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    Carry power chair without a van?

    I have a Braun Entervan that is getting pretty old. It has cost me a fortune this year to keep it running, and some of the inflated costs of repair are directly caused by the conversion itself. For instance, my water pump broke, which would be expensive anyway, but made much more so by the fact that they had to drop the entire gas tank to get at it because of conversion related changes to the way the van came off the assembly line. Over the last couple of years there have been a few frustrating moments where the conversion people have told me it is a Dodge problem, and the Dodge people have told me it is a conversion issue and they are not touching it. On top of all that, as you know, a conversion van costs a damn fortune to buy. So, my question is has anyone (specifically a quad) figured out how to transport their power chair in a way that enables them to get back into it (I could transfer using a board) that doesn't involve a conversion van? I have no one to help me, so I have to be able to have the chair stashed somehow and then deposited in a place I can transfer to. Thank you.

    #2
    A bumper lift or rear hatch hoist can be used to lift some power chairs, but you would not be able to access the chair from the driver's seat without someone bringing the chair to you. I don't know of any other way with a power chair.

    Can you trade your van in or sell it and purchase something else used that would work for you instead??

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      #3
      Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
      A bumper lift or rear hatch hoist can be used to lift some power chairs, but you would not be able to access the chair from the driver's seat without someone bringing the chair to you. I don't know of any other way with a power chair.

      Can you trade your van in or sell it and purchase something else used that would work for you instead??

      (KLD)
      Hi KLD,
      That is what I am thinking, but I need to figure out if there is someway that the chair can be deposited where I need it to transfer into. I can do the transfer if I have to, but my actual pushing of a chair is extemely painful and I was told to not push unless absolutely necessary, so the power chair is needed for me to accomplish everything from shopping to doctor's appointments.

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        #4
        When I got my Bruno 'Outrigger Lift' installed in the bed of my pick-up they told me it was rated at 250# so that it could pick up power chairs. Don't know if they meant scooters or only a certain kind of chair set up. This was 13 years ago This link shows a video of a power chair being put in. I only use manual chairs and don't know much about the differences in the electric ones.

        http://www.bruno.com/pul-1100.html

        Hope this helps.

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          #5
          Susqu, thank you for posting this. I will check them out. How do you keep your chair dry when it is pouring or snowing? I live near Boston so snow is a real issue, and of course rain is an issue everywhere. Powerchairs aren't supposed to get totally soaked, or at least not the wiring.

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            #6
            So when do these vans start to eat up dollars/get expensive repairs. How many miles/age of the van?

            I think it was Braun that had another option as well but its still was as much as a conversion- only thing was you could take it with you to other vehicles (ie Suv's). They had it at the Abilities Expos-I'll try to find some info.

            Thanks!

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              #7
              It shows a power chair in the video ..... but I would worry about 12 inches of snow in the bed of the truck! You would certainly need the cap as well.

              I have seen a couple around! The seem cool.
              T7-8 since Feb 2005

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                #8
                Originally posted by noworries View Post
                So when do these vans start to eat up dollars/get expensive repairs. How many miles/age of the van?

                I think it was Braun that had another option as well but its still was as much as a conversion- only thing was you could take it with you to other vehicles (ie Suv's). They had it at the Abilities Expos-I'll try to find some info.

                Thanks!
                My van is approaching 8 years old with about 80,000 miles on it. The power door stopped working on really, really cold days in the first three years. Then it stopped when it was below forty, fifty, and so on. Now I can count on it when it is above 80 degrees! That isn't such a big problem cause I can usually yank it open, but when the ramp screws up that is really bad.

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                  #9
                  Around Boston, I guess you would need the cap to go on a pick-up. I got mine before they had the topper (they talk about the cap option on the same web site) and just got wet.

                  At first, if there was that much snow in the bed it meant that I couldn't get to the truck anyway, but then got a house that had an attached garage so wasn't such a problem.

