Articles

Don’t Forget About ’80s Rotary Power

By Sara Ryan | August 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Rotary-powered machines are often known to be somewhat unreliable and inefficient, yet we still love them. The way they sound, their compact footprint, their simplicity; they’re just so darn nifty. Before I get into the details of an especially rad remake of one of these beauties, I think it’s appropriate to break down the cool-factor. Firstly, …

Ford e-Service now available in Malaysia

By MT Digital | August 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

Book and confirm service appointments online in real-time for seven Ford authorised Service Centres Ford owners can now make service appointments online in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Ford e-Service bookings are offered at: Ford Ara Damansara Ford Petaling Jaya 2 Ford Juru Ford Butterworth Ford Kuching Ford Kota Kinabalu Ford Tawau. To booking a …

New look for Mitsubishi showroom in Malacca

By MT Digital | August 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

Authorised dealer Sing Kwung Jidosha upgrades 3S centre with new MMM visual identity Mitsubishi dealer Sing Kwung Jishosha recently unveiled their upgraded their 3S centre, the first in Malacca to sport Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia’s new visual identity. The premises have a total built-up area of 10,000 square feet. It comprises a customer lounge with WIFI …

Shifting Weight: Corner Balancing Project Rough, DIY-Style

By Ron Celestine | August 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

A Silly Idea Welcome to another installment of DIY madness for my ER34 Skyline. This time around we’re diving deep into the Nissan’s suspension setup, with the hope of extracting more of its handling potential. Truth be told, Project Rough has always handled quite well, both on spirited drives in the mountains and on track. It seems like forever …

Attacking Time & Smashing Lap Records: The Tilton Evo Returns

By Matthew Everingham | August 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

Welcome Back Before we get to carried away, let me first say that it’s great to be back. Back behind a lens, back to stealing your valuable time, and most importantly, back at the race track. It all feels like home. Even if it’s a just reprieve, it feels amazing to finally start stepping away …

Bag yourself a stylish ride for under RM100k

By MT Digital | August 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Turn heads where ever you go with these five very different stylish rides A stylish ride is what you need to give yourself a boost. Let’s face it, 2020 hasn’t been what we expected. Lockdown and social distancing kept most people at home and off the roads for months. Then there was the price of …

A Belgium Blast With Friends

By Bastien Bochmann | August 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

‘We’re planning a drive through Belgium soon. Some nice roads and cool cars. You in?’ That’s the message that greeted me when I looked at my WhatsApp a few weeks ago. I immediately said yes. I mean, what’s not to like about the idea of hitting up some nice backroads with your petrolhead friends? Cue last Saturday. …

Why You Should Buy A Honda S2000

By Will Beaumont | July 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Pretending that now, exactly now, is the right time to buy a Honda S2000 is a little bit silly. That’s because the right time to buy a rear-wheel drive two-seater sports car with a high-revving naturally aspirated engine is, well, always. However, it could be argued that now might be the absolute best time to …

Ferrari Powered: Not Your Average Pandem M3

By Stefan Kotze | July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

Introduction In this day and age, ‘scene’ cars, those built mostly/wholly for Instagram fame, generally follow a pretty simple formula. You start with a popular platform – the more exotic the better; select an appropriate wide-body kit; have your fenders cut to fit said kit; install air ride; and spec a set of large, wide wheels. Optional, …

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.