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Side Entry Van Options

Side Entry Lowered Floor Wheelchair Van

  • Entering Facing Forward, Exit Facing Forward Both. Being able to rotate 360 degrees with most wheelchairs
  • Caregiver Can Easily Access 4 Corners of the Wheelchair for Tie Down Purposes
  • The Wheelchair Passenger Can Sit Up Front – The Floor is Lowered all the Way to the Front.
  • Easily Accessed Seating Space for Other Passengers to sit on the Rear Bench
  • The ability to fit the driving area for adapted driving.
Best Uses
  • Power Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  1. Height – The entrance height and interior height vary on these vans. We recommend you get a yard stick and fix it at a particular height on a door to see how “low you can go” – comfortably that is. The entrance height is the most limiting so our focus here will be on that.
    • Chrysler/Dodge – Prior to 2008 Minivans Chrysler and Dodge had entrance height between 52-53”.
    • Ford Minivans have a 51.5-52” entrance.
    • Honda and Toyota did not really enter the market until 2005. From 2005-2010 their entrance height ranges between 52.5-54”.
    • Pontiacs and Chevys swapped their ground clearance for entrance height to give them a 56”.
    • Chrysler & Dodge improved their numbers by 1” from 2008-2010 53-54”.
    • Beginning 2011, all the minivan manufactures still in the market – Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda made a marked difference in their entrance height by improving the rise of their kneel systems, lowering the floor up to 14 & 3/4”. These minivans vans with a deeper drop also had a better entrance height – 54-57”. While VMI began to sell the deeper floor drop exclusively, Braun and Eldorado added their line of deep cuts to their line of build 10” cuts. By keeping the 10” cut conversion line Braun and Eldorado were able to provide those individuals 5’7” or less with better visibility.
  2. Weight – Some ramps have a maximum weight capacity of 600 lbs. If the combined weight of the wheelchair and the individual sitting in it is over 600lbs. a vehicle with a stronger ramp should be found. In Floor ramps provide the strongest weight capacity.
  3. Width of Wheelchair – If the width of the wheelchair is more than 29.5”( including the hand bar attached to the wheel) then only one side entry van can accommodate them – an Eldorado Amerivan, beating the side entry charts in their weight capacity (800lbs for a fold out) and width (31”). Although no longer built, there are used Eldorado’s on the market.
  4. Manual Wheelchairs – Special consideration may be needed for those who are in manual chairs and their caregivers. If getting up a ramp is a hard job, make sure the vehicle has a kneel system. With a kneel system, the back end of the vehicle drop so the ramp angle is better
  5. Circumstances where a Lowered Floor Side Entry Minivan is Not Recommended
    • Total Chair length exceeds 54”
    • The individual in the wheelchair does not fit under a 56” entrance easily
    • Added Midsection space is required to attend to the Chair User

Manual Side Entry Ramps are an excellent answer to cutting vehicle maintenance costs in half. If the following describe the person in the wheelchair, then the VMI Northstar E Conversion will be a great choice. Other manual ramp conversions will provide good solutions; but when it comes to the most convenient answer that is still cost effective, the Northstar E is our 1st recommendation.

  • Requirements for the person in the wheelchair.
  • They do not drive.
  • They have good balance – usually not recommended for amputees.
  • They have a wheelchair/scooter with decent power and rear wheel size. In other words, the manual ramps have a 5-7% incline increase. Whether it is a power wheelchair or a manual one, the wheelchair has to be able to handle an incline. If a manual wheelchair is being used, a strong caregiver is needed and the person in the wheelchair should not exceed 160lbs.