Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 22 Nov 2015, 10:15

I have to drive the powerchair by my left arm (not hand) and it is very weak. I think driving up the ramp is dangerous, my dad will push the chair + me move into the car. Driving down might not be problem, I can do it easily. We will not daily use the car+ramp, just 1 or 2 times per month when needed to go far. I think manually pushing is enough. But if this job is hard, I consider to install a winch motor as you recommended. Please notice that Asian guys are small and light (as BM's ex-dog :lol: ) and my chair is light too. Both chair+human are about 100kg.

Yes, I search on google and I find almost adapted cars are now lowering floor. It's difficult to find detail pictures of a raised roof van. Fortunately, there are alot on the Olmedo site. Here they are:
http://www.olmedospa.it/trasporto-disab ... lto-sa-29/
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 22 Nov 2015, 11:00

It HAS to be cheaper to just swap the doblo for a van with a higher roof. And buy a used LIFT rather than a 12 foot long ramp. :?
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby LROBBINS » 22 Nov 2015, 23:13

John,
Remember that Sneeker lives in Vietnam, and chances are that the larger vehicles, such as the tall versions of the Fiat Ducato which is the smallest that can use a lift without a raised roof, are priced out of sight if they are available at all. The Doblo actually has the lowest sill height of all of the small vans, and he probably needs less than a 2 meter ramp. Our first Chrysler, when Rachi was small, was stock, we used a pair of 6-foot homemade telescoping ramps with ease, and its sill is higher than the Doblo's. We didn't switch to a dropped-floor Chrysler until Rachi had grown so tall that she couldn't get in the stock door - she can't bend. Raised roof Doblo taxis here also just use channel ramps about 2m or less long. It's also possible to mount a lift in the raised roof Doblo, and that's the most common conversion, but for occasional use with a helper some aluminum channel ramps are probably more convenient (and Snaker will be sitting lower than if he were tied down on top of a lift platform).
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 00:47

You may be right. Never been. But here there are loads of small vans with high roofs.

When I search Vietnam + van I see this:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=vietn ... oQ_AUIBigB

Its really really pretty there!

But no vans!
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 00:49

If its so complicated to modify a car there. And so many difficulties, how is all this possible?

Scroll a long way down slowly.
Theres more high roof vans, and modified vans than any other country I ever saw.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=vietn ... tnam%20van

It would seem quite easy to swap a doblo for something with a high roof!
Then ebay europe for a used lift.

What am I missing?
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 01:11

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2007-57-Citro ... SwkZhWTzMJ
19k miles, as new...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2005-55-FIAT- ... SwnipWUCGZ
Another...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Citroen-Berli ... SwgQ9Vqmpb
Another.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Renault-Kango ... SwEgVWTxaq
Again... Really chap but might end up more.

Importing may not be possible. I don't know. But it cant be that hard, I imported mine from Canada. About 4 phone calls, fill in a form and wait! It was pretty cheap. Took about 10 days to get it. You may get better cheaper from other countries. That's why I imported from Canada, HALF PRICE!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Disabled-Vehi ... ml?_sop=10
More...

Any of this has to be cheaper, and a more reliable guaranteed solution compared to setting an inexperienced workshop loose to cut up a car with no previous similar modification skills, and ending up with a less than tidy job, and a long, too steep and dangerous temporary "bought in" ramp.

I tried this. http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/fiat-do ... ar-van.htm
It took forever. I felt like I was going to die, esp reversing out trying to see behind me and trusting a taxi driver to hold the chair so it didn't tip back and crack my skull from about 4 feet in the air. I really wouldn't do that again.

Before you let a random workshop loose on your Doblo, have a long think.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 23 Nov 2015, 03:10

@Burgerman:

It's really hard to explain for an European person what is happening in VN. Enjoy the song below. The 'singer' Lee is also a British, comes from London. He cannot speak Vietnamese but his VN pronunciation for the song's lyrics is very good. Please notice that VN accents are extremely complicated. If you (a foreigner) hear VN people are speaking you will miss that birds are singing :lol: . Lee commented on his video is "The story is very difficult for a westerner to understand as the culture is completely different"
https://youtu.be/RZ-XemCjkbo

I do not understand your question (my bad English) "how is all this possible?" because all the vans in your link refer to somewhere outside of VN.

