We are looking at purchasing a modified van.  As we spoke with the Permobil representatives they were saying you had to have a rear entry van for their wheelchair to lock into place properly.  Something about with the turning of the wheelchair into the van the automatic way doesn't work.  We really don't want to do the manual tie down.  I am thinking side entry for ease of travelling, don't have to move things to get wheelchair out.  Husband is liking the idea of the rear entry.  If anyone has experience or knowledge on this please let us know.

 

Thanks,

Kristi

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we have a rear entry van and while it does affect being able to use the back of the van it works great for us. We never have a problem finding a place to park. We don't have the lock into place system we have to use the tie downs so i don't know about that. Our van has 2 smaller seats and the wheelchair pulls up in between them.
Hi,

We have a side entry full sized Ford van with manual retractable tie downs. I can see how maneuvering from a side entry would be difficult for the other type, you need to approach that more straight on. Why don't you want to do manual? It's not really that much work once you get a system. You can see pictures of our van on my page. We went full size and side entry because of our seating needs. There are five of us. plus my father-in-law travels with us on occasion. Side entry is a pain sometimes in parking lots, even a lot of the van accessible spaces don't really have enough room to accommodate the lift and give Jon room to maneuver easily.
rear entry is best for parking, but my son hates being stuck in back of our long van. we have 4 other kids so had no other choice...if you get rear enry you can use side doors to put bags in when traveling, the whole back can be for the wheelchair
Hi,
We have had both side entry and rear entry and much prefer the rear entry. We have a Honda Odyssey with "The Vision" package from Viewpoint Mobility and have the lock on the bottom and it is really easy for my son. Our van can seat 6 total people: 3 people in the middle section (and all seats are removable so if you go on a trip and need extra room, we remove the seats we don't need and use the space for storage.), 2 people up front, and the my son in the wheelchair in the back. The URL for Viewpoint is http://www.viewpointmobility.com/.
Hi Kristi,
We are on our third modified mini van, all of which have been side entry. We are currently big city dwellers and have to park on busy streets at times where there would be no room for a rear entry (due to parallel parking curbside). We have also lived in the suburbs and did not want our son backing out of a rear entry van without being able to see where he is going (without someone having to direct him) Also, there is the risk of your son is backing out into traffic (should someone drive by while he is exiting the van). My son uses a Permobil with an "Easy Lock" system (no manual tie downs). We have not had the problem you are referring to. He does however park next to the driver in the "passenger" spot. (not in the center or back of the van). He just drives up the ramp, turns and parks himself. We wanted to be able to talk, assist, etc. more easily and felt this was best accomplished by him having the passenger seat next to the driver. Just wanted to give you another perspective, hope it helps :-)
Katherine
We have had a rear entry van for about 6yrs now. We live in a small town in east Texas. It sometimes can drag the ramp part that hangs down, but its pretty durable. We did have to remodify the muffler because the brackets kept getting knocked off and it would drag. That was due to my driving though! I dont payclose enough attention to the big bumps and would drag the bottom! Justin sits in the back seat between two captain chairs. We also have a fold down seat that holds two more people in the very back. We have the ezlock system and I love it. Justin drives right in and it locks his wheelchair into place. From the drivers or passengers seats we can reach him. We dont travel often, but when we do, it can be a pain to have to move the luggage in and out so Justin can go back and forth. If we did travel often, we would buy the container that you can strap down to the roof(ours has the bracket things on top already) to hold the luggage. As for backing out into traffic, we have just always had Justin wait. The safety features prevent Justin from backing out until the drivers door is open, keys are out of the ignition, and we hit a release button on the ezlock. If its just Justin and me, he waits until I walk to the back to come out. We havent had any issues so far!
I appreciate all of the input you all have been giving! Please keep inputting cause this is such a big expense and this is our first time to purchase.
Hi Kristi - we are also in the market for a minivan that will accommodate a powerchair. Rather than start a new discussion, I thought I would join in your original discussion on this topic.

If possible i would like to stay away from any after-market work - is anyone aware of minivans which are factory equipped/modified form the manufacture itself to accommodate wheelchair/powerchairs?

Thanks for your input!
hello Gurpreet if you are living in the US check the following.

http://www.vpgautos.com/experience-MV-1/mobility-vehicle-features

Gurpreet Singh said:
Hi Kristi - we are also in the market for a minivan that will accommodate a powerchair. Rather than start a new discussion, I thought I would join in your original discussion on this topic.

If possible i would like to stay away from any after-market work - is anyone aware of minivans which are factory equipped/modified form the manufacture itself to accommodate wheelchair/powerchairs?

Thanks for your input!
We have a side-entry mini-van with the EZ Lock system and my son loves it. He sits next to the driver so he is never left out of anything by being clear in the back of the van by himself.
Hi Tina - can you recommend the retailer where you got the van and the place where the aftermarket modifications were made? I have not yet come across a reliable auto dealer / retailer where I can purchase the modified van...or get a regular van and have it modified. Thanks!

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