They are about to be replaced in 2008
with a newer model. I am not sure if they will still be able to be converted in
the same manner but I wouldn't want one anyway they are ugly! At least to my
eyes! Anyway I digress... Enjoy these pics and be sure to read as you go!
There are a great many companies offering these vehicles used and in as new
condition in the US. Ever thought about saving literally tens of thousands and
importing one? Its easy. Update! They can be converted. See
The conversion goes
like this. New or almost new Chryslers minivans (or Dodge minivans) are
taken from the factory and have the whole floor pan removed. A new one is
fitted, 10 inches lower! Serious modification or what!
Then a sliding
in-floor or a two piece electrically operated ramp is installed in the sliding
door on the opposite side of the van to the drivers seat. This door is wider and
better suited to a wheelchair. Then everything is re trimmed on the inside
of the vehicle to an extremely high standard in some conversions by the likes of
Braun, Rollx etc. Be sure to look around. Some conversions are less well
finished! Mine looks like the Chrysler factory did it.
fuel/cables/brake pipes and other things are moved to accommodate the new much
lower floor. Everything is rust proofed. In some conversions (In my Rollx for
e.g.,) the suspension is raised slightly to increase ground clearance. This can
make the vehicle look a little high compared to a non modified Chrysler minivan
but more functional. Its a fight between ground clearance and ride height!
Being disabled is the cause of many compromises...
In addition to this
the Chrysler minivans suspension has a lowering mechanism fitted. When you
press the button on your key fob, the vans "lowers"
itself - Known as kneeling. At the same time the sliding side door opens up
automatically and the ramp deploys. Cool eh? Now you have a very shallow
ramp that even a manual wheelchair can easily get up!
Now depending on the internal configuration you can either park your wheelchair inside to be
driven or go to the wheelchair clamp in the drivers position. This means
you are ready to drive in a matter of 60 seconds! The wheelchair clamp can
be different makes and styles but the commonly used Ez lock just uses a pin fixed
to the bottom of your wheelchair. You drive in and clunk! its got you. Then with
simple or complex hand controls - your choice - you are ready to go!
The aftermarket wheels
(and the sizes) below
will fit the Braun Entervan, Rampvan, the Rollx minivans etc. They will go straight on.
Just! They have a sensible sidewall height, so no worries about pot holes or
There are many
styles but the important critical dimensions here are
wheel size which is 18 x 8.5 inches with an offset (or ET) 35mm. And also tyre
fitted with 245/50/18 tyres. These sizes will JUST miss the suspension upright on the
front, and also JUST miss the rear of the front wheel arch on full lock. They also
only JUST miss the sliding (powered) rear doors as they open by 3mm or an 1/8th of an
inch! They are 16mm bigger in overall diameter than stock, and 30mm or an
inch and a quarter wider than stock.
They LOOK massively wider though. See pictures.
Another advantage is that they fill the wheel arches much more because of the
slightly bigger overall diameter (which makes the speedometer read about 2
percent slower) and look better
while giving half an inch more ride height to help the dropped floor running
clearance. This combination seems a better bet on our potholed roads than even lower
profile tyres and/or bigger diameter rims would be. The original 16inch x
6.5 sized wheels with the standard skinny 215/65/16 tyres look bloody silly on
these vans as the body rides about 2 inches higher for ground clearance.
The actual wheels I
fitted are Outlaw Katanas 18 x 8.5j with 245/50/18 rubber.
These were a limited production run especially for them Normally these are
only 7.5 inches wide. Don't be tempted to get narrower wheels like 7.5 or
8 inch because although they fit they will look a bit silly on a van this size.
Any style of wheels as long as they are the size quoted will fit and work great!
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