I used to ask a friend, a car vendor for Ford about importing an adapted car. She simply told me "don't do it unless you have at least $100.000 in pocket". About used cars - "Used" in VN means "Abused" in UK. An abused 7 seats van (year 2003 or older) costs around $10.000-$20.000 here. And again, the life in VN is about from 1/50 - 1/30 lower than in EU/US. So the cost for an abused van is something like $10.000 x 30 = $300.000 (at least) for you. I think you never want to pay this large budget for a junk, me neither.

We used to dream of an original high roof van - the perfect Honda StepWGN. We realized this dream will never come true. We decided to adapt our Doblo simply because there is not any other choice. The project started and I bet that I would be the first one in VN who own a disability accessible vehicle.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 13:11

OK as long as you understand the issues.

I really wonder why it costs so much to import a small adapted van/car. Because those can often be bought really cheap here in excellent low mileage condition.

the first one in VN who own a disability accessible vehicle.


Really?
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby LROBBINS » 23 Nov 2015, 15:30

John,

Have you never visited a "native" (not resort) area in a third world country? The average monthly salary of a Vietnamese worker last year was $145 in Hanoi and $148 in Ho Chi Minh City (Japan External Trade Organization estimates). How many vehicles do you think the ABs own, not to speak of those with disabilities?

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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 15:56

Never.
But there are lots of cars and vans there. And many, many bikes. I would love it there!
Watch this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WONixVq_pkQ
However it does seem a bit mad, how are they all not dead? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKLWZjBu2iQ

If importing isnt an option then:
It seems that if he or his family already has (or has afforded) a Doblo, it could be swapped for something that has a higher roof, with less cost and less problems that chopping up the car they already own and possibly ruining it, or devaluing it. As a better starting point.

A Van like the H100 or other small van. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_ow3-TiuBI is common in that part if the world. Vans and minibus.

I swapped many cars in my lifetime (sold/bought different one). It need not actually cost anything at all.
And that *has* to be cheaper and less risky than chopping the roof, raising the top, rewelding and re-upholstering, and then doing new paperwork, changing insurance to a modified vehicle etc, just to make a Doblo taller.

It also removes the risk of ending up with unforseen structural issues or other problems, and devaluing the current Doblo.

I would also want to be very sure that the workshop could do the job properly at a sensible cost/timeframe and end up with acceptable and safe result before I let them cut the top off my own car! I hope it works out well.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 23 Nov 2015, 16:26

http://www.poptoproofs.co.uk/shop/produ ... p?id=30488

But again this isnt cheap. And may not help. But available for DIY fitment. May give your workshop guys some ideas.

Or

http://www.excelvwcampervans.co.uk/phdi ... ent&part=5

See if its possible to buy just the top bit, and a set of instructions and door cutting template etc. I think its maybe the same as the high top van part from Fiat directly.

As used on the high top van here: Scroll down a lot http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/fiat/doblo-cargo
Because this will allow stock fiat hight top doors to be used. They are taller obviously. Because again it may be cheaper than fabricating all of this from scratch.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 24 Nov 2015, 03:30

VN traffic !!! All foreigners are creaming "it's the hell". Now you know how the hell is :lol:

Yes, we are going to be all dead because of this chaotic traffic. It is causing at least 30 deaths + alot of disabled per day. Honestly, each time I go out, that's I am playing with the Death.

But Vietnamese do not scream because everyday we must cope many things more terrible than "the hell".

I note that I do not need to go far to EU or US to see used cars in good condition for a reasonable cost. I just need a step to the neighbor countries Laos or Campuchia where people there can easily own a nice used car for a few thousand dollars. And these used cars are even better than brand new cars of $30.000-$40.000 made in Vietnam (you may believe or not). But I do not think there are adapted cars there and importing an used car from Laos or Campuchia to VN is still impossible. That's not only the high cost+tax+fee but that's also related to alot papers which nobody can fulfill (unless having a 'relation' to a power guy in government - a politics mafia). I hope you will understand why an used car is so cheap in EU but too expensive in VN.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 24 Nov 2015, 14:09

I get it.

