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Thread: Full Size Wheelchair Van Questions

  1. #21
    Junior Member
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    Port Charlotte, FL
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    The MV-1 company makes a big van, almost by hand. I have the first swapped from w/c passenger to w/c driver.

    See http://www.mv-1.us/ and

    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...er%27s%20forum

    It is easier to steer because the rear wheel drive stops torque steer of front wheel drive.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    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.
    I am looking at the new full size vans, such as Dodge Pro Master, Ford Transit, and the Sprinter. These vehicles appears to require minimal modifications to make them accessible. The medium roof Transit looks like a natural for a wheelchair conversion.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Do you drive, or ride? If you drive do you transfer into a powerseat, or drive from your chair?
    I am a C5/6 quad and want a vehicle that I can drive from my wheelchair and or ride as the front passenger. A power door is required. Based on my research and as MikeP2013 pointed out, the front wheel drive Pro Master has a raised cabin floor, the Sprinter has the fuse box and wiring harness under the driver's seat pedestal. Looks like the Transit is the best option, the floors level full length.
    Last edited by Noel; 03-26-2017 at 04:35 PM.

  4. #24
    Noel, from what I know, the at this period in time, the Transit can not be driven from a wheelchair. The reason is that the sheet metal can't be modified in any way because of the high strength steel used in its construction. That includes welding and drilling holes.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP2013 View Post
    Current van we bought new 2003 Sprinter SHR 140" Wheelbase Passenger Model with rear entry lift.

    ease of access,...
    Entry is great with straight in parking...

    avoid parellel parking slots, even HC slots due to often blocked rear doors...
    parking can be a problem with... van height.
    Never able park in highrise parking decks...
    Also, a big problem with clearances at drive thrus that has covered windows...
    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...

    With that being said we love our Sprinter and would buy another if could get better access to service.

    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!"
    Thank you for being so informative, very helpful. Spending this much money makes for a frustratingly difficult choice.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Noel, from what I know, the at this period in time, the Transit can not be driven from a wheelchair. The reason is that the sheet metal can't be modified in any way because of the high strength steel used in its construction. That includes welding and drilling holes.
    Thank you. Looks like I have more research to do. I also need to find out if there are any surprises in this seat platforms. A trip to the salvage yard, and here I was looking for an easy solution.
    Last edited by Noel; 03-27-2017 at 11:00 AM.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Noel, from what I know, the at this period in time, the Transit can not be driven from a wheelchair. The reason is that the sheet metal can't be modified in any way because of the high strength steel used in its construction. That includes welding and drilling holes.
    I just spoke with a representative from Nor-Cal Vans and he confirmed that modifying the vehicle for driving from a wheelchair is not practical, the challenges make it cost prohibitive. Evidently, besides the high strength steel obstruction the power wheelchair is a poor fit. A wheelchair front passenger is doable, but also a challenge. Total bummer.

    I suppose there is the option of going with the high-top, installing a track lift, and transferring into the seat.

  8. #28
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    Looks like my "ideal" vehicle for conversion is not that easy an option after all. I have done enough research on the Ford Transit Wagon to understand why this transport vehicle is such a challenge to convert for the wheelchair driver. It starts with, as pointed out in this thread, Ford's use of the lightweight and ulter-high-strength Boron steel, and the designated no-drill zones throughout the body. Modifying these zones risks voiding the vehicle's warranty. The primary obstacle is the Floor zone which starts in front of the driver's seat and continues back to the rear axle. This zone includes brake lines, wiringharness, fuel tank and other essential equipment. The base of the driver's seat itself holds the batteries, and fuse panel. The passenger seat base includes the heating control and venting. Ford does provide a builder's Manual listing the various zones and with guidelines for modifying the Transit series of vehicles.

    The people at Nor-Calvans, the Ford van conversions specialist, have a web page titled "Transit Development Challenges" and it provides a detailed outline of what they determined is required when converting this vehicle. I recommend going to the link and reading the full write up, but below is a brief summary.

