Removing Handicap Lifts in Vans

by Steve Smith

What to Remove

The first thing to consider when removing a handicap lift from a van is whether to remove the lift motor and gate or just remove the gate. You can leave the motor inside the van if another lift will be attached. The gate can come off if the gate will not be used for some time. This reduces weight in the van and makes more sense if the van is going to be converted only temporarily to another use. Removing the motor lift from the van can be a time-consuming process, as is reinstalling it when the van is converted back.

Removing the Lift Gate

The lift gate in a handicap accessible van is attached to a power wench arm that is, in turn, connected to the power drive chain that attaches to the motor. Some gates can be released and removed from the van by disconnecting the two arms at either side on the floor under the door jamb of the van. Most ramps have a release pin that can be pulled out similarly to a cotter pin. The van gate then can be disengaged from the motor drive and removed. In this case, the job is relatively simple. With ramps that are attached directly to the motor drive, the entire motor may need to be removed.

Removing the Motor

The lift motor is a much more complicated object to remove. The motor is built into the frame of the vehicle, and runs off power from the car battery. The battery cables should be disconnected first. The motor can usually be accessed by taking off the cover. Then the bolts that secure the motor to the vehicle frame can be removed and eventually the entire unit removed from the van. You should contact the manufacturer before you attempt a removal. There may be steps you need to follow. In addition, always consult the owners manual before you begin any removal and installation. The manual will have instructions on removal of certain parts, as well as wiring diagrams that should be studied closely beforehand.

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

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