" ???

  1. #1

    Adaptive Vehicle "Horror Stories" ???

    I have been driving first a lift equipped full sized van now a lowered floor ramp mini-van all with hand controls for 20+ years and I'm trying to gather some stories and examples of conversions and vehicle modifications "gone wrong." Can people share examples of when they had vehicles, modifications, adaptive equipment, etc., "fail" and what happened? Were you trapped? What happened/failed? Also, was the equipment "prescribed" and sold to you correct or did you have to go back again and again and again? Did you have to keep paying? Why am I asking? In the airline industry, standards and policies and practices vary greatly and efforts are being made to treat us with disabilities (and our equipment) better an I'd like to see that happen in the mobility industry, too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    harrison twp. mi
    I come from Detroit and was born and raised in the auto industry. I was also a new car sales manager as a Chevrolet dealership for many years prior to my injury. The conversions that are put on these minivans are far from safe they have numerous modifications that are done by hand with very little testing involved. I have a Braun version for 10 years and all of my problems were in the conversion part of the vehicle. This is very similar to what I used to deal with with my full-size vans versions many years ago. It was always the conversion part where we have the problems. Testing involved for parts from the car manufacturers is so much better that it's hard to believe that these would pass most of their testing. And then when you take the vehicle in for repairs to the car dealership they are reluctant to work on the vehicle because the conversion could possibly have voided The warranty from the manufacture. I have taken my vehicle to the dealership and been told they wouldn't touch it because of the conversion. And this was for an issue that was not done by the conversion company. So now you are in limbo as to where you can take your vehicle other then the conversion dealer that sold you the vehicle. Then you get to try and resell the vehicle for a fraction of the original price because of these conversions. And yes I have had many situations that you described.

  3. #3
    We're a two wheeler couple and have driven vans for over 40 years. Will only address a couple of horror stories here. Once while we were inside the van after returning home, the double power doors would not open. As I was in "post position" I tried to reach and release the rod to the door with no luck. Can't remember the details there, but we had to drive down our road until we could stop someone to help us get out of the van.

    Once my husband, driving home from work, had his wheelchair come loose and roll into the main vertical post of the lift inside the van. At the bottom, the chair footrest metal came in contact with electrical somehow and smoke began to appear. Hubby enlisted the aid of a farmer working nearby who helped him get his chair outside the van where he flopped into it - lift not working by then.

    Had a Volkswagon Vanagon at one time. The power seat constantly broke down (when lowered it mashed the wiring). I counted about 8 trips for repairs, then we got tired of that and sold it to a VW dealer who took pity on us and gave us a good price for it. I sent them a big bouquet of flowers. We never used the modification company again.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    I'm living through my conversion nightmare right now. I wanted to preserve cargo space for my handcycle so Braun and the like were out. I went with a local installers and Adapt Solutions' Link driver's seat and Speedy Lift. So far I've dealt with 1. Hand controls literally fell off while driving thanks to a lock nut that wasn't tightened. 2. Link chair cut it's own wiring harness and shorted entire electrical system. 3. Link chair ribs steering wheel with every use (still not fixed). 4. Speedy Lift upper retention mechanism broke.

    It's great when it works and it's working now other than the constant seat/steering wheel rub that's slowly damaging both...

  5. #5
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    I have been driving full sized vans for 35 years and I believe the problem is with the Van mobility company's. The issues are the one size fits all conversions and mobility company's not taking the time to make sure your conversion is right for you. No one will look at the situation and come up with a custom solution probably for fear of being sued. This also happens with DME company's and wheelchairs. There are good ones out there both Mobility/conversion and DME's but they are hard to find.

  6. #6
    I had a buddy driving his van from his chair using a ball and in- floor lock type device. Going up a hill, the in -floor lock let loose and he went flying to the back door. The van starting going backwards down a hill. Just before it entered into busy cross traffic, it backed off the road and into a ditch. He wasn't hurt. It was a used van he just bought; the van people thought the clamp part was worn yet never corrected it. He got it fixed, sold the van and went back to his old one where he had to transfer into the drivers seat.

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