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Old 01-22-2009, 10:47 PM   #1
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Wheelchair accessible conversions

Hello!
I am a newcomer to this site. Is there anyone out there that can point me to a website that can give me some ideas and / or guidance on how to do a schoolbus conversion that is totally wheelchair accessible? I know I need to start with a bus that has a chair lift on it. I also know that I have to remove the drivers seat and install a lock down device for my chair, as well as hand controls for the accelerator and brake. I just need some ideas on floor plans and how to install a sewage collection tank and if it is possible to have a "roll in" type shower. Oh heck, I just need all the ideas I can get! Thanks for your help! You can email me at wentzloff@frontiernet.net.

dennis
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

I think for starters I would look for a bus with the wheelchair lift present on the drivers side of the bus, from what I have seen this is not the usual position but in my mind an open aisle up the entire length of the bus on the side that the lift is mounted on would make the most accessible use of space and you wouldn't want to have to cross sides to get into driving position
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:56 AM   #3
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbrt76
I think for starters I would look for a bus with the wheelchair lift present on the drivers side of the bus, from what I have seen this is not the usual position but in my mind an open aisle up the entire length of the bus on the side that the lift is mounted on would make the most accessible use of space and you wouldn't want to have to cross sides to get into driving position
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:00 AM   #4
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

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Originally Posted by auctioneer
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbrt76
I think for starters I would look for a bus with the wheelchair lift present on the drivers side of the bus, from what I have seen this is not the usual position but in my mind an open aisle up the entire length of the bus on the side that the lift is mounted on would make the most accessible use of space and you wouldn't want to have to cross sides to get into driving position
I am sooo sorry. I goofed up and my reply didn't get posted the first time. I just want to thank you for your reply and I sincerely appreciate it. I will give this serious thought and see if there is a bus out there with a lift on the drivers side. Or what about a lift that is mounted at the emergency door in the rear? Would that do just as well? I don't know. just shooting around some ideas.

dennis
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

Hello Smitty, and thank you for your reply. Yes, you are right, all these things have to be considered. I do believe that hand controls could be adapted to fit on the bus. As far as a chair lockdown, I was thinking of a lockdown similar to the one I have in my regular van. It is basically a docking system where a bolt on the bottom of my chair slides into a grooved metal plate and is held in place by spring loaded fingers. In my current van, I have this locking device rigged to release the fingers by means of a bicycle brake cable attached to an old car hood latch which is mounted to my left on the frame post of the drivers door. (immediately to the rear of the drivers door). The emergency exit issue will need to be given careful thought. I plan on chronicling all my efforts and notes in the process of this project so I can share them with others. Thanks again, Smitty.

dennis
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

I think your thought is very doable. I'd say you have to have a conventional bus unless you get one with a rear engine. Front lift is a must. I'd use the back of the bus to do a bathroom that is a complete roll in shower area with the toilet in the shower area which is similar to what you may have seen in accessible apartments and hotel rooms. Toilet may even be used as a shower chair. You would want to have separate dump tanks for the toilet and shower.
A stub nose bus with a front engine you may have problems getting in between the wall and the engine cover. You may even want to try and find a bus with tilt steering. Tilt steering can be found but it is very hard to find it on a bus.

Opening and closing the lift door may be a problem unless you have someone to help with that.

My bus is not fully accessible as I'm the one that drive it and it is my friend that uses the chair and she is able to get up and step in the shower. Her problem is getting in and out of the bus and needs the lift and when we are parked the lift door just stays open and she goes up and down on her own.
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: Wheelchair accessible conversions

Hello and thank you for your ideas. Yes, I think it would definitely need to be a conventional bus. I like the idea of a bigger bathroom at the rear of the bus and the emergency door back there could remain in service, but just be outfitted with curtains or another privacy feature. Thank you for cluing me in on the toilet and shower having seperate wastewater collection tanks. I am wondering if these tanks will have to be made from scratch or if there are some on the market that can be mounted beneath the bus without too much trouble.

dennis
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