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Thread: Replacing hydraulic lift with a ramp in my van, downsides?

  1. #1

    Replacing hydraulic lift with a ramp in my van, downsides?

    Hi,

    I have a clunky old van with an even clunkier old Braun hydraulic lift in the back of it that I would like to replace as it slows the loading process and is a bit too heavy to handle for my mum.

    I was looking at manually folding out aluminium ramps as something cheap and easy, and that is quick to load. Specifically " Rollaramp"
    http://www.rollaramp.com/
    Does anyone have any experience of the cons of a manual ramp versus a hydraulic one? The only one I can think of is that it will require more room at the back. But a big plus will be the ability to unclip the ramp from the van to be used elsewhere if needed.

  2. #2
    First, I think frequency of use is the main thing. It gets to be a chore to align ramps manually each time needed. So a dedicated lift has that one.

    I hate Braun though.

    Second, consider the grade. Power chair or pushed and consider the weight if pushed. You can get a running start and hit a ramp and pull a grade, but to enter a van you want to proceed with caution.

    Third, ramps are slick as owl shit when wet. Power chairs dont go well on a grade with wet tires.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your reply mingo.

    I should have said that I am in a power chair and the grade shouldn't be a problem if I get an 8 foot ramp. The ramp will also be fixed to the vehicle so it just needs to be folded down, so no problems with manually aligning it.
    So slipperiness is one potential downside then.

  4. #4
    Slippery issue indeed.

    When I had my van built they dropped the floor 6 inches. The driver area had to be dropped another 3 inches. So there is a slope there. I didn't much care for the rubber flooring but was told carpet would not stand up to use.

    Even morning dew is enough to make me slide into the EZ lock hard. Rainstorm ... forget it. (I still go, but know to expect the ride)

    If you can pick and choose the time and conditions you travel, the ramp might work. The cost and maintenence are big pluses there. I would try a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood first at the height you are aiming for and see how it worked. A friend of mine has a 7 foot chunk of plywood he pulls out when I visit. Going up I give it full throttle and it makes it, but going down backward with other people guiding the wood texture has been slippery when wet.

    Before I had a lift, I had a couple of 10 or 12 foot, loose 2 x 12 boards which were placed/spaced for the wheels and had a small winch mounted inside. The winch did the pulling but a person still had to guide the chair.

    It was a bit dangerous.

    I would like to hear from people on those low ramps in the modified Caravan type vehicles. They seemed ok at the expo, but real world is something else.

    good luck

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