Sunday, July 8, 2012

Goshen Coach Survives another 920 mile round trip!

We recently took our 2000 Ford E350 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel Goshen Coach on another epic trip.  We drove it 920 miles round trip hauling our 30' handicap equipped Campmaster Toy Hauler Travel Trailer to Chicago, IL and back to go to the Chicago Abilities Expo!

We had a really good time, we met Auti from the Sundance Channels "Push Girls" and experienced first hand all manners of new equipment and vehicles.

I have to brag on our truck though as it didn't once experience any kind of failure or problem of any kind, this is the second trip we've completed with perfect mechanical ability in the Ford Goshen Coach... Now it wasn't uneventful, no.  Our Goshen Coach is prone to breaking welds between the windshield/bus interface and we broke another one on this trip pulling our RV.  But this is just a minor problem as the front of the bus is still stripped open from our first welding experience when we purchased her a couple of years back... I'll try and ad some pictures to this later.

I'll keep this post fairly short but needless to say we are excited about another Abilities Expo that is coming up in February of 2013 (baring survival of the Mayan Calendar Calamity) in Atlanta, GA!

Please leave me some comments below! no login is necessary. How do you manage to get around in your wheelchair, what equipment do you wish you had?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our 2000 Ford E350 Goshen Coach survives and thrives!

So I have to step back a month now, I'm rested up and ready to talk about it.  Our Ford Powerstroke E350 cutaway Goshen Coach minibus handicapped wheelchair vehicle made another trip to Florida this time without a single non-manmade hiccup flawless execution of it's duties!

We Took a trip to Walt Disney World in May in our Goshen Coach towing our 30' steel framed toy hauler and it performed perfect.  In evaluating this I have to discount the things I caused as this wasn't an uneventful trip.  To start out with at mile 300 I forgot to reinstall the gas cap so it fell off the side of the truck somewhere in the mid south sorry for the littering.

Somewhere at about the 500 mile marker some welding between where our Ford E350's windshield ends and the Goshen Coaches ample roof begins started tearing loose.  Now you would think this would be terrible and catastrophic but no it was just a little squeaky and you could see movement between the 2 pieces while rolling.  The whole connection between the windshield and the cap was all busted free when we aquired the truck and we just haven't quite gotten the right mixture of grade 8 bolts and welding yet I don't suppose.

Then at mile 800 I piece came off the trailer due to the vacuum between the 10 foot tall truck and trailer.

But the truck never failed to start and the wheelchair lift never failed to work painlessly with it's intended switches (I've spent many an hour overriding the switching with jumper wires to get our Braun Millenium Lift to cooperate in the past).

We did Disney World up proper due to our faithful truck.  Now our truck has not always been this faithful. It has ate up 2 alternators plum up I tell you.. and it's on it's 3rd ac compressor since we've owned it, it's had a fresh set of injectors and glowplugs installed and really enjoys eating up 50 dollar oil changes with it's 14 quarts of Rotella T 15W40 and 10 dollar motorcraft oil filters. The 7.3 Powerstroke is a proven performer and I don't doubt we will see many more years of service out of our ex-fleet owned municiple bus.  You see our bus was bought used after 10 years of service driving the citizens of Paducah, KY around in style. It was beat up and still looks it. It was abused with 112,000 miles of city driving and 8 hours a day of idling for 10 years but it couldn't be killed! We've put an additional 30,000 miles on her now and have a pretty good knowledge of her quirks.

But where was I? Bragging about our truck? You betcha!  Recently I've had truck envy again wanting a dodge/mercedes/freighliner Sprinter but really this flimsy sprinter with 2.7/3.0 liter 5 cylinder diesel is just not going to perform in all duties like our 7.3 powered Powerstroke diesel.  And to top off the problem with the sprinters is that they tend to sell for above retail in the used market around these parts which makes them a poor choice for us in our disability budget.

