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Is a raised roof or lowed floor in full size van absolutely necessary?

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  • #16
    If you can find an Ford E Series that's been taken care of you won't be sorry as far as reliability and durability. Maintenance and repairs are also reasonable. If you get one with a sliding door you don't necessarily need a power door opener. That's one less device you don't have to worry about. I highly recommend the Ricon power seat base and a Braun Swing Away Lift, if you can find one.

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    • #17
      Nonoise:
      Sorry for delay on measurements you requested. May be able to do tomorrow. Our van is 2010 Ford Econoline and I'll have to check which E series. We had all seating removed except for driver and passenger.

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      • #18
        Nonoise: was able to get some measurements for you regarding our Ford Econoline E150 van. Top of husband's head (he's 6'2') to floor (in our house) 50" and that is not totally precise but close. My husband does not sit up straight in his wheelchair, so you might sit taller.
        Height from floor of van up to top of double door opening 47" or 48". Unable to be totally accurate there.
        Inside van, height from floor of van to ceiling roughly 51". Note: There is a sub-floor with black thinnish mat over top.
        We have a Ricon trifold power lift, power double door openers, 2 B & D 6 way power seats.
        At one time I had to use a full power wheelchair, so we had a set of tie-downs installed in rear of van where my husband could reach in from back door to attach.
        If you ever need to be a passenger sitting in a power or manual wheelchair, strongly suggest a set of tie downs somewhere in the van where a driver could hook them up.
        Hope this helps.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Rustyjames View Post
          If you can find an Ford E Series that's been taken care of you won't be sorry as far as reliability and durability. Maintenance and repairs are also reasonable. If you get one with a sliding door you don't necessarily need a power door opener. That's one less device you don't have to worry about. I highly recommend the Ricon power seat base and a Braun Swing Away Lift, if you can find one.
          Sliding door are better than swing doors? How so? Isn't the lift in the way of reaching the door from inside? Even if you can reach it, it's really hard to push/pull without some leg muscle.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by August West View Post
            Sliding door are better than swing doors? How so? Isn't the lift in the way of reaching the door from inside? Even if you can reach it, it's really hard to push/pull without some leg muscle.
            I have a 2010 Ford E250 cargo van with a manual sliding door. with the Braun Swing Away lift its easy to reach the latch handle to operate the door. I do have to be mindful when parking because if the vans on a front downward angle it can be a struggle opening the door. I'm a C7 and can manage opening/closing it.

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            • #21
              My E-150 has the same problem just a little worse. Yours struggles but mine won't even open if parked facing downhill. But then why does it not have the same problem to close the door when parked facing uphill? That tells me it's not the motor but the door itself.

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              • #22
                Automotive Innovation is a mobility dealer on here sometimes. He once said he has never seen a door opener on a slider on a full sized van that he was happy with. I once owned a GMC w slider and had same problems as Rusty James. I would have to pre-open door on the flats before parking at a front downward angle, otherwise gears would be grinding and door immobile. If you were fairly strong a non powered sliding door might work well with an under vehicle lift.

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                • #23
                  I have a 2009 Chevy Express. It is identical to yours and the current model year. I have neither a lowered floor nor a raised roof. Swing out doors - not slider, a Braun lift, and a 6-way power drivers seat. I am 6'2", use a power chair and have to duck only slightly entering. My 2001 Ford E-150 was the same except had a sliding door (never had an issue with it) and my beloved and much missed - now discontinued - Braun Swing-Away lift.

                  You make it work if you can duck or lean forward a bit.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by August West View Post
                    My E-150 has the same problem just a little worse. Yours struggles but mine won't even open if parked facing downhill. But then why does it not have the same problem to close the door when parked facing uphill? That tells me it's not the motor but the door itself.
                    Probably because before it can open it has to "kick out" in the back, that might be your problem. Might need a good squirt of lube.

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                    • #25
                      My 93 Ford E150 has a Braun opener and I've been helping it along for years now. That's why when I built out my 2010 I left out the door opener. It took a little getting used to but I'm fine withit now.

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                      • #26
                        I have a Ricon Uni-Lite lift. It takes up almost all the door space. There's enough space for me to push the door outward to help it open. But not enough space to move it all the way open manually. You've got me thinking now. It sure would be nice to come up with a way to open the door manually so I wouldn't be dependent on the automatic door opener. The lift seems to work effortlessly. But the door opener strains, which is scary.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by August West View Post
                          I have a Ricon Uni-Lite lift. It takes up almost all the door space. There's enough space for me to push the door outward to help it open. But not enough space to move it all the way open manually. You've got me thinking now. It sure would be nice to come up with a way to open the door manually so I wouldn't be dependent on the automatic door opener. The lift seems to work effortlessly. But the door opener strains, which is scary.
                          Can you figure out how to physically disconnect the mechanical part of the automatic of the door opener? In diagnosing my mini the instructions said to do just that and then to compare how it works with the non electric one on the driver's side to see if the fault was the door or the opener.
                          I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by quadfather View Post
                            I have a 2009 Chevy Express. It is identical to yours and the current model year. I have neither a lowered floor nor a raised roof. Swing out doors - not slider, a Braun lift, and a 6-way power drivers seat. I am 6'2", use a power chair and have to duck only slightly entering. My 2001 Ford E-150 was the same except had a sliding door (never had an issue with it) and my beloved and much missed - now discontinued - Braun Swing-Away lift.

                            You make it work if you can duck or lean forward a bit.
                            You sound encouraging as these vans have changed very little, but they are different. I sat 53 inches high in my chair. We measured 53 inches at the roof edge and 54.5 inches at the center except the dome light is lower. I think I can move the light. I do want to get in the van in my chair before dedicating so much money. I need a loading dock somewhere I can use to roll in it, can't think of one off the top of my head.
                            I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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                            • #29
                              Our driveway is on an angle and we used to park our sliding door van there. Never again as it was too difficult to close power door. Got double doors on vans after that.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by August West View Post
                                I have a Ricon Uni-Lite lift. It takes up almost all the door space. There's enough space for me to push the door outward to help it open. But not enough space to move it all the way open manually. You've got me thinking now. It sure would be nice to come up with a way to open the door manually so I wouldn't be dependent on the automatic door opener. The lift seems to work effortlessly. But the door opener strains, which is scary.
                                With the Braun Swing Away it's easy to access the door handle to open shut the door. That's just one of the many great features about this lift.

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