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Thread: Hand Control Questions

  1. #1

    Question Hand Control Questions

    I finally bought a new car after years of resisting the change. I know the next step is adding the hand controls. Does anyone know if technology has improved in this area over the past 20 years and if there are really good ones or ones to avoid? Since this board was so helpful when I was shopping for cars I wondered if anyone had any input on good hand controls or if it is just a matter of personal preference?

  2. #2
    I have used right angle, push pull, and rock push controls with mpd sure grip.
    Most recently I moved to rock push featherlite hand controls. Also available in right angle, push pull, twist push options

    I love these controls and they are as effortless to use as I feel hand controls can be. It took a bit to get used to the difference of having an electronic gas response but no more than adjusting to any other set.
    Another big perk is if hand controls are working gas pedal does not and if gas pedal is working hand controls are not. It has made it easy for my spouse and I to swap off driving. It has also allowed me to use valet parking in the few situations I don’t have an alternative option. This is a really important feature to me but does require a small hole in your dashboard for the round button.

    I also got the sure grip spinner knob easy spin rf360 and the shape is a lot more functional for me as it is more of a t. It also has my turn signals, windshield wipers, and additional controls on it. The natural feeling plus not having to let go over the wheel for turn signals has been huge for me. The only issue I have run into with this knob is if it sits in the cold overnight it needs to warm up a bit before the Bluetooth works for the controls. So not good in Winter weather to leave in the car so I actually ended up putting a crown royal bag on my chair in MN to stick the control in when going inside while keeping my clothes clean at the same time! It was still worth having the control knob even with the extra step. In FL this has only been an issue one day and it took all of 3 minutes to warm up.

    I recently made the drive from Minnesota to Florida in less than two days with a unadulterated on the back of my car with this set up. While spasms and pain were an issue i know this drive would not have happened with previous set ups that I have. Going from small town traffic to traffic in Tampa as long as finances allow the knob with turn signals I will not go back.
    Last edited by Kristopher; 02-27-2019 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Added note on rf360

  3. #3
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    The Featherlite right angles are the ticket if you want modern. Make sure to have your hand control dealer order them with "same last state" configuration so you are not constantly pressing a button to active them. Gas can be super light, brake is brakes. Key thing is that they work a lot better than mechanical controls fighting a massively spring loaded DBW pedal. And since you mentioned in another thread you bought a Challenger...that introduces some angle issues which can affect reasonable-force gas operation with a mechanical setup. These force issues can be rectified with judicious modifying stuff...but you wont get that out of a hand control vendor. Depending if you have the power or the manual tilt/tele column in that Challenger affects the ease of making a clean looking install of the mechanical control (again, which you probably wont get from a 'pro'). If starting anew with a new car...I'd spring for those Featherlites, easier install as you are only needing to mount a support rod and thats it, no need for mechanism clearances. Last quote I got for a Challenger install with those was $1500 a year or so ago

  4. #4
    I have Featherlite in my Sienna, right side push pulls and I like them a lot. They now have a procedure to initiate last state mode in the field so it’s not necessary to specify upon ordering. I have City Mode on mine which is a second switch which limits full travel to half throttle. It’s handy in parking garages and such as tip in can be a little sharp normally. You can select on the fly. The return spring tension is adjustable over a good range.
    Be sure to ask the installer if they have tools to bend the support arm and brake rod as you can really make things disappear with a little creativity. Other than the control under the steering column mine are invisible.
    The parts with City Mode and Airbag shunt as they call it were 875.00 and labor was 8 hrs or 1k at Nor Cal rates.

  5. #5
    For myself, I go with the simplest hand control like Monarch or MPS. They may be the same company. Anything electronic or fancy, is one more thing to go wrong. The maintenance on mine is a squirt of WD40 about every ten years and I never have to worry if they'll work or not.

    Will the Featherlite still be operable if there's an electronic malfunction? I'm in the market for a new van and h/c will be needed.

  6. #6
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    Quote Originally Posted by Stsmark View Post
    Be sure to ask the installer if they have tools to bend the support arm and brake rod as you can really make things disappear with a little creativity.
    They even make a custom tool for their controls:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
    Wow. Things have changed a lot since I last shopped for hand controls. Thanks for all the feedback. I definitely need to do my homework. Thanks to you guys I feel like I already got the cliff notes...

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Suburb Near Chicago

    Remember my absurd quote?

    Last edited by nick; 03-01-2019 at 10:21 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    NW NJ ***********T12 cmplt since 95
    too expensive? Not exactly what you wanted?
    Make your own!
    Hand control for newer vehicles with electronic throttles
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  10. #10
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    Quote Originally Posted by nick View Post
    The salesman for Mobility Works truly had no clue what he was even selling me.
    Let me publicly expand on Mobility Works then!

    I visited another branch for the same stuff, and got the distinct impression the people there might not really know what they were talking about. Their tale of blowing the 'sport mode' functions for the transmission and suspension on a Land Rover while installing one of these gave me pause. Then the secrecy about showing the installation manual to me so I could get a better picture of what was involved was very tacky. Combined with a patronizing thanks. Some email correspondence with the makers of the Featherlite controls conclusively proved that Mobility Works had zero knowledge of what they were talking about, and they gladly emailed a copy of the install manual so I could get a good picture of this device. Some mobility dealers really need to either just quit, or re-evaluate their operations, lol. I only wish the manufacturer would not be so reliant on their dealers, I'd buy a set tonight if they would ship direct to me, but I guess that's how this game is played with liability paranoia and whatnot. Imagine if auto parts sellers would be the same way with things like automotive brake parts...oh wait, no wheelchair people there (had to get the victim thing going in this rant, lol)

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