So I just want to say Thank you Ford and Thank you International for making such a robust truck and motor combination in the Ford E350 cutaway and the International 7.3L Turbocharged Powerstroke Diesel. And Thank you Goshen Coach for piecing this drivetrain into a very wheelchair capable machine (especially after you remove all but the first row of rear seating) and Thank you Braun for making the Millenium Lift with it's extra lifting capacity above and beyond what is needed and simple electrical that can be easily over-riden upon switch failer ( and believe me after 10 years of fleet duty these switches are worn out) to still operate flawlessly (now I have to state here that at 12 years a hydraulic cylinder did go out, the one that kicks up the toe plate, leaking tremendous amounts of hydraulic fluid, and that their dealer network is not easy to find and work with and especially moreso online they are still in the oldschool mentality that you will buy it new from a dealer and only and forever deal with them whoever they should be).

Well if you were looking for a more exciting and seat clenching write up for a wheelchair journey of 1,700 miles you came to the wrong place as we have made a few now.  But if you just wanted to hear a success story this is the right place as we succeeded in making another long journey.

Please write me some comments below about how you want to make trips or how you have managed to make trips in your wheelchair vehicle or how you manage with your daily travel issues with your disabilities.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2000 Ford E350 Wheelchair Truck maintenance pulled

Well we are going to be pulling out of the driveway in 3 days with our Goshen Coach Wheelchair Van pulling a 30 foot toy hauler RV on a nearly 2,000 mile round trip.  So tonight I found the time to change the oil and lube up the truck and pull some other maintenance.  The 7.3 Ford Powerstroke motor is a needy machine when it comes to lubricants

I drained the oil out and slapped on a brand new Motorcraft FL-1995 oil filter.
filled back up with 14 quarts of Rotella T 15W40 motor oil leaving behind my delo 400 LE oil I have been using.

Replaced the 2 Motorcraft FA-1618 air filters.

Added 1.5 quarts of 80W90 gear lube to the rear differential... I used a $5.99 manual fluid transfer pump from harbor freight to put the oil in there it was a breeze!

Greased up the steering joints with my trusty grease gun.

Tracked down why my turbo boost gauge doesn't work the tube had come loose from where the jacklegs Tee'd it onto what is it the manifold pressure hose?  unfortunately and expectedly at the same time there was no wire ties used in running the tubing for the boost guage so when it came loose it fell all the way back against the exhaust pipe and burnt the connector off the tubing... So I have to wait until I can get to a hardware store and find some super small compression fittings to mate it back to the rubber hose.

Well that's all for now, I've still got to hitch up and drag the whole rig to where I can all the tires aired back up to 80 psi and we should be good to go.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

upcoming Ford E350 Wheelchair Truck Maintenance, Walt Disney World Trip Baby!

Well we are T minus 3 weeks until we are leaving for Walt Disney World in our 2000 Ford E350 7.3 Liter Turbo Charged Powerstroke diesel powered cutaway bus pulling our 30 foot 2005 Campmaster toy hauler aka our wheelchair accessible home away from home.

Charlie our Merle Great Dane sporting our latest Mickey Ears!

I just started ordering the consumables we will need for our trip, 2 new Motorcraft FA-1618 air filters. Then it's off to Walmart to round up 4 gallons of Rotella 15w40 Motor oil and an FL-1995 oil filter. Stuff I wish I had done but won't is I have a Gulf Coast bypass oil filter that I have meant to install but haven't (I have the one that holds a roll of paper towells, a serious depth filter).

I recently purchased a friction sway controller to mount on the hitch I'm really hoping it's a more pleasant pulling experience this time, as our truck and trailer combined length is 53' of all wall without the benefit of large truck drivetrain.

 Our Travelling Rig all hitched up September 2011 when we went down to trick or treat the Magic Kingdom

I do believe the biggest problem is we don't travel with any "toys" in our toy hauler so the weight is off, combined with the large overhang off the real dually wheels and you can see this thing is scary fun when a semi blasts by you... the only redemption is this truck is wicked powerful With the 7.3 Liter Turbo Charged International Powerstroke Diesel and if you want you can stay ahead of the semis or match their speed some... Anyway we are looking forward to our upcoming trip, I just purchased my rain ponchos off ebay (to save on the ones they sell in the park) Don't think I'm wishing for rain, I'm not, it's just that it rains some almost everyday in Central Florida.

One thing we are planning on doing while in the Orlando region is we want to maybe talk to a realtor about moving down there in the not so distant future.  I'm at a toss up atm about living in the city near dr's offices which we tend to go out for the most.... or living in the country and having about 5 acres of land.... We've allready decided after modifying our house here for wheelchair access that a modified house is not suitable for wheelchair access it's just managable, not the best of living.  I got my eye on an 80'x40' steel building package which I will make half a garage rv storage and half a house, with mostly open space.  This housing choice can easily pass the wind load requirements for Central Florida, plus have the cheapest per square foot building cost.

