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#12286 - 03/10/09 10:27 AM Honda Element XWAV ****
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
Hi everyone! I'm going to go to an adaptive driving place next month to figure out what mods I will need in order to drive. Right now I'm currently looking at what vehicles can accomadate a power wheelchair and I really like the looks of the Freedom Motors Honda Element XWAV conversion. I'm young and I would really like to stay away from full size vans and minivans. I called Freedom Motors and asked if my current powerchair (Invacare TDX 5) would fit in the Element and he said it would. However when I called the driving place and mentioned that I was interested in the Element one of the people at the driving place said that the Element isn't meant for power wheelchairs since power wheelchair weigh so much and he had one client who bought one and she couldn't have any passengers in it becuase of the weight of the wheelchair. I don't think this sounds right and I was wondering if anyone on here has had any experience with the FMI Honda Element XWAV?
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darkwave

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#12287 - 03/10/09 11:12 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: darkwave]
Tom Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 178
Loc: Westlake OH
When a salesman doesn't want to sell you something, I'd take that as a legitimate warning. Mini Vans usually come with towing packages beefing up the suspension.

Based on my experience with several vans, exceeding 50% of carrying capacity starts producing ground clearance problems. Find out what the load capacity of the Element will be. Figure out the weight you'll be carrying most of the time. If you're at 50% or more of the capacity, I would pass.

Looking cool loses some of its luster when you start losing parts from underneath.
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Tom

Do you know where your towel is?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/towel.shtml

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#12293 - 03/10/09 12:39 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Tom]
RIC GARREN Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 51
Loc: ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
I tried to fit in the Element with a lowered floor. I was using the Pride Q6000Z in a 20 " width. I got up the tiny ramp all right, but once I was in I had an extremely difficult time maneuvering. I transfer into a power drivers seat in order to drive usually. I had them remove the drivers seat to see if I could drive from the chair. I could not gyrate the wc into the drivers position. I kept hitting things in the car.

After much trying because I really wanted that car, I concluded that it was a no-go for me. I'm stuck with the biiig Ford Van. I had also tried the Scion which was even smaller.
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#12297 - 03/10/09 02:07 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: RIC GARREN]
Ralf Offline
WheelchairJunkie Superstar

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 1098
Loc: AR
Hi Darwave, I saw a PT Cruiser that was adapted for wheelchair drive. You might find that to your liking too. Good luck and do be careful. I don't need to tell you what can happen. smile
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#12298 - 03/10/09 02:19 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: RIC GARREN]
D. Ray Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 344
Loc: NORTH, TX
Last October I had the opportunity to get into and up under the steering wheel of one, very comfortable. The sales-rep bought one to my home. I was in a Invacare Ranger X (full size 18" x 18" seat) I couldn't drive it because no hand controls were installed on it. My chair with me in it weighs about 525 lbs, I am guessing. I entered from the passenger side and maneuvered around to get under the steering. I did have to do several frontward/backward moves to get under the wheel, and of course both seats have to be removed. I feel like my mid-drive chair (Q6000Z, which I didn't have at the time) would be easier to get in/out, less maneuvers.

The DVD they provide shows several models with the ramp on the driver's side, and a person getting in there using a mid-drive chair. There by leaving the passenger seat installed. That doesn't look feasible for me. The rep said the ramp my hit your elbow (when raised and folded in), if you go for a driver-side entry. The down side for me was, having no front passenger seat, unless you have a passenger with you each time you travel. Regardless I would have purchased the vehicle (I had planned to buy in Jan.-Feb '09) except for the nose dive of the economy. I live on retirement income, and now, don't plan any large purchases, at least this year. But 2010 who knows.

I like the vehicle. I like not having the "kneel" function required on mini-vans. Much less to go wrong. It has an inch or two more ground clearance them most mini's. I don't mind traveling around town without any front seats. In the occasional few times I have a passenger, they can ride in the back-seats. When I got in it I opened the driver-side door to look at ground clearance, and it didn't appear to change weather I was inside or out. I also ask a friend that was there, to back off and give a look-see, and he said it appeared to stay level, when I was inside. It has a generous towing rating of 1500 lbs.

http://automobiles.honda.com/element/exterior-photos.aspx

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#12314 - 03/10/09 08:05 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Tom]
Gearhead Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 342
Loc: Radiator Springs, USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
When a salesman doesn't want to sell you something, I'd take that as a legitimate warning.


Ordinarily, I'd agree. But sometimes it's because the salesman doesn't sell what you want, so he's trying to steer you to something he does. My understanding is that FMI sells directly to the customer, not through the local mobility dealers, and so the local dealers have no incentive to help you out and every incentive to steer you to one of those vans they have sitting out back.

We hear about the same kind of thing with wheelchairs here on WCJ; junkie wants to look at a specific chair, but DME either doesn't sell that chair or doesn't like the profit margin, and tries to steer junkie to something else.

Best thing to do with the X-wav is to ask those who have one, and then check one out in person before you decide to buy.

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#12315 - 03/10/09 08:11 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Ralf]
Gearhead Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 342
Loc: Radiator Springs, USA
Originally Posted By: Ralf
Hi Darwave, I saw a PT Cruiser that was adapted for wheelchair drive. You might find that to your liking too. Good luck and do be careful. I don't need to tell you what can happen. smile


Also made by FMI, and according to their ad in New Mobility, they're having a sale! PT Drivers for $19,999, marked down from about $40k originally. Not nearly as versatile as a lowfloor minivan (no ability to switch between driver and passenger side) and a lot tighter inside, so you may not fit. But worth checking out to see if it would work for you, especially at that price!

