Wheelchair accessible, 4x4 van... for snowplowing?

used

#1

Question about independent driving as we age: I won’t be surprised, or at least want to be prepared for, a future in which I may be wheelchair bound but still able to drive. My grandfather and father both dealt with those issues for many years and I’m the spitting image of them genetically. Do you know of a van-like vehicle that has low-silled sliding rear doors for ease of entry and similarly low rear doors that will make hoisting or lifting a wheel chair inside. And here’s the kicker: be hefty enough to use with a snow plow for clearing a long hilly driveway in winters, but otherwise only be used for short trips around a small coastal Maine town. The Ford Connect (currently only fwd) looks like a possibility but I have doubts.


#2

You may have to talk to a specialty shop that does handicap conversions.
Sincere best.


#3

There are specialty shops that convert vans to 4wd. There are also specialty shops that convert vans to handicap accessible. You would need to buy a new van, then take it to the 4x4 shop, get it converted, then take it to the handicap shop and get it converted again.

This would cost you a fortune. It would probably be cheaper to get an off-the-shelf Braun Entervan and then contract with a snow plow operator to clear your driveway.


#4

Older style Ford E series or similar vans from GM and Dodgehad 4WD available. You might find a used van that you could fit with a plow that you could leave in the driveway when you don’t need it. A conversion shop could make it wheelchair accessible if and when you need that.


#5

I’d consider getting a used ATV or a tractor with a plow, if you think you could pull yourself onto one from the wheelchair when needed. Then you could get a normal van that could be converted later. That would probably be cheaper and simpler in the long run.


#6

I dunno. In Minnesota, I’ve never ever seen a van with a plow on it. Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs, but never a van. I suspect they do not have a strong enough undercarriage to handle a plow. I do believe there comes a time when two different vehicles are needed instead of trying to make one do everything. I think a used vehicle simply for plowing would be the answer and all you have to do is get in and out in the garage which could be equipped for entry and exit. I once saw a guy riding in a speedboat being trailered. He was totally disabled and was hoisted in and out of the boat in the garage.


#7

I used to have a small tractor with a plow blade. Perhaps a 4wd tractor with a blade would work?


#8

No. If it gets to that point, hire a plow service. Then get a wheelchair conversion van with AWD and put winter tires on it.


#9

That sounds like a perfect vehicle to me! I could be a customer if one is made.


#10

Here’s a full size van with a plow. There is a young man in the neighborhood that rebuilds trucks and off road equipment and he attaches a plow to his E350 van during the winter. This is not a commercial venture, and occasional plow use with an E350 or E250 should not be much of a problem. When buying the plow attachment, bracing the frame should be discussed with the plow dealer. The van has to be old enough to be body on frame construction, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The E-series used body on frame until 2014.


#11

Why do you think you may be wheelchair bound when you get older? Having problems now? Just because your father and grandfather had problems doesn’t mean you will.

As for plowing while in a wheelchair…I wouldn’t do it. Have you ever plowed before. You do a lot of bounding. That is not a good situation for someone in a wheelchair.