Are there no vans, or higher top camper vans, people carriers, etc that you can just do a swap in your own country? So you have a better starting point. No need to £$ on roof modifications. No or few £$ needed to swap?
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 25 Nov 2015, 09:31

In VN, a man usually calls his car 'the wife #2". That means he loves his car more than his true wife (the wife #1 or the grand wife). So, you can guess he will never swap his lovely wife #2 for anything, especially to another man :lol:

Car culture in VN is funny and stupid, is it?

It might be strange to you but it's true that there is not any mini high roof van nor adapted van in VN. Sometimes I still see old 9 seats vans (like a Mercedes MB100) on road. I think it's internal height is barely enough for a wheelchair+human moving into. But it's too big, too long -> it does not fit my house's small ground. And also I do not see any 9 seats vans in showrooms in my city, it seems 9 seats vans are not popular in VN yet.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 25 Nov 2015, 11:16

OK.

Then consider this. Take a look here https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=doblo ... 45#imgrc=_

All the vans that have a high roof require taller doors, as well as the modified roof. And you end up with a lot of work, a taller less stable vehicle, and a long steep ramp.

All the ones without a high roof, and instead cut the floor, end up with a more fuel efficient van, better stability, and much shorter ramp, and you sit at the normal height when onboard. And it may be easier.

I built a lot of custom cars over the years. I would rather tackle the floor, than the roof and doors and a long less usable ramp...
You might discuss this with your woorkshop. The end result may be beter and not more expensive. Whats more all the floor modified panels may already be available from the various mobility modifiers in the UK. In the same way that my van is built from easy to buy parts from Rollx, by other workshops in other countries.

Its quite easy to take a cutter and cut a channel out of where the spare wheel used to go... It may involve moving pipes, exhausts,wiring etc too. But its really worth taking a look. Far easier than trying to make the top/doors look pretty.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby LROBBINS » 25 Nov 2015, 11:31

What John has described is the way Olmeda does their dropped-floor conversions (on all except the Renault, and Mercedes built-by-Renault). The fold-out, stow-away ramp is actually a kit they buy from a company in the Czech Republic, and the hydraulic kneeling suspension on the Renault is actually a French kit. I wonder if they'd be willing to share their drawings with your shop? Ciao, Lenny
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 26 Nov 2015, 11:29

A lowered floor van looks nicer and more convenient for wheelchair users. But it will face serious problems of safety when running on roads in VN, especially in countryside. If I have 2 options of lowered floor or raised roof, I still chose the raised roof. In fact I only have one simply because the best garage in my city honestly told me that they are incapable to lower the floor. Garages in other bigger and richer cities like Hanoi or Saigon? All said NO to me, they even became scared just after hearing the words "adaptation for disability".
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 26 Nov 2015, 14:08

Strange workshops you have there.

There are normal guys in my town that build customised cars for fun, that would do a lowered floor in their own garages or workshop at home! Might take a week, but its not that difficult. They all build race-cars or show cars with big V8 motors, and every part chopped, welded, severely modified. For fun!

A proper garage or bodyshop should be able to do this in a week without being worried or scared. At least here. But maybe all this stuff is new or alien to them in your country.

I removed a FORD 4 cylinder engine, from my car, and fitted a race tuned blueprinted Rover V8 that required cutting, welding, new engine mountings, modified transmission tunnel, modified sump, modified steering gear, anti roll bar relocated, prop shaft and gearbox mounting fabricating, bigger radiator, bigger brakes, and new engine wiring, etc. Myself. In around 7 days. Its all just a matter of mind over metal!

This isn't supposed to fit in this car...
http://www.nitrous.info/images/ford_sierra_V8.jpg
http://www.nitrous.info/v8-ford-sierra.htm

That had nitrous too, and went like a wild thing. Smoke and black lines in the first 3 gears at will.

