Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-20-2005, 10:39 AM   #1
New Member
 
Currently Looking...
Alexandria , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4
Question Wheel Chair modifcations

We are looking at buying a used Airstream, but I will need to make some modifications to it for my wife to use her wheel chair with ease. My main concern is how to get her in and out as easily as possible.
My first thought is to install another door in front & install a wheel chair lift like in our van. Or buy a ramp similar to the UHaul kind, but that might be to much trouble to be realistic. (My wife cannot use her legs, that is her only handicap).
I think after looking at some new and used Airstreams, a used 30' or 32' rear bath with twin bunks in the hall would appear the most accesible? The main concern is the width of the hallway and room to move in the bathroom for a wheel chair.
littlebear8961@yahoo.com
__________________

__________________
Littlebear89 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 11:27 AM   #2
Rivet Master<br><img src="/ugala/forums/images/5rivet.gif">
 
CanoeStream's Avatar

 
2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,279
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
Rivet This comes up now and then...

I don't recall any comprehensive solutions being posted. Use the word 'wheelchair' in the search function. Any returned thread will have the search word highlighted in red somewhere in the thread. Member 'nevisstudio' has been working at this issue.

Airstream tends to make custom trailers to business proposals only. The NPR Story Corps trailer is an example and has a wide door and ramp, but this trailer is pretty short and would not have space for what you're asking. It has no LP tanks.

No frame members can be removed. Both the inner and outer skins are structural, providing shell rigidity and diagonal bracing. Understand the specifics of capacity of trailers before you decide on what gear to add inboard. See: http://www.airstream.com/product_lin...#trailerweight. The difference between 'Dry Weight' and GVWR is the useful load you can plan on the structure bearing. You are talking wheelchair lift, but this limit includes food, clothing, and other necessary aftermarket gear you need for hitching or setting up the trailer.

If you wish to find more posts by a member, click on their screen name at the left of any post and you can "find more posts by" that member.

I expect accessibility from public facilities such as state parks. I've seen accessible toilets in many campgrounds. Showers tend not to be wide and there is some inconsistency in curbs or floor heights. The occasional park shower setup would present little in the way of barriers -- but this is inconsistent in my opinion and not by specific design. I was at Wisconsin's Blue Mound S.P. just a week ago and they have a reservable small accessible cabin in their RV campground loop -- an exception by far! Anybody have more locations like this?

Welcome to the Forums littlebear89! There is much to find on most any topic -- and very few topics that are not relevant to each person pulling or maintaining an Airstream. Best wishes, and I hope you find a way for both of you to get outdoors in this fashion!
__________________

__________________
Bob

5 meter Langford Nahanni

CanoeStream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 11:40 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
Littlebear89,

My wife is in a wheelchair also, but she can walk some and climb a few steps. Her wheelchair is too wide to go in the door, therefore she must climb the steps into the trailer and then the wheelchair collapses to get it inside. Aslo the aisle is too narrow to manuver the chair and she walks around. Trying to put the wheelchair into the bathroom would be impossible. I would try to figure out someother way to move her around inside, perhaps a small office chair with wheels, and a ramp to enter the trailer.

Good luck.

Bill
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 01:41 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Chaplain Kent's Avatar
 
1994 30' Excella
Currently Looking...
Milwaukee , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,934
Welcome to the forums. This has always been a concern to me since I have been in a wheel chair and never know when I will be again. The thought of giving up my Chummy is something that I do not want to think about. The interior of any Airstream can be arranged to accommodate virtually anything,that is the beauty of these things. The outside doors, I believe, can not be altered due to the structural members installed. I do think it is possible to install a lift chair in the existing opening and once you are inside you can have another chair waiting.
As for parks I can usually find a handicapped spot. In Wisconsin we have a wonderful State Park system and most have reserved spots with special showers and toilet facilities. There are more and more wheel chair paths through the woods. I know you can find a way to do this.
__________________
Chaplain Kent
2015 Coachman Freedom Express 19RBS, Chummy IV- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
Chaplain Kent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 07:43 PM   #5
New Member
 
