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    Need some advice re full size vans

    We have a Ford 150 full size van which we bought almost almost 2 yrs ago and had a lift installed out the rear. It's a 9 yr old van and now that our son has his power chair, realize we need to get something better. My husband is against a drop down floor but I feel by just raising the roof, my son still won't be able to see properly out a window unless constantly tilted. Now we're getting some info on the Dodge Sprinter as it may serve all our needs. Anyone have any opinions on this topic. My son is now 15 and man-size. This is still a learning process for us with sci.

    #2
    I have a Ford F-150 full size 20 years old with a drop floor about 4 to 6 inches & I cannot see very much so a raised roof would be less to see. I think a Dodge Sprinter could be better I've seen some with windows all the way around it. I think there is someone here ccc that has one?

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      #3
      Does your son plan on driving?

      What is his level of function?

      A lowered floor is the optimum choice in my opinion when it comes to the Ford vans.

      Those Sprinter vans are nice but if your son plans on driving from his chair, it could be a problem. There are a ton of what looks to be electrical controls under the drivers seat. I'm not sure if they can be relocated. I'd check in to that. But if your son isn't going to drive, the Sprinter would be a great choice.

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        #4
        A dropped floor works for me and I'm taller waist up. But if the drivers are going to be switching between disabled/regular driver...I can understand the husband's point of view. I drive this thing just fine.

        As a passenger only ... the roof adds nothing for visibility. My first van was a Dodge panel van. I sat behind the driver and saw nothing except through the windshield.

        I'd certainly like to get the mileage a diesel Sprinter gets, but parking decks are generally a no go. I've only seen a couple of parking decks my Ford can clear.

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          #5
          Check the cost, is a raised roof much cheaper than a lowered floor? Cost would be the only benefit I see in a raised roof. With a lowered floor he not only can see, it is possible to park in a parking ramp if necessary, where a raised roof may not be able too.
          C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

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            #6
            You might want to check out the new Ford Transit vehicle too.

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              #7
              If your son will be driving from his chair get a Ford and drop the floor at time of purchase. Modifiers do not like to drop floors in used vehicles as the rust interferes with welding. Modifiers have not yet been able to install 6 way power seats in Sprinters due to the spaghetti nest of wires under the driver seat. If your son will be a passenger only you can buy a Sprinter and spare the expense of a dropped floor. If you are unsure about your son's ability to drive get a driver's evaluation from a company which specializes in evaluating and training disabled drivers. Your local voc rehab office should be able to identify a company. Their report will include all the recommended equipment/modifications needed.

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                #8
                I am 6'2'' and drive a 88 E150 it has the floor lowered 6 inches. I can see ok when driving but not if behind the driver seat riding.

                I would see a Van modification specialist for ideas

                David

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                  #9
                  ford transit connect is only available as work truck in 2010 and is very small at that.

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                    #10
                    I'm 6'2 and could never see much when in a full size van. My last full size was a Ford with a raised roof and a lowered floor (4 inches). I still couldn't see all I wanted, mainly because I sat behind the driver. Then, I switched to a Dodge Caravan (mini van), uses a ramp, no lift. This allowed me to sit beside the driver, which gives GREAT visibility. I currently have a Pontiac Montana and love it. Check out http://www.braunability.com/

                    Chuck

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                      #11
                      I want to thank everyone for your comments and thoughts on this subject.

                      North Quad - Our son is C4-C5 and operates his powerchair using goalpost (right term?) I'm hoping he'll drive one day and when we discuss vehicles, he certainly lights up when I mention the possibility of him driving one day. (As a side note, he was into super motorcross and his dream is to get into something like that again but he's a teen with 'need for speed') however I believe he needs to get better upper body trunk support to drive any vehicle and don't think it's a big issue in near future.
                      You all bring up valid points. I'm starting to think we'll end up with 2 types of vehicles. We like to go on little trips so we need the Ford 150 for all his equip. We seem to take so much stuff like his manual/power/commode chairs. We don't think the 9 yr. old Ford 150 we have would be worth putting the money into to drop the floor plus the fact once the floor is lowered we loose all the space for his equipment.

                      ChuckFoss, a minivan is my thought for city driving and all his appoint. and outings in town, etc. It would certainly give him the independance he needs.

                      After reading all your comments, we've got a fair amount of homework to do. I suggested to my husband that maybe we could get a used modified minivan just to try it for a year and see how it works and park the Ford for awhile just to see how it works out.

                      Again, sincere thanks for everyone's input. We're always open to trying new ideas.

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                        #12
                        I think looking into a used van is an excellent idea, many times you can find what you need, or close to it, for many thousands less.

                        If I may ask, did your son get injured while doing motocross?

                        My injury was from BMX and I enjoy following motocross on TV.
                        C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

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                          #13
                          Thanks Brianm, you're right about the minivan.
                          Our son was a great motorcross rider however his injury occured on a mountain bike of all things up at Blue Mountain, Collingwood. My older son still does supermoto and my husband occasionally takes our younger one to watch which is another reason we need to keep a bigger vehicle for comfort or rest.
                          I keep telling him he should come onto this forum so he sees how many different styles of rec and hobbies there are. Maybe not so much in our area but it's out there.

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                            #14
                            you should contact one of the disabled sailing association clubs, there are lots in ontario, and they wont close for winter for a few more months. if your son is the sporty, independent type, he will love the martin 16! they can be fully controlled by joystick...

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                              #15
                              amyk, thank you and yes I took him down to harbourfront doing a demo sail for the first time a week ago. He seemed to enjoy it and I hope to get him out again this week. He was at Quad camp at Shriners, Chicago this summer and had a blast trying waterskiing and scuba diving and generally meeting other teens with sci. What an amazing bunch! Anyways, guess we're getting off topic on this particular thread. I more I read on cc, the more convinced I am that he's gonna do just fine, we just have to find it and explore it as we go along.

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