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How to Operate and Secure a Wheelchair User in the Ford Transit Van

By Nor Cal Vans Team | July 06, 2020

wheelchair using ramp in the Ford Transit van

Nor Cal Vans teamed up with Transfer Flow fuel tank systems to engineer and manufacture a specialty fuel system for the Transit Connect Adaptive Van.  

The engineering expertise at transfer flow proved beneficial for our customers who need wheelchair accessibility in the already versatile Ford Transit Connect. With their engineering and manufacturing capabilities, we are pleased to offer a specialized conversion, featuring a 31-inch wide flat folding ramp with the weight carrying capacity of 800 pounds. Yet, one of the greatest features of this design is that when laid flat the ramp creates a surface for you to transport cargo, just like a standard vehicle!

Follow along with the step-by-step instructions below and find out how easy it is to use this ramp. Need a visual step-by-step? Watch our Transit Connect Adaptive Van Instructional Video below.


Steps to Deploying the Ramp

To deploy the ramp from the stowed position:

  1. Fold the driver side, second row seats forward.
  2. Next you're going to fold the passenger side, second row seat forward.
  3. Use the strap to fold the front half of the ramp towards the back, now grab the center of the ramp and pull up into the vertical position.
  4. While holding the ramp in the vertical position, squeeze the latch and slide the lever to the left until the latch locks into position.
  5. To lower the ramp, stand on the passenger side of the vehicle where the strap is located, hold the top of the ramp with your right hand.
  6. Use your left hand to pull the handle and lower the ramp slightly towards you.
  7. Grab the strap with your left hand and place your right hand in the upper grab handle of the ramp, slowly and carefully lower the ramp keeping your fingers clear of where the ramp sidewalls close.

Steps to Using Manual Retractors  

If using manual retractors:

  1. Once the wheelchair user has boarded the vehicle block the brakes on the wheelchair. 
  2. Access the tie down through the sliding door and hook the front tie down to the appropriate place on the wheelchair.
  3. Now go to the other side of the vehicle and attach the second tie down to the wheelchair.
  4. Return to the rear of the vehicle and secure the tie-downs into the floor slots and attach to the appropriate points on the wheelchair.

Steps to Using Electric Retractors

If using electric retractors:

  1. Flip the switch located on the passenger side of the vehicle to the ON position, this will be indicated by a red light allowing the retractor belts to move freely.
  2. Now pull the hook and attach it to the cargo loop, repeat on the other side.
  3. Attach the hook securely to the appropriate places on the wheelchair and repeat on the other side.
  4. To prevent the wheelchair from rolling backwards flip the switch to the OFF position, this will lock the belts in place.
  5. Roll the chair fully into position to ensure belts are locked in place.
  6. Insert two retractors in the rear holders and attach to the wheelchair in appropriate places.

Steps to Securing a Wheelchair Passenger

It's important you verify that the tie downs are snug, then:

  1. Remove shoulder belt from its stowed position and feed the belt through the driver side wheelchair armrest and secure shoulder belt to the floor tie-down.
  2. Grab the lap belt and attach to the rear passenger side tie-down.
  3. Connect the shoulder belt to the lap belt, now adjust the belts to fit the occupant.

Steps to Stowing the Ramp

After you've secured the wheelchair passenger, store the ramp in the vertical position by:

  1. Grabbing the upper and lower handles, lift up the ramp and walk toward the van carefully.
  2. To lock in vertical position, push on top of the ramp until it clicks.
  3. After your wheelchair passenger is secured you can return the seats to the upright position.

Steps to Unloading the Wheelchair Passenger (using electric retractors)

  1. To unload the wheelchair passenger, deploy the ramp as described before (see steps #6 & #7 under Steps to Deploying the Ramp).
  2. Push the red levers down to disconnect tie-downs from the wheelchair.
  3. Remove the tie-downs and set them to the side.
  4. To remove the wheelchair passenger, turn the switch ON and push the chair forward, then slowly roll the wheelchair backwards down the ramp.
  5. Unhook the tie-down from the wheelchair and repeat on the other side.

Steps to Stowing the Ramp 

  1. Stow the ramp in the vertical position again.
  2. To stow the ramp flat place your right hand on top of the ramp, using your left hand squeeze the lever and slide the latch to the right.
  3. Slowly lower the ramp into the vehicle then use the strap to fold the ramp all the way flat.

Transporting individuals using a wheelchair requires specialized technology that also needs to be cost effective. Nor Cal Vans offers many options on the popular and efficient Ford Transit and Transit Connect. We can configure vehicles with multiple seating and wheelchair tie-down locations to accommodate your customer's needs and meet ADA Standards. We’ve been solving transportation needs for nearly four decades and strive to hold true to our values of teamwork, trust, accountability, growth and a positive attitude.

Wheelchair Conversions are as Easy as 1>2>3 Get your Quick Guide

Posted in Ford Transit Connect, Van Conversion Options