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Buckhorn

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We have found a nice, reasonably priced, used van that is going out to be converted for rear-entry wheelchair accessibility. They normally use the "QRT Standard Q-straint", which appears to be a basic Q-straint system. I am thinking I should at least upgrade to the Q-straint MAX or deluxe systems, which appear to be less work for the caregiver.

What system do you have, is it user friendly, do you recommend it or what don't you like about it? I inquired about the drive in docking systems but am thinking this may be overkill? As I understand it, these docking systems were designed to allow wheelchair drivers to easily click into a system independently and drive. My husband will not be driving, so I'm on the fence about the docking system. That said, we will obviously require a tie-down system that can safely control a 500# Permobil and passenger. TY:confused:
 

swalker

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I have an EZ Lock. There is a plate attached to the bottom the wheelchair with a bolt sticking out the bottom. When I navigate the wheelchair into the van, The bolt engages with the EZ Lock base that is permanently mounted in the van.

I do not drive from the wheelchair. I can transfer from the wheelchair to the driver's set or to the front passenger's seat.

The locking bolt sticking out below the wheelchair reduces the wheelchair's ground clearance. It is mounted just about in line with my drive wheels, so I can drive the wheelchair carefully and avoid bottoming out on rough terrain. You can replace the stock bolt with a shorter one that is just long enough to engage the EZ Lock locking base. You can also put a spacer under the EZ Lock locking base (when it is installed) so that an even shorter bolt can be used. I wish I had done that.

There is an interlock that will not allow me to disengage from the EZ Lock base while the engine is running. I would prefer to leave the engine running while I am using the Wheelchair lift to exit the van. You won't have that problem with a rear-entry van with a ramp.

Those are the only two drawbacks I see.

Qstraint makes a similar system, the QLK docking system. I have no experience with it.

What I do know is that I would not use anything except a docking system on a regular basis. Mine is easy to use and does not require my wife to lock down the wheelchair.

I would not use a tie down system of any kind, except for occasional use. They require someone to connect a hook onto the appropriate points on the chair.

When we go to the Grand Canyon, we ride the buses there and they have the tiedowns. The bus driver (who does this many times a day, so is very experienced), labors over the stupid tie downs to get them connected and tightened. It can be even more entertaining to have them remove the tiedowns from the wheelchair.

Invariably, they try to hook the tiedown onto some fragile and expensive part of the chair, such as an actuator, and I have to point out the chair's built-in tiedown points.

No tiedowns for me, if I can avoid it.

Steve
 
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GregK

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They also make taller ezlock floor brackets.
 

KimT

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My new conversion came with tie downs because my permanent chair had not arrived. I will get it converted to an EZ lock system. The tie downs are terrible, even for someone without ALS. The guy from Mobility Works had a hard time showing me how to do it.
 

Atsugi

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Tie downs suck.
Drive in systems need to be adjusted for perfection. After that, they're wonderful.
 

gooseberry

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Tie downs, even when properly tightened seem to given more of a sense of motion. The easy locks seem to hold the chair better
 

Buckhorn

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Thank you all for your advice. My problem is that the dealer who sends the vans out for conversions says they need the wheelchair to install one of the drive / bolt systems (whether EZ lock or Qstraint) because the system is of course bolted to the van floor and they also have to put the bolt into the chair. I have no way to get the wheelchair there until I have the van capable of transporting the powerchair. The dealership / seller does not do the conversion, they send it out to be done, so that is why they are saying they need the chair. Am I correct in assuming that if the dock is installed I should be able to take the van and chair to a EZLock or Qstraint installer that is closer to me, if I can find one? Whew!!

swalker; thank you for pointing out that the bolt sticking out below the wheelchair will reduce the wheelchair's ground clearance: I wouldn't have thought about until it was too late. What I don't understand is your comment "You can also put a spacer under the EZ Lock locking base (when it is installed) so that an even shorter bolt can be used. I wish I had done that."

and GregK, you commented: "They also make taller ezlock floor brackets".

I see on the EZLite web-site they mention a shim kit or a riser. I'm assuming this is what you are talking about?

Kim, you mention that you are going to have your current tie-down system converted to the EZLock. So, it sounds like it is entirely possible for me to purchase the van without any lock-down / tie-down system and take it to any EZLock installer? I have contacted EZLock via their "find a dealer" link on their web-site. They don't seem to offer a way for me to find out the closest dealer with just a zip code, so I have to wait for them to get back to me.

Another question I have is that, regardless of a drive-in bolt system or a tie-down system, you still need the to have a seatbelt/shoulder harness around the chair occupant, right? How is this accomplished? I'm not seeing that on the EZLock site either.

Thank you all again.
 
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GregK

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Actually I wasn't referring to a shim. I had a 3-4" ezlock floor bracket in my previous van ( and, yes, I'm 100% certain! )
But I'll be darned if I can find it online.

As to seat belts, they have extensions that lock to the floor and provide the female seat belt section. The belt, at least on my passenger seat setup, is the standard, built-in seat belt and retractor.
 

gooseberry

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The easy locks can be moved if needed. Even though steve got measured in the van, in his chair, it had to be moved.
 

KimT

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My conversion came with the tie down. I didn't ask for it so I don't know if I could have ordered it without it.
 

4tloml

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Sounds like you're set to go with the EZ-Lock. The pre-owned van we purchased came with the Qstraint system. For a couple of reasons we've had to stick with that, so I'll just say it can definitely work. (And work up a sweat when the temps are over 100 degrees!) And it does provide lots of exercise--bending, squatting, stretching, which I can always use more of. It's also more practical for us because I sometimes have my mother in her wheelchair with no EZ-Lock, so I'd have to have the Qstraint anyway. I'm just so grateful to have the van at all, but the EZ-Lock grass looks much greener if there's a choice!
 

Buckhorn

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Hi 4tlomi. I was leaning towards the EZLock electornic docking system after all the comments recommending it. However, we just attended a Penn State football game on Saturday. Their ADA vans have the self adjusting Qstraint, 4 position lock downs and they were a piece of cake (for me). I watched the young guys hook it up on our initial outbound trip to the stadium, then I popped them off prior to our getting off the van. After being picked up after the game, I put them on (really easy, push the red pin to release the tension, hook 'em on a strong and stable part of the undercarriage of the wheelchair and let 'em go). If they are the higher end Qstraints, they are self adjusting and tug down until they feel resistance. Then they will NOT let up the pressure until someone presses the red release button again. I only secured 3 out of 4 and I noticed virtually no movement in the wheelchair (wheelchair itself was of course turned off/locked) enroute back to our parking area. Now, I am not suggesting that they are quite as stable and movement resistant than the EZLock, nor do I know how they would react in an emergency / slamming on the brakes sitaution vs. the EZLock. All I can say is I personally found them very easy to deal with. In addition, the rehab. hospital I work at uses this exact system on the transport van they use to take patients out for hospital visits and home evals. I have never been responsible for using them, I just looked at what they were using. I think the key is to NOT get the basic Qstraint system (which has to be manually tightened every time) and go for the self-adjusting type, IMO. The EZLock may indeed be "greener" in some ways (especially ease of use and definitely the way to go if you are a powerchair driver who is able to transfer into a regular van seat), but definitely more expensive. I will be doing a bit more research to see if I can find out which are actually "safer". I have no idea if there is crash data out there regarding wheelchair restraints. I can't believe that either would fare well in anything other than a low impact crash.
 
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