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Newbie, so nervous

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    This is from ZRA manual on adjusting COG... (It also has a nice diagram)

    Tools Needed:
    • 3/16” Allen Wrench
    • Ruler
    1. Loosen, but do not remove, the four (two on each side) Allen Screws that secure the toe clamps and the camber
    mount brackets to the frame. See Figure 8-1.
    2. Slide the entire camber tube mounting assembly forward or rearward along the frame until it is positioned in the
    desired location. See Figure 8-2(c). In order to achieve a 1” center of gravity it may be necessary to set the
    camber tube mounting assembly as shown in Figures 8-2(a) or (b). Use a ruler to ensure the camber mount
    assemblies on both sides of the chair are the same distance from the ends of the frame tubes.
    3. Securely tighten the four (two on each side) Allen Screws that secure the toe clamps and camber mount brackets
    to the frame.
    4. Check the rear seat height and adjust as needed.
    5. Check the toe-in/toe-out and adjust as needed and square the front casters as needed.
    C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982


      Ugggggg, pretty frustrated here.

      Good news is that my back angle is at 95 degrees.
      The other good news is that the guy didn't charge me a dime.
      (I will be bringing him a bottle of our olive oil next week...)

      The neutral news is that we were only able to lower the back of the seat half an inch. My fingers still don't reach the center of the wheels at all.

      The bad news is that we could not lower the seatback. It was as low as it will go without serious modification involving saws and/or drilling or both.

      The other bad news is that we could not move the cog at all because the bolts were totally frozen. The guy tried as hard as he could to get them to move but he didn't want to strip the bolts so he stopped.

      He told me to spray them with WD40 for a week and then see if I and/or my husband could get them to move.

      He showed me exactly what to do. I will have to purchase a little spacer which I can do.

      Then I will be able to lower the back of the seat a little more too. A bolt from the seatback was in the way in order to lower the back of the seat which would not be a problem if we move the cog forward a little bit.

      I am very thankful for all your suggestions and I 'do' think I will be able to make some more of the changes myself as long as those bolts loosen up.

      I don't know what to do about the seatback though....


        Hopefully some others will chime in on the ability to cut down the push-cane bars. You could also contact TiLite with your serial number and see if they have something shorter that can be ordered.

        WD-40 may be ok, but if you can find something like anti-seaze you may have better success.

        Sorry you didn't get done as much as you would have liked. Stay strong.

        Why could you only lower 0.5"? It looks like you have more adjustment than that.
        C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982


          Well, it could only lower half an inch because of a bolt for the seatback being in the way. It 'looks' like it would go lower but I guess not.

          If I can move the cog forward the bolt will no longer be in the way and it can go down a little lower maybe just a 'hole'. I have to get those bolts loose. I will send my hubby to Home Depot for 'Anti-seize'... and a spacer for the seatback bold that will be need it when the cog moves forward.

          When I got home I wanted to add an under seat net and do SOMETHING myself so I broke out my crappy allen wrenches and took the seat sling off and added the net. Then when I was putting the sling back on I folded under about half an inch of the sling so the seat wouldn't be quite as long. When I put my cushion down I push it into the bottom of the seatback and it makes the whole seat about an inch shorter. So that is nice. I did something myself!

          The 95 degree seatback is really hurting my back right now but it 'might' have just been the two hours of driving I did to get to town. That usually does me in. I will see if I can get used to it over the next few days. I am usually more of a slouchy person because my back feels better that way. I am not sure what to do about it other than wait it out and see how I feel. It also feels lower for some odd reason.

          I attached a 'new and sort of improved' pic...


            It might just be the angle of the picture but that last one looks to me like the chair is way too wide. This can cause other problems. Do you not have insurance to get a proper chair? If you do, all you need is to get a doctor's prescription for the chair and a good DME to fill out the letter of medical necessity.

            Anyhow, laying back in the chair isn't really a good idea. You'll throw your shoulders out. But sitting up ergonomically and properly won't hurt if you get the chair setup properly. I agree the back looks way too tall for someone who isn't a para... Like myself, I can walk some. And I'm 6'4" and my back is only 15" tall from the frame and that doesn't include the 3" cushion. You could order a new back from the manufacturer of the proper size. A taller back makes my back hurt. The lower back makes me more mobile and doesn't hurt my back and I can sit through it all day. Infact, my biggest problem is I have to stand now and again just because I can still feel my knees... Otherwise they start to hurt after a few hours just from being bent all day. You can also adjust the angle in that chair quite a bit. If you're all the way down on the rear-seat measurements, you could consider a smaller cushion. 2" might be all you need. Looks like you might have a big 4" er. But if you're looking at spending real money in the chair anyhow, I'd consider getting a properly measured one even if it's out of pocket. It makes all the difference in the world. And a good DME will have various styles and sizes you can demo for extended periods of time to help get the best chair for you that you can.

