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    Van conversion nightmare

    Hi all and happy New year!

    I have a question for van owners with a Braun conversion.

    Has anyone encountered electrical issues with their vans to where nothing will work including windows, locks, doors, ramp etc - (see my long list below)? Our 70K nightmare will have this happen periodically for no reason at all. It could last 5 minutes or 3 solid days. When this happens I become trapped in my vehicle so I don't go anywhere by myself anymore. I'm thinking it's a loose wire somewhere. We've had it to the local dealer twice and they couldn't figure anything out. One of the times we were able to get it there while it was acting up. They ran their diagnostics and came up with 7 sheets of errors. They said they had the CareCure Home service guy in the nation and promised they'd get to the bottom of it and would work with the local mobility place and even asked for their phone number and the service manager's name. However, it stopped acting up while they had it so nothing was done including the promised call to the mobility company. They basically kept it for a week (both times) and did nothing. So, we were told it's a mobility issue and to take it to them. They've had it a week now so we'll see what happen, if anything. Each time I take it in I end up with no vehicle for a week and get the same answer.

    Also, we bought our 2019 van new, but it was a year old. In the past when we've done this we have always gotten the full warranty from the manufacturer because we were the first/original owner and never ran into any issues. However, we are running into problems now because the manufacturer of this van that we bought new in 2020 is saying the warranty expired in 2022. They are saying because it has some miles on it it wasn't new when we bought it. Unless one orders a new vehicle instead of buying a new one off the lot there will be miles on all new vehicles because they get test driven.

    I know there are a bunch of brilliant guys on here and if any of you have any ideas or If anyone has had this happen I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions.
    Attached Files

    #2
    i've seen the wires that open the door broken that caused the same thing. its a bundle that's in the door opening. as the door opens/closes it bends the wires back and forth. i redid a friends with 3 toggle switches to take the door, kneel, ram out of the vehicles computer.

    Comment


    • Broken Doll
      Broken Doll commented
      Editing a comment
      Fortunately, I was referred to a gentleman familiar with the 2004 Toyota and within 30 minutes he discovered that my only problem was a broken wire in my door. Unfortunately, The mobility dealer I went to couldn’t figure out what was wrong and asked me to make another appointment for a $500 diagnostic and prepared me for the likely bad news that my car would be found “dead” because there are no parts to fix an older car. Then the salesman came by to discuss new & used cars.

      First, do mechanics charge $500 for diagnostics? I thought that’s why I had been sitting in their waiting room for 4 hours.

      Second, I get it if fixing older vans doesn’t fit in their profit structure; but I find it unethical that they can’t refer these customers to individuals who do have access to early IMS vans or could fabricate them. They are out there. I just discovered two in my community last week.

      My van only has 100,000 miles and is in great condition. I drive less than 10,000 a year. Being told the van is worthless just because the door doesn’t close fully to try to sell a $70,000 used or $90,000 new van feels unethical.

    #3
    I think their "had mileage on it already" is complete BS. My understanding is that if it has never been titled yet, it is a new vehicle, I'm not a lawyer though. I bought my 2016 Braunability Sienna in 2017, over a year old at the time, and I got full warranty as it was never titled or registered. And yes it had some miles on it. You might need a consult with a lawyer, but I think they'd get buried in court. This could be an expensive fishing expedition to find this/these problems, I think they are trying to offload the cost onto you.

    That is a massive amount of weirdness. One problem is, there seems to be multiple wiring harnesses involved, although a lot of them might be on one. Intermittent problems are the absolute worst to get diagnosed and fixed. The fact that you get differing problems at different times is rough, it's bad enough trying to recreate a one-off problem, but man you are magnified many times over. Is there any pattern to what fails when? What fails together?

    My condolences, nothing worse than not being able to trust your new vehicle.
    "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

    Comment


    • yojama95
      yojama95 commented
      Editing a comment
      We never get any warning before it happens. It's not like we hit a pothole causing everything to go haywire. This just adds to the mystery.

    #4
    Most causes of “weirdness” are due to bad grounds. Could also be a bad body control module (BCM).

    Comment


      #5
      Bad ground, intermittent broken wire, corroded connector somewhere or, bi-directional interface issues with one of many vehicle modules (those modules can go bad).

