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Thread: Does anybody here drive a minivan who transfers to the drivers seat?

  1. #1

    Does anybody here drive a minivan who transfers to the drivers seat?

    Thinking about getting a Honda or Toyota Minivan or maybe even a Nissan Quest. Was wondering if anybody here drives one of these who transfers to the drivers seat and folds and pulls in their chair behind the seat via the power sliding door behind the drivers door? I know there are probabley people here who drive minivans with lifts, but I am thinking about not getting a lift and transferring in. I am a little nervous the seat might be a little too high, maybe one of these minivans has lower seats than the other?

    I am currently driving a Colorado P.U truck and I just dont feel comfortable driving it anymore after what happened to me last weekend driving back from Vermont. The rear end locked up on the highway going 65 and I was nearly killed. Had the truck towed to the dealer and they did not take it very seriously, now they are replacing the rear end with junk yard parts and the truck is only a couple years old and still under warrantee. They say I hit something on the highway? It is going to cost me 2 grand. I am tired of dumping $$$ into these GM money pits. To me, I think the rear end must be a bad design, the rear cover should be up higher than at the base of the axle so it does not get caught and bend and let out all the fluid if something scrapes the bottom of the truck. This is downright dangerous, I am lucky to be alive right now.

  2. #2
    Curt, just keep in mind that doing transfers up into a van seat from a wheelchair on the ground puts your shoulders at significant risk over time. Overhead lifting (such as pulling yourself up with a sissy bar, or pushing up from the seat with your arm abducted) is the worst type of strain on your shoulder.

    You could consider a transfer seat such as this, which could be used without having to have a lift or ramp or other structural modifications done to the van. There are a number of different brands/models like this:

    http://www.accessunlimited.com/html/glide-n-go.html

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Thanks, that kind of what I was thinking, it might be a little high. I'll have to look into the cost of a glide and go.

  4. #4
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    Curt,
    I just had a Glide n' Go installed into our Chevy(know what you mean about money pits-transfer case, two wheels seals, wheel bearing on a 2003 HD 2500). We paid $4,295 for the unit. We are not very happy with the design. The safety handle bracket sticks out about an inch or so on the right side. It catches my pants and left butt area when I transfer. It is a four wheel drive truck so the transfer is still about three to five inches for me. Not good at that at all so I need help (I am only seven months post) We are looking at a mini-van too. Bruno company makes seats that extend out so looking into that option. Was quoted $9,000 for the Sienna seat but think I could get it for less. Starting to really hate paying such high prices for stuff to make me independent.

    Kathy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Damn Curt,

    Man, I am so sorry to hear of this mishap. It's not the least bit humorous. So glad you're OK, we still gotta have a beer together someday, you promised!!

    About GM's; I have been a diehard Chevy guy since High School. However, they ain't what they used to be.

    I think you may know this already, but I recently traded in my 05 Dodge Magnum RT at 73k because it was also a money pit, argh! Talk about a POS. However, the level transfer of the RT was perfect for me, getting in and out was effortless.

    Have had an 07 Toyota Sienna minivan for about 3 months now; still can't believe I bought a van. At first, I thought I made a big mistake, seat height is a lofty 28". I don't like to pull myself into a high vehicle with my shoulders. I practiced for a couple weeks on the Sienna and it got a little easier, but not by much. I got apprehensive about getting in the Sienna.

    Then I ordered a 28" ADI transfer board cause I noticed the old board I have used for years would tend to slip and slide a little when I transferred. Even a little movement of the board can create anxiety, especailly with a high transfer, at least it did for me. The ADI board has a rubberized coating on the underside on one end and makes the board grip leather or cloth seats incredibly well. Incidentally, all I have on my Sienna is a set of hand controls.

    Now after about 3 months, I can get into this high van seat with virtually no effort. I would be glad to find a way to video how I do this and post for you to view.

    As a side benefit, being able to get into this Sienna opens a lot of possibilities for me to now get into a lot of vehicles that used to be off limits.

    Lastly, I have had a couple Toyotas in the past, and as much as I hate to say it, they are vastly superior to US vehicles. They provide reliable, low-maintenance, trouble-free service. My Sienna is extremely quiet on the road, drives smoothly, is pretty peppy (268 hp @ 6400 rpm, V-6) holds a lot of fuel, and gets about 26-27 mpg on the hwy (for me).