            As for your situation; sounds like me. Extreme pain, poor control, etc. Have you done MRIs and/or Spinal Taps to check for evidence of MS type symptoms? Might consider that. And if you haven't seen a good neurologist yet, keep checking. Find one you like cause if that's what you have, you'll be seeing a lot of them. And @#$% the doctors who don't seem to care. I've actually refused payment to two of them cause of that. I argued to the card company that the service paid for was not rendered. I won both claims. Too many doctors today just shuffle people through their offices and should have their licenses revoked... It seems real good doctors are getting harder to find. But a good one won't give up and will keep looking until they are comfortable with the answer. (The downside is that can also get expensive, even just paying for a co-pay). Myself, I ended up finally being shipped off to clinics across the country. Unfortunately the insurance screwed me over so I'm in rather high debt at the moment but... at least we've confirmed what was suspected. Plus they helped me get the prescript for the chair for life so... every few years I get a new chair (as long as I'm insured anyhow...).

            But remember, it's not a lazy-boy, it's a wheelchair. You want to sit up properly and ergonomically correct. And if the chair is too wide, it will cause issues with your shoulders. (As an exmaple, my fat-@$$ wears at LEAST 44" pants, but my chair width is only 19". I can actually squeeze into an 18" really. 19" is perfect. I can't see from your picture but it looks to be a bit wide. A front-on angle and rear-on might help also. Other things you can also do is bring the wheels in closer and/or add camber to them.

            The back of my chair is just under 90 deg (TO THE FLOOR) and I have an ergonomically shaped seat to help posture (flat for 6", then some dump up towards the knees). The back only goes just over the area of my love handles, below my chest level. Right in there. But it looks like you're trying to slide out of that chair... That would really cause a bunch of issues with me. But everyone is their own. The height of the back rest would be a huge issue I'd address first. There's a ton of options including manually cutting it down but you shouldn't have to go that extreme. You can order the frame and back pad for the height you need from the manufacturer most likely. And the height of the seat pad can be most easily changed. That one looks really thick.

            But if you're insured, you should really check out that option first before spending ANY money. Most insurance companies will pay between 60-100% of the costs of required medical equipment. The paperwork is a nightmare but that's what the DMEs are for... If you find a good one, you go in, give them your info, test chairs for a while (I did for almost 9 months), order and get your new chair paying only your deductible (if any).


              Ohh, and as for tire size; simply look at the size on the rear wheel. It will be either a 501 (22"), 540 (24"), 559 (25"), 590 (26"). The three-rivers hand-rims (Natural-Fit) come in all sizes so that doesn't help. There will be a width number before the diamater (like 20-559 for example). But that will tell you, without a doubt, what size your rear tires are. It should be printed somewhere on the tire itself. 22's (and 20's) are very rare, more for kids...


                At this point I haven't seen a Dr. about my pain issues for YEARS. I have been housebound for about two years and gave up on Dr.'s a million years before that.

                So, even though I have insurance (crappy that doesn't pay for anything) I don't have a Dr. that would even suggest a wheelchair. They literally told me to take an advil and that is it. I have an extreme fear of Dr.'s after all I have been through in the past with them not believing me. It has escalated into a total phobia.

                So, I had to pay for chair all on my own. It was WAY more money that I could ever afford but my husband was getting fed up with me not being able to go anywhere, ever. I found a guy who was selling one with measurements that were very close to what I thought I needed.

                He is a thin 6'2" and I am a thin 6'.

                There is about one inch on each side of my hips which I thought was supposed to be correct. I knew the seat was a little long for me but that I would deal with it. I didn't realize that the back would not go lower. I think that is pretty strange considering how tall it is.

                What I have noticed is that slouching in general feels better and that that broken hip angle that was in my first pic feels better and sitting more straight up hurts.

                I think it is a sacral thing maybe????

                Well, I am going to try and get used to the new back angle and see if it was just the drive today that caused the extra pain.

                I am soaking the bolts to move the cog with WD40 on little cotton balls and see if I can change that myself and actually lower the seat a little more.

