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Author Topic: Need to rig my Coach to load wheelchair;IDEAS!  (Read 1071 times)
trailblazer2
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« on: October 30, 2006, 03:07:48 PM »

 I am building a 87 MCI-9 and want to be able to take my son with me as I travel. I know there must be someone else who will gllady use the feedbax on this one. It  would be nice to have a larger opening,but who knows!
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tekebird
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2006, 03:10:40 PM »

HOnestly, Stop building and get a choach with a lift in it already.....will save alot of engineering time/and $$ and errors
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trailblazer2
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 03:25:13 PM »

tanks,but I will stick with this one. I appreciate the thought tho!
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Jeremy
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2006, 03:34:00 PM »

This comment applies principally to boats with wheelchair access, rather than buses, and may be completely irrelevant to your son's particular needs and capabilites, but a very good friend of mine (a paraplegic) assures me that the #1 mistake (boat) manufacturers make is 'assuming' that wheelchair users want to take their wheelchairs with them everywhere they go. He understandably finds his chair very restrictive and frustrating, and loves to get out of it whenever he can, and in a relatively confined space such as inside a boat he much prefers to haul himself about with his arms, sliding across the floor or furniture etc as required, than being stuck in his chair barely able to move. Not having a wheelchair in the way all the time obviously also has major benefits for the other people on board, and of course generally only the minimum of modifications (maybe a few grab handles) are required to the boat.

As I say the relevance of this is obviously highly dependent upon the individual circumstances of those persons involved, but I thought I would mention it as it was certainly made clear to me that 'good' disabled access doesn't nessacerily require the hydraulic lifts, access ramps etc we all immediately think of.

Jeremy
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Hartley
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2006, 07:58:25 PM »

That's a tough order for a non-lift equipped coach....

However here's a couple of ideas,

I saw once a bus conversion equipped with a lift-chair using a 52 Inch satellite dish jack mounted just inside
the front door on the left side. It had a swing arm with a small stool top attached that could be lowered down
to the level of a wheelchair seat and raised and swung inside level with the co-pilots seat. Each had hand holds
so that the mans wife could pull herself onto the lift seat, rotate it around and open the door and then lower herself
down next to a wheelchair or scooter. Please don ask me who it was but it was about 18 years ago that I saw that.

The other possibility might be something like the cable or hydraulic operated pickup truck tailgate lift that
attaches to the trailer hitch tube. Maybe a little modification and re-engineering something like that could be
rigged up to work. They say it will lift 500 lbs and the platform is fairly narrow but will lift about 30 inches or so.

A swing out bosen's chair rig made from one of those pickup truck winch lifts, Add some electrics to operate it
and it could be mounted up on the floor next to the door and swing out through the door opening. Very much
like the first item but maybe a little on the crude but cheap side.

I guess the question would be the mobility factors of the operator or passenger. If a full on quadraplegic is involved
that has little mobility it might be a problem and a factory made full chair lift might be in order.

I did a bus a few years ago for an 80% Quad and used a transit with the Lift-U front door lift. I changed it
to work on a separate hydraulic pump and modified the controls to be operated from remote both outside
and inside from the lift. It automatically unlocked and opened the door too.

I made the whole bus managable for a man in a wheelchair by himself including driving controls and full drive-in
bathroom with shower and facilities so he could do most anything he wanted without pulling himself out of
the chair.

Granted the conversion wasn't the prettiest but it worked for his needs. I got a call a few months back from
his daughter and learned that he had passed away. She said he loved that bus and she was probably going to
keep it. I hadn't heard from him since 2001 but was surprised that he had driven it over 15,000 miles all by himself.
It was a 40 foot 102 inch Western Flyer. The rear bedroom was 12 feet X 8 feet with a King size air bed sitting
across the back. I lost money on the deal but was happy that he appreciated and used what I did for him.

Have Fun... Keep thinking too !
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HighTechRedneck
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2006, 09:12:47 PM »

I have a suggestion if you aren't looking for something elaborate.  Ramps.  I built a set for now and they work just fine as long as someone is available to push the handicapped person up the ramp and back them down it.  I still plan to put in a lift later but until then this works well and materials were about $75. 

I went with 6 foot ramps for my RTS (due to the low floor), but with a MCI or other OTR coach I would suggest 8 feet. I built two "tracks", one for the left wheels and one for the right.  When not in use, stow them in a bay.

I used an ATV ramp kit available from Home Depot or Lowes that provided the aluminum brackets for the top end of each rail (it makes the smooth transition to the coach floor).  The bottom of each ramp rail can be 2x8 or 2x6 of the wood of your choice (I went with pine 2x6).  The outer sides can be 1x6 or 2x6 for high sides to prevent any chance of going over it (I used 2x6).  The inner sides can be 1x4 or 2x4 to provide a low lip to clear wheelchair frame (I used 2x4). To minimize flexing, I mounted the sides to the base using 3.5" coated power screws (pilot drilled the holes of course), one per foot.

As you can tell, I used heavy stock on all pieces.  I wanted to be sure it was strong, and it is.  I can walk up either ramp individually and even bounce my weight in the middle (and with me that is saying something).  But the downside is they are fairly heavy.  In retrospect, 1x stock on the sides would have been fine and significantly lighter.

hth

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Sammy
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2006, 05:11:36 AM »

Here's a pro you might get some good info from:
Coach Builders
Springfield, Mass.
413-737-4494
I'd ask all my questions to them, I believe they do retro fits for the motorcoach industry.
Hope this might help.
Sammy  Cool
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Ross
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2006, 05:17:45 AM »

If the doorway is wide enough, replacing the steps with an elevator wouldn't be too hard.  A ramp will get the chair to the elevator platform, fold the ramp up behind the chair and raise the elevator platform to floor level.  You'de have to build up the floor area beside the driver to the same height as the coach floor.  The only problem I see....As I look at my MC9 door way, I don't see an average wheelchair going through the hole.

Another way to go would be to make an elevator inside a bay.  You would have to cut and reinforce the lower frame and you would lose quite a bit of usable floor space inside the bus.  The frame would have to be raised in one spot so you can roll the chair under it, but that would be easier and propably less evasive that cutting a huge hole in the side of the bus.  Properly reinforced, you could frame a U shaped area in the bay floor so the lift platform can go all the way to the ground.  Do that and the side frame may not need to be cut.

Ross
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