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Old 01-17-2014, 10:22 PM   #1
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Can I put a scooter lift on the front of my truck?

Without getting into things too much, here is the problem. I can walk/stand for five minutes. I have no or little pain when sitting or laying down. I had failed back surgery in December 2012. I've tried everything--nothing has worked, and it's not going to improve.

I still want to camp. I can still hook up by myself, but I will need to have a scooter so I can walk my dog and I can get around the campground. This is the scooter I am considering. E-Wheels - EW-36 Mobility Scooter

I tow a 21-22 foot trailer. I drive a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Diesel. The only thing I can think of to do since I travel alone is to have an electric lift/carrier. I have a hitch installed on the front of my truck. Would I damage the truck if I mounted it there during travel? I'm not too worried about weight, but if I cover the scooter and secure it, would it prevent air from entering through the grill of the truck...doesn't that cool off the radiator?

If I can't figure out a way to do this I won't be able to camp any longer, and I hate the thought of giving it up. If anyone has this kind of arrangement or knows of someone who does, I'd love to hear your advice and thoughts. With everything I carry in the bed of my truck, I wouldn't have room for it in there, and I don't know that I could get a lift that goes that high. I'd need to be able to drive up onto the lift. As always, I've always gotten answers anytime I've asked a question in this group.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboPals View Post
Without getting into things too much, here is the problem. I can walk/stand for five minutes. I have no or little pain when sitting or laying down. I had failed back surgery in December 2012. I've tried everything--nothing has worked, and it's not going to improve.

I still want to camp. I can still hook up by myself, but I will need to have a scooter so I can walk my dog and I can get around the campground. This is the scooter I am considering. E-Wheels - EW-36 Mobility Scooter

I tow a 21-22 foot trailer. I drive a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 Diesel. The only thing I can think of to do since I travel alone is to have an electric lift/carrier. I have a hitch installed on the front of my truck. Would I damage the truck if I mounted it there during travel? I'm not too worried about weight, but if I cover the scooter and secure it, would it prevent air from entering through the grill of the truck...doesn't that cool off the radiator?

If I can't figure out a way to do this I won't be able to camp any longer, and I hate the thought of giving it up. If anyone has this kind of arrangement or knows of someone who does, I'd love to hear your advice and thoughts. With everything I carry in the bed of my truck, I wouldn't have room for it in there, and I don't know that I could get a lift that goes that high. I'd need to be able to drive up onto the lift. As always, I've always gotten answers anytime I've asked a question in this group.
It's a scooter, but not just like yours. Front mounted hitch from Curt and the carriers is from Just Ramps. I'm sure they have something you can use. No over heating issues at all, no visibilities and the Tundra was a 4.7L V-8, no pulling issues at all.

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Old 01-18-2014, 11:05 AM   #3
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I bought a used foldable power wheelchair on eBay for $350. I then removed the passenger seat of my MH. With the batteries removed the chair folds to about 9" wide and about 60 pounds. I can place the front wheels on the cab floor and heft the folded chair into the space where the seat was. The batteries then are placed inside. I also bought a 12 volt charger for the chair so I can recharge it as I drive.

Bruno makes lifts that would put a chair or scooter into the truck if you could make room in the bed. They probably have one that would lift up into the cab, also.

I'm a solo fulltime RVer and need mobility assistance also. "Where there's a will, there's a way." That's what I learned growing up. Don't let anything stop you from living life the way you want to live it.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:16 AM   #4
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The first thing to do is to head for the scales and get an actual front axle weight of your loaded truck (with passengers). The Cummins is a heavy beast. My 2002 Ram 3500 with Cummins HO and 6-speed NV5600 manual (a very heavy transmission) was within a couple of hundred pounds of maximum front axle GAWR (shown on driver's door sticker) with driver, passengers, etc. in the truck and the 5th wheel hitched up. You may or may not have sufficient GAWR for the carrier and scooter.

Others have mentioned cooling considerations; they are real, but you'll find out whether it's a problem or not when the scooter is sitting in front of the cooling pack when towing up a steep grade on a hot summer day.

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Old 01-18-2014, 12:10 PM   #5
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Thank you for all your responses and advice.

Bubwheat, my heart lifted when I saw your picture. Thank you so much. Gives me hope that I can do it. Being a solo traveler makes some things a little more difficult (like where's that other hand that feels like a thousand hands when I need one?). Being disabled just adds another challenge.

Rusty, I thought the truck being heavy would be an advantage--shows you how much I know. I know I'm way under weight limits with my Jay Feather lite traveler, so I didn't know there could be a weight problem on the front of the truck. Is it because of the tires? I have huge tires on my truck--have to pull myself up to get in and use a ramp for Jack. I was more concerned with the air flow. Someone suggested putting it on the back of the trailer, but I knew that would not work. There's only me in the front seat and the back seats are folded down and make a nice bed for my pup. Because of his age I probably won't be heading for the mountains out west, but I could at least take him south so I wouldn't have to contend with hills for now. He LOVES to camp.

Okmunky, sounds like you're living up to your advice, "Where there is a will, there is a way" or "Necessity is the Mother of invention". A wheel chair is in my future if I live that long, but at the moment a scooter is what I need. Good to know that mobility doesn't have to stop when I'm to the point or a wheelchair. I'll have to look up Bruno and Curt and see if there is a dealer near me. The bed is not an option because I don't think the three wheel scooter would fit and I need the three wheels for stability when I walk Jack.

