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Thread: Van users

  1. #1
    Senior Member wtf's Avatar
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    Van users

    Do you drive from your chair or transfer to seat?

    Also, what van do you drive? I currently drive a car, but seriously want to switch to a van. A few months ago, I test drove a honda odyssey van and the van was nice looking, but it felt strange to be sitting so high. Since, I'm short, I had to raise the seat - I'm not sure if I raised it to the highest point, I had to stop because my knees hit the hand controls/underside thing. And, the steering was kinda hard to turn, it was much harder than my car. If you're a van driver, did it take awhile to get used to your new vehicle?
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  2. #2
    We have full size van as we're two wheelers. Both passenger seats are 8 way power seats so that we can do "gravity transfers" for both in and out of seats. The steering wheel on our Ford van definitely required more strength for me to turn. We have two spinner knobs on the wheel that definitely help for parking and turning maneuvers. These were placed at certain points on the wheel where turns and parking were easier for me.

    We have looked at a number of mini-vans but the space for two wheelers was the issue. Also, with a mini van consideration must be given to how one enters. If in a chair there's a fairly difficult (for many) ramp to get in. If we went that route I would need to use my zx1 scooter to get up the ramp as I was unable to get up it in the showroom.
    In one mini van we bought we transferred into seat then pulled our chairs into the two sliding doors and had just enough room for two empty chairs. The transfer was high and the major workout to get chairs in was very rough on the shoulders and we sold that van after about a year.

    Also tried a Volkswagon "Vanagon". It had a rotary lift on the side. It was fairly workable but the front power seats were close together and the power driver seat kept breaking down - all the wiring would get squashed every time we had to lower and swivel. After about 6 trips to repair we gave up on it and actually sold it back to a different VW dealer who had been doing the repairs - he must have taken pity on us as he gave us a great price. So great that I sent him a fruit basket!

    Hope you find something that makes driving easy for you, including easy on the shoulders. So important to preserve them.

  3. #3
    hey lady, hope u r well. I took the plunge 3 yrs ago this coming feb. I went full size chevy explorer conversion and love it. I transfer and drive. however I'm considering driving from chair when we buy the next one MAYBE. I'm still getting used to it, very different from the cars I drove 25 yrs prior to van. harder to brake and steer.
    the good out weighs the other stuff. being inside to transfer is wonderful in winter snow and summer heat. for us all the room for our bikes is great, I leave my zx-1 in there too. when annalisa and I go out together she drives, we have transfer seats both driver and passenger\. go for it, I wish I had 10 yrs sooner.

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  4. #4
    I've ONLY driven full size vans since my injury 45 years ago. Although I did put handcontrols into a chevy pickup back in the late 70s when I was in the trucking business. If you've never driven a full size van then it'll take some getting used to. I love being up high enough to see past the car in front of you and you'll have a better opportunity to avoid an accident because of that. A minivan would be difficult for me because of all the hunting/fishing gear I carry throughout the year. I have never driven from the chair, always transfered, and doubt that I will change until my shoulders are completely shot.
    "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    I got Chrysler Town and Country several years ago and it is great. I transfer to a 6-way seat and don't have any issues. I just strap down my chair with auto-retracting straps and then transfer to the seat. It is really simple and quick. When my able-bodied wife wants to drive it's as easy as moving the seat forward and taking off. Given the extra leg room of a van, I don't have to worry about a foot plate, so there is nothing to do except remove the spinner knob.
    I highly recommend a mini-van for the convenience and places you can park vs. a full size van, but over to you. Looking at vans the other day, the all seem to be in the 80k range. Just a couple years ago I was able to get my Chrysler for 58k with all the gadgets inside. The equivalent one now was spec'd at 80k + the turning seat and hand controls.
    Good luck with the decision. A van made all the difference in my ability to get out of the house after work.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    hey lady, hope u r well. I took the plunge 3 yrs ago this coming feb. I went full size chevy explorer conversion and love it. I transfer and drive. however I'm considering driving from chair when we buy the next one MAYBE. I'm still getting used to it, very different from the cars I drove 25 yrs prior to van. harder to brake and steer.
    the good out weighs the other stuff. being inside to transfer is wonderful in winter snow and summer heat. for us all the room for our bikes is great, I leave my zx-1 in there too. when annalisa and I go out together she drives, we have transfer seats both driver and passenger\. go for it, I wish I had 10 yrs sooner.

    Look at the ATC pickup conversion.

  7. #7
    Look at the Maxda 3. A pretty good cross, between a car and van.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DeadEye View Post
    I've ONLY driven full size vans since my injury 45 years ago. Although I did put handcontrols into a chevy pickup back in the late 70s when I was in the trucking business. If you've never driven a full size van then it'll take some getting used to. I love being up high enough to see past the car in front of you and you'll have a better opportunity to avoid an accident because of that. A minivan would be difficult for me because of all the hunting/fishing gear I carry throughout the year. I have never driven from the chair, always transfered, and doubt that I will change until my shoulders are completely shot.
    same here, way to small. I couldn't push up the ramp easily either, no way in snow or rain.
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  9. #9
    I've been driving full sized Fords and the steering is much easier than my VW Eurovan, especially when making sharp left hand turns, going slow. It definitely takes a little getting used to when driving any van for the first time.

  10. #10
    Senior Member air ohs's Avatar
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    Talk to your suppliers folks. the steering can be made wayyyyyy easier they do mods on the steering gearbox. had mine done and its two finger steering.

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