                  I was just thinking that this would at least isolate the vehicle mechanical problems from the adaptation mechanical problems. Not sure what the cost difference might be. 13 years later I'm still using my lift. I've gone through 3 sets of drift pins and one electric motor.(motor was my fault)

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                    #10
                    Susqu, I know you said your Bruno was 13 years old, but do you remember even roughly what it cost you at the time. I like the idea of not messing up the vehicle itself with conversion changes because over time it gets to be like maintaining TWO vehicles, the regular car part and the conversion part. There is nothing on their web site quoting prices. I have asked them to mail me info, but not sure that will include price. What I am thinking is that the conversion vans basically double in price. If a Dodge Caravan costs thirty thousand from Dodge, when you are finished with the coversion is is somewhere around 50-60 thousand, depending on modifications. I am thinking the Bruno must be cheaper? Thank you.

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                      #11
                      Vans

                      There are several conversion companies that convert slightly used vans, making the cost considerably less that a new van conversion. AMS is one company. Check them out.

                      Also, the magazine Disabled Dealer is also on line and has many used converted vans.

                      Eileen, 80K miles is not a lot to be having problems. I sold my seven year old, with 75K miles and I had very little problems with either the conversion or the Dodge.

                      Also, since the water pump is at the front of the vehicle, why was it necessary to drop the gas tank which at the rear of the vehicle. Did you mean the fuel pump that is in the gas tank?

                      Before you plunk down money on anything, be sure to do research into the conversion and the vehicle. You may want to look into a used converted Honda Element. I replaced my Dodge with a Toyota and like it very much.
                      You C.A.N.
                      Conquer Adversity Now

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                        #12
                        Wazabiker-you make a great pt. Who did the conversion for you on the Dodge? Did you have the same company do the Toyota. Its hard to find information on conversion/modifications reviews.

                        You may also want to check Craigslist for used vans.


                        Originally posted by wazabiker View Post
                        There are several conversion companies that convert slightly used vans, making the cost considerably less that a new van conversion. AMS is one company. Check them out.

                        Also, the magazine Disabled Dealer is also on line and has many used converted vans.

                        Eileen, 80K miles is not a lot to be having problems. I sold my seven year old, with 75K miles and I had very little problems with either the conversion or the Dodge.

                        Also, since the water pump is at the front of the vehicle, why was it necessary to drop the gas tank which at the rear of the vehicle. Did you mean the fuel pump that is in the gas tank?

                        Before you plunk down money on anything, be sure to do research into the conversion and the vehicle. You may want to look into a used converted Honda Element. I replaced my Dodge with a Toyota and like it very much.

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                          #13
                          I have seen somewhere, a system where you transfer to the seat, then you use a remote control to "drive" the chair into the van. I am pretty sure what I saw was lowered as well. But could this be done w/ a mazda 6 perhaps, which is "van like" but lower .... so you could transfer? The seat behind the driver comes out, if you could "drive" the chair up a ramp to that spot? You wouldn;t need head room, just enough space for the chair.

                          That would involve only adding a ramp, not lowering as well. With the ramp just behind the drivers seat, it could possibly have a manual control as well.
                          T7-8 since Feb 2005

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by noworries View Post
                            Wazabiker-you make a great pt. Who did the conversion for you on the Dodge? Did you have the same company do the Toyota. Its hard to find information on conversion/modifications reviews.

                            You may also want to check Craigslist for used vans.
                            Both the Dodge and Toyota are Braun conversions. I bought the Dodge off a dealer's lot, new, 1992. The Toyota (2009) was also new and just delivered to Briaun for conversion. I had good contact with the converter and my DME dealer throughout the build.

                            Braun is a Toyota dealer in Indiana, and I believe him to have a Dodge franchise.

                            You're right, it is hard to find reviews. I was satisfied with the Braun Dodge and that is why I went with them for the Toyota. Just as important is the selling dealer. I established a good rapport with my dealer, Adaptive Driving Solution, Augusta, Ga., and that is paying good dividends.

                            I would hesitate buying from Craig's List or other such venue. If there's a problem with the vehicle, it would be difficult to get satisfactory resolution.
                            You C.A.N.
                            Conquer Adversity Now

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Vans

                              I was considering a Dodge Sprinter van, manufactured by Mercedes Benz. It is tall enough to drive a powerchair into without any conversion. Install a ramp, hand controls and it's good to go. However the initial price for a nicely furnished Sprinter is $40K plus.

                              Even at that price, it could be less than a converted van, and not have the potential for problems from the conversion.

                              Again, I would look at Disabled Dealer for pricing, etc., before getting real serious
                              You C.A.N.
                              Conquer Adversity Now

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