    Curt, PM me if you want, I'll be glad to forward my phone number. I will help you any way I can. If I can do it, you can to.

    A locked up rear end on the highway is incredibly dangerous, get rid of that Colorado, buddy.

    David

    P.S. Love that CBX avatar.

  6. #6
    Member MMcgif's Avatar
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    David, I would be very interested in seeing a video if you make it. My mom has a 2004 Sienna that I have never rode in because of the height differance. Now she's telling me that she might want something smaller to drive everyday. So I thought great. I'll call Braun and have it converted to a side entry van. Make getting in and out easier. But Braun tell's me they will not convert any 2004, or 2005's anymore?? I told them that this van only has 1,200 miles on it. But they still said no, and never really gave a good reason. So I have been trying to figure out ways to maybe use. It would be a shame to sell it. It's still like new.

    Thanks
    Mark

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Schmeky
    Damn Curt,

    Man, I am so sorry to hear of this mishap. It's not the least bit humorous. So glad you're OK, we still gotta have a beer together someday, you promised!!

    About GM's; I have been a diehard Chevy guy since High School. However, they ain't what they used to be.

    I think you may know this already, but I recently traded in my 05 Dodge Magnum RT at 73k because it was also a money pit, argh! Talk about a POS. However, the level transfer of the RT was perfect for me, getting in and out was effortless.

    Have had an 07 Toyota Sienna minivan for about 3 months now; still can't believe I bought a van. At first, I thought I made a big mistake, seat height is a lofty 28". I don't like to pull myself into a high vehicle with my shoulders. I practiced for a couple weeks on the Sienna and it got a little easier, but not by much. I got apprehensive about getting in the Sienna.

    Then I ordered a 28" ADI transfer board cause I noticed the old board I have used for years would tend to slip and slide a little when I transferred. Even a little movement of the board can create anxiety, especailly with a high transfer, at least it did for me. The ADI board has a rubberized coating on the underside on one end and makes the board grip leather or cloth seats incredibly well. Incidentally, all I have on my Sienna is a set of hand controls.

    Now after about 3 months, I can get into this high van seat with virtually no effort. I would be glad to find a way to video how I do this and post for you to view.

    As a side benefit, being able to get into this Sienna opens a lot of possibilities for me to now get into a lot of vehicles that used to be off limits.

    Lastly, I have had a couple Toyotas in the past, and as much as I hate to say it, they are vastly superior to US vehicles. They provide reliable, low-maintenance, trouble-free service. My Sienna is extremely quiet on the road, drives smoothly, is pretty peppy (268 hp @ 6400 rpm, V-6) holds a lot of fuel, and gets about 26-27 mpg on the hwy (for me).

    Curt, PM me if you want, I'll be glad to forward my phone number. I will help you any way I can. If I can do it, you can to.

    A locked up rear end on the highway is incredibly dangerous, get rid of that Colorado, buddy.

    David

    P.S. Love that CBX avatar.
    Wow thats impressive that you can get in and out of the Sienna with ease, I guess that board must really help out, they are kinda high. I looked at all the different minivans today with the exception of American ones. Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. The one I actually liked best was the Nissan Quest, it has real futuristic syling especially in the interior dept. I felt like I was in the uss enterprise and Captain J.T Kirk in the Captains chair. I did the transfer ok into the the Nisson, but its not something I would want to do all the time, dont think it would be good for the shoulders and I really prefer not to deal with a board as I have not used one of those for around the last 25 years, lol.

    Anyhow, here were my findings as I spent the afternoon looking at vehicles. The Mazda 5 crossover is a very cool vehicle and can be had for around 20k. The transfer height was about level and its good sliding minivan doors on both sides that slide with ease. A power motor could be retrofited to the drivers door slider to make it even easier especially for someone that does not have long arms like me. I was actually able to tilt back the reclining drivers seat a little and reach to manually open and close the slider, so opening the slider and stowing my chair in the back behind the drivers seat was a fairly easy task. My concern with the mazda 5 was the gas mileage is not the greatest, about the same as my truck @ 25 to 26 mpg highway.

