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Old 02-20-2013, 11:00 AM   #15
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I have seen one modified for wheel-chair entry. Someone did a great job in expanding the door and the framing. It can be done, but by a journeyman.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:56 PM   #16
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Thank you!

Thank you all so much for your really helpful information! I truly appreciate it and am sure I will be back seeking more assistance as the project moves forward. Per wkerfoot's suggestion, I am planning to meet with Uwe at Area 63 Productions on Friday. I appreciate the recommendation! I will certainly keep you all posted on how things progress. Thanks again.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:56 PM   #17
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Mike,
I agree that the door and door frame could be replicated (versus scabbed onto and stretched in width). However, it's the structural integrity for a lift that I'm concerned about. The original poster mentioned that this trailer should be suitable for people of various levels of disability; so I assume that some sort of ramp or transfer board or other accomodations wouldn't work. I also assume that the implication is that a parapalegic person could use the trailer, travel and camp alone. When you consider traveling solo, I think that a motor home is the only suitable RV for someone in these circumstances.

Access to the coach from front to rear is also an issue, however it could be overcome if the cabinets/closet/etc. were revamped and there was open access to the bathroom. Again, I would favor a Class B (first choice) or Class C (second choice) motor home for a solo traveler who is wheelchair bound.

Steve
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:11 PM   #18
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It would be easy access for a WC on our EB if you added a ramp ... headroom would be the limiting factor.
Does the Eddie Bauer have less head space than other models? I have considered this trailer, but have been wavering on it as it is more money than I was hoping to invest-- especially because there are so many other (potentially expensive) modifications I would like to make. It totally depends on how much it would cost to modify the door to fit a ramp or lift on whether or not buying a newer EB makes more sense.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:21 PM   #19
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One way of reducing cantilievered loads from the lift would be to drop outriggers onto the ground, not unlike the levelers already on the trailer.

- Bart
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:22 PM   #20
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Mike,
I agree that the door and door frame could be replicated (versus scabbed onto and stretched in width). However, it's the structural integrity for a lift that I'm concerned about. The original poster mentioned that this trailer should be suitable for people of various levels of disability; so I assume that some sort of ramp or transfer board or other accomodations wouldn't work. I also assume that the implication is that a parapalegic person could use the trailer, travel and camp alone. When you consider traveling solo, I think that a motor home is the only suitable RV for someone in these circumstances.

Access to the coach from front to rear is also an issue, however it could be overcome if the cabinets/closet/etc. were revamped and there was open access to the bathroom. Again, I would favor a Class B (first choice) or Class C (second choice) motor home for a solo traveler who is wheelchair bound.

Steve

Steve,
I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I do agree that for maximum independence, a MH could potentially be the best option for a wheelchair user who is interested in traveling solo. However, as I think about wanting to have the trailer also for personal use-- and to limit the liability (at this point in time I imagine delivering and setting up the trailer for interested renters within the Bay Area)-- a trailer rather than a MH better suits my needs.

You're definitely right about needing to renovate the interior to be more accessible all around. Having more of an open floor plan with altered cabinets/bathroom/counters, etc will all be necessary. All of the design elements have not been decided yet, but there is, indeed, a lot to consider!

Thanks again for your input,
Cyndi
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:13 AM   #21
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Does the Eddie Bauer have less head space than other models? I have considered this trailer, but have been wavering on it as it is more money than I was hoping to invest-- especially because there are so many other (potentially expensive) modifications I would like to make. It totally depends on how much it would cost to modify the door to fit a ramp or lift on whether or not buying a newer EB makes more sense.
The hinge point on the rear access / cargo door is at window level. So, that dimension is the limiting factor ... it is just slightly lower that the arched side entrance door. But, with a ramp, you would be good to go without any further mods to the trailer, itself. There are also built in anchor points and a heavy duty ledge "step" just outside the rear door. As well, the modifications others propose might reduce the value of your AS; whereas keeping the EB stock should not lower the value any more than the normal depreciation. There have been (and I believe still are) several nice used EB27s listed periodically in the sidebars of this forum.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:54 AM   #22
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As well, the modifications others propose might reduce the value of your AS; whereas keeping the EB stock should not lower the value any more than the normal depreciation.
I don't believe that it would be possible to retain a stock interior and still provide handicapped accessibility. The EB shell might be the best option for a starting point, though, as you suggest.

