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Freedom Motors submitted a model 2008, gasoline-powered 5 seats (including the driver), 1 wheelchair position converted Dodge Grand Caravan for a 4 yr/100,000 mile STURAA test. The odometer reading at the time of delivery was 18,575 miles. Testing started on March 2, 2009 and was completed on April 17, 2009. The Check-In section of the report provides a description of the bus and specifies its major components.
The primary part of the test program is the Structural Durability Test, which also provides the information for the Maintainability and Reliability results. The Structural Durability Test was started on March 3, 2009 and was completed on April 6, 2009.
The interior of the mini-van is configured with seating for 5 passengers including the driver plus 1 wheelchair position. The test vehicle is not designed with free floor space therefore there are no standing passengers. At 150 lbs per person, and 600 lbs per wheelchair position, this load results in a measured gross vehicle weight of 5,930 lbs. The first segment of the Structural Durability Test was performed with the bus loaded to a GVW of 5,930 lbs. Due to no standing passengers, the middle seated load weight segment was performed at the same 5,930 lbs. The final segment was performed at a curb weight of 4,570 lbs. Durability driving resulted in unscheduled maintenance and failures that involved a variety of subsystems. A description of failures, and a complete and detailed listing of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is provided in the Maintainability section of this report.
Accessibility, in general, was adequate, components covered in Section 1.3 (Repair and/or Replacement of Selected Subsystems) along with all other components encountered during testing, were found to be readily accessible and no restrictions were noted.
The Reliability section compiles failures that occurred during Structural Durability Testing. Breakdowns are classified according to subsystems. The data in this section are arranged so that those subsystems with more frequent problems are apparent. The problems are also listed by class as defined in Section 2. The test bus encountered no Class 1, 2 or Class 4 failures. Of the 2 reported failures both were Class 3.
The Safety Test, (a double-lane change, obstacle avoidance test) was safely performed in both right-hand and left-hand directions up to a maximum test speed of 45 mph. The performance of the bus is illustrated by a speed vs. time plot. Acceleration and gradeability test data are provided in Section 4, Performance. The average time to obtain 50 mph was 10.26 seconds.
The Shakedown Test produced a maximum final loaded deflection of 0.025 inches with a permanent set ranging between -0.001 to 0.002 inches under a distributed static load of 2,475 lbs. The Distortion Test was completed with all subsystems, doors and escape mechanisms operating properly. No water leakage was observed throughout the test. All subsystems operated properly.
The test vehicle was not equipped with any type of tow eyes or tow hooks, therefore, the Static Towing Test was not performed. The Dynamic Towing Test was performed by means of a front-lift tow. The towing interface was accomplished using a hydraulic under-lift wrecker. The bus was towed without incident and no damage resulted from the test. The manufacturer does not recommend towing the bus from the rear, therefore, a rear test was not performed. The Jacking and Hoisting Tests were also performed without incident. The bus was found to be stable on the jack stands, and the minimum jacking clearance observed with a tire deflated was 2.5 inches.
A Fuel Economy Test was run on simulated central business district, arterial, and commuter courses. The results were 12.38 mpg, 15.85 mpg, and 27.35 mpg respectively; with an overall average of 15.85 mpg.
A series of Interior and Exterior Noise Tests was performed. These data are listed in Section 7.1 and 7.2 respectively.