handicap conversion vans

Handicap Conversion Vans Transformation Process

Handicap conversion vans go through a remarkable process of transformation to be made ready for wheelchair drivers and passengers. Expert mobility technicians go through a painstaking series of preparations to ensure that the vehicle is adjusted for fit and safety. Today’s post will highlight this conversion process — from initial measurements to the fitting of accessories — and give you a new appreciation for your adaptable vehicle.

If you’ve ever seen a traditional automobile go through the assembly line, you know mechanical arms go flying and showers of sparks fill the room. But handicap conversion vans go through a more intimate process — with expert mobility technicians personally seeing to crucial details that will keep you comfortable and safe.

It’s almost like these handicap conversion vans are created specifically for the people who buy them. And, here’s exactly how that happens…

Handicap wheelchair van

Handicap wheelchair vans feature lowered floors for more passenger headroom.

Step #1: Removing key elements for room to maneuver

The initial stage of preparing handicap conversion vans for the transformation process includes wrapping of the van doors, windows, and body panels for protection. A great deal of care is taken to ensure that your van resists possible nicks and dents — maintaining a pristine physical aesthetic.

The first formal step in the conversion is to remove the existing seating and interior panels from the chassis. This allows for a variety the planning and assembly of multiple interior layouts — depending on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as your lifestyle.

In addition to the interior seating, the underbody, tires, gas tank, and floor are removed. This allows for reinforcement of the chassis to withstand the extra weight of the conversion.

Step #2: Dropping and molding the floorboard area

A handicap conversion vans transformation begins from the ground up.The van floor section is lowered up to 10” from the rear axle to the firewall in front of the front seats. Then, custom-molded panels are installed below the original panels and welded closed.

Next come the door tracks, which are cut out, fabricated to fit, and welded into place. Then, the vans goes through a seam, seal and undercoat — followed by a thorough inspection. The gas tank and rear suspension are both re-installed, with the result being a seamless fit and flawless finish.

Wheelchair van ramp

The van floor is dropped before adding the bi-fold or retractable ramp, activated via manual or automatic motion.

Step #3: Adding the ramp to enhance accessibility

When it comes to installation of the wheelchair access ramp, you have several unique options. The most cost-effective piece of equipment is a sturdy, lightweight aluminum ramp. Some handicap conversion vans utilize a bi-fold foldout ramp that can be operated manually, or via retraction motor activated by a keychain fob or button in the door.

If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can have a ‘disappearing’ in-floor model which retracts into the floor using the same activating combination — key fob or door button. In case of a power outage, the retractable door can be manually cranked for access.

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Step #4: Installing the seats for a comfortable ride

Seating is a critical element of handicap conversion vans. We start with a reinstallation of the rear bench — depending on your selected vehicle floorplan. Then, the drive and front seats are mounted on raised platforms which makes them easy to remove from the vehicle when necessary. Most side-entry van front seats can be rearranged or disengaged with one hand.

At this stage of the process, wheelchair tie-downs are also installed and checked for stability. There are a wide variety of wheelchair tie downs to choose from — many match the specific wheelchair style you or your family members uses, ensuring a safe, sturdy fit.

Wheelchair tie downs

Wheelchair tie downs enhance the safety and security of wheelchair bound passengers.

Step #5: Enhancing the exterior with ground effects

In a final touch — to disguise the lowered floor on the exterior of the vehicle — custom-molded ground effects are added in a variety of styles and colors to match the vehicle aesthetics. They are welded to the front and rear quarter panels and doors for a seamless fit.

The lowered floor actually gives the vehicle a fuller, more robust look than a traditional van — which many owners enjoy. The baseboards serve as additional protection against the elements and damage in the event of a collision.

Handicap conversion vehicles

Handicap conversion vehicles hold a variety of safety and security features that come standard.

Mobility freedom starts with a transformation

Hopefully, this explanation of the conversion process for handicap conversion vans has transformed you in some way. Maybe it’s made you appreciate your wheelchair accessible vehicle a little bit more. And if you don’t own one, maybe you’ll consider pursuing your right to true mobility freedom.

AMS Vans builds, converts, and sells handicap conversion vans at remarkably affordable prices. Check out our massive inventory of new and used wheelchair accessible vans and accessories dedicated to enhancing your mobility freedom.

About AMS Vans

America’s Mobility Van Dealer is a national wheelchair accessible van dealer and manufacturer with a mission to deliver the industry’s best adaptable vehicles and mobility equipment that meets the unique needs of our customers at a price they can afford.