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Considering a used Lance, questions...

zonanavystar
Explorer
Explorer
I'm considering purchasing a 2004 Lance Lite 915, but I had some questions that I got the typical "I'm trying to sell you this camper" answers, but I was hoping to get some outside perspective from you folks.


1.) There is no AC in the unit. AC is required for me and it appeared that the camper was already wired for a roof mounted AC (it had the junction box in the ceiling with the label about 120 VAC, 60 hz etc...). They offered to install a unit for around $1,000. How easy/hard is it to install a roof mounted AC? Does it have a dedicated circuit breaker already standing by for this, or will it share an AC circuit breaker? I'm fine with the roof mounted controls, it does not need to tie into the thermostat.

2.) The camper has 4 speakers already installed in the ceiling, however there is no head unit for the stereo. Does this just mean it is pre-wired for a stereo? If so, where do those speaker wires meet?

3.) The camper does not come with the propane generator, but there seems to be a bundle of three thick gauge (6-8) wires leading into the compartment, and three smaller gauge wires as well. Does this mean its pre-wired for a generator? I did not see a propane connection. Anyone have any experience with the Lance Lite series of these years?

4.) Roof appeared in good shape with a seal job required sometime in the near future. No signs of any water intrusion though. Any opinions/thoughts on the Lance aluminum roofs?


Any insight is appreciated. Thank you!


Brian
14 REPLIES 14

Eric_Lisa
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yeah, what everyone else has said.

1) My 2003 Lance 1030 did not have AC when I bought it used in 2006. I had the dealer install it. Hindsight, I could have done it just as easily.

2) Mine was pre-wired with speakers installed. I cut an opening to fit and installed a single-DIN sized DVD player. It sounded funny. Taking the speakers out, I realized they had pre-wired two of them backwards.

3) Same thing, pre-wired for a generator, had the dealer install. It handled the AC until I got a bad batch of propane which gummed up the lines (and carb). It works okay now for the AC, but it will die after about 15 minutes in high heat with a heavy load.

4) Yeah, check the sealant. I re-caulk every year. Every year I find cracks. This is for a camper which is stored in a heated shop when not in use. If it has not been maintained it may have had water intrusion. Check that very carefully.

Check for water intrusion on:
- The skirts
- The front window/marker lights
- The entry door

Take a screwdriver with you. Pull a few screws out. Rusty screws = water is/was present.

In 2007, my then 4-year old camper was full of dry rot in the skirts. See my story in the TC University on this forum. Don't let that scare you if you are handy and can do the repair work. But if you uncover it, you can use it as a negotiating tactic to your favor. I didn't, and the dealer (Curtis Trailers, Portland OR) stuck me with it (along with an extended warranty that didn't cover water damage). The sales rep refused to return my calls...but that is old history.

Good Luck!
-Eric
Eric & Lisa - Oregon
'97 Silverado K2500, New HT383 motor!, Airbags, anti-sway bar
'03 Lance model 1030, generator, solar,

kohldad
Explorer
Explorer
It's funny when you read the old brochures as they claimed Aluminum was far superior to the TPO used by other manufacturers. Then the following year they are touting how much better TPO is. All depends on what you use and are trying to sell.

The 915 isn't heavy in the least by today's standards.
2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)

noxinnhoj
Explorer
Explorer
thanks kohldad,i thought they had used tpo for years,we love our 915,low bumper step,no slides works fine for us.It is a heavy camper when loaded up(beer),but our old 95 Silverado dually handles it nicely,hellwig sway bar helps too
1995 silverado dually,2005 lance 915 lite

kohldad
Explorer
Explorer
We have a 2005 lance 915 and love it.Make sure you check the wings for rot as well as the rear storage compartment.Ours has a rubber roof,didnt think they came from the factory with an aluminum roof in that year?


They switched the lite to TPO roofs in 2005.

With my 815 the 13,500 A/C is way too much. Can drop the temp from 100 to 70 in under 15 minutes. Tends to cycle too much because it's too big. I think a 9200 would be fine unless you plan on sitting in the sun when it's 110*.

lancecampers.com has most of the owners manual and brochures back to 1993.

