Disabled Vehicles

Install a Van Wheelchair Lift for Your Vehicle: Disability Driving


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A van wheelchair lift can be an incredible resource and tool for a passenger or driver who makes use of a wheelchair. Whether you're tired of using wheelchair ramps to access your van, or if you're unable to use these ramps for one reason or another, a wheelchair van conversion project can be well worth the time and money. These projects are not always very simple, however, and do require that you do a good amount of manual work on the car. Read on for a step by step guide on how to install a wheelchair lift in your full size van.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Screwdrivers of various sizes
  • Drill with bits of various sizes
  • Measuring devices
  • Grease and rags
  • Multiple people available to help lift and transport items
  • Mechanized lift system and any tools that have come with it to install it
  • Instruction manual for installation

Step 1. Remove the Middle Seat

Before you begin, it's best to remove the middle seat of the van. In most cases, there will be a few different latches to maneuver underneath the seats and at the base of the van floor. The seat should pop out of its fixed place on the floor of the van. Either remove both rows of seats and remove them via the rear door of the vehicle, or remove just the middle row and take it out via the sliding door at the side of the van.

Step 2. Disconnect the Battery

Safely disconnect the battery of the van while you work in order to avoid any danger of electrocution or short circuiting parts of the system that you'll install.

Step 3. Install the Main Lift Mechanism

Following the instructions on the lift mechanism, install the primary portion of the lift at the entry of the sliding door of the car. You'll likely have to bolt down the mechanism in place. Before you do this, however, measure out the distance to the door to be sure that the lift will work properly from where you install it. Use a ruler or a measuring tape to do this. Drill the bolts into the floor of the van, per the instructions on the lift instruction manual. Be sure to brace the lift mechanism against the other parts of the van as necessary, as some of these also need to be attached to the ceiling or the side portion of the van walls.

Step 4. Install the Lift Section and Wire the Lift

With the base of the lift mechanism drilled in place, install the lift itself onto the base. Follow the guidelines of the wiring procedure in the instruction manual to set the lift up with electrical power. You'll likely have to wire the lift into the main computer of the car, which may require a bit more invasive work.

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