      None of the following helps your issues but it is the causes & future design corrections.
      From the perspective of a former master mechanic who specialized in intermittent electrical issues, I'll say this, "no one gives a damn" referring to the design, corporate heads, all the way down to the under educated under experienced techs. This attitude has put consumers of all things mechanical, electrical, & especially electronic in a paradox loop of "I dunno whats wrong" (but they have an excuse or shuffle the issue blame to someone else who also says "I dunno"). The cause is chopped up vehicles that are cheaply done especially in the areas of wiring out of site of the consumer (cheap splicing into complex vehicle systems. poor if any water proofing of connectors, bad wire harness routing, & more). The solution from a design point is to have ramp systems totally independent from the vehicle. This would require safety systems built into the ramp ONLY (fold up ONLY) which would mean more than 1 button push. Operator would have to open door (1 button push from vehicle), ramp could recognize independently door open before it would work (2nd button push) & >maybe< at most another button push to lean body before ramp would work (3 button pushes total max, 1 vehicle, 2 ramp). The only connection, vehicle to ramp is vehicle battery power wires to ramp. If operator can't perform 2 to max 3 button pushes in correct sequence then they don't need to operate vehicle solo. Dropping the floor 14" is the biggest design screw up. Increased roll over potential & fails crash tests non chopped up vans must meet.
      My concept would not interfere or even interact with the stupid over complex vehicle systems. Lower the vehicle instead of chopping it up & welding back together with 90 degree angles, then adding an upper floor as if it's structural compensation. Shssh, how has that became the norm, most important how have they gotten away with it for so long. After modifying many vehicles for performance handling, I know you can lower them, stiffen suspension, & if needed modify the door opening (roof hump over the door only). A 6' person couldn't stand upright & walk around in it but that's not the intent. Pushers would have no problem. Power chairs may need head rest quick removal or partial back rest quick removal (all available).
      I have cash on hand for a brand new ramp van but most likely will not get one. Exception, dealer & salesman both sign legal document stating loaner van is provided at all times, any time at their cost & liability. Yea, we know how that would go over.
      Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
      Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

      Comment


      • juniorsenior
        juniorsenior commented
        Editing a comment
        Chopping up the floor/suspension is why I don't get a ramp van. After my Mazda 5 with the speedy-lift, I am either going to a honda odyssey with speedylift and transferboard, or a full size van with a raised roof.

        Have you ever considered furnishing a standard box van with a lift and power seat? Instead of a conversion van

      • yojama95
        yojama95 commented
        Editing a comment
        Your idea about keeping the ramp deployment completely separate makes so much sense & can't believe Braun hasn't thought of this! They've been in the business long enough and makes one wonder why they haven't implemented this already. Have your ever thought about working for Braun or at least consulting with them?

      • baldfatdad
        baldfatdad commented
        Editing a comment
        the independent operation use to be the standard. three toggle switches mounted in two or three places. one on the dash, one outside and lift operation on the lift. toggle to open close door, another to deploy lift, third for up and down.

      #6
      I never get any prior warnings it is going to happen other than the constant singing noise that starts up. I could understand it happening if I hit a pothole or driving over railroad tracks, but it will start up even while driving down our driveway or highways (with and without cruise control being used).

      I haven't considered getting a full size van, but might have to at some point. This is my 3rd minivan since 2004 with a Braun foldout ramp and have never had anything other than the typical door issues. I do think Gear head has the right idea!!

      Thanks everyone for the information and ideas! I always trust and appreciate the advice and guidance!!!

      Comment


        #7
        In my experience, most (not all) intermittent issues have a trigger. Ambient temp, humidity or rain (wet roads), temp changes to vehicle as it warms (things flex as expanding), engine temp, vibration, road condition, feedback from other systems, & many other variables.

        Seems like your trying to be aware of conditions = issue. Keep it up & hopefully you'll find a pattern which you can relay to tech. However, I've read of many conflicts in vehicles programming with power ramps. Dealer blames conversion company who blames manufacture who says "I dunno" . Paradox. Not my experience, just what I've read, lower floor flooding is common (best reason for fold up ramp verses in floor). Any wiring exposed to water needs special connectors & other sealing. As that water evaporates, it goes up. Upper floor isn't sealed off from lower floor cavity so basically the whole vehicle can be exposed to moisture/humidity causing corrosion issues.

        The first thing any tech should do is pull up the codes (some issues will not make a warning light come on but can be seen in history). If a code is present, inspect/test in that direction (especially if any BCM code). Many module flash updates may be available. No prob found? Tech should do a detailed visual & possible wiggle test of wiring paying close attention to connectors & grounds. Also thumping any ramp relays. Manufacture info will tell tech where all of these are from factory before modification & conversion company >should< know their layout & where they tapped into factory harness. Hopefully your issue (or similar) has happened to others and might be found in a data base from Braun or van maker.

        Good luck & keep us updated
        Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
        Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

        Comment


        • ueckland
          ueckland commented
          Editing a comment
          I bought a new 1998 dodge van that would would die on me every time it would hit a certain elevation very scary after it happened for the fourth time and no solution from everybody that worked on it I hired a lemon law lawyer it took about 3 months and I was paid back a good amount of money to buy another van

        #8
        Gearhead - I can't thank you enough for your information! I will share your information with the mobility service department.

        Ueckland - we have been considering hiring an attorney because I'm afraid we are not going to be getting anywhere, especially with the warranty issue.

        Comment


        • ueckland
          ueckland commented
          Editing a comment
          Yojama I would at least consult with a lawyer even if they say its fixed you will never feel safe you have plenty of documentation to prove your case also where it was converted didn't pay dodge ended up paying

        #9
        I feel for you. I’m so used to being independent and going places alone in my van. However, lately, the door may not open or the ramp may not deploy and I get trapped in my car. It sucks.

