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    New mercedes sprinter wheelchair van and experience

    I'm starting this thread to share my experience in purchasing a new wheelchair van. It will be a work in progress because I don't have the attention span to type a bunch at once and I have a lot to say. I'm an engineer and I researched this purchase for a couple of years, while raising money because when you say wheelchair you add zeros. My intention is to make this helpful for someone else.

    First, I didn't even consider a minivan. I currently have a minivan that I've nicknamed that I can't say here. Prior to my injury I was a truck guy for life.

    Needs and desires: Needed something that both my wife and I can drive so driving from my chair wasn't an issue (rant to follow). Wanted something to do some camping with, but also conscious of the mpg.

    I ended up purchasing a 2015 Mercedes Sprinter 4 cyl diesel with a 7 speed transmission cargo van. I'm having a Braun Vangater lift installed in the side door (rant to follow). I had Van Specialties in Portland add a bench seat that turns into a bed, windows all the way around, roof vent/fan, and rubberized flooring. The guys at VP are awesome. I plan to transfer on longer outings and ride in my chair on shorter ones.

    I've added a few pics pre-lift.

    I'll follow up later with some more pictures and more info about my experience. My experience with the mobility industry has been mostly negative...unfortunately.
    Attached Files

    #2
    I will be curious of your progress....
    C5-6 Complete - 8/13/1982

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      #3
      Me too. Nice looking van.

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        #4
        +1. I'm not normally a van guy, but that restyled Sprinter I actually like. Really sharp looking

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          #5
          sweet ride.
          Bike-on.com rep
          John@bike-on.com
          c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
          sponsored handcycle racer

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            #6
            Having outgrown my Chrysler Town & Country, I am reluctantly entering the market for a new accessible vehicle. The Mercedes Sprinter is on my short list. What kind of fuel mileage can be expected? My biggest complaint with a vehicle this size is the need for a lift. What is your opinion of using air bags to drop one to the ground for ramp access, feasible?

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              #7
              This van has a sporty/plush look about it. I like the camping feature, bed... then... mini stove and a mini sink...then maybe a mini solar panel.
              Nice. Someday maybe, $'s is the only hold back.
              Would give a ball park figure of the cost up to now?

              I'm assuming that automatic car washes are out. If so <:-(

              I like it.
              Gary Is = L-1 Para for 34 years.....................
              ~~~~~~~~~~

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                #8
                Thank you for the post and photos!!

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                  #9
                  On the latest road trip that involved going over 7 different mountain passes we got 23 mpg without monitoring speed. I imagine we'll see better than that as the motor breaks in. I didn't even consider the airbag situation. I imagine it would be $$$. I don't mind the lift. However, the powers that be at Braun discontinued the lift I got, which is incredibly frustrating.

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                    #10
                    So far the cost is 70k including the upfitting, lift and just about every option available. We custom ordered the van from Mercedes, had Van Specialties do the upfitting, and performance mobility in Portland install the lift. We are loving it and I'm glad I didn't let the mobility people talk me out of it.

                    Originally posted by Garyis View Post
                    This van has a sporty/plush look about it. I like the camping feature, bed... then... mini stove and a mini sink...then maybe a mini solar panel.
                    Nice. Someday maybe, $'s is the only hold back.
                    Would give a ball park figure of the cost up to now?

                    I'm assuming that automatic car washes are out. If so <:-(

                    I like it.

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                      #11
                      that's not bad at all. we have nearly that in our chevy explorer conv. how about pics of all the mobility stuff.

                      Originally posted by h2othomas View Post
                      So far the cost is 70k including the upfitting, lift and just about every option available. We custom ordered the van from Mercedes, had Van Specialties do the upfitting, and performance mobility in Portland install the lift. We are loving it and I'm glad I didn't let the mobility people talk me out of it.
                      Bike-on.com rep
                      John@bike-on.com
                      c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
                      sponsored handcycle racer

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Should get about 35 mpg very soon. A couple of folks around here in PA get that in their diesel Sprinter's and a guy I spoke with a few years ago with 300,000+ miles on his, received that also.
                        C 5/6 Comp.
                        No Tri's or hand function.

                        Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

                        Teddy Roosevelt

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                          #13
                          What is your setup for a door opener?

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                            #14
                            Regarding camping. Definitely feel that if you can afford a designer-person, they could create camping features that work for you. I'm thinking use of the upper wall areas, etc.
                            My husband and I, both wheelers, got our first van set up for a three month cross-country camping trip. Fortunately an artist friend and his artist buddy designed and installed the interior. This was 40 years ago and don't think they had power beds, so they made a bed in the back that had 2 sections - when bed not needed, we could slide the front section over the rear section. The 4" tall bed cushions were also in two sections so they could sit on top of each other when stowed. The cushions were custom cut to size and I made slippery fabric covers for them to aid sliding transfers. A portable toilet fit just under the bed. One wall near the bed had a pop-up table that we frequently set our portable electric heater on, etc. On another wall near the bed they crafted a unit with two shelves. None of these things were in the way of the clear space we needed to access the seats and bed, even though it was sometimes tricky.

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