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Thread: Backrest failure for second time in one year

  1. #1

    Backrest failure for second time in one year

    Last year I came on here to warn anyone using a Permobil Corpus 500 wheelchair to check the bracket that is attached to the backrest motor. Basically, the bracket completely sheared and it was only by the grace of God that I was in my living room at the time I'm not driving my van. Permobil replace the bracket and everything seemed fine. Anyway, yesterday evening exactly the same thing happened again. I went to do a tilt and recline and BANG, the backrest broke again. The bracket failed in exactly the same place as it did last year.

    Permobil are relying on one bracket that is made out of cast iron to support the whole backrest, it's absolutely ludicrous. Well, it's happened twice now and both times I've managed to dodge a bullet. Can't see me being so lucky a third time. Anyway, they are going to have to be something about this, this can't continue.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Southern California

  3. #3
    Sue them ??

  4. #4
    Just over a week after the broken bracket on my backrest was replaced another bracket broke on the tilt function on the seat which resulted in the seat falling all the way back with me sitting in the wheelchair. The break occurred right next where the bolt enters the bracket. This is obviously a weak point, metal shouldn't snap like that.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Prerun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Oconto Falls, WI
    Ever since you posted pictures of your prior backrest failure, I religiously check both of my C500 chairs. I always thought it was from having wild sex in my chair! Seriously, thanks for posting this. I make my girlfriend do a good physical inspection weekly because of your prior post. I find loose bolts constantly!

  6. #6
    Senior Member zagam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Western Australia - Hammer wielding daemon
    Looks like a tensile failure to me. I.e. the crack started at the top and then propagated down.

    Need thicker or stronger metal.

  7. #7
    It definitely does need checking on a daily basis because if this can happen to me three times then it's going to happen to somebody else sooner or later. I believe the maximum weight for the corpus 500 is about 120 kg. Well, I might have a bit of a tetra tum but I'm nowhere near 120 kg in weight :-)

    These brackets are castings aren't they? I'm simply not convinced they should be using this type of material for such strenuous functions. For those of you who don't know, there is only one bracket that supports the backrest, this bracket is attached to the attenuator which is what you operate to manoeuvre the backrest and seat functions. If the bracket breaks then that's it, there's no backup, you're going down backwards with a big bang.

    Just check for cracks because from what I understand cast metal doesn't bend, it just breaks.

  8. #8
    That looks like cast aluminum or an alloy. If a magnet will stick to it, it is iron. If you were in the U.S. you could file a defective report with the FDA. If they get enough reports they can issue warnings, recalls, etc. For U.S. users, the FDA info is at.

  9. #9
    No, I'm in the UK actually.

    When you buy a wheelchair I think it's fair to say that there are certain components that may not last for ever. Batteries, motors, actuators, electrical circuit boards, things that you know for certain don't last for other. However, what you do expect to last for the entirety of the chair and beyond is a solid metal structure that has been designed to support a lot of weight. If these components break prematurely then they are obviously either faulty or they are not made out of the right material

    By the way, a magnet will stick to it so is obviously made of some kind of cast iron. From what I understand from doing some research cast iron doesn't bend at all, it will simply break
    Last edited by Ironside; 11-14-2018 at 06:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Is your back the Permobil back or do you have an aftermarket back?

    I have an aftermarket back and I'm not sure the mounting apparatus is the same, though other issues have been experienced by me.

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