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Thread: Is a raised roof or lowed floor in full size van absolutely necessary?

  1. #1

    Is a raised roof or lowed floor in full size van absolutely necessary?

    Title says it all. I have seen full size Fords at least for sale that did not have either a raised roof or lowered floor. Years ago I even looked at one to buy but it was so old and beat up I did not even try the lift out.

    My story is that I have for decades really owned and driven full size vans and prefer to drive them. And when I first landed in a wheelchair I was still able to crawl and lift myself into the drivers seat. By 2016 I kept getting weaker, but thought I'd be fine so purchased a brand new 2016 plain jane Express full size van, but within a few thousand miles I became unable to even get into the van. We stop gapped the issue with a cheap used mini van with everything I needed, ramp, seats, even a better set of hand controls.

    But now I still miss my full size, especially summertime and we want to travel. Contacting dealers, one type question that made me pause was "does it have a raised roof?" Well no it does not or lowered floor. But they could still install, and will call back.

    So I did some measuring, door opening is 49 inches high. And I might not fit without ducking because from the top of my head to the ground, sitting in the I-Glide wheelchair is 53 inches (self measured). I got real discouraged with these numbers. I know I am practically answering my own question, but I want to hear from those who know. So repeating, is a raised roof or lowered floor in a full size van absolutely necessary? BTW, I used to be 6'2" if it helps, those days are long gone.
    Last edited by nonoise; 05-11-2018 at 03:14 AM. Reason: clarity
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  2. #2
    We are a two wheeler couple and have always had full size vans without raised roof or lowered floor. Husband is 6'2" and ducks his head a bit upon entering van from side door lift. We have power door openers in addition to driver and passenger 6 way power seats, hand controls.
    Husband can transfer to driver's seat. There may come a time when driving from his manual chair may be considered.
    Also, our empty wheelchairs must be secured inside van - whichever chair rolled to rear is secured with bungee cords, while the chair in front is bungeed to engine housing. Before this method, chairs would not be stable with brakes on.

    I guess the issue is whether you are physically able to duck your upper body. It would be great if you could try this in a van. Do all makes of full size vans have 49" height. Unable to measure ours until later, if needed.

  3. #3
    i like raised roof. my wife is short and she can stand up totally in our van she prefers that. im 6'2 with a short chair i duck just slightly to clear lift area.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    We are a two wheeler couple and have always had full size vans without raised roof or lowered floor. Husband is 6'2" and ducks his head a bit upon entering van from side door lift. We have power door openers in addition to driver and passenger 6 way power seats, hand controls.
    Husband can transfer to driver's seat. There may come a time when driving from his manual chair may be considered.
    Also, our empty wheelchairs must be secured inside van - whichever chair rolled to rear is secured with bungee cords, while the chair in front is bungeed to engine housing. Before this method, chairs would not be stable with brakes on.

    I guess the issue is whether you are physically able to duck your upper body. It would be great if you could try this in a van. Do all makes of full size vans have 49" height. Unable to measure ours until later, if needed.
    This is good news so far. I would love to get measurements from you, especially of top of your husbands head to the floor level. BTW, what year and brand van do you have? I might be able to find it's door opening measurements online. Floor to ceiling distance is also a concern which might be online. Thanks for the response.
    Last edited by nonoise; 05-11-2018 at 03:35 PM. Reason: fixed up wording after wife read it.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    i like raised roof. my wife is short and she can stand up totally in our van she prefers that. im 6'2 with a short chair i duck just slightly to clear lift area.
    Yeah, I checked out a raised roof van a couple of weeks ago, 2006 and 130k mileage, I think, but it looked brand new, all decked out like a party van. The only adaptive thing it had was a lift, $25k. I told the salesman before ever going to see it all I wanted to do was ride the lift, not interested in the van. He was cool with that. I was surprised they had loaded all stuff in a 1/2 ton.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  6. #6
    If you use a 6 way transfer seat no need for raised roof or lowered floor but you'll have to duck entering the doorway.

  7. #7
    What RustyJames said. I have a raised roof but no cutout at the doors. I have to duck a little to get in and out. But I have a tall wheelchair and a tall cushion. My next wheelchair will be 1" shorter. If I use a low profile cushion with that new chair, I probably won't have to duck. But you are a few inches taller that me. The other issue is transfers. Well, it's not the transfer itself but rather moving around on your cushion before and after the transfer. I need 3"-4" headroom to lift up to do that. That's all part of the process to straighten my hips and clothing after the transfer. Doing the actual transfer is not a problem because you'll be leaning forward with your head down (if you're doing it right).

  8. #8
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    I believe the floor in my van is lowered 8" and I have to duck going in and I'm still unable to sit fully straight while in my chair.

  9. #9
    Send me a PM and I'll tell you my latest invention for getting in my 84 Jeep. Have you looked at some of the videos on You tube? There are some pretty unique things people have come up with.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    Send me a PM and I'll tell you my latest invention for getting in my 84 Jeep. Have you looked at some of the videos on You tube? There are some pretty unique things people have come up with.
    PM sent. I've youtubed my eyes out without success so far. A year and a half ago I could sort of crawl and pull my self in.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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