    Nor-Calvans
    Ford Van Conversions Specialist

    Transit Development Challenges:
    • Nor-Cal Vans will not be providing a lowered floor conversion on the new Ford Transit due to several Ford designated "No Drill or Weld” zones throughout the body, floor, and doors of the Transit.
    • These zones are areas that Ford does not want modified for a variety of reasons, ranging from wiring locations to the possibility of compromising the structural integrity of the vehicle. Altering these areas might cause damage and possibly void the Ford warranty. Because Nor-Cal Vans is a Ford QVM, we strictly adhere to Ford's guidelines.
    • The Transit chassis also includes sections of high-strength boron steel used in the chassis to add durability to the body. Boron steel cannot be cut or drilled with standard equipment and the presence of boron steel limits the locations of aftermarket seats and wheelchair anchorage systems.
    • All OEM seating positions have integral lap/shoulder belts. There are no structural mounting points for shoulder belts or lap belts on the actual van; everything is contained within each seat.
    • Ford recommends ordering the modified wiring prep package when adding electrical add-ons that draw more than 60 amps (For example, Braun’s standard circuit breaker is 75-amps).
    • The rear heating system of a Transit Wagon is ducted in the floor, with vent outlets under the rear OEM seats. The rear heater core/blower is located under the front passenger seat. If this floor system is removed, then the ductwork for the rear heater is removed as well. Nor-Cal Vans has designed a new system that reroutes the heat so it can be distributed more evenly throughout the passenger area.
    • The vehicle battery (or optional dual batteries) is located under the driver seat, along with body control module. B&D Independence has developed a Driver Transfer Seat for the Transit, but the battery will need to be relocated. Contact B&D Independence for further information.
    • Use caution when installing aftermarket back-up alarms and reverse cameras in Transits without towing prep packages. The tail lamp reverse circuits cannot support additional electrical loads (per Ford bulletin).

    Learn more about Nor-Cal Vans Ford Transit
    http://www.nor-calvans.com/blog/tran...ent-challenges
    www.nor-calvans.com/ford-transit.
    Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2015


    For those of you are curious about Boron Steel, here are my notes.
    For drilling holes in this material a tungsten carbide drill bit is required, however freehand is not recommended (bits easily break, at an average cost of $75.00 apiece). It is recommended that a magnetic drill press be used. For cutting an abrasive wheel works, and for welding a plasma arc. See article and link below. This material requires special skills.

    Working with Boron Steel, Michael West

    Boron is an alloying element in developing ultra high-strength steel (UHSS). It’s added in very small amounts to steel, about one-tenth of 1%. Automobile manufacturers are now using the lightweight and stronger Boron alloy steel to make traditionally heavy steel parts. The idea here is to make something that’s a lot stronger and also a lot lighter in weight.

    Some Challenges of Boron steel:
    1. Once bent, it can’t be straightened. It requires replacement if damaged.
    2. It’s sensitive to heat and rapidly weakens if heated.
    3. Because of its sensitivity to heat, it can’t be galvanized. Therefore, corrosion protection is crucial and essential after welding.
    4. Most manufacturers allow GMAW/MIG welding of boron but urge caution because of weakening in the HAZ (heat affect zone).
    5. It’s resistant to conventional cutting tools – spot weld drills, cutters, reciprocating saws.

    September 1, 2006 12:00 am
    http://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/work...h-boron-steel/
    Last edited by Noel; 03-31-2017 at 12:16 PM.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by darty View Post
    I really don't understand why a full sized van is easier to steer. My guess is the power steering pump provides more fluid pressure to the steering box. Although when the mobility company's lower the effort of either vehicle you send them the steering box and for mini vans you send out the rack & pinion and not the pump. Maybe it's a weight distribution thing with the mini van, having both engine and transmission under the hood (transverse) and over the front wheels adds a lot of weight up there?

    I have been doing some research because $3,000 plus to lighten the steering effort just sounds ridiculous to me. I know a little about it (I was an ASE certified mechanic before my injury) but a lot has changed in the last 36 years. It's pressure and flow that need to be modified. So far it looks like 4 X 4 and off road vehicles have the same problem. They put larger tires on and that makes it hard to steer. Also if they are rock climbing and the front tires drop in between two rocks (like getting your front wheelchair wheels sideways in a crack) they can't get out / turn the wheels without easier steering.

    I do expect to get lots of miles out of my full sized Ford it has a 5.8 liter engine and runs great. I'm a big stickler for maintenance and keep up with it. I don't think I mentioned it's a 1996 and only has 75,000 miles on it. I bought it 7 years ago with 13,000 on it. The Chevy Venture I have is a 2002 with 30,000 miles on it.
    Full size vans have many things going on that make them easier to steer, especially from a wheelchair.

    $3000 doesn't should like anywhere near enough to do a steering modification to a 2002 Chevy venture.

    fwiw: It has nothing to do with pressure or flow.

    4x4's have a different a bunch of different problems and is a completely different can of worms.

    A full size Ford E series van can last forever if properly cared for.

    Same goes for pretty much any van.

    Jim
    Jim, MA, MMET
    Bridgewater, MA

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Yes, evidently, but a backup control is required for whatever reason: http://www.armstronglifts.net/products/zroeffort.htm
    Theres only one reason.

    Safety

    Jim
    Jim, MA, MMET
    Bridgewater, MA

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