Anthony Dixon

Standard Mobility Packages for Dodge Wheelchair Vans

Written by Anthony Dixon. Filed in Dodge Mobility Program

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Dodge does not offer an official mobility package for the Sprinter or Grand Caravan. While they do produce these popular wheelchair van options, they leave the process of actually converting the vans and minivans to third party conversion manufacturers.

Dodge will supply buyers with information regarding recognized, legitimate conversion companies who are members of recognized national trade organizations, but they stop short of making official recommendations in that regard. In fact, Dodge clearly states that they do not have an approved vendor and that responsibility for the selection of a conversion company is the sole responsibility of the man or minivan buyer.

The company is supportive of the conversion process, however. In fact, Dodge operates a special program that provides vehicle purchasers who do convert their vehicles with up to $1,000 in reimbursement. They also extend coverage of their manufacturer’s warranties to converted vehicles, refusing repair to covered elements only if the damage or problem can be directly linked to the modification or its installation.

Sprinters and Grand Caravans can be converted for wheelchair use in a number of ways. There are rear-entry models and side-entry models. Some vehicles use lifts while others utilize wheelchair ramps. Even within those categories, one will find variations. To claim that any of them represented a truly “standard” mobility package would be an exaggeration.

However, there is one Dodge wheelchair van conversion that is much more popular than others and that is widely used by the best-known conversion companies. It involves modifying the Grand Caravan to become a full-access, side-entry mobility vehicle.

This common modification requires a number of changes. Initially, the conversion manufacturer will drop the floor the full length of the Grand Caravan. This produces approximately ten inches of necessary additional vertical space within the vehicle’s cabin. The conversion team will then be certain that the Grand Caravan has power doors that can be opened and closed via the use of a simple keychain-based remote control. This improves access by eliminating the need for the wheelchair user to struggle with the van doors and their handles. An auto kneel system is installed to reduce deployed ramp slope. Usually, a powered retractable ramp is preferred in this modification. It provides the buyer with a simple means by which to access the ramp and to then have it automatically stored under the vehicle.

This series of conversions is then capped off by making necessary modifications to the vehicles interior to properly secure the wheelchair and to provide user access to the driver’s area. When necessary, hand controls, reduced effort steering and braking systems, or other control-related adaptations can be installed.

While they are not an official “standard” mobility package, this series of modifications is the most common one used for Dodge wheelchair vans. Other options exist, but they do not rival the popularity of converting a Grand Caravan to serve as a full-access side entry vehicle.

If you are looking for direction with respect to modifying your Dodge, that plan is a good place to start. It is popular for several reasons. Not only does it work, it also maximizes access conveniently and is a solution well known to most of the major conversion manufacturers.

With respect to full-sized Sprinters, there is not a real consensus regarding the most popular means of conversion. That is because they are larger, more flexible vehicles that offer a wider range of choices than are available with the smaller Grand Caravan. If one is prepared to deal with some of the tradeoffs inherent in the utilization of a full-sized van, he or she may have a better opportunity for wheelchair van customization.

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About Anthony Dixon

Anthony Dixon

Anthony is a true disability vehicle enthusiast when he is not working tirelessly in a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, TX where he provides advice and training for the many concerned parents and caregivers. Anthony is the first step in finding the right rehabilitation advice for you or your loved one.

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