There are a number of mods that would be required (or at least desirable), to provide proper handicapped access, especially in the galley and bath areas. Changing the height of the galley countertop for seated access. Providing kneeholes under the countertop at the sink and cooktop so the wheelchair-bound can use them. Grab bars in the bathroom to facilitate getting out of a wheelchair and onto the toilet. Wet bath would be the preferred format to allow the toilet to be used as a shower seat. Increased width of the bathroom door to let a wheelchair through. Possibly relocating light switches and control panels. Swapping out any doorknobs with lever handles. Hold-open devices on all doors, coupled with automatic closers. Revised seating at the dining table. Maybe even relocating some of the hookups to make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to connect the shore power, water, and waste lines. Definitely a permanently installed macerator pump with a clear discharge hose on a power-retracting reel so that they don't have to deal with a slinky (which could be a real mess if trying it from a wheelchair), but maybe even the shore power cord and the fresh water line on power-retracting reels as well. Power awning, too. Better exterior lighting to illuminate the ramp or lift.

On the plus side, a properly-equipped handicapped-accessible Airstream trailer will have it's own high resale value to a specialty clientelle, despite— or perhaps because of— not being stock.
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:28 PM   #23
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access.air,
What are your current thoughts on this project?

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Old 03-10-2013, 05:56 PM   #24
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Have you checked with JC? I have heard that they will sell "shells" for modification. A local medical supply company was modifying one for a mobile medical office.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:01 AM   #25
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Airtandem,
Another lower-cost option would be to buy a used trailer and repurpose that trailer. That way, you'd still have appliances, water heater, and a bunch of other things that could be re-purposed or reused as is.

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Old 03-11-2013, 12:48 PM   #26
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Thanks, all, for continuing to comment on this thread.

Steve, to give you an update on my current plans... I am currently seeking a 30+ foot vintage (likely from the 70's) Airstream, preferably with a rear bath, that would be a good candidate for a complete renovation. As I plan to make this trailer available to rent to people of all abilities, this means I need to have the door rebuilt, or a second door added, to be wide enough to accommodate individuals in different sized wheelchairs. I had initially stated I wanted to install a lift, though per others' suggestions and developing the plan further, a ramp-- requiring no electricity and being lighter weight-- will likely be the way I choose to go.

I am a designer, though not particularly skilled in carpentry or engineering, thus my reason for seeking out advice on others who have widened doors on Airstreams and who could assist me in this project. Uwe at Area 63 Productions is a great guy and has been extraordinarily helpful. He has successfully widened/reframed doors many times and, while expensive to have done, it is ultimately more affordable to alter an older trailer than to purchase a new/er Airstream. While trailers such as the Eddie Bauer (or even the old funeral coaches made in the 80's!) would be great options due to the already-wider doors, I am trying to do this project in the most cost-effective manner possible (it is more a labor of love than a huge money-making project! .

As most of the trailer will need to be altered in order to be accessible, the condition of the interior does not need to be pristine. It will likely be gutted, and hopefully the things I do not need can be repurposed, but I plan to use sustainable materials to complete the renovation-- and also hope to design the trailer so that it can be used off the grid. The most important part of this renovation is widening the door so folks can even get IN (which is why I was seeking input on this issue first), but of course I am taking into consideration that a complete bathroom renovation will be necessary, adjusting the placement of all light switches and electrical outlets, redesigning the kitchen so standing individuals and wheelchair users alike can effectively use the kitchen, and utilizing the space as smartly as possible so a wheelchair user has room to maneuver within the trailer-- and so there is plenty of living and storage space for 3-4 people.

The design is in the works and I am continuing to speak with people who might be able to help with the technical aspects of this renovation. I will definitely keep you posted as the project progresses! Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:41 PM   #27
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You might also want to talk to physical therapists a rehab center and get their input I think that you have a great idea, but for YOUR use ONLY. There are alot of individuals that could benefit from your idea, but like I said, individuals. There are too many types of disabilities.
The other thing to consider; is who is going to pull the trailer and their skills, and most important, the LIABILITY. Lawyers would love you.
mike
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:47 PM   #28
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I have loved reading this thread. I'm curious though, what would you charge for people to stay in a handicap Airstream? To others: What would you be willing to pay?

Thanks
Zack
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