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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering getting the driver's side sliding door w/glass option so I can retain typical side door use if I end-up installing a wheelchair lift in the standard passenger side doorway.

My question is, however theoretical as I haven't come across any crash test results, is if there's anything I need to be concerned with as far as side impact safety when being hit in the side door region with or without the door option? The secured occupied wheelchair will have a space of a foot or more away from the interior wall/door surface.

Thanks guys.
 

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These are not passenger vehicles so I doubt they even require side impact testing. The sides are pretty flimsy with or without a door. I don't think it would make much difference. And, technically, a wheelchair is not approved to be occupied by a person during transport. Most likely the person in the wheelchair will be ejected from the seat sideways. If they are tied down in the center, the shoulder harness will do nothing as it stretches all the way from the side. I go through the motions every time just to placate any cops that might want to ticket us for not being belted. The lap belt isn't going to do much either having to come up so far from the floor of the van.

If you really want side impact safety, consider a UVL lift (avoiding a huge block of steel to crash into) and covering both side doors with 4 - 6" of EPS foam. Basically that's what cushions the impact in a helmet. Whether the occupant strikes the door from the inertia (body at rest stays at rest) ,or the door crushes and impacts the passenger, the foam will act as a crumple zone.

There is one good reason to get the driver side slider - you can get a window in it. Half the reason I want a new van is so my wife can see out. Our current Econoline hightop might as well be a prison van. The windows are far below eye level. In Promaster the top is at about 55". You could cut your own window in but that's another subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's interesting carnut.

I kind of had that feeling concerning lack of much impact protection. The addition of the foam makes sense.

FWIW - I do plan on installing a sealed plywood floor, some carpeted finish wall and ceiling panels to protect from all the frame edges, as well as Q'straint floor retracts with a lap and shoulder belt installed per their recommendations (non-vehicle type specific). Footage of frontal impacts concerning this anchoring system look good, but no side impact testing as far as I can tell. I guess that leaves due diligence especially on the occasion when providing special transport.

Thanks.
 

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... Footage of frontal impacts concerning this anchoring system look good, but no side impact testing as far as I can tell...
Yes, I think all that stuff is well sorted out for frontal impact. Even the cut floor minivans like to show you how they fare in front or rear impact. But you see no mention of side impact. With all the floor structure moved well below the frame or main bumper supports of other vehicles an no side impact beams, I can't imagine the protection is very good.

Up close, the MV1 looks very impressive structurally - probably as stout as the H1 Hummer's that came out of the plant. Too bad they are so expensive and lack versatility. I've corresponded with them pointing out that it doesn't even have a fold-down rear seat so I can use it to haul lumber or plywood once in awhile. If they could at least do that, and put a modern 6spd automatic in it, I might be willing to pay the price.

My frustration with the Promaster pricing, ($10K more than a minivan with all the same powertrain and NO interior or rear heat and AC provisions), lackluster inventory (95% is clearly targeted at basic delivery) and endless wait to even see a Transit, has me looking seriously at a Caravan. You can get an SE with the 30th anniversary package (pretty much everything but power seats and leather) for $20K with current incentives.

For $10K less I can build a custom wheelchair solution. Thinking of a shuttle seat with fixed foot supports. If you've ever seen the huge bins in the floor for the Caravan stow and go seating, there is lots of room for the foot supports of full rehab seating system. I think it's about 54" of total vertical height. You just need a system to transfer the seating system from the powerchair base to the interior of the vehicle.

I actually despise the US rehab industry for perpetuating the idea that we need to spend $20K or more every 10 years cutting up a perfectly good vehicle (making it rust much faster) to transport a very dumb wheelchair. They've had better systems in Europe for over a decade.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h3cgL7g3jc
Unfortunately that chair isn't even made anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A bit OT...Matters and perception of healthcare do seem different in Europe than here in the states, but I admit as seen from afar. Health issues just seem to be something to be hidden here, while other countries have a society that seems more accepting of the possible inevitabilities as we move through life. It could however be worse.

