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Using Tow Hitch for wheelchair lift


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6 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   lokigrac

lokigrac

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 10:46 PM

I recently leased a 2014 Ford Flex Eco Boost AWD.  A big part of my decision was that Ford states that with the Class III towing package the tongue weight is increased to 450 lbs.  I need to attach a power wheelchair lift on my tow hitch.  The powerchair will weigh about 250 lbs.  The lift with a swing away arm will weigh 140 to 150 lbs.  I then asked a U.S. manufacturer of wheelchair lifts what lift they would recommend for my setup.  Their response was as follows ( I have not included the name of the manufacturer because their email stated the information was proprietary and could not be redistributed.):

 

We have de-rated the Ford Flex tongue weight due to our experience with the suspension of that vehicle. I'm sorry in our opinion when it comes to the tongue weight we have it rated at 250 pounds.

 

So I responded with:

 

Are you talking about the Flex with Ford’s Class III tow package or the the standard class I  that comes if you do not have the towing package?

 

And they responded:

 

Yes, we do not rate it any higher than 250 pounds. Due to experience with the vehicle.

 

Now I am wondering if I have made a huge mistake.

 



#2 OFFLINE   GrySql

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 01:04 PM

Your Flex has the towing option from the factory, right? It's 4500 lbs. 

Have you asked what 'their experience' consisted of?

 

Have you looked at the Harmar line?

Pride Lifts?



#3 OFFLINE   lokigrac

lokigrac

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:47 PM

My window sticker says it has the class III towing package.  According to Ford's Trailer Towing Selector for the 2014 Ford Flex if you have the class III towing package then you have the 4500 lb. towing capacity with the 450 lb. tongue weight capacity.  I cannot reveal the name of the manufacturer because they have told me not to but it was one of the ones you mentioned.  In further exchanges with them they stated:

 

"I'm not interested in a debate; I'm telling you we do not approve our product for that vehicle because of our experiences with that vehicle. We consider that vehicles tongue weight of 250."

 

and

 

"If you put our lift on your vehicle because of what FORD told you then it is not covered by us. Depends on who you want to believe on the tongue weight."



#4 OFFLINE   GrySql

GrySql

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 07:36 PM

They are very confident of their position, perhaps for a good reason.  I would not buy their product with that having been said.

It may have to do with the way the sway-away arm puts torque (twisting motion) on the car, or the way their product is built.

There is also the low hitch height of the Flex, ground clearance may be an issue.

 

Having installed an OEM tow hitch on my Flex I know how they are installed. 

Vertical tongue weight of 450lb should not be a problem but there are other factors with the setup you propose.

 

Why not contact the other company and ask them. 



#5 OFFLINE   lokigrac

lokigrac

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 12:30 AM

In their first answer they say their problem is with the suspension making me wonder if the weight might have caused the vehicle to sit too low on the rear wheels.  What I did was to call a local company which deals in wheelchair/vehicle mobility and told them I needed an exterior vehicle lift.  They said they would check with their manufacturers and get back to me.  It has now been more than a day and I haven't heard back.  I'm trying not to read too much into that.  They deal with the 3 manufacturers that I know of, Harmar, Bruno and Pride.  Although they prefer not to use Pride.  I know Bruno makes a "cart" called the chariot that has it's own wheels so no weight would be placed on the tongue.  Not my first choice but may turn out to be my only choice.



#6 OFFLINE   lokigrac

lokigrac

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 11:35 PM

My local dealer tells me that Bruno has no problem putting their lift on the Flex.  It will take them a couple of weeks to get one ordered so I will see how it goes.



#7 OFFLINE   GrySql

GrySql

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 01:03 PM

I just stumbled across this Ford website, Ford Mobility Motoring.

http://fordmobilitym....com/Home/Index








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