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#12317 - 03/10/09 09:38 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Gearhead]
m8fan11 Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 200
Loc: Georgia, USA
ryno mobility also converts vehicles besides minivans, I had a friend who bought a truck from them and they are built on a chair specific basis, for instance, i tried riding in it and could only fit with the chair facing backwards. I contacted the company about converting a Toyota FJ or Tundra and they said they may revisit them for 09 so you may check them out

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#12320 - 03/10/09 10:23 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: m8fan11]
Timm Offline
WheelchairJunkie Superstar

Registered: 07/11/08
Posts: 2307
Loc: Peoria, Az, USA
Dude not to worry that is a sick conversion!

I roll in a Q.6000 that is taller then yours and it fits find, the driving people are blowing smoke.

Its a little tricky getting in with the shifter kind of hangs a bit and you can get the ramp on one side or the other.

It take a bit of practice getting in when the other seat is in.

Email me if you need help.
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#12331 - 03/11/09 06:13 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Timm]
imagimp Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 56
Loc: Upstate New York
I have a 2006 Honda Element EX-P with the X-WAV conversion from Freedom Motors. I am in an Invacare Pronto M94 which has an LTV 800 vent and 2 oxygen tanks mounted on the back. I fit into the Element just fine although an EZ-Lock would be difficult to use because there isn't alot of wiggle room. Compared to the full size van and the lowered floor minivan I had prior to the Element, the Element has been the best. The mpg is around 20, the reliability has been 100%, and using the Element has been a very positive experience. Try one out!

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#12354 - 03/11/09 11:51 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Tom]
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
The guy who told me that the Element wouldn't work with a power chair isn't a sales guy. He is just an OT at an adaptive driving school.
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darkwave

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#12355 - 03/11/09 11:57 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Gearhead]
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
Hi! That ad was also in Quest (MDA's magazine). I've looked at the PT Cruisers and I'm not sure a powerchair will fit inside. Price wise, I just have to pay for the Element and Vocational Rehab said that they will pay for the actual conversion since I'll be using it to get to and from college. Thanks for the info though!
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darkwave

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#12356 - 03/11/09 11:58 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Timm]
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
I thought they were too. Thanks for the reply!
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#12357 - 03/11/09 12:02 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: imagimp]
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
Yeah I talked with FMI and they mentioned that the EZ-Lock is a bit tricky but that they just got a new automatic locking device in a couple a weeks ago and it is much easier.
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darkwave

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#12358 - 03/11/09 12:55 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: darkwave]
webracer Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/20/08
Posts: 411
Loc: usa
careful with the honda element. i tried one in my powerchair, the ramp was shorter which made it steeper to get in and out. also, there was very little room to move in it.

the one i tried dint have a passenger seat, which opened it up, but even with that i could barely turn to get positioned. it didnt have a ez-lock, and if a ez-lock was installed, oh what a chore it would be to navigate into it.

id advise against it.

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#12375 - 03/11/09 06:48 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: webracer]
photo2010 Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 627
Loc: CT

I am wary of what salesmen say, ever since my chair provider told me the Invacare M51 would fit in my Subaru Forester, so I got the chair and it didn't fit. That's why I now have to get a second smaller chair, or a larger vehicle.

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#12380 - 03/11/09 07:54 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: webracer]
Gearhead Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 342
Loc: Radiator Springs, USA
If you do end up facing the probability of a minivan, there are things that you can do to pimp it out. There are aftermarket headlights, taillights, and even body kits for the Dodge Caravan/Chrysler T&C.

Here are a couple of pix of my 1999 DGC/Braun Entervan with custom aftermarket taillights and headlights (SAE/DOT certified, found on eBay) and alloy rims from the Tire Rack:





The taillights are by Depo; I got them when the stock units failed (issue with the printed "wiring" inside the lamp). The headlights came about a year later, when the originals finally clouded up enough to affect their function. They're the same as stock, but without the chrome bucket. Both headlights and taillights are direct bolt-in replacements for the stock units. Everything was installed by me, in my driveway, with simple hand tools (though I did have to take it to the shop to get the headlights aimed).

If you run a search on eBay, you'd be surprised at how many different aftermarket taillights there are for the Mopar minivans. There's even a set of projector-beam replacement headlights available for the 1996-2000 model year, though I think you have to modify the wiring to make them work.

Here's a few body kits I found online; this one is for the Gen3 Mopars (1996-2000):


These are for the Gen4 (2001-2007):








HTH


Edited by Gearhead (03/11/09 07:59 PM)

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#12413 - 03/12/09 09:54 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Gearhead]
D. Ray Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 344
Loc: NORTH, TX
Being a "gearhead" myself, that a good clean look the way you are keeping your van. Good job.

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#12415 - 03/12/09 09:59 AM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: webracer]
Ralf Offline
WheelchairJunkie Superstar

Registered: 07/14/08
Posts: 1098
Loc: AR
Hi Darkwave, Here's a number for the Scion that you can try. Scions are not real pretty but they look serviceable. You can get side or rear loading.
1-888-625-6335
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Donít do what you canít undo until you decide what you are going to do because you canít undo it.


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#12440 - 03/12/09 03:58 PM Re: Honda Element XWAV [Re: Ralf]
darkwave Offline
WheelchairJunkie

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Texas
Hi! I actually like the Scion better than the Element but the guy at FMI wasn't sure if my chair would fit. I think I'm going to ask to see both an Element and a Scion and try them out. I will keep you all updated and thanks for everyone's support!
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darkwave

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