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Thread: Full Size Wheelchair Van Questions

  1. #1
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    Full Size Wheelchair Van Questions

    For transportation I have been using a minivan. I need more headroom so I am seriously considering a full size van. However, I am worried that I may have been spoiled by the convenience of parking wherever I like, especially in parking garages, and the speedy access by ramp. Before making a commitment I have some questions. First, for anyone who has moved up from a minivan to one of these large full size vans any regrets? Second, given the all around city congestion what is the most practical lift set up, side or rear entry (I am not worried about the interior seating)? Another thing I am curious about is the style of side door, swing or slider? I prefer the sliding door but are the power units adequate for such a big door?

    Thank you for the feedback.

  2. #2
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    They do not make conversion kits for full-size vans anymore. For example, I have a Ford e- 250 with a Braun millennium left and I drive from my wheelchair. My guy at mobility works has told me the new Ford transit vans are not able to duplicate that conversion as of now.

  3. #3
    Do you drive, or ride? I've never seen a rear entry option for a driver, but that's not saying it doesn't exist. I drive full size vans, all with sliding doors, one has power and one I can manage manually. If you drive do you transfer into a powerseat, or drive from your chair?

  4. #4
    We only had full size vans, so this may not be of any use for you.
    Current van we bought new 2003 Sprinter SHR 140" Wheelbase Passenger Model with rear entry lift. Rear entry due to ease of access, but have avoid parellel parking slots, even HC slots due to often blocked rear doors even with marked off area, people just ignore that stuff here.
    Entry is gread with straight in parking just be careful and watchful if unloading on active street. We done this for about 25 years so no big deal anymore.
    We lived in downtown OKC for several years and yes parking can be a problem with over 9' van height. Never able park in highrise parking decks hence lease space in private secure lot across street from building we lived in.
    Also, a big problem with clearances at drive thrus that has covered windows and you always really need to point out van height to any Valet persons. Hospital clinic parking we usually have park in no ceiling Valet lot or park in open air ER or Doctors lot first informing Security Gate Guard reason we need park there and so far he opens gate.

    Another issue is your abilities. I transfer to driver seat, swivel seat tray under orginal seat. Orginal seat base had stay in place due to main fuse panels was under driver seat since no HC equipment/adaptation had been approved for Sprinter when we first bought our Sprinter anyway.
    Doors, sliders power openers are easier to obtain and less headaches than swing style doors. Oklahoma wind loves to rip hinges out of frame and or break stop straps on swind doors.
    Lifts, if you go rear entry best we found is Ricon KlearVue lift. It folds in half so see out rear door windows, big plus city driving/parking. Link:
    http://www.riconcorp.com/products_co...l_klearvue.asp
    BTW: We have used these lifts since 19995 or 96, first was a 96 Dodge 3/4 ton van and like them very much. All 3 we've purchased have been commercial models. Liked some much had our backup van a 88 Chevy 3/4 ton van's old Ricon replaced with one so see out rear windows.

    Current full size vans as far as I know is Ford Full size Transit, height's come in regular, medium and tall. Short wheelbase Passenger only comes in regular roof height as far as I know. Only saw those with rear entry.
    Next is Dodge/Ram ProMaster. It's front wheeldrive and be big problem is you are a driver and especially if you are unable to transfer. Driver section is raised platform of about 7-8" higher than cargo area. BTW: Think they currently only Cargo versions unless you get aftermarket conversion.
    Next is Sprinter, since Dodge quit carrying your choice is by Mercedes, limited dealers handling and doing any work on them. Or Freightliner, to get worked on is a hassel at least in our area since they mainly concerned with big rigs over van. With that being said we love our Sprinter and would buy another if could get better access to service. Lucky the dealer we got it from still does routine service eg: oil, fuel filter service.
    With all that being said, we are currently thinking/shopping for a minvan. We have our own home now and want ease of parking and due to age and health I'm not able to be as active and driving from chair is soon to be my best option.
    "Good Luck!"

    Edit to add this. This company was recommended to us by our usual Lift Shop on options concerning Full Size Transit. They are upfitters and does have a transfer seat to drive from called Nor-Cal Vans:
    http://www.nor-calvans.com/ford-transit/mobility
    Last edited by MikeP2013; 03-21-2017 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Add Link

  5. #5
    the full size chevy explorer conversion vans are my pic. however the transit conversions are cool too.
    http://www.conversionvanland.com/new...er=1&pfooter=1
    http://www.conversionvanland.com/new...er=1&pfooter=1
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  6. #6
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    I'm a C4-C5 Quad and I have always had full sized Ford vans with Braun swing away lifts. My problem is the opposite of yours, they don't make that van or the lift any more. We are in the process of switching over to a mini van and so far I don't like it. The full sized van is easy for me to drive from my chair with standard steering and breaks. I can park and with the swing away I don't need much room to get out.

    I find the mini van needs more room for the ramp or an end spot and for me the steering is harder to turn.
    ^^(A)^^

  7. #7
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Darty, I agree with you 100%. I have a 2004 Ford E250 in perfect shape with about 75,000 miles on it. I wash it, wax it, garage it and baby it so I expect to get at least another five years out of it. I have looked at the minivans and I simply do not like them, probably because I'm used to the roominess of a full-size van and the great visibility setting up higher. I have a 6" dropped floor with a bulletproof Braun Millenium lift, side entry automatic swing doors and I drive from my manual chair with an EZ Lock. I have found the ramps in the minivan to be steep and require more room on the side for access. There are some slick looking transit vans out there but my understanding is the van modification companies cannot lower the floors on these transit vans so someone like myself can drive from my wheelchair with an EZ Lock. I hope they come up with something within the next 5 years or so.

  8. #8
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    My full sized Ford has 75,000 miles on it so I have my fingers crossed. I just drove the 2002 Venture around today and the steering is definitely harder to turn and I don't like it. I am looking for some way to modify the pump or the rack & pinion so I can be more comfortable. Everything else works fine but I don't like being lower to the ground either.
    ^^(A)^^

  9. #9
    Darty, 75,000 is nothing on a E series van, if they're taken care of it's not unusual to get over a half million miles out of one. I also agree on the harsher steering effort on some of the smaller vans, I've got a VW Eurovan (rack and pinion) and it's much more effort than my Econolines.

  10. #10
    can power steering be modded like that darty.
    Quote Originally Posted by darty View Post
    My full sized Ford has 75,000 miles on it so I have my fingers crossed. I just drove the 2002 Venture around today and the steering is definitely harder to turn and I don't like it. I am looking for some way to modify the pump or the rack & pinion so I can be more comfortable. Everything else works fine but I don't like being lower to the ground either.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
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