Please leave me some comments if you have handicapped housing you like or information on how you maintain your wheelchair vehicle.  I will say our truck is 12-13 years old and diesel is expensive but the main motor is the least of my worries when I travel as it's a tough beast... now I've put on 2 a/c compressors and an alternator and a starter on the machine (hey you can't have everything) but the truck through it's ex fleet appearance and noise level can't be beat for reliability. (Please read some of my other posts on this truck, I have made a large number of them.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Our 2000 Ford E350 Wheelchair Truck's Door Hinges are now replaced!

(Flashback to some windstorm in the past)

Well as it happens with these Ford Vans, I go to open the door and a gust of wind grabs the door and swings it open so hard and fast that it bends the jamb and shoves the door in behind the fender so that it forever "clunks" when you open and close it as these two pieces of sheet metal somehow make it past each other.

(back to the present time)

Well yesterday I took the truck out to Jerry's Body Shop in Metropolis, IL here and they proceed to tear the door apart and straighten the jamb and weld in reinforcements inside the door and installed 2 brand new hinges. I've never felt the door work so smoothly before in my life. Now I don't have to do a lifting slam of the door to get it to close, just a gentle push and it closes perfectly every time.

What projects have you been putting off on your wheelchair vehicles? Please look back at some of my older posts for pictures of our rig, we are proud of it I just didn't get my camera out today to document the new hinges.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Moving to Orlando Florida handicapped housing

We have been planning on moving to Orlando, FL for some time and we will need to build the cheapest most structurally sound, environmental friendly house possible ( this means low energy costs, highly insulated).  So we are looking at steel prefabbed housing.  I say we need to build as we need wheelchair accesible and not just afterthought wheelchair access it needs to be designed in to start with! We currently live in a retrofitted house now and it is nice but doesn't suit our purposes.  I have 4 doorways in my current house I couldn't widen to 36" (have you ever seen the destruction and markings done on a daily basis to walls from a power chair you need all the width you can get!). I don't have a roll in shower it has a threshold it's unsuited.

Our needed space is not high we only require a large bedroom and a roll in shower and mostly open floor space. I want to build a house on slab for wheelchair purposes.  I just want a stained concrete floor.  Can you put foam board insulation against the soil in central florida?  What's the best way to insulate a slab in Central Florida?  I have a rough design which I've been working on:


I've tried to keep the dimensions narrow and long thinking this is a cheaper design?  Personally I'd love to have a garage big enough to put my 30' travel trailer in maybe someone can help me out with this design.

So we are looking for information, cost analysis, is it cheaper to live around orlando then in it? can we build a metal home in Orlando, FL? Would it be cheaper to do a larger detached garage maybe a quonset style building? Do you have to have flood insurance/hurricane insurance in Orlando? Does Orlando have good healthcare?

Please leave me some comments on this rough design in the comments below you do not need to login you can post anonymously!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pets and Walt Disney World?

We are currently planning a trip in our RV to the Ft Wilderness Resort Campground inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL and we are trying to work out some extra details we never had to deal with before.  We acquired a new member of the family on Halloween, and his name is Charlie!  Now Charlie has become one of us and we can't leave him behind.  For those of you that haven't met Charlie, let me introduce him to you. He's an 11 month old Merle Great Dane, and is growing like a weed right now!

So, we are looking at taking him with us to Orlando and are wondering where to board him in the Orlando area while we are at Walt Disney World.  There's a kennel on Disney Property called Best Friend Pet Care and another one I'm looking at is V.I.Pet Resort with locations in Orlando and Kissimmee, which is a little cheaper but offers more kennel cleanings and nature walks per day.

Now, I must point out that day services are just out of the question due to a large many factors, so we want to do 24/7 boarding of Charlie somewhere pleasant and go visit him as often as we can all while taking in the splendor that is the Walt Disney World Resort.

Anyone have any pointers any other kennels or options I'm leaving out? Please and I do mean Please leave me some comments below as we are in the process of planning a vacation and need some input.

We thank you...and Charlie thanks you too!