And as said, if you call them with just the year and model, they will send you any information they have on record. They sent me the electrical schematic and framing diagrams for my unit.
2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)

jimh406
Explorer III
Explorer III
To clarify, a 2500W Onan Propane generator can run a 13500 with no issues.

'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 DS, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Bags, Toyo M655 Gs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.

NRA Life Member, CCA Life Member

Reddog1
Explorer
Explorer
zonanavystar wrote:
Wayne,

Since you installed a 9,200 BTU unit, you seem more than happy with it. The previous camper I had (2000 Lance Lite 825) had a 13,500 Brisk Air and it was definitely good enough. Is a 9,200 BTU AC enough for this larger camper?
I have yet to read someone posting the 9200 btu was not enough for a TC. Keep in mind, the RV industry uses the 13500s in almost all RVs, regardless of size. I am not an A/C guy, but from study and reading hundreds of post, a 13500 A/C is not efficient in a TC. It will cycle much more often, and does not remove the moisture as efficiently. Cost wise, they are pretty close to the same I think. A 9000 to 12000 btu unit is about 6 to 7 hundred dollars. It is important to read the specs on amp draw. Do a search on A/C in the TC forum and Tech Issues forum.

zonanavystar wrote:
Also, I did some research, and the propane generator offered was a 2500W. Can a 2500W generator power (or a 2KW Honda as mentioned earlier) handle a 13,500 BTU AC?
Typically, no. There are some soft start kits that work on some of the 13,500 BTU ACs, but do not work with all. This gets you past the initial start issue, then you will be running the A/C with the minimum amps required.

The manufacture has replaced my 9200 btu with a slightly larger unit. As I recall, it has pretty much the same amp requirements as my 9200. With my A/C, it will run with my Honda 2000 in the Economy mode, and ramp up when the compressor kicks on.


2004.5 Ram SLT LB 3500 DRW Quad Cab 4x4
1988 Bigfoot (C11.5) TC (1900# w/standard equip. per decal), 130 watts solar, 100 AH AGM, Polar Cub A/C, EU2000i Honda

Toad: 91 Zuke

zonanavystar
Explorer
Explorer
Thank you guys for the responses.

Wayne,

Since you installed a 9,200 BTU unit, you seem more than happy with it. The previous camper I had (2000 Lance Lite 825) had a 13,500 Brisk Air and it was definitely good enough. Is a 9,200 BTU AC enough for this larger camper?

Also, I did some research, and the propane generator offered was a 2500W. Can a 2500W generator power (or a 2KW Honda as mentioned earlier) handle a 13,500 BTU AC?

Thanks again!

nomadictxn
Explorer
Explorer
I own older similar floorplan version of 915, the 480. Aluminum roof is definitely a great build feature. Mine has interior booth cabinet instead of exterior Gen compartment. As suggested, get a Honda 2000 compatible ac unit and save the money it would cost for a propane unit. I like my camper a lot and if I had to replace it I would strongly consider the 915. Camper is definitely doable on a srw hd truck. I use lower stableloads only and it rides and handles well.
nomadictxn
2013 RAM 1500 QC 5.7, 3.92 4x4 6 sp.
2021 Flagstaff E Pro 19FBS

noxinnhoj
Explorer
Explorer
We have a 2005 lance 915 and love it.Make sure you check the wings for rot as well as the rear storage compartment.Ours has a rubber roof,didnt think they came from the factory with an aluminum roof in that year?
1995 silverado dually,2005 lance 915 lite

Reddog1
Explorer
Explorer
I installed my Polar Cub (9200 btu) A/C in 2005. Not at all difficult, and took me just over two hours as I recall. The hardest part was getting the A/C on the roof. Mine weighed just under 100 pounds, and I used a tractor with a front bucket.

If as you posted, it the junction box in the ceiling with the label about 120 VAC, My bet is it has the circuit breaker as well. Is there a vent near the center of the roof from the junction box? If so, remove the vent and set the A/C on the hole. The A/Cs use the same size opening. If it does not have a vent, it is probably framed for it. Mine was framed, but I had to cut it out.

