Completed Projects: Escalade ESV

During the Build

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Stock Escalade as we received it

We are always up to new challenges. And this project presented one.

Our client contacted us via email from Russia. He wanted a 2005 Cadillac Escalade to have air ride and be wheel-chair accessible.


Several items had to be changed on the Escalade.

1st  We had to make the vehicle drop to the ground. This makes it easier to get a low angle on our wheelchair ramp. With the Escalade requiring the technology of “adjustable ride height”, air bags could not be used on the front. So the “Escalade hydraulics” was born.
This pic shows the Escalade with sprung suspension removed, thus it is as low as it could be. This was done to establish a measurement for the wheelchair ramp angle.
Rear air bag installed Air pump system
Air tank, manual valves with high pressure air lines (plastic lines would crack at the temperatures this vehicle will be subject to) Alcohol injector - alcohol injectors are used to prevent freezing in temperatures ranging around -50 degrees Celsius
2nd The floor had to be lowered and made flat for the wheelchair to get in and out with ease. The factory floor was removed, reinforced and lowered at the rear side doors.
3rd A custom ramp had to be fabricated. We chose to make a two piece ramp to keep it low enough so we don’t obstruct the view out of the windows. The ramp was power with a electric gear motor and limit switches to control the travel.
4th  The passenger rear door had to open automatically to 90° so that the wheelchair could be driven in safely and then close automatically and then latch. Hydraulics open and close the door and then latched electrically. For safety reasons we chose Hydraulics over linear actuators, in an emergency the door could be pulled open manually. With linear actuators you can not do this.
Custom aluminum fuel tank had to be made Custom billet grille

Everything had a time limit. It had to lower, door open, ramp extended to the fullest position, and the ramp must retract to the close position, door close and latch, then back to “factory ride height”. All this happened within 20 seconds. We used a lot of relays and switches to accomplish this task.