    I then took a ride back to the Nissan dealer and got looking at an econobox car called the "Versa" for a small car there is all kinds of space in it, I think I should be able to get my handcycle in the back ok with the seat folded flat via the hatchback. The gas mileage is awesome as it gets 36 highway with the optional CVT automatic and around 25 in town driving. The drawback is I would have to pop the wheels on the chair and pull the frame over myself and put it on the pass seat unless I was with someone who could put the chair in the back of the car. Its not that big a deal as thats how I get in and out of my Eldorado and I have got pretty well use to it. The Versa actually starts at around 12.5k and with all the options loaded including a sunroof it brings it up to 19K.

    So the plan I am thinking is asking the dealer (which happens to be the same dealer who has my truck right now) if they can give me 2 grand off on the Versa which is what its costing me to repair the truck and then give me 15 K for my truck (I doubt they will as thats private party sale value and they normally just give wholesale) and sell me the Versa for the 2 grand. With high gas prices the Versa would be a great car to have, all the reviews I have read on it are good and I am sure it would be reliable. I love to travel and this would be the most economical way to do it and I could leave my handcycle in the back.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Curt,

    I do a combination slide-hop to get into the Sienna, there is no upper body lift using my shoulders. Sounds like your going in the right direction with the Versa. Nissan makes good stuff.

    From what I have read, the CVT transmission is doing "good" reliability wise, not great, and repair costs out of warranty are very expensive (around $3,500).

    I am in the habit of disassembling my chair and putting it on the passenger seat. If my wife goes with me, she loads my chair in the rear. I have never tried to load my chair through the side sliding doors of the Sienna.

    Let me know what you buy.

    MMcgif,

    If you think a video of me transfering into the Sienna would of benefit, let me know. I'll check into how so I can post so you can see how I do it. It is really very simple and easy. The key is practice, technique, and practice.

  9. #9
    I am pretty well convinced after doing some research on the computer tonight that the Mazda5 is the way to go. It is so much more car for the money than the Versa, even though the Versa is a great deal too. The Mazda5 has so much more space and can even carry 5 passengers if need be and has plenty of room for the handcycle and I can get the chair behind the drivers seat via the sliding door with ease. From all the reports I have read on it, people say it handles more like a sports car than a minivan. I think the reliability of it cant be beat either. For the price, its the best deal going, I might be able to get a used 06 with under 10k miles for under $15,000.00. A new one with leather and loaded runs around $22.000.00. Hoping to get around 15k for the truck so I may be able to come out of this thing fairly even with a far more reliable vehicle.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Curt, just keep in mind that doing transfers up into a van seat from a wheelchair on the ground puts your shoulders at significant risk over time. Overhead lifting (such as pulling yourself up with a sissy bar, or pushing up from the seat with your arm abducted) is the worst type of strain on your shoulder.

    You could consider a transfer seat such as this, which could be used without having to have a lift or ramp or other structural modifications done to the van. There are a number of different brands/models like this:

    http://www.accessunlimited.com/html/glide-n-go.html

    (KLD)
    Understood, but as for para some movements just to get arms up sometimes do not necessarily have to be bad, does it? I would agree that much heavy lifting above shoulder levels are or could be bad if not done right and should be avoided, for any, completely agree, but then again it would depend on several factors, but here like using a type of car etc. I don’t think one could stress the factor of over shoulder stress problems when it comes to in and out of a car to be too bad, say if working regular work hrs then it is just two times a day some five minutes (awg), not too much. I personally would think as for a para it would also be good to have arms above level of shoulders every now and then (maintain movement), thus I do no think such activities do have to be negative, but then again I agree and understand, but not then again to be ruled out if done right. It all depends. My point thus is in agreement, but if we all does think the easy way is the best, where is the improvement, exercises, challenges etc. I know to be SCI is not so good, but if one becomes too much protective, could the result be that the result will be counter protective? Why will shoulders for a para if fit be in more risk for problems than others, say lazy AB’s (if not SCI'ds wheeling around the town all day to test new wheelchairs)? Why are paras more in the risk zone as for this than most of the AB's when it comes to get in and out of a car a couple of times a day? I don't understand that. I think there are other factors that could hamper a paras shoulders than getting in or out a car a couple of times a day, but knows what you are saying, or will be saying, "too much stress on a paras shoulder as it is are not good so to add more ain’t good", still. And to be passive when it comes to all will not be any good either. But then again, you are right as for loads over shoulder levels. Just questioning some as for to be too passive and protective.
    Last edited by Leif; 06-02-2007 at 11:54 PM.

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