                Then I will deal with lowering the backrest. I can't get the fabric off to really get a good look in there. Grrrr.

                I mean, other than paying 3 grand for a new chair, this thing is going to have to do!


                  You do look like you are sitting up better. Is it easier to wheel. Any change takes a few days to get used to. It takes time to dial in a chair. You can always move it back if you don't like it. Everyone sits differently. How wide is the chair, measure from outside of frame rails.

                  With your level of injury, you may not need to put more dump in it. In fact, I think you would be less confortable with any more dump; knowing that you can walk. It may make you feel more cramped up than you already do. You look pretty good except for the high back and the cog being a little too forward. I wouldn't worry on putting any dump in right now. Have you tried sitting in it with out the cushion to see how it feels sitting lower. Have you taken the cover off to see if the cushion is in layers. Sometimes they are, not sure what type your cushion is. If it does, take off the lower section and see how that feels.

                  Ride around in it for a day or so and see how it goes. The shiny hole on the back post, is that the button for raising and lowering the back or is it a hole in the post. If its a hole you just have to feel where the button is in the fabric, push it in and move the posts down til they lock in the hole. It's not hard to cut down the posts but that would be something that probaly someone in the know should do.

                  Way to go on doing some of the work. Nothing like a woman with tools in her hands lol. It's a good chair, just needs to be dialed in a bit.
                  Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 9 Mar 2011, 3:11 AM.


                    I am going to try the chair out today by going to home depot for some anti-seize and a spacer to possibly try and move the cog forward so I will see how it feels rolling in there. Unfortunately I still have that darn pinche'd nerve... Might have to take some more drugs for that...

                    I haven't been able to test it out around the house because I live in a trailer and it doesnt fit through any openings. No doorways and no hallways. My only option is to roll it out the sliding glass door and out onto our gravel road and into the car. The rest of the farm is dirt! That is why the shag carpet doesn't really matter. I just keep the chair at my desk and use it as a desk chair in the house. It really only gets used out in the city.

                    The width of the chair is 16. I think I might have narrow shoulder which is why the back seems big?

                    I am still kinda unconvinced that the back won't lower. If they designed it with an adjustable back, why would the only adjustments be for going taller? Especially as I am learning about chairs that doesn't Quite make sense. The holes are above the screw so it would make sense to be able to slide the pipe down...I am going to look up the manual and check that out again...

                    The cushion won't get thinner. I actually really love the cushion and would hate to give it up. I can sit in it for half a day with no pain which is unheard of for me...


                      Getting a thinner cushion is a good option to getting you to sit lower, the downsides to that are you have made it clear that you really like the cushion you have, buying another isn't cheap and if you do lower yourself more your backrest will be that much taller than it already is, which is too tall for you. (I do believe there are other cushions you could be happy with, but as stated, they aren't cheap and it will cause other issues in your setup.)

                      I agree with SirGCal that your lower back pain may be being caused by the height of the back. While reclining helped eliminate the pain, it isn't the best setup; keeping the backrest straighter, as you have done, and getting the height right would be best.

                      It is possible the backrest is at its lowest point. They offer a number of height ranges to chose from when ordering a chair and the one chosen for that chair may be at its lowest point.

                      I commend you on your efforts to work on the chair and gaining knowledge. I hate to say it because it may be a royal pain, but SirGCal gave a lot of good advice and he may be right in trying to get a prescription for a new chair that you can have custom made just for you. You mention this chair being 16" wide and looking at the pictures you have given, which are very helpful, it looks like you could use a narrower chair, which would be a big benefit to you.

                      Maybe consider contacting TiLite and asking for a representative in your area where you could get a demo chair. The rep. should be able to get a demo chair that fits you well and help set it up for you. Could be a great learning experience.

                      Also, in your pictures, are your shoes off in both pictures? If you have shoes on, your footrest looks like it needs to come up, as your knees are a bit low.
                      C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982


                        I really doubt that I could ever get a prescription for a chair. Even if I could I doubt my insurance would cover it. I am sure there are certain injuries that 'allow' for wheelchair use and since I have no medical history I am doubting that I have sufficient information to call for the use of a chair and for insurance to cover it.

                        I am not much able to go to Dr.'s these days because it is SO expensive. It was $400 for a visit to a neurologist. That just isn't going to happen, I mean that is just ONE visit!

                        I might think about trying to find a Dr. at some point but it is a daunting task....

