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Old 08-18-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

It is my understanding that to add a wheelchair lift the van body is lifted with 2" body blocks, then the appropriate part of the floor is cut out and lowered for a flush mount with the lift. I have my 2" body lift blocks and may try lifting the body for other reasons. However, I assume you could lift the body of any vehicle and cutout and lower the floor in certain areas. Resulting reduction in structural integrity would need to be considered. I have been warned by Ujoint he does not recommend doing body lifts on vans.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:56 PM   #12
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

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Originally Posted by E350
It is my understanding that to add a wheelchair lift the van body is lifted with 2" body blocks, then the appropriate part of the floor is cut out and lowered for a flush mount with the lift. I have my 2" body lift blocks and may try lifting the body for other reasons. However, I assume you could lift the body of any vehicle and cutout and lower the floor in certain areas. Resulting reduction in structural integrity would need to be considered. I have been warned by Ujoint he does not recommend doing body lifts on vans.
The blocks you describe will work on vans with body-on-frame construction like Ford Econoline, but they are not applicable to vans like Sprinter, ProMaster, and future Ford Transit that rely on unitized construction.

As far as I know class B manufactures that used drop floors (visualize a drop pan roughly 6 inches deep in center of van like old Roadtrek in picture above) mainly did so on unitized vans. Mostly they were the old Dodge and Chevy/GM vans. I'm pretty sure it's much easier with unitized construction because any reinforcement can be attached/welded directly to vans frame rails. Addiionally, the first vans I'm aware of (Xplorer and Transvans) that dropped the floor over a foot deep also used unitized-construction Dodge vans.

Obviously the floor can also be dropped on a Ford Econoline with body-on-frame design but in my opinion it takes a lot more work . I did my Ford at the rear and would do it again on a new ProMaster van except that it would void the warranty. A big difference is that on a low-roof ProMaster the drop wouldn't have to be as deep since the van is much taller inside than Fords.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:53 AM   #13
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

Mobility converters frequently do 6" drop floors on the E-series. Normally this requires a 2" body lift.

You can also do it without a body lift using a notched frame:
http://dallassmithcorp.com/products/...e-450-chassis/

And if you really want something low, you could buy an ultra-low bus and covert that:
http://dallassmithcorp.com/products/...isync-connect/
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:32 AM   #14
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

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Mobility converters frequently do 6" drop floors on the E-series. Normally this requires a 2" body lift.

You can also do it without a body lift using a notched frame:
http://dallassmithcorp.com/products/...e-450-chassis/

And if you really want something low, you could buy an ultra-low bus and covert that:
http://dallassmithcorp.com/products/...isync-connect/
Since the E-series have only about 53 inches of vertical height compared to 64 inches for Sprinter and ProMaster low-roof vans, to get enough standup room the floor has to be dropped a lot more than 6 inches. That was the problem I ran into. I actually talked with Dallas Smith about converting my extended E-350 to FWD and axleless rear suspension, but the cost was too high for the added benefit. By dropping floor behind rear axle I can reach more than half the van while standing which is good enough for now. That was the design approach Transvans used, except mine has a much larger drop area because I didn't have to work around a rear fuel tank.

I also considered a mild 6-inch drop in center of van but what's the point if you have to add a raised top anyway? If I was going to add a raised top anyway it might as well be a little higher. Wheelchair vans have different needs since standup is not a factor.

The mid-length ProMaster with low roof is the biggest van I could fit in my garage with an 8-ft. door. That could make it my second vehicle. If the van's height was too tall to fit in garage anyway I would probably go with the biggest van I can buy because then I'd probably have to park it offsite.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:58 PM   #15
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

Check out this thread and look in my gallery.
Cheers
Darryl

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...?t=9032#p80099
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:53 PM   #16
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

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Originally Posted by depark
Check out this thread and look in my gallery.
Cheers
Darryl

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...?t=9032#p80099

Darryl, great van. I really enjoyed your gallery showing the amount of engineering and fabrication involved to create that type of dropped floor. No doubt quite complicated and probably very expensive. The 4X4 is a nice touch also.

The kinds of drops I've been thinking about which were common decades ago were much simpler. They were basically nothing more than a shallow pan between frame rails to create a recessed aisle down the middle between cabinets in order to add additional standup room. In some cases they were designed to also double as a shower pan in the middle of the van but not always. Below are a few pictures from old vans that are for sale at PPL in Houston which seem to be carpeted.

From 1997 Coach House


From 1986 Xplorer with fairly low roof




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Old 08-21-2013, 11:26 AM   #17
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

I suspect one reason dropped mid-floors have stopped being made after the mid-90s is emissions. Those cats are HUGE now. Also the old dodge and chevy vans had rear tanks, so there was really not much in the way of a mid-ship floor drop.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:19 PM   #18
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

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I suspect one reason dropped mid-floors have stopped being made after the mid-90s is emissions. Those cats are HUGE now. Also the old dodge and chevy vans had rear tanks, so there was really not much in the way of a mid-ship floor drop.
I agree completely. On the other hand I also think that the new ProMaster with FWD might make it possible if any company thinks it's worth the effort. From drawings the ProMaster's fuel tank seems to be located under driver and passenger seats, and only the exhaust (expect that's the muffler) seems to be in the way towards the very front of the cargo bay. Further back it looks pretty clear to me.

I don't know if relocating any of the exhaust system would be a deal breaker. This drawing makes it seem possible even if the exhaust is left original. I find it interesting that on European Ducatos the exhaust runs straight out the side of the van just behind the driver. That would make it much easier still if legal in US.

Anyway, if possible on low-roof ProMaster, 5'-4" + 6" = 5'-10" headroom. And that may be enough to create some demand for a low-profile garageable van well under 8-feet tall.

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Old 09-04-2013, 12:29 PM   #19
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

Ran across this information showing that low-floor FWD ProMaster should be much easier to pull off than a RWD Mercedes Sprinter.

It appears these guys have been building low-floor chassis based on Ducato for some time, and now seem ready to expand to USA version with ProMaster. There is a pdf download in English for ProMaster van. The compact air suspension that allows tandem rear axles is interesting, although I can’t tell how axle movement is controlled.

Youtube is a short overview based on pictures:



You can see pictures in more detail on their European web site by going to “FOTOS”

http://www.coxx.be/x-low

Or go to photos directly. Must click on photo to see entire view which is much bigger (at least on my computer):

http://www.coxx.be/x-low-photos#


Specs indicate roughly 16-inch floor height, which would leave about 12 inches of ground clearance – plenty for road use. Doing a similar chassis modification on a van 90-inches tall (low-roof ProMaster) would leave plenty of headroom for a man my height to stand and walk around. May not be worth it, but it shows it can be done.

Exhaust is indeed routed out the side to simplify chassis; which appears a lot like a low floor trailer. Basically that’s all it is since there is no drivetrain.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:21 PM   #20
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Re: Mercedes low-floor Sprinter chassis and similar options?

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