5 reasons why this is the perfect time for a supercar

By MT Digital | May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

The current economic situation may make this the perfect time for a supercar How could this be the perfect time to get a supercar? Malaysia is in the midst of a semi-lockdown. Countless people have lost their jobs, the country is in a recession. Are we insane? While the economic situation is bleak in general, …

Project bB: We Have Boost! Almost…

By Brad Lord | May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Where Was I? They say time flies when you’re having fun, and although I can’t say that every aspect of the Project bB journey has been enjoyable so far, the months – cough, years – have certainly ticked past at a ridiculously quick rate, which means I’ve got some catching up to do. Importantly though, the …

Retrospective: The 2010 Nürburgring 24H

By Paddy McGrath | May 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

The thing about first times is that you only get one. I won’t patronise you on the importance and significance of an event like the Nürburgring 24 Hour. Similarly, I won’t cover that well worn ground celebrating the Nürburgring and the Nordschleife itself. We’re all familiar now, so it doesn’t require repeating. This weekend was supposed …

How To Overcome The CARonavirus

By Dave Cox | May 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Hi, I’m Dave (Who’s Dave?). I’m also known as ShootingDave, a photographer from London that now lives in Venice, California. A couple of weeks ago during the COVID-19 lockdown, I was starting to notice changes in my mood. I was getting depressed and uninspired. To try and alleviate that I would go out for long …

The Barn Miami: A Nine-Year-Old’s Dream Realized

By Trevor Yale Ryan | May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Corolla Gaston Rossato was nine years old when he bought his first car. But it wasn’t for himself. No, Gaston saw potential in the dirty and tired ’81 Corolla coupe three doors down when his neighbor stuck a for sale sign in it. The asking price was $200, but Gaston thought he could do better …

Volkswagen launches Buckle Up on YouTube

By MT Digital | May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

Buckle Up campaign on YouTube combines education on safety with entertainment Buckle Up is a YouTube animation series for children. Launched by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia, the aim is to teach children about the importance of road and car safety through entertainment. The series features Volkswagen mascot, Buckle Up bear and is aimed at three …

What YouTube Video Have You Been Watching On Repeat During Lockdown?

By Ben Chandler | May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

Inspired by our recent YouTube post and Mark’s E30 M3 and 190 E EVO II story, I thought we could have a chat about what you’ve been watching. As my finger’s hit these keys, I’m currently on an NA bender. I’ve built about 100 cars in my head and spec’d up an engine at Pug1Off …

5 ways to make your old car new again

By MT Digital | May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

How to update your car without buying a new car If you were planning on getting a brand new car, that’s probably out of the window now. Covid-19 has been brutal on incomes and the economy. Instead of a new car, there’s always pre-owned. Or, you could fix-up your old car. Here are five things …

The Toyota Workhorse With An AMG Heart

By Stefan Kotze | May 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

You might remember my recent feature on Quentin Boylan’s totally ridiculous, carbon fibre Lotus Exige, complete with AMG SLS engine and Albins sequential gearbox. That custom creation is easily one of the craziest cars I’ve ever seen, so you might be wondering what Quentin drives on a daily basis… I did, but I’ll admit that when I …

How Lance Camper builds trailers and truck campers from start to finish

By Brandan Gillogly | March 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

The travel trailer market in the United States has been growing almost every year since the economy started rebounding back in 2010, with more than a million sold since 2016. Lance Camper makes up a small portion of that market, building as many as 12 ultralight trailers every day at its facility where it employs about 600 people. Though the market for truck campers is much smaller, Lance is a bigger player there, churning out as many as six each day before buyers drop them into the beds of half-ton or heavy-duty pickups for weekend getaways to places where a normal RV might not be able to venture.
Lance invited us to its facility, grouped in a few buildings in the same light industrial area in Lancaster, California, to see how the company builds trailers and campers. Here’s how it turns fiberglass, wood, aluminum, and steel into vacation homes on wheels.  

Brandan Gillogly
Each Lance camper or trailers begins with a computer model that helps engineers automate several stages of construction. The models include wiring, HVAC, and interior furniture and appliances—even the placement of pocket screws that will hold furniture to the walls.