        Comment


          #10
          Re: Gearhead's modding controls.
          Lift manufacturers would be well served by going the extra mile when providing lifts to make them autonomous AND foolproof.
          That is to say that they should provide and include the "logic box" as part of their control architecture. The logic box prevents any system from activating out of sequence OR if the previous step hasn't completed. This requires position sensors for each action to be registered, but keeping everything in a proprietary system, independent of the vehicle control asylums, makes it much simpler and easily diagnosed!!
          Without prejudice, not having an integrated "logic" control system is inviting disaster. You only have to ask the lift to activate with the door closed once to make a big fuckup!
          I could deal with his simple toggle switches deal but my wife? Forget it!

          PS: by law, lift purveyors should be required to provide clear diagnostic information to include clear wiring diagrams; to use specific, color coded wiring that is unique, inotherwords, the wire coding for a door sensor is different from that of switched ignition, etc. In addition to wiring diagrams, there should be a logic flow diagram showing what inhibits/enables a function and the order of the logic! They necessarily already have this info; publish it!
          Finally, the above information is similar to what and how we dealt with complex engine control systems (fuel injection and ignition control) up til' ~1990 when rudimentary diagnostics and diagnostic modules came on line until in 1996, basic diagnostic capabilities were mandated (OBD II). That also pretty much marks the evolution of management systems from analog to digital which enabled sophisticated diagnostics. If the modules are digital (I expect they must be by now), then a hand held plug in diagnostic device should be mandated, available, and economical! (I got one for my ZX-1 attachment)
          Last edited by pfcs49; 22 Feb 2023, 12:23 PM.
          69yo male T12 complete since 1995
          NW NJ

          Comment


          • Broken Doll
            Broken Doll commented
            Editing a comment
            You know a lot about mechanics. Are you an engineer? That would be a great system. My lift system is whacky sometimes

          #11
          Originally posted by Gearhead View Post
          Dropping the floor 14" is the biggest design screw up. Increased roll over potential & fails crash tests non chopped up vans must meet..
          I was told that seeing over the hood of the new vans, at least the Toyota and Pacifica, was difficult when driving from wheelchair. Dealer said there may be a new docking system that would elevate to sit higher.

          Someone told me you could custom order a 10” drop. Any comments?

          Comment


            #12
            • Broken Doll
              #10.1
              Broken Doll commented
              Today, 2:46 AM
              You know a lot about mechanics. Are you an engineer? That would be a great system. My lift system is whacky sometimes
            • zz0.ax7xnjzmoftzz
              I'm just a retired auto technician that likes to fabricate things. IMO my level of understanding these things is what I would expect of any good tech!
            69yo male T12 complete since 1995
            NW NJ

            Comment


              #13
              My Bruno Joey carries my small M51 chair (hate/love) In my Dodge Grand Caravan. It has one sensor that can detect if hatch is open or closed. The lift comes out on it's rails, then down. Under the head cover is a circuit board with 3 or 4 relays on it in addition to other diodes, resistors and such. I've not found a "chip" on it, don't see the need. Simple logics, hit hatch open button, turn lift on (wired remote), hit/hold out button & it comes out till a switch in the lift sees it's fully out, then it goes down (lifting the van slightly) till I release the button. Other than being bolted to floor & the hatch switch (2 wire, assuming electro magnetic like home door alarm), the only other connection to the vehicle is 2 x 10 AGW wires going directly to the battery (50 amp inline fuse at batt). There is no reason a ramp van should be more complicated. Folding or in floor. Turn on, door open/closed recognizer, hit the out switch, ramp sees when it's fully out/in & stops. Turn ramp off. The door sensor can be tapped into door via a simple module or even a relay to prevent door from closing with ramp out. However, most power doors/hatches from the factory won't close if it meets resistance when powered to close. My 2007 Dodge won't. It's goes back up. Also we have many dings & dongs sounding off if something is open or not latched.

              I know that many SCI's are worse off than me. However, if you can drive, you can operate 2 buttons. If you can't drive, your driver can operate 2 buttons.

              I will not trust todays electro engineers until Tesla's stops hitting parked fire trucks & rolling motorcycles. Therefore I damn sure won't tap into over complex systems. Admit it, we are being marketed to our mental laziness.
              Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
              Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

              Comment


                #14
                Do you the 2 battery setup under the hood. That small battery can cause all sort of problems. Check both batteries separately. That small batteries have been a nightmare for those vans. If one is bad both need to be replaced. You need to disconnect both batteries. Also take the positive and grounds off both batteries before you test them. 2017 threw 2019 they had problem. Also if you replace the batteries they need to be programed. Start with the simple stuff first.
                Art

                Comment


                  #15
                  Sorry I'm late to the thread. I haven't been on the website in a long while. Your problem may already have been solved, but I had similar issues with my 2018 Braun Toyota Sienna. After a bunch of intermittent electrical issues and many hours spent at the dealership, they ended up tracing the issue to the control wires that run through the floor to the door/ramp module under the back seat. The wires had been pinched through a bend and eventually the vibration of the vehicle cut through the shielding and caused the wires to short intermittently. The dealership ended up just cutting the wiring bundle and running the wires through the headliner instead. I haven't had issues yet (** knock on wood**).

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