Currently Looking...
Alexandria , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4
Ok, thanks for the advice. The Airstream I looked at was a 72 model/30 ft in length, it was a rear bath with twin bunks in the hall. I beleive I could remove the two sliding privacy doors and retrofit the twin beds so they would tilt up when not in use. There will have to be a second door installed somewhere on the trailer, it would be extremely inconvient to install the lift on the primary door. I think the rear bath on the older trailer is usable with some modifications, like removing the rear sink. I've made similar modifications to our last trailer which was a 22' +/- Coachmen (really a Terry), On it I removed all of the cabinets on the right side and dinette. My wifes chair is 28.5 inches wide, so she needs a door 30" wide to fit.
__________________
Littlebear89 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 09:35 PM   #6
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlebear89
Ok, thanks for the advice. The Airstream I looked at was a 72 model/30 ft in length, it was a rear bath with twin bunks in the hall. I beleive I could remove the two sliding privacy doors and retrofit the twin beds so they would tilt up when not in use. There will have to be a second door installed somewhere on the trailer, it would be extremely inconvient to install the lift on the primary door. I think the rear bath on the older trailer is usable with some modifications, like removing the rear sink. I've made similar modifications to our last trailer which was a 22' +/- Coachmen (really a Terry), On it I removed all of the cabinets on the right side and dinette. My wifes chair is 28.5 inches wide, so she needs a door 30" wide to fit.
If money is no object (ha!) Airstream built and probably still builds for the right customers, 34' two door models. If you were to find one of these, you could modify one of the doors to accept a lift of some kind, while leaving the other for people without need for special entry options. These coaches were built in the 90's, and one of the moderators here on the forums has one.
__________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
Terry
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2005, 09:50 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,482
Images: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
If money is no object (ha!) ....
And I suspect that anyone successfully carrying out such a project would have to do so as a cost-no-object project. As noted above, there have been several threads started by people who proposed to create a wheelchair friendly Airstream, but to date there are no reported success stories.

You might, however, want to contact Andy at http://inlandrv.com/ - by phone, he is notorious for ignoring emails. He has done some pretty radical modifications to Airstreams.

But in all seriousness, if I wanted such a coach I would go to one of the many manufacturers who will build a wheelchair accessible version of their models.

Good luck,

Mark
__________________
'85 Sovereign, 25'
j54mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2005, 09:05 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
59toaster's Avatar
 
1959 22' Caravanner
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,197
Images: 22
These coaches will not take a lift without SERIOUS modifications. Airstreams are "monocoque". The Body is as much of its strength as the frame. The frame droops without the body. Its built like an airplane and as a unit its very strong but separate its not. Lifts are major weight and they will put a major load on a small area of the coach and it just wont take it without a lot of work that may include replacing the frame with a heavy frame.

There is another Forum member thats is here that is working on the same problems. They go by Nevisstudio. http://www.airforums.com/forum...visstudio.html

Hit that link and you can read through their posts.

A couple things going for a Airstream over most coaches. They have a low entry hight. 18 inches in most cases on level ground.

They were working on a ramp. They also were talking about making the coach "Kneel" to lower the entry ways height. A single axle trailer this could be down quite easy with air bags. I would guess a stock coach could be made to lower about 8 inches with a custom suspension and a little smaller diameter tire like a 205 instead of a 225. Some modification to the inside fender well. Probably wouldn't be to much harder to make a twin axle do the same. Small air compressor off a Cadillac and the ride hight sensor so that it will maintain its normal ride hight while traveling.

Here is what would need to done to make it work.
Solid axle with a 4 inch drop.
Fabricate a link suspension using Air bags as springs on the lower control arms. Readily available parts. Pick up a low rider magazine next time your at the grocery store. Plenty of ads and you will probably find a few examples of suspensions like I am talking about.

So if you can loose 8 inches that reduces the ramp length needed significantly.

A couple other things that you will find is Rich has a few interesting ideas on how to make the bath accessible.

I have completely taken one of these apart and rebuilding it from the ground up. I honestly don't think it would be a huge problem to widen a door. A fabrication shop with a metal brake could widen a door pretty easy.

If I were you and handy I think your right. I would look for a fixer up coach with a solid floor, Rear bath and center twins is going to take the least effort to make it work. I think with that lay out it would allow you to move the wall for the bath forward to give some turn around room. Then shift everything forward if you have to have the twins or upgrade the Gaucho.

If you Scrap the twins in the rear you could move the wall forward to the wheel wells. Put dressed edge on the end of the tub to give her the room to back in front of it and slide over. Same with the toilet. Might have to relocate the water heater forward but with the twins gone there is not reason the water heater couldn't be located over the wheel wells. Then build in a storage cabinet over it.


Before shopping do some searching for "Rear end separation", "Rear end sag". Some of the 70's and early 80's coaches had some problems. Those posts will show what to look for and how it is repaired.

Here is a nice archive if you haven't already found this. http://www.vintageairstream.com/archives/index.html
__________________

__________________
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
Atlanta, GA
59toaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wheel Chocks pjtaia On The Road... 13 10-28-2005 03:27 PM
Plastic Wheel Wells Dennis Interior Restoration Forum 14 01-17-2003 01:05 AM
Wheel Bearing?? - - or - - Brakes?? overlander64 Axles 8 11-24-2002 01:13 AM
Wheel Bearing Temperature Road Ruler Axles 23 10-16-2002 09:54 AM
The Junkyard Wheel Story Inland RV Center, In Wheels, Hubs & Bearings 1 04-10-2002 07:04 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.