Brandan Gillogly
While wood is used on the floor and interior, Lance uses synthetic materials on the exterior of its campers and trailers to minimize the potential for water damage and rot. Here, workers are gluing down thin sheets of Azdel, a synthetic sound-deadening and insulating panel, on top of a fiberglass outer layer.

Brandan Gillogly
The material that will comprise the ceiling and walls goes through rollers that squeeze them together before a layer of foam insulation is glued down and the entire thing is rolled again. The open floor plan of the building is maintained at a specific temperature and humidity level to ensure proper curing conditions for the glue.
Here’s what the three layers look like once lamination is complete.

Brandan Gillogly
Wiring harnesses are assembled on panels, each one labeled to correspond with the specific floorplan of the finished product.

Brandan Gillogly
Internal framing and wiring run through the ceiling and wall panels and, to allow these systems to be sandwiched between the outer and inner layers without diminishing the insulation too much, CNC routers cut passages in the foam. The leftover foam is returned to the manufacturer (a third party) to be recycled into the next batch.

The frames of Lance campers and trailers are made of rectangular aluminum tubing. The tubes are bonded to the Azdel and MIG-welded to each other. Some of the tubing ends are filled with wood, where they will be bolted together.

Brandan Gillogly
With the frame and wiring in place, an overhead laser projector shows workers where plywood or aluminum sheets will be installed before the interior walls are laminated. The position of the reinforcing sheets is determined by the placement of the internal cabinetry and furniture. The backing plate you see here is for a speaker in the ceiling.

Brandan Gillogly
An interior wall of marine-grade Lauan plywood with a vinyl wallpaper is bonded on before it heads to another CNC router that cuts all the layers to create openings for the door, windows, slide-out, and access panels. These trailer side walls will soon move next door, where the rest of assembly occurs.

Brandan Gillogly
At the final assembly building just down the street, trailer frames start with open-channel frame rails and crossmembers that are riveted together before torsion axles are bolted on.

Brandan Gillogly
Depending on the size of the travel trailer, tanks for fresh, gray, and black water may be insulated individually or, as is the case for this trailer, insulated along with the whole undercarriage. Either way, heater ducts are routed to the tanks to ensure they never freeze.

Brandan Gillogly
The “basement” of a camper has much less room to work with than a trailer and requires custom-molded water tanks; otherwise, the plumbing is similar.

Brandan Gillogly
Trailer floors are made from an insulated laminate like the roof and walls, but it’s topped with a seamless flooring that’s similar to linoleum.

As the frames and floors are coming together, workers in the upholstery area hand-cut and sew the trim.

Brandan Gillogly
Like the ceiling insulation and walls, cabinets and furniture also get cut using a CNC router. Careful planning makes the most out of each tough, lightweight poplar or maple plywood panel and minimizes waste.

Brandan Gillogly
Workers assemble furniture into sub-assemblies and install hardware before it is placed in the camper or trailer.

Brandan Gillogly
One place where cutouts can be reused is the subfloor for the shower/bathroom. Exterior wall sections initially cut out for doors, windows, or slide-outs come together to make a stand for the bathroom insert.

Brandan Gillogly
Furniture, cabinets, and appliance wiring is installed on the trailer deck before the walls go on.

Brandan Gillogly
The construction process is similar for campers. Most of the interior is installed, including HVAC systems and generators, before the side walls are bolted in place.

Brandan Gillogly
The nose cap on campers is formed as one piece to help prevent water leaks. It’s one of the last pieces to be added.

Brandan Gillogly
While trailer roofs have a slight crown to promote water drainage, camper roofs are flat in profile and slope from front to back. Here, this camper roof gets coated in adhesive before the TPO roofing membrane is placed on it.

Brandan Gillogly
The roof panel is lifted in place by an overhead crane. The roofing membrane wraps over the sidewalls and is heat-formed to maintain its shape. There are no seams to leak.

Slide-outs are the last major step of assembly, as campers and trailers get the slide-out hardware installed and the slide-out, assembled in one of the perpendicular assembly lines, finally meets its camper or trailer.

Brandan Gillogly
Once inside a camper, especially one with a slide-out, it’s easy to forget that its footprint fits in the bed of a pickup.