Ford E-Series Wheelchair Van Exterior Handicap Driving Features

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Ford E-Series vans provide disabled drivers with a large, flexible handicap van solution. The E-Series, which includes the E-150, E-250 and E-350, is the most popular full-sized van on the market and is often the first choice for disabled individuals who are looking for something larger and more robust than a minivan.

E-Series vans don’t come fully outfitted for wheelchair van use. The buyer must subject the vehicle to a variety of modifications in order to transform it into a compelling minivan.

Those modifications start by being absolutely certain that the driver can get the doors to the vehicle open in the first place. That basic consideration can’t be overlooked. Many wheelchair users struggle with standard van doors.

Fortunately, one can install a sliding side door on E-Series vans and these doors can be powered to open and close automatically via the use of a handy keychain-based remote control. That will largely remedy the access issue.

Raised Roof

ford e350 2005 rasied roofThere are other exterior modifications that are rarely seen with E-Series vans including raising the roofs and doors to increase access. The size of the vans usually makes that unnecessary and when extra space is desired, many owners instead opt for the interior modification of lowering the vehicle’s floor.

 

Lift Access Options

ford e250 2005 lift entryThe next consideration is actually entering the opened van. There are two different options in that regard. First, one can use a wheelchair lift. These are popular options because they can handle a great deal of weight, are extremely durable, and are motorized, decreasing the need for the wheelchair user to be physically involved in its use. They also have a small footprint, which is appreciated when loading or unloading in tight spots.

The other option is a wheelchair ramp. These are popular due to the large number of options available, the relatively low price and the presence of auto ramps that can be extended and retracted automatically via a motor, stowing under the van when not in use.

One can install lift or a ramp on E-Series vans whether they want to use a side-entry or a rear-entry configuration. That makes the vans much more flexible than most minivan options.

Enabling A Disabled Driver

ford e150 2010 steering driving aidsConsideration of exterior options extends past those issues. It’s also important to modify the E-150, E-250 or E-350 so that the disabled individual can drive it easily and safely. That may result in changes under the hood.

For instance, many disabled individuals struggle with traditional steering. The installation of low- or no-effort steering assistance kits can change that. This modification amplifies the power of the van’s power steering system, making much easier for the disabled driver to operate the vehicle.

The same kind of modification is available for those who make struggle somewhat with a foot pedal. Low- and no-effort braking assistance allows the drive to engage the Ford wheelchair van’s brakes much easier.

Overall, Ford E-Series vans are very amenable to modification. Ford sells them with simple flexible option packages and their size makes them a wonderful canvas for any wheelchair conversion artist.

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