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Discussion Starter #1
A friend who is physically disabled (cannot walk), is thinking about getting a Honda element, because its suicide doors would let them put the wheelchair in the back of the vehicle. However it's too high off the ground, so she needs it lowered by a few inches. Is that possible? Who should she approach for having it lowered: a Honda dealer, or...?
 

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IF they took the front passenger seat out, they would be able to make a ramp from the back door of the Element to just roll into it, as for swapping out of the wheel chair to the driver's seat, I'd have it lowered, it's possible, and you can always buy smaller wheels for it too to get some extra wheel well clearance. It takes quite a bit of parts to lower a car, raising it is easy, just raise it basically, but lowering you're talking about buying all new springs and such. I don't think a Honda dealer would be the best bet at doing that, maybe a custom shop or a good mechanic.

Does this person have the ability to walk or crutch momentarily? I knew a person who keeps crutches in the back of the car, (they only have one leg) puts the wheel chair in the back, when she gets to it, pulls the crutches out and goes to the front of the car to get in.

If they cannot walk at all, you're also talking about hand controls, which is really easy to do on almost all Hondas.
 

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My girlfriend uses an element with her wheelchair by loading the chair in behind her. We lowered it about 2.5" with Tein coil overs. I did the work myself; you could probably find a shop that specialized in Honda tuning that would install them. It's still a bit of a hike up for her, but she says it's not that hard (she's tall). She uses hand controls with a twist throttle, and a spinner knob. We installed automatic rain-sensing wipers. I also made a metal extension for the turn signals so she can reach them from the hand controls. Finally, she uses a metal tube with a hook bent into the end to reach the doors, to close, when they're all the way open.

She uses a titanium rigid chair with light Spinergy wheels, and, importantly, D's locks on the wheels.

She's much happier driving the Element than should would be with a mini van (she did like her old Eurovan), plus it's a lot cheaper to own.

send me a private message if you have more questions.

-Ross
 

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I purchased my E with getting a wheelchair in mind. I am still walking right now but in time. . .

It's a bit crowded in the back with the seats down to fanangle a chair in -that's when the seat is not hung up on the sides. I have balance issues and need to hang on to the front seat and so I'd be bashing the chair around to get it in with one hand. But once in it would be fine. The fit will also depend on whether it's foldable or not. The distance between the front seat and back door is kinda tight. But there's loads of room in the back with one seat up.

For me, being that I'm 5'2" it's a challenge sometimes to get my feet over the doorsill. I'd like to cut them away so if anyone has suggestions for that that would be great. And those things you mount on the outside -kinda like steps- don't work for me because I'd have to hoist myself up and it's those muscles that I have a problem with.


If your friend is tall and if she's not concerned with bashing around a chair to get it in, then the Element is a great, maybe the perfect choice.

Those X-Waves people are referring to are the greatest thing in accessible vehicles but they're also very expensive. Norb has a great video of it's operation. I'll see if I can find it. Keep us posted on what your friend decides to do.

This is worth checking out. http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38606
And please check out my blogsite: http://www.wcsportscentre.blogspot.com
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for all the replies! To answer your questions, I will give you a little more background info.

Having had polio as a small child, my friend cannot walk at all, only transfer from wheelchair to car seat and back. She does so by standing up, then pivoting and sitting down. She uses only her arms to support her weight.

While she owns both a manual wheelchair and an electric one, she prefers the manual one to get some exercise. However her arms are not strong enough to ascend steep ramps. That’s why she is looking at vehicles with suicide doors, and the Element is one of very few such models on the market today. If it could be lowered far enough, she would not need any expensive lifts to get herself and her wheelchair in and out.

She currently drives an old 2-door Buick Regal with very large doors and hand controls. To get in, she first transfers into the driver’s seat, then folds the manual wheelchair and pushes it in to the car behind her seat. That’s possible only because the doors are so wide.

However that Buick has not been well maintained. Looking at the amount it would cost to repair it, she thought it might be wise to find a new vehicle.

On the other hand, if she cannot find a suitable new vehicle, she might be better off fixing up her Buick. So these are the pros and cons she is considering at this time.
 
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