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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:35 PM   #1
harlan_hobbs
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Arrow PICS OF Off-Road Dodge Caravan and the 4X4 WHEELCHAIR

1999 Dodge Caravan with the conversion for a driver in a wheelchair. (That would be me!) Need any ideas you might have on how to further strengthen suspension in the front.

Currently have rear lift and 1" custom spacers on top of front struts....but not high enough yet.

Just because of a broken back from a car accident a few years ago....that don't mean its gonna slow my roll!!

I look forward to the comments ideas, etc.


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Last edited by harlan_hobbs; February 25th, 2009 at 08:14 AM. Reason: (NEW CHAIR PHOTOS ADDED)
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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mmmm... Coils in front right? I assume it's not 4x4.. Maybe you could squeek some XJ coils in there, probably around the same load range.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #3
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I think you would be better off with an AWD Astro van. But if you have to build the caravan, just do stuff correctly. Reading about other builds will give you ideas and show you how things are made correctly and what will fail and what will work.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:51 PM   #4
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It has struts in the front, How about some coilovers. Fine some longer Struts and put coilovers on them. than you could Change out coils for stiffer ones are softer ones. I think the front end of those vans is close to a Neon. You might be able to fine some dirt rally neon struts to get the front end higher.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #5
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By a member by the name of "Rulebreaker" over on TRS:
93 Aerostar 4.0L C5 1350 Doubler 8.8" with 4.11's D44 SAS Locked F&R 22" lift with Early Bronco coils and F150 springs 35" claws

It looked like you wheeled it pretty hard, well, considering it's a minivan. I say keep building it! Sadly though I can't really contribute much else as to how to go about it.

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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:20 AM   #6
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Thx Captain Ledd i remember that Build thread from TRS long ago..
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #7
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didnt they make those vans in awd?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebeaner View Post
didnt they make those vans in awd?
Yes they did but not in the Handicapped conversion with the 10" dropped floor. Awesome headroom in the van, like 54". Anyways, AWD is still not 4WD....ok but better than 2WD, i know.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
harlan_hobbs;1550123] Need any ideas you might have on how to further strengthen suspension in the front.
the front end may be a question right now but you might want to think in terms of the big picture and where you want to end up. sometimes listing it all out will point you in a direction you might not of thought of initially. youll have fixed points - and then choices. eg. the chair lift has X distance of vertical travel therefore the total vehical lift is Y which means you cant put a unibody on a pickup frame, (or maybe you can), thereby solving your suspension options much cheaper.

the big picture thing can produce undesirable results along the path of getting there - but nothing is more expensive than "upgrading", ie. changing your mind as you go.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:40 AM   #10
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They make chair lifts for the drivers side of full size pick-ups. There is one in Saginaw I see from time to time. Prolly a better platform to start with. Having worked on vans like those, I question the structural abilities.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #11
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lol.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #12
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lol.
Be nice, he's working with what he's got.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:23 AM   #13
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Be nice, he's working with what he's got.
i used to beat around in a 94 caravan, it was a great people hauler and went down more 2 tracks than most of the rigs around here.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #14
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Lifting the front in the stock configuration you would put a lot of stress on the front drive system. Now if you want to get the front up alittle You could get airbag suspension lift and keep the ride. That way when you get offroad you can raise it for that time and drop it back down for the on road driving. Just a thought.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #15
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My only concern would be your mobility outside of the vehicle when you got stuck, i.e. it'll take you farther before you get stuck, but how good are you able to get around on rough ground?

I think an offroad-capable chair should accompany your van.

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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #16
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Wheel it

some of the best wheeling I have enjoyed was in a 4x4 Toyota Tercel station wagon. I cut the fenders stuffed some 15" wheels on it that thing was so much fun
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #17
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Build a structure or put spacers between the engine cradle and the unibody, you will not gain any ground clearence but atleast you would be able to clear bigger tires. This is an idea I wanted to do to an old FWD field beater I had.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #18
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Default The Dodge Caravan and the 4X4 WHEELCHAIR!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScOoTeR View Post
My only concern would be your mobility outside of the vehicle when you got stuck, i.e. it'll take you farther before you get stuck, but how good are you able to get around on rough ground?

I think an offroad-capable chair should accompany your van.

Welcome to the site!
Glad you mentioned that ScOoTeR! Check out my "legs".

It is an IBOT that I designed an off-road mod for that allowed me to bolt on a set of dirt tires for traction and side to side stability. The chair ate the $ I would have used for a properly set up van.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:02 AM   #19
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Man it looks like you live in a beautiful area!
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #20
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damn, that chair is wicked.
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