Listen...
http://www.burgerman.info/images/V8.wav
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 30 Nov 2015, 03:47

I installed my phone on a powerchair's armrest and took a video of my city's streets. Have a look on it. The video is long 26 minutes but you won't see any wheelchair accessible vehicle.
https://youtu.be/xFOTKF64HSo
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 30 Nov 2015, 12:39

No. Actually its a lot quieter than I imagined too.

I have been looking at vids of all your cities. You live in a very scenic and interesting country. Some ways its bad (esp if disabled) other ways really interesting. I wish I could still travel. Its one place I always wanted to visit.

I see you take to the roads (as I do too). The footpaths are crap around here! But at that speed you are in a fair bit of added danger. You really need a much faster chair to allow you to get past danger spots and out of peoples way faster.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Irving » 30 Nov 2015, 12:49

Not sure I understand why you don't want a lowered floor. Your roads look a lot better than some in the UK, and the lowered floor doesn't significantly reduce ground clearance as there's a whole lot of exhaust pipe, fuel tank, spare wheel well, under the standard floor that gets reworked round the lowered section

duplo.jpg
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 30 Nov 2015, 13:06

I agree. You don't lose any/much ground clearance overall. But he is adamant that they wont do it.

Seems to me its easier to cut a channel with an angle grinder or plasma cutter and then replace with flat square sheet steel channel than to fight a roof, and rear doors to make it taller. Because it need not be so pretty. And isn't visible. Requires no pain matching, re-spaying, etc.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby LROBBINS » 30 Nov 2015, 13:39

Our dropped floor Kangoo does have noticeably reduced ground clearance, but our dropped floor VW Caddy is only lowered behind the rear axle and the channel just takes up the space where the spare is on the unmodified car. The Doblo's I've seen are done like the VW. Ciao, Lenny
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 30 Nov 2015, 15:45

http://www.fiorella.ws/wheelchair-lifts ... e-vehicles

Vid. http://www.fiorella.ws/wheelchair-lifts ... ered-floor

A kit to fit a lowered floor appears to be available. So all the hard work done. Ready to go!
These are supplied to dealers to make mobility cars the easy way. There will be others too if you check out the web carefully. Don't know about price because you need to log in and be a dealer. So your garage may need to contact them. They can be a Vietnam dealer. http://www.fiorella.ws/fiorella-product ... rs-network

Or there are dealers quite close to you, that may supply some or all of whats required but that will likely cost more.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 01 Dec 2015, 09:35

The video shows the path from a cousin's house to mine. This place is the center of city, so the streets look nice, other places dont. If you drive a car on VN roads, you easily and suddenly meet big holes or stones (rocks?) right on the roads. They are very dangerous for cars of lowered floor. If you go to VN countryside, the roads might be horror as the picture underneath. Another advantage of raised roof car is that because everything in VN are not "disability accessible". If we need to go far, we must bring along a lots of things to ready serve for disability. A raised roof car will provide more space to contain them and the wheelchair+human can freely move inside the car.

In that day, the weather was just getting cold, people preferred to stay in home. And it was not the high traffic point time. In other days, at other time points, streets are crowded, chaotic, dangerous as you have seen in videos of "VN mad traffic".

1-2 months ago, If I had knew this site selling kits for adapting cars and if the total cost for shipping to VN is in my financial capacity, I would order the kit immediately. But now everything was decided. The garage started their works for modifying my doblo. At this time, they are making a design. If everything is on time, they will complete the modification at the end of December. After the car is adapted, I will post its pictures here so everybody can evaluate skills of a VN garage. I note that VN repairmen are very talented in making a junk to a like-new car. But they have not done anything like making a like-new car to something else. Their biggest problem is that they usually do not consider the safety at a high enough level. That's why they appear worried and scared when hearing the modified car will serve for disability.

