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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing with Disabilities and General Health Issues

 > Sprinter Class B Wheelchair Accomodation (?)

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DougE

New Braunfels, Texas USA

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Posted: 03/17/20 08:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having recently experienced a gout incident I have become interested in outfitting my Class B Sprinter to accommodate travel by a solo wheelchair user. Mine is the configuration that has a toilet compartment immediately behind the driver's seat. It appears that one of the Ricon lifts would work in the side door and would allow grabbing the side door from the interior to close it after the wheelchair occupant is lifted inside. It is unsure whether grab handles and room would then allow the person to get into the driver's seat. But, in general, do you have a successful T1N modification that allows wheelchair travel? If so, please post pictures of your installation and explain your setup.


2005 Leisure Sprinter Class B/2015 Honda CTX700

thestoloffs

Florida

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Posted: 03/17/20 09:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Doug:

Sorry to hear about your ailment. For DW's post-polio quadriparesis & electric scooter, we had Born Free custom build a 26' Class C on an E-450 chassis with a Ricon split-platform lift mounted at the rear door.

We went that way for 2 reasons:
1. Because most disability parallel parking spaces aren't van-accessible ("right-hand ramp clearance"), and we tend to use parking lot spaces. We can pull into the spaces, or use 2 spaces back-to-back.

2. The real issue is having a turning radius inside the vehicle. With a side lift, you need 24"-36" turning radius at the end of the lift. If you're using a swivel on the driver's seat, you'll be running off the lift and hitting the commode. (It's even worse if you're using an electric transfer seat, since you can't pull the chair into the seat track area.)

PM us if you want more information. DW is a retired rehabilitation counselor and purchased many vehicles for her clients, working with NMEDA-certified vehicle modifiers. (Sorry, but since Born Free closed, the pictures & video of our coach were lost in their web site disappearance.

DougE

New Braunfels, Texas USA

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Posted: 03/17/20 09:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, but my Sprinter Class B has a rear couch/bed arrangement and rear-mounted spare tire so a rear entry isn't feasible. Thus I'm trying to find out if my configuration is workable. In general, I think if I can get the wheelchair in, with grab handles I'd be able to make my way to the driver's seat. Hopefully I don't have to look at trading to a different floor plan.

Naio

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Posted: 03/18/20 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would suggest getting the wheelchair in with ramps one time, to try out the space issues. That won't tell you whether the lift fits, but it will tell you what you can do once you get in.


3/4 timing in a DIY van conversion. Backroads, mountains, boondocking, sometimes big cities for a change of pace.


DougE

New Braunfels, Texas USA

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Posted: 03/19/20 08:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm an engineer so I can get out a tape measure and check fitment issues, but I was really trying to get some "real world" experiences from those that already deal with this issue.

dedmiston

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Posted: 03/19/20 09:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DougE wrote:

I'm an engineer so I can get out a tape measure and check fitment issues, but I was really trying to get some "real world" experiences from those that already deal with this issue.


Sadly, this "RVing with Disabilities and General Health Issues" forum doesn't get a lot of eyes or responses. Prior to this recent flood of COVID posts, it wasn't unusual to go longer than a month without any activity in this forum.

We don't allow cross-posting without approval, but it's fine with me if you want to post in Class B - Camping Van Conversions to see if anyone there has any real world experience that might help you out.

Good luck.


2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. AISIN trans & 4.10 rear. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • Hooligan #3

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Naio

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Posted: 03/19/20 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DougE wrote:

I'm an engineer so I can get out a tape measure and check fitment issues, but I was really trying to get some "real world" experiences from those that already deal with this issue.


I hope I didn't insult you! I just find that sometimes trying things out physically gives me different information from what a tape measure gives me.

For example, if you have to make an eight point turn to pivot the wheelchair around, is it the hassle it sounds like? Or is it easy to grab onto something and just jockey yourself back and forth? Is the arm of the driver's seat in a place where it will catch on the edge of your pants, or not?

Also, if you happen to be on the smaller side, you might consider a teenager sized wheelchair. I used one once when traveling with a broken leg, and it was a lot more convenient than the adult size.

DougE

New Braunfels, Texas USA

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Posted: 03/19/20 10:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not insulted. My terse wording is not meant to offend. (And I'm not on the small side :>).
If I back a wheelchair onto the ramp I think I can reach the manual side door frame to pull it closed. I think I can pretty well pull myself upright and hobble around. The armrest on the driver's seat allows easy entry. I'm a solo traveler so I could even remove the co-pilot's seat. My tape will tell me if I fit, but is it really practical? I don't have a wheelchair at the current time so can't experiment.

Naio

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Posted: 03/19/20 10:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A wheelchair takes up an awful lot of space in the van. Climbing around and over it is a hassle, especially if you are gimpy! I'm wondering if there might be an alternative.

You have probably seen those lifts for RV doors, that lift a person, not a wheelchair. Would there be some way to stow the wheelchair outside, maybe in a large basement bay, and then use one of those lifts?

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