Deadshot Treepod on Extreme X8:
In 2002, shortly before Christmas, I received the Extreme 4 x 4 four-wheel-drive wheelchair. With that chair I was able to recapture the lifestyle that I loved and thought had been taken away from me by my quadriplegia. It served me well over the past 13 years, but I realized about six months ago that it was time to get a new chair. While not as expensive as the everyday power chairs I have had, it still required a fair amount of money. In reality, I didn't have much choice if I wanted to enjoy my remaining years.
October 9, 2015 my new Extreme X8 arrived. There are so many different options available it is possible to get a chair that is just about tailor-made for one's individual needs. Still, in order to make this as hunter friendly as possible it required some tweaking just the same. While the chair bears the same name as my first four-wheel-drive chair it is actually quite a bit different. The changes I made to the original chair, took place over a number of years as different products and adaptions came into use for wheelchair-bound hunters. In this particular situation, I was able to sit down and draw up a list of the modifications I wanted to make. Thankfully, a good friend stepped up to help make the changes for me.
Tweaking for X8
Changes to facilitate Deadshot Treepod mount
Change foot petals to increase ground clearance*
Cut tubing below foot rest
Reinforce legs to prevent bending & protect cowl
Remove tip over wheels
Spray paint chrome back panel & wheel hubs
Add reflectors to back of chair
As I'm sure you can imagine the most important modification was the attachment of the Deadshot Treepod. If you look back at the Deadshot Treepod you can see that because the chair had tilt-in-space, we were able to weld an adaption to the frame of the wheelchair in order to attach Treepod. On the new chair, in order to save money, I just got lay back as opposed to tilt-in-space. This eliminated the welding option. One of the improvements in the X8 are metal bars with pre-drilled threaded holes running along each side of the chair. These holes allow the attachment of a number of different devices. We removed the leg lateral from the right side, bought some longer bolts and used the existing bracket to attach the Treepod post. I was amazed at the stability the post had even though it was only attached at one place. Just for a little insurance, a large cable tie was wrapped around the post and the shaft of the arm support to further stiffen the setup. The tip over wheels were removed, all the chrome was spray painted flat black and reflective tape was put on the back.
I ordered the chair with two separate legs as opposed to the single leg mount. When I first saw them, I was really surprised for two reasons. The hardware for the footpad was underneath the footpad itself decreasing the amount of ground clearance by a couple inches. My other concern was that the legs stuck out 4" or 5" beyond the cowl. Right now I am in the process of trying to find someone who can weld braces to the legs to stiffen them to reduce their bending which was a problem on the old chair.
*An Issue of Concern
Ground clearance is a critical issue in any wheelchair. However, it is of major concern in wheelchairs designed to go off road. The new Extreme X8 has a serious problem with ground clearance. The new chair has purposely been lowered from the original Extreme in order to lower the center of gravity and increase stability. While the lowering seems to have solved the stability issue it has exacerbated the clearance of the legs. To further complicate things the new foot pads have almost 2 inches of hardware underneath the foot-pad itself. My second time out in the new chair saw the leg post bent back to the cowl by a relatively small bump on a fairly level farm road. I have traveled this road hundreds of times in my old chair and never had any problems.
In order to address this problem, which is of major concern for tall individuals, the manufacturer provides shims which can raise the chair up 2 inches in an effort to increase ground clearance. The foot plates on the Extreme 4 x 4 had no hardware underneath them. Why Magic Mobility change that set up I have no idea. At 6'4" the length of the legs is absolutely critical to my use of the chair. In an effort increase ground clearance I have reverted back to the old footpads. However, since the posts are further away from the cowl the size of the old pads are too small to support the entire foot. We solved this issue by cutting a piece of quarter-inch plywood to put on top of the old pads eliminating at least 2 more inches of under hang. Grip Tape was added to the new footplate to reduce slippage. A wide padded belt prevents feet from slidding off backward. Lowest clearance increased by 3".