As for the expense of the Promaster, I hear you there - a driver's cab and a box. It sells on capability sets that play off the offerings of other manufacturers and priced accordingly from a minimum cost of manufacture+, with price AND brand wars a plenty. The segment however just doesn't align with your or my needs per say. I could get bit of an oversized Promaster to meet my needs+ for say $35k with some "minor" adaptations bringing the cost up to say $37k with manual ramps out the back door, or $42k with a lift at the side door (my time not paid for). The cargo act for this cargo van may serve all my utility trailer needs accept for bulk mulch/soil loads. Or I could perhaps buy a $32k Toyota Sienna, and then have it converted for another $20k. That would come to a total of $52K+, but then I have to serve for rust like you said from day one, and then there's more custom parts to tend to the conversion company with, custom exhaust and rear A/C lines, the shifting of body panels and lower skirts over time, etc. But I'm sure you know all this anyways so I digress.

Look into that Shuttle seat idea. I haven't seen what you mentioned but heck, you might be on to something. As for your transfer device, I wonder if some based of this might help. I happened across it a year or two ago to see if I could still use my wagon to transport a family member whose condition had made it otherwise impossible, but I couldn't get past what I think was a $4k expense and a few stories of people falling. Yeah, I'll pass! http://accessunlimited.com/html/multi-lift-car-photo_2.html

Wishing you good fortune.
 

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Side impact safety is generally better in a van or truck as the body is higher off the road. If a car hits you in the side they are impacting the bottom of the body, which is stronger.
 

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In Europe the crash testing authority is NCAP, and they don't even test vehicles the size of the Ducato/PM.

Having said that, FIAT Autonomy does have information on the Ducato passenger version, and also info on driving with wheelchairs. So it is done, and can be done safely.

Contrary to what Carnut says, there are euro solutions such as the handifloor (aka Panorama flex floor) that FIAT uses for their passenger anchorages as well as wheelchair anchorages.

Handifloor is the only system I have seen that is crash tested with wheelchairs.

I do agree that Chrysler is doing a terrible job at marketing the vehicle and ignoring the niche markets that it can fill. I would almost say that the you may wish to wait to see if the Ford Transit will offer a solution.

Til then, I watch FIAT's Autonomy videos and get inspired:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fiat+autonomy
 

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...Contrary to what Carnut says, there are euro solutions such as the handifloor (aka Panorama flex floor) that FIAT uses for their passenger anchorages as well as wheelchair anchorages...
What I actually meant is that the manufacturers of wheelchairs absolve themselves of liability for vehicular transportation in the fine print even though it is common practice in public transportation to just tie down powerchair users while seated in their chairs. It's a liability gray area.

The manufacturer of a tiedown system can certify that it will hold the straps holding a typical chair will not break loose in the event of a crash, but they cannot certify the seat/occupant system in complies with any safety standards. That would be virtually impossible since full rehab seating can be made of several manufacturers components. Even the lap belt provided on powerchairs states it is only to hold the occupant from falling out of the chair in normal operation. No vehicular performance is implied. They do not include a shoulder harness even though GM had no problem providing seat mounted harnesses in millions of full-sized trucks and Cadillacs. My Silverado had 2 of them and cost less than my wife's wheelchair.
 

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I agree with your statements, I did not wish to state otherwise, though there are euro standards for both wheelchair restraint and restraint for the person in the wheelchair.

Handicare also sells an electric seat which helps transition from the wheelchair, the HandiPSB.

What I actually meant is that the manufacturers of wheelchairs absolve themselves of liability for vehicular transportation in the fine print even though it is common practice in public transportation to just tie down powerchair users while seated in their chairs. It's a liability gray area.

The manufacturer of a tiedown system can certify that it will hold the straps holding a typical chair will not break loose in the event of a crash, but they cannot certify the seat/occupant system in complies with any safety standards. That would be virtually impossible since full rehab seating can be made of several manufacturers components. Even the lap belt provided on powerchairs states it is only to hold the occupant from falling out of the chair in normal operation. No vehicular performance is implied. They do not include a shoulder harness even though GM had no problem providing seat mounted harnesses in millions of full-sized trucks and Cadillacs. My Silverado had 2 of them and cost less than my wife's wheelchair.
 

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...Handicare also sells an electric seat which helps transition from the wheelchair, the HandiPSB.
We are well past transferring to a regular seat. Those were the good old days. She needs to ride on a seating system the same as the one on the wheelchair. Moving from one seat to another inside a minivan would be virtually impossible. The side bolsters are 6" deep and she cannot lift herself at all. I couldn't help in a minivan because there isn't enough headroom. The Bruno Carony does something similar to what I want, but neither the seat nor the wheeled part is acceptable on those.
 
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