                        My main plan of attack is to look at the manual for the chair and see if I can find info for lowering the level of the seatback. In my mind the way the holes are set up, it looks to me like it is at it's HIGHEST, not it's lowest. I know the fabric is really sticky and I wonder if that is why the guy couldn't get it lower.

                        The screw is in the bottom hole and there are holes above spaced about an inch apart. I swear that means that the thing can go lower. It certainly can't go higher since there are no holes for the screw so that must mean it can go lower. If only I could get the fabric out of the way! It is kind of stuck on there with white gooey stuff and also a screw at the top... Going to look in the manual.

                        Then once I loosen those darn screws I can move the cog a bit forward and also lower the seat a bit more too. If only I could get those screws out!

                        Would Tilite rep actually do this? I don't think I can buy a new chair so I am guessing this would be a waste for them.

                        I am feeling a little defeated but also trying to be hopeful... I am also upset that I did this to myself. I tried so hard to find a chair that would allow me to get out of the house and have found myself frustrated and with a pinched nerve in my shoulder. Not what I intended. ~~~ trying not to cry ~~~


                          Don't beat yourself up too hard.

                          In looking at your pictures, it looks like you need to remove the bolt that holds your backrest bracket before your COG will move. Did you do this?

                          I don't know what this white goo is that you are dealing with; I haven't experienced this.
                          C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982


                            Since we were unable to remove the 4 bolts we did not move the backrest bracket bolt although THAT one did loosen. So once I get the other ones loose I can remove the backrest bolt and buy a spacer to put in there. Then the cog will slide forward.

                            So I looked up in the manual how to lower the seatback and it was way too confusing for my brain. The part where the repair guy was looking to 'raise or lower' the seatback isn't the place to raise or lower it. I think he was looking at the part where you can raise or lower the HANDLES.

                            So the part where you raise or lower the actual height of the seatback are much lower down the posts. It looked REALLY confusing and I don't know if I can do it. I couldn't wrap my brain around the different heights they are talking about in the manual. They were talking about 8" to 8 1/2" to 9" and so on...

                            My seatback is like 19" tall or something. That left me just plain confused. The repair guy was clueless. I am clueless. I am NOT going to cry. OK I cried.


                              If the screw is in the bottom hole, it is at it's lowest point. the thread is on the post that moves up and down and is elevated or lowered by moving the post up or down to the next hole. The post actually has two receivers an inch apart for the screw so you could take those two screws out and see if they are in the bottom or top receiver which would either raise or lower the back by an inch. It's also a good way to get the fabric off due to the fold down handles you have.

                              A manual would really help. I would call a Tilite rep. Not sure if Dominic is still at Ti. I'm sure he is. They or ebay may have a lower back frame.

                              I wouldn't worry about the rear seat height right now cause that opens up a whole new can of worms. Re-adjusting the front casters can be a real bitch. I worked on one ZRA for a week fine tuning those housings and I've been working on chairs for 38 years.. Right now. get the back lowered, and move the cog up a bit.

                              If there is a Tilite Rep in your area, I'm sure he could help with the adjustments or perhaps steer you to someone who knows. Our local rehab is always sending people too me to adjust their chairs.

                              Stay strong girl, the chair is right, just needs some tinkering. We've all experienced that close to crying stage when adjusting a chair. I did trying to adjust those dang caster housings.
                              Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 9 Mar 2011, 12:03 PM.


                                Sometimes when I'm dealing with my chair- I take ten minutes and get all my cursing out. I'm quite inventive, if I do say so myself. Don't see the harm in taking a moment to acknowledge that it's frustrating. It can be- but it won't be frustrating forever. At least, not in the same way

                                The TiLite manual is indeed a bit confusing on the back height adjustment area. I just ripped open the velcro back "flap", undid the straps that are under there and got the chair down to bare metal. Then I looked at the buttons and saw what did what. Four holes- one button that pushes in. Push button, move holes till one clicks. Repeat until it made sense. Not saying how I did it was the best way, yet it worked for me.

                                You're doing a really good job. Don't forget- each person is different and experience comes with making mistakes. I bought 24" tires- mistake for me. I bought a cheap cushion- mistake. I rented a heavy folding chair- mistake. I was told camber over four degrees would make my chair unusable- I have six degrees and it's perfect for me.

                                I think wheelchair adjustments are more like breeding cows than putting up a fence. Measurements are only a piece of the puzzle.

                                The good thing is that if one day this chair just *will not* work for you- you can sell it. TiLites have good resale value.