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Thread: Van?

  1. #11
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jeanie! Good advice!

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  3. #12
    Distinguished Community Member nuthatch's Avatar
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    I have had three handicap accessible vehicles, all of which were used. The first was a beautiful, black Chrysler Town and Country Van that I found on line. It had belonged to a woman in Beverly Hills, Ca.! She had ordered the van new with every bell and whistle imaginable! It had lowered floors, kneel function, remote opening doors and ramp which came out from under the floor. It was beautiful, with heated leather seats, tinted windows, moon roof, am fm stereo with a 6 CD changer, and every bell and whistle imaginable, including a DVD player with cordless headphones, to entertain the kiddies in the back. The passenger seat had been removed and an easy lock installed in the floor for clamping a wheelchair in securely and easily. This woman had MS, but died shortly after acquiring the new van, so her family donated it to the MS society, who promptly sent it to a car auction to sell. I saw it advertised on line, had my brother in S. CA. go check it out for me and arrange the purchase. I paid 30,000 for it with only about 1,000 miles on it. Sold it when I felt unsafe to drive due to vision problems, for almost the same price!

    I've also purchased a motorhome on Ebay and then had a handicap door and lift put in. My husband did lots of interior modifications to fit our needs. Still have it, need to sell it.

    We now have a Dodge Sprinter van, also purchased on Ebay, nearly new. It was a cargo van, very basic. We had a wheelchair lift put in the rear and husband has done interior modifications. He's pretty handy and actually enjoyed the challenge!

    Here is a link to a website for sale by owner handicap vehicles.
    http://www.blvd.com/wheelchair-vans-for-sale-by-owner

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  5. #13
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Thanks, Joan! Much appreciated!

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  7. #14
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    Whew Suze, so much to absorb!
    Virginia

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  9. #15
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Absolutely wonderful advice, suggestions and links!

    That's just what I was looking for, the real skinny that I needed to know.

    Jeanie, how do you safely charge your van scooter without leaving your van vulnerable to break-ins? Or is it in an enclosed garage?

    About how much do these batteries weigh, and how long do they take to charge?

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  11. #16
    Distinguished Community Member Jeanie Z's Avatar
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    :) My van is in the carport. I put the extension cord through the rear and close it down and set the alarm. The batteries weigh about 30 lbs I think. The ones on my Rally scooter I do not remove until time to replace. They last anywhere from 8 months to just over a year. The are about $200. for the pair. Jeanie :)

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  13. #17
    Distinguished Community Member SuzE-Q's Avatar
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    Thanks so much, Jeanie!

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  15. #18
    Distinguished Community Member Jeanie Z's Avatar
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    Smile

    :) I had to use a rented ramp van while my van was repaired when that man ran into my van. I got a brand new Dodge van with 2000 miles on it. I very much prefer my 20 year old van to the new one.

    It did not have leather seats and the tie downs were impossible for me to use as you had to keep your finger on the floor part while you attached the tie down to your scooter. I wound up pulling the seat belt out and putting it around the handlebars of my scooter.

    It was very hard to turn on the cloth seat too. My van is a 2000 Chrysler Town & Country with everything. It only has 130,000 miles on it and it looks like new as it is protected from the weather in the carport.

    I suggest you get them to let you try the kind you want to see if it fits your needs. Jeanie :)

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  17. #19
    Distinguished Community Member Lazarus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catdancer View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I looked into this four years ago, to find that retrofitting can cost more than buying the already modified van. New already modified vans cost about double the price of the van itself. To modify one they have to lower the floor, install reinforcing flooring, ramp, instead hand controls, etc. The cost ends up being about double the cost of the van, and after- market retrofits aren't as dependable.

    Used modified vans are available on eBay, or occasionally in ads in local papers, but of course purchasing any used vehicle that way can be risky, and transporting it to your location expensive.

    There are dealers that handle such vans exclusively. The benefits of buying through them generally means the van has been repaired if necessary and has some limited guarantees attached to it, as well as a resource for service should that be necessary. The cost would be higher than through a private sale. You can find dealers by googling "handicap accessible vans".

    Issues to consider: do you intend to be the driver? Will you want to simply roll in to the driver area, or transfer to the driver seat? You can get vans with the driver seat that swivels around to the area behind the driver seat, so you'd enter the van, transfer, swivel to the front. Or vans with the driver seat removed, clamp installed in the floor, so you'd enter the van, roll up to the driver seat, get clamped in, and drive off.

    Or do you want to sit next to the driver, or behind the driver? The space can be accommodated for either. You'll lose some passenger seating so you want to think about what your needs are for that.

    Then you need to consider whether you want to enter from the side or rear. Rear entry gives you more flexibility: you can park anywhere, then lower the ramp and move in or out. The side entrance requires a double parking space with the side where the ramp is located being open.

    Then the ramp: do you want a manual ramp -- one you raise/lower yourself? These are the most dependable, but of course you have to be able to do the lifting, or always travel with someone. Power ramps are most convenient, but can break down.

    Now, if you're simply looking to transport a manual chair, and you can ride in the passenger seat of a car, any car will do, as they collapse, of course. And small scooters come apart and can fit into any trunk or back seat.

    Most of the big vans are gas hogs, although like smaller cars, the newer ones are more economical.

    I found an already modified Scion, a Toyota brand. They're a boxy car to begin with, designed to seat four. The passenger side opens up like a wing, a manual ramp is pulled down. There is no passenger seat. I roll in (in my manual chair, pivot to turn into the passenger area, chair gets strapped down. Ramp is lifted up, door pulled down. I don't have a scooter. I don't think one would fit in there, as scooters tend to be longer than wheelchairs, and there isn't that much space. I don't have a power chair, but I have used them, and think it would be feasible to drive a power chair into the space.

    My scion get around 30 miles/gallon in summer, 28 in winter.

    I hope this helps. Took me a long time to decide to buy one, and the decision made for me in the end: I couldn't get released from the nursing home until I could guarantee I'd have transportation to/ from the hospital and nursing home. Went to a friend who knew a car dealer, dealer didn't deal with accessible cars, but happen to know someone who had the scion, wanting to sell it. Dealer bought it, serviced it, friend went 200 miles to pick it up for us, carrying the check to buy it, and drove it back, all in the space of four days... we paid $20,000 for it.

    Oh my gosh what we have lost.....Catdancer’s voice was a strong one and helped us all.
    Linda~~~~

    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says:"Oh Crap, She's up!"

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  19. #20
    Distinguished Community Member nuthatch's Avatar
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    Yes, we lost a strong and supportive voice when we lost Catdancer
    As they say, you never fully realize what you've got until it's gone.

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