He’s baaaack!!! Lance Rides Again!

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It took four months, four repair shops, and over a thousand miles, but Lance is back on the road under his own power and performing like the champ he is.  If the Lance Repair Saga had gone on any longer, I would have needed to compose an epic poem to do the story justice.  But it didn’t, so you’ll have to be content with this final update.

Let’s Back Up!

If you’re first hearing about Lance’s engine replacement, you’ll first want to go back and start at the beginning.

Part 1: Man Down! Lance is in the Shop!

Part 2: Lance Soap Opera Continues!

Part 3: OMG It’s Happening!

For those of you in the know, let’s continue on.

Oh sure.  NOW we’re all smiles…

So let’s pick up where we left off.  Myron and the crew at Hilltop Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Richmond received all the parts and got to work installing a new engine in Lance.  They completed the job on Friday, April 12th, as Stef and I were hosting our group at Winnebago Outdoor’s Sea Otter Adventure.  At that time, Lance had a shiny new engine, and was ready to roll.  Hilltop Dodge is only about two hours away from the Laguna Seca raceway where Sea Otter takes place.

So this should tell you how excited I was:  I bailed out of the big bike ride on Saturday, borrowed a car, and drove up to Hilltop to pick up Lance.  Myron and his crew had Lance washed and ready to go when I got there.


This is Myron. If you are anywhere near the Bay Area, and need service on your ProMaster, seek this guy out. It’s worth it.

I got the keys to Lance and a stack of paperwork listing out everything they did.  While the engine replacement was carried out under warranty, there were  some additional charges I had to pay.  These charges were because of all the add-ons and accessories that have been installed on Lance over the years.  Many of these had to be removed and reinstalled, or at least checked out, before the job could be considered complete.  That seemed reasonable.  So in the final analysis, though I wasn’t happy it took four months, I was happy with this outcome.

But Lance wasn’t done yet.  From Hilltop, I drove him over to Gordon’s shop, Edge Motorworks, in Dublin, California for re-fitment of the second alternator and other associated accessories.  Gordon himself had been in Southern California (making other ProMaster house calls, as it turned out), but he high-tailed it back to Dublin to meet up with Lance and me.  We got Lance tucked in, and then I Ubered back to the borrowed car at Hilltop and drove back to Sea Otter in time for dinner.  (Lots of driving, and if you know anything about Bay Area traffic, you know this was no small feat.)

A few of the Winnebago Group from Sea Otter. Some of them even raced this year!

After Sea Otter, Stef and I headed to Pinnacles National Park with Parky, while Lance spent time at Edge.  When we were done at Pinnacles, we headed back to Dublin to pick up Lance.

An actual hiking trail at Pinnacles National Park. Yep. It’s that awesome.

While at Edge, Lance got some more upgrades – namely to his second alternator.  Thanks to Adam Nations at Nations Starter and Alternator, there was a new, upgraded alternator installed – as well as a replacement wiring harness, belt, and other various and sundry parts just to be on the safe side.  This new alternator, by the way, is awesome.  It’s charging Lance’s battery at a rate of over 100 amps at a stuck-in-traffic idle.  It’s also considerably quieter than the last alternator.  Can’t complain about that!

Lance also had his E-Guard reinstalled at Edge.  Gordon had removed it before taking the vehicle to Dodge dealers for service.  (smart)  Before leaving Edge, we ran Lance’s engine… a lot… to make sure the cooling system was performing, the heater was working, the thermostat was opening, the engine and alternator were working to expectation, and that there were no belt-meets-hose issues.  With all those checks passed, it was time to head out from Edge.

Here with Gordon and Lance. Gordon is covered in coolant and oil… his two favorite things. 😉

And from there, we had our own Fit RV mini-caravan home to Utah.  The first few miles heading away from Edge were a bit nervous, but after a few hours of nothing happening, we settled in for the cruise.  I will say that Stef and I ACTUALLY FOUGHT over who got to drive Lance home.  Stef was even willing to take Lance + trailer (and she hates it when we tow the trailer).  I’d like to report that I won this argument, but I think you all know better than that.  🙂

Family portrait: Lance and his younger brother, Parky, with their friend George.

And so now we’re home, and we’ve got this badass scene in our side driveway.  With two different Lithium battery systems in these rigs, I’m trying to think up some kind of experiment.  Or maybe I’ll just fire up both systems, hire a band, and see how long we can rock out on battery power.  Whatever I do, I’m sure I’ll be typing the word “Watt” lots of times.

Thanks for your patience and well-wishes through this ordeal.  We’ll see you on the road!


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    28 thoughts on “He’s baaaack!!! Lance Rides Again!

    1. Herb

      Hello, James. Was there ever any talk from any of the dealers, or manufacturer, that they would deny warranty coverage because of the addition of the dual alternator kit?