Yes, I feel my powerchair is too slow and I am thinking about a faster 13-15kph. I see fast powerchairs from US/EU (like Quickie 646SE) are all too expensive (comparing to the life here). Maybe I must be happy with a VN powerchair of high speed even I know it might be unsafe, unstable. It costs about $2.600 + $2.000 for lifepo4. The problem is that all people around me think this cost is crazily high and the speed greater than 10kph would kill me. I will need lots time to convince them :lol:

Image
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 01 Dec 2015, 11:05

Yep that road is pretty bad! Although on a Doblo you dont actually lose any clearance I think. But too late.

15mph is 24.5kph. And I am not dead yet! It actually goes a bit faster at times.

http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/BM3-con ... /15mph.mp4
Feels fast, but used sensibly its fine. You dont have to go fast. Used in the wrong places it would be dangerous. Takes a long time to stop. Lots of inertia to lose. But on the roads in your vid it would be safer rather than more dangerous. Keep up with or pass bycycles etc.

A future project!
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 02 Dec 2015, 01:40

@Burgerman:

VN is not an ideal place for disabled people. However, if you like to taste a bit of VN, I strongly recommend you having a meal in a small Viet restaurant in UK. Call "Phở" or "Bánh mì" or "Nem". Try once and you would remember it's flavour forever - I am not joking.

I see BBC had some articles about delicious VN foods (cuisines ???). They also introduced some well-known Viet restaurants in London.
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 02 Dec 2015, 02:57

I watched a vid about your street foods in the cities at night. Looked interesting, most looked great. But some of the things you eat horrify me!
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby Burgerman » 04 Dec 2015, 01:29

It costs about $2.600 + $2.000 for lifepo4. The problem is that all people around me think this cost is crazily high


After 5 years its cheaper by far than lead, with the 3x range/speed advantage thrown in for free!
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Re: Need helps for adapted Fiat Doblo

Postby snaker » 08 Feb 2016, 09:34

The modification was completed, I just received the car a couple of days ago. I told my dad take pictures as much as possible. Unfortunately, his photography skills are really ... bad. Almost cannot be used, I can only select a few of them.
https://goo.gl/photos/bgHcdbrkUZGSr9JQ9

Here are some info:
- The total cost (including the paperwork) is $2.000. I am curious if it is low or high or reasonable accordingly to the life in EU/US?
- The foldable ramp was bought separately. I imported it from US, the total cost (including ship/tax to VN) is $500. Its cost (including ship/tax) in US is only $230 => too cheap for an excellent US made ramp. Do you see it's unfair that people in a poor country have to pay double more than people in a rich country for a same thing :lol:
- The total modifying time is 6 weeks. At the beginning the workshop estimated only 3 weeks. But they then realized that all their tools were useless for the job of raising roof. In fact almost works were manually done. That's why it took too long time.
- Although the technicians in the workshop were enthusiastic and tried their best, the final result is far to reach the 'EU made' quality. They were unable to fit glasses as Olmedo did and the interior roof lining looks ugly. That's the consequence of lacking the right tools.

I tested the adapted car through a short strip to a beach near my house (15km). I could drive up the ramp and it was fairly easy. My dad still followed at the rear to ensure safety but he did not need to push the chair. I note that my arm is very weak, in fact I must use the shoulder muscle (not arm, not hand) to push the joystick. Others with less severe disabilities absolutely can drive up the ramp much more easily. So I am surprised that BM was scared when driving up a Doblo taxi :lol: Maybe because its ramp is too short? I could not turn the powerchair around inside the car, so I could not drive down the ramp. My dad had to move out the powerchair reversely but it was very quick and easy. Seating (on the powerchair) inside the car was my main trouble. Firstly, I felt unstable, unbalance especially while the car runs on a curved road. Secondly, seating was truly like a POPE, I mean the position is to high. I could not watch roads, scenes over the side windows. I could only see a few metres of road surface through the car front glass => that was nothing other than making me dizzy. Overall, seating was really uncomfortable. I think I could not survive if the car runs continuously for a long distance (i.e 100km). Maybe I must buy another powerchair with tilt and recline functions.
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