In my opinion, the biggest concern is getting the proper size A/C. A 9000 to 1200 btu unit is more than big enough. An A/C this size typically will run with a Honda 2000 or equal. A larger unit will cycle more often, and from what I understand will be less efficient in removing the moister in the air. I will not say much more on the size of the A/Cs other than to my knowledge there are no advantages with an A/C larger than the 9000 to 1200 btu, but there are disadvantages.

Wayne


2004.5 Ram SLT LB 3500 DRW Quad Cab 4x4
1988 Bigfoot (C11.5) TC (1900# w/standard equip. per decal), 130 watts solar, 100 AH AGM, Polar Cub A/C, EU2000i Honda

Toad: 91 Zuke

finsruskw
Explorer
Explorer
Send the VIN # to lance and they can furnish you with the build sheet for your unit.
Surprised it is not in the pouch w/all the rest of the manuals for the camper.

jimh406
Explorer III
Explorer III
What kohldad said.

I would note that you should probably look in the cabinets for signs of water intrusion. There are a lot of different options for AC with some using much more power than others. That's important when picking a generator. Many people here find having a portable generator works better for them since the propane generators are loud compared to portables and the portables can used without the TC. Also, they can use the "generator" compartment for storage when they know they aren't going to need the generator.

Be sure to search for the AC topics and generator topics before you commit to a particular AC or generator.

'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 DS, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Bags, Toyo M655 Gs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.

NRA Life Member, CCA Life Member

kohldad
Explorer
Explorer
I have a 2004 815 which is a 1 foot shorter version of the 915. Would love to upgrade to a 915 and have looked at a few.

1) Yes the junction box is for a/C. Sometimes there is a roof vent there and all you have to do is remove it.

2) The speaker wires should be run to a cabinet over the sink. If you look there, you should find a panel held in place with four screws. Open the panel and you will find four pairs of twisted wires, one for each speaker. You will also find a unused red wire for the power feed and heavy gauge white for the ground. Lastly, on the inside of cabinet above the monitor panel, it should also have the wood around the area for the radio to mount.

3) Haven't looked the generator compartment so not positive. Sounds like it is prewired which was an option on the Lite series. Since you didn't see the propane line would probably need to be Teed and run to the back. This would be done in the corner of the wing so easy to do. I will do some digging and see if I can confirm.

4) Love the one piece aluminum roof and you will not have any problems. One nice thing about lance is the rubber caulking you see on top is really just cosmetic as it is the stuff under the objects that does the real sealing. So just clean them up, recaulk, then once a year paint with a special paint. Shouldn't have any problems.

I talked to the owner of a shop who likes to buy the older campers, fixes them up and resells. Usually doesn't make much money because he does it the right way and is just as interested in saving the campers. He said 2004 was probably the best year as it was a couple years after they moved to the new facility yet before they started making a lot of cost cutting not-so-good ideas.

One place to check carefully is inside the wings as they usually aren't sealed the best and tend to be the first place to lot. If the unit is an aluminum skinned camper, then it becomes pretty easy to repair though still a job.
2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)

MN_Ben
Explorer
Explorer
If you are looking for that specific model and year with those options, I would suggest putting "Lance 915" into searchtempest.com and getting the one with the options you want.

Otherwise, It sounds like it is prewired for a generator. There may have bee a LP line/plug way up in the corner of the compartment.
I would assume the speaker wires end up where the stereo head goes. You would have to pick up a car stereo of your liking.
I have never installed an A/C unit. Mine has its own dedicated circuit breaker.

More answers/suggestions to follow.....
Ben
2006 F350 Dually PSD
2008 Keystone Laredo 29RL 5th Wheel

2002 F250 7.3 PSD -SOLD
2004 Lance 1130 -SOLD
2005 Lance 981 -SOLD
2000 Lance 1010-SOLD
199? Texan 650 -SOLD
Ford FX4 Ranger -SOLD