Wheelchair Ramps & Tiedowns

Because an elderly friend of mine was no longer able to transfer from his wheelchair to my small pickup truck, I installed ramps and tiedowns in my VW Westfalia.

The plan was to build lightweight, economical and easily removable ramps and tiedowns. By removing the carpet, the channels and screws used for a middle row of seats is exposed. These are used so no new holes were drilled in the van.

The original project cost $8, but were too light weight, and too short. So this is the second version. They are made of thick aluminum 'I' beam about 6" wide with 1" flanges. I settled on a length of 5' (60" or 1.5m). Net cost for the aluminum from a scrap yard was $25, including the ragged ends I cut off and resold to them!

Click on the image to see it full size.

The Ramps

Ramps in place.

The upper ends of each ramp are hooked onto the edge piece at the correct width for this particular wheelchair. The hooks prevent the ramps from slipping down, or spreading sideways.

Engaging the upper end.

The 6mm bolt is threaded through the ramp, and will project into the hole on the edge piece.

The edge piece is also aluminum, held down to the floor lip by two screws.

The edge piece.

This piece is held to the seat rails by the original VW cover screws. It is bent at the outer edge to better line up with the ramp.

The edge piece can be removed quickly by removing two screws. It can stay in place, but leaves bumps under the edge of the carpet.

All Aboard.

The wheelchair is held firmly by two tiedowns which prevent it from rolling forward or backward. The passenger wears a seatbelt (fastened only to the wheelchair), and the chair brakes are set.

The Tiedowns

One tiedown...

A flat strap of steel and a "D" ring form the tiedown anchor. It has a central spacer tube and washer underneath so the screw can be tightened but allow the tiedown to swivel.

4 Tiedowns and a ratchet strap.

When in use, one ratchet strap is set to the correct length and hooked around the front of the wheelchair. Then the second ratchet strap is hooked around the back of the chair and takes up the slack.

NOTE: The ratchet strap shown is not strong enough. It is only for demonstration.

The length of these ramps prevents them from being transported flat on the floor. They have to sit on an incline from the seat to the floor.

The owner takes no responsibility for anyone else making these modifications.
Photos provided by owner. Contact the postmaster for permission for use.

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F. Griffiths

Last updated December 5, 2016

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