Sunday, 3 March 2013

Truck Mods

It's snowing outside, fast thin flakes flying by the window blanketing the sky like a fog. My view is obscured, blocked by a blanket of white, obliterating all hope of seeing the sun or the sky or the park in the distance. The tree outside my window has a growing sugar dusted icing, standing still and brave against the weather, solid and stolid, waiting patiently for this last blast of winter to wind itself out.

I would like to suggest that I am trapped by this weather. I am not. I can get in my truck and go anywhere I want. The roads may be bad but they are certainly not impassable. My truck now has hand controls, a seat lift and a wheelchair crane. It's all very high tech, yet very low tech at the same time.

The hand control is a very simple mechanism. You push down for gas and you push forward for brakes. The bars and rods and linkages all hook up to either the gas pedal or the brake pedal. It's a direct mechanical connection, responsive and easy to use. Even Ricky likes to drive with the hand controls. He says they're fun to use. I expect I will be driving for some time yet. This is a good thing.

The seat lift is impressive. It is basically a flat seat on a lifting post. There is a side bar on the seat to keep me safe as I make the transfer. That bar lifts out of the way so I can get on and off the seat easily. The gears and pulleys and cables all live inside the post. The motor is at the base. The seat itself does not go lower than the door frame. At some point this will become problematic as I will be unable to transfer myself up the few inches from the wheelchair to the seat itself. I will have to figure out how to resolve that when that time arrives.

The only real problem is the wheelchair crane. The way it lifts and swings in means it doesn't completely clear the seat base for the back seats. I have to help it a bit. Ricky and I are discussing removal of that seat frame or some other modification to improve the in/out transfer of the wheelchair. I have managed to do something to disable the outward swing pressure already so I have to take it back to the shop to figure out what I did wrong.

The whole shooting match is controlled by push buttons on a control wired into the master control unit that I keep in the front seat with me. So I roll up to the truck, flip down the seat, lift myself on, hook up the chair to the crane and lift in the chair, then use the controls to raise myself to seat level where I can easily transfer into the truck.

Then I grab them hand controls and away I go!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good Rick. You hsve control over your life when you csn drive. Love Mom