I used to have a 1997 Mercury minivan whose sliding door opened wide enough that I could put my wheelchair into the van w/o having to fold the wheelchair. Next, we bought a 2000 Mazda MPV, only to find that the rear door opening is so narrow that the wheelchair has to be folded. This means that I can’t attach my clip-on motor (looks like a scooter), which demands a rigid axle. Does anyone know if the Mazda’s rear door opening can be enlarged?
There are shops that do limo & van conversions and some that specialize in accessibilty mods such as yours. Check your area, they’re usually just in larger market areas ( I couldn’t name one within 1000 miles of me ). But I would wager that a shop could git-er-done, it’s just a matter of money. Which brings up the issue of just buying another vehicle that meets this very important criteria of yours.
I have to go with Ken’s recmmendation about considering trading this for something else. The pillars on the sides of the door opening are part of the body’s structural integrity, so widening them would likely be very expensive.
It’s a good ide for those who have specific needs to be sure to try vehicles under consideration to see if they meet those needs before buying. We had a poster a while back that wanted to know how he could find out if specific vehiles would hold his golf bag. My suggestion was to bring his golf bag when he went car shopping and try it in any vehicles he looked at.
I would not advise trying to enlarge the door opening. You’d be cutting the major structural members of the vehicle, and would likely weaken it substantially.
I suggest trading the MPV for something with a suitable opening. Make sure the chair fits without folding BEFORE you buy.