I knew I would get answers, here, and I am very grateful. I'm fairy sure the scooter place would tell me there was no problem, and Dodge would probably tell me there is a problem so having objective opinions is very valuable to the choices I'll make. Thank you, again.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:11 PM   #6
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Most diesels are already pretty heavy on the front axle before you add any thing. The lift and scooter will probably push your front axle over the limits. The other issue is will it block the front lighting and still be legal.

Like Rusty said, start by getting the weight of the truck and axles.


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Old 01-18-2014, 05:58 PM   #7
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One other place that might work for your scooter is above or on the tongue of your trailer. If there's room, or you can have it modified, perhaps you can have someone add a platform to the front of the trailer to hold the scooter with a fold up ramp to drive it up there.

For a while I carried my chair above my tow bar using a dual hitch adapter and a ramped scooter carrier, but I bought the cheap stuff that didn't last.

I was looking for a scooter when I bought my power chair. It seems that the resale value on power chairs is way cheaper than on used scooters. I was going to spend 12 days at Disney World and they charge $50/day to rent scooters. It made more sense for me to buy the used chair, and I have used it for other sightseeing trips. I took the footrests off to make it easier to get in and out and it also takes up less room without them. If you can handle the negative social stigma of a wheelchair, there are lots more options available.

Feb 5th I'll have double knee replacement surgery and am hoping that I won't be needing a wheelchair again for a long time. If I need one sooner, that's OK, too. This country just needs to get over it's "pity the poor cripple" attitude. I'll step down off my soap box, now.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:24 PM   #8
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With the step through design of the scooter it probably won't create a too big of an air dam for your truck. Get the truck with trailer weighed and I'll bet you can add the 200 lb scooter plus lift to the front bumper Go for it!
If you worry about the cooling of the truck, cut out a cardboard silhouette of the scooter and tape it to the front of truck. Remember, the scooter will actually be some distance in front of the grill, but if the lights are all visible and the truck runs without overheating, you are good to go.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:56 PM   #9
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With the step through design of the scooter it probably won't create a too big of an air dam for your truck. Get the truck with trailer weighed and I'll bet you can add the 200 lb scooter plus lift to the front bumper Go for it!
If you worry about the cooling of the truck, cut out a cardboard silhouette of the scooter and tape it to the front of truck. Remember, the scooter will actually be some distance in front of the grill, but if the lights are all visible and the truck runs without overheating, you are good to go.
I would want to cover anything on the front of a vehicle to keep bug splatter off. If you used an oversized BBQ grill cover and put bungee cords around the seat platform and tiller the wind blocking effect might be minimized.

I found that putting a mat under my chair to block dirt and debris coming up thru the carrier sure helped protect the chair's electronics, especially on wet roads. That might reduce airflow some.

Not having passengers would probably make enough weight difference to fall within safe limits.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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I'm solo also, and never had any trouble with loading/unloading my scooter. I would power up the scooter and let it do the work going up, and I used the brakes unloading, and it would be no problem.

Never worried about headlights being blocked because I never drove at night.

After you put on the receiver hitch and find a carrier, you'll find out that the scooter will not be close enough to the front end to block your radiator. The fan "pulls" air into your radiator, and if mfgs. were so worried about cooling they'd stick the radiator out in the air. My goodness do you see the grills and bumpers out there? If they don't block cooling, a little ol' scooter won't.

Go for it! And, good luck!
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:12 PM   #11
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Suggest you do a background check on that scooter company.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:17 PM   #12
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After you put on the receiver hitch and find a carrier, you'll find out that the scooter will not be close enough to the front end to block your radiator. The fan "pulls" air into your radiator, and if mfgs. were so worried about cooling they'd stick the radiator out in the air. My goodness do you see the grills and bumpers out there? If they don't block cooling, a little ol' scooter won't.
My truck has a 200 degF thermostat and runs ~202 degF coolant temperature towing at 63 MPH on the Interstate - cooled entirely by ram air through the grille. The ECM computer doesn't even engage the engine fan until 219 degF, so the fan doesn't run under normal conditions. Changing the ram air effect through the cooling pack will certainly have some impact on cooling; determining whether or not it's problematic will ultimately be known when the scooter is mounted in front of the grille.

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Go for it! And, good luck!
As I posted earlier, you really need to be sure you have the front axle load capacity to carry the weight of the receiver hitch, carrier and scooter by making a trip to the scales before you decide to go for it or not.

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Old 01-18-2014, 07:34 PM   #13
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Suggest you do a background check on that scooter company.
Do you know something? I did a search and found no complaints or reviews about the store.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:11 PM   #14
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Rusty, he has a 21'-22' TT, not a 5ver. Should have room to spare with the 3500.

Why not clean out a spot inn the bed? A hoist mounted to the corner of the bed should be sufficient to lift a mobility scooter in and out of the bed. Google truck bed hoist and see what is out there. One of the Harbor Freight ones could be easily modified with an electric winch to lift a scooter effortlessly.

If you want to mount it in the front still, how about finding a shop that can fab a mount using snow plow mounting points/brackets. That would give 2 brackets to spread the weight to both sides, instead of 1 point in the middle. Hitch slop could cause quite the bounce on a scooter.
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