      1. James - Post author

        If the second alternator had been the *cause* of the problem, I suppose there might have been.
        And maybe that’s why they wanted to tear down the engine completely before agreeing to cover things.
        But once they tore it down, they came to the conclusion about the failed thermostat and all was well.

    2. David Duncan

      Have you ever addressed the topic of how you keep Lance so clean? Hand wash? Coin ops? Truck wash? I’m struggling to find a better solution than my hose.

      1. James - Post author

        Lol. Actually, Lance is usually filthy. The yellow just hides the dirt REALLY well.
        When we do wash Lance, it’s almost always at one of those drive-through-and-squirt-it-with-the-gun kind of washes.

    3. Gina Borchers

      Just wanted to let you know that I purchased the Ultra-gauge Blue due to your positive review AND I emailed the company to let them know.
      Many thanks to you and Stef. I really enjoy your videos and posts.

    4. Dave Klenk

      Congrats on the return of your Travato.

      My wife and I are very happy owners of a 2019 Travato G. Since we live in Texas, we do have occasion to use the Very Loud air conditioner. Could you please provide information about the new quiet A/C units, the possibility of upgrading the older units to reduce noise, etc.
      Thanks so much. Dave.

      1. Dave Klenk

        Thank you for producing your most excellent video on the new super quiet Coleman Mach 10 NDQ A/C. This new A/C looks like a fantastic option for Class B RVs.
        We will definitely have one installed in our Travato when they are available.
        Thanks again.

    5. Suzan Lamberson

      What are you thoughts on the Park new model. Compared to twin beds would you still prefer the G model? Looking to buy one of them.
      Thanks, Suzan Lamberson

      1. James - Post author

        The beds are certainly more comfortable for sleeping than the bed in Lance. Especially with Lance’s bed being so close to the ceiling!
        We love Lance, but there’s no denying that.

    6. Celeste

      Three big cheers for Lance and happy for you guys. Now how do you decide which one to take National Park touring? I guess Parky will get priority for now but, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Lance.

      1. James - Post author

        As well as it ever did.
        Which means no. It’s not working.
        Don’t think of it as a gauge. Think of it as dashboard decor.

    7. Bill Holt

      Good to hear Lance’s ‘warped’ saga is over…let the new adventures begin.

      Your comment regarding the new alternator being much quieter … I would be very interested how it compares, sound wise, with Parkys.

      1. James - Post author

        Interesting. Two completely different beasts, but they do the same thing.
        Parky’s is much smaller, to be sure. I don’t know how to separate the alternator noise from any other engine noise – but a total measurement might be interesting.

    8. Roger B

      Congratulations! So happy to here Lance is back and is actually a new improved version of Lance! Got one question about the old temperature gauge on Lance’s dash. Did it spike when Lance’s old engine had the final fatal overheating incident? Reason I’m asking is I’m now using an Ultra-Gauge (OBD engine data transmitter similar to Scangauge) as a result of your story here. Wondering – if my thermostat fails like yours did, is it still sending the temperature reading to the OBD so my gauge can pick it up and alert me? It’s cool to be able to see the real temps, but I really wanted it so I’d get an alert in “Lance Meltdown Mode”!

      1. Sam Pellegrino

        Roger, the Thermostat does not “send” a signal. It only opens and closes to whatever parameters it’s built to. There is a separate, independent, Coolant Temperature Sender, somewhere in the system, that sends that signal to the gauge, or more likely, the OBD2 port. I have the ScanGauge2, and I watch the coolant temp like a hawk when conditions warrant (mostly all the time).

        1. Roger Bohnke

          Thanks! Good, and comforting, to know that my UltraGauge would still get good data in the event of a thermostat failure.

      2. James - Post author

        If it did “spike”, I didn’t catch it. We got dash warning messages, and then I took the picture in one of my previous posts.

        Sam is correct on the functions of the thermostat and OBD info, btw.

        1. Roger Bohnke

          Thanks James. So essentially that gauge is worthless. Sorry you’ve had to go through this but through your posts, I’ve learned a lot on this important topic.

        2. James - Post author

          Thanks, Roger.
          I feel like I’ve been responsible for a flood of Scan Gauge/Ultra Gauge orders lately! lol.

        3. David Hobbs

          Great news he’s back! Do you have to take care driving Lance with a new engine (eg first 500 miles) or is that a thing of ages past?

        4. James - Post author

          They didn’t say anything about it at Hilltop. So maybe it is ancient folklore.
          Even so, I took it easy for the first 500 miles or so. But Lance was towing a trailer for part of that, so I guess we’ll see.

    9. David

      Congratulations! Happy Lance is back home, better than ever. BTW, how are you two liking the 59K floor plan in Parky? Are you working from the table mid coach or using the passenger seat with fold up table. Do you like the 360° panaramic view all around the coach having the bathroom in the rear? The beds are great, aren’t they?


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