TPMS – Update

A tire losing air and going flat can often be felt in the primary vehicle, but if this happens while towing a trailer you might not become aware of it until expensive and possibly catastrophic damage occurs to the trailer tire, rim and trailer.  I purchased the Doran Tire Pressure Monitoring System and began using it in November, 2008.  See my comprehensive article, “Tire pressure monitoring system“, which shows how I set up the monitor in our F-250 Super Duty truck.

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The system has performed flawlessly for over two years.  A few months ago, I began to notice an occasional loss of signal from one of the sensors.  I contacted Doran Mfg., LLC and received excellent customer service.  Per their instructions, I sent back the sensor for evaluation.  I was told the processing time would be about three weeks.  In the meantime, we already had camping reservations for an upcoming Agua Caliente Park trip and would not think of leaving home without a TPMS, which gave me an opportunity to purchase and try another popular brand, Pressure Pro, during the interim.  The Pressure Pro monitor and 4 sensors arrived quickly, were easy to program and install, and performed well.

Shortly after I returned from this trip, I received a new sensor from Doran.  See their YouTube video, “Doran Mfg. WTS Outdoor Adventure“.  Additional sensors can be purchased so that both the truck and trailer tire sensors can be monitored on one monitor.  But since I now have two separate monitoring systems (one for the truck tires and one for the trailer tires), I have the peace of mind knowing that should one fail, I can always use the other for those crucial trailer tires.  The two systems mount nicely in the truck as seen below.

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Earlier this week, I used both systems for our return to Borrego Springs, California, for camping during the beginning of the desert wildflower displays.  Whether we go over or around the mountains to this location, there are often few turnouts, so it is important to know if a tire is losing air before damage occurs.

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Over the phone, Doran Sales Representative, Debbi Gerdes (seen in the video mentioned above), told me that people tend to over-tighten the sensors when screwing them on the tire valve stem, which can cause the inner O-ring to bulge out or become loose and can lead to failure of the unit.  Debbie advised to just get them barely tight enough to seal.  She also said that the seal is not normally visible on the sensor, but if it is seen, it could be gently pressed back in place with a dental pick.

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So even if a trailer tire blows out, I’ll know about it immediately. Both monitors emit an audible alert if tire pressure goes out of normal range, so I can keep my eyes on the road and my hands on the wheel and enjoy getting there.

Comments

  1. insightout says

    Bill,

    Of the two systems, which would be your first choice ?

    Also, relative cost vs. learning curve ?

    As you may surmise, I (and probably many others) abhor this type of LED technology, beeping, flashing lights, bulky monitors taking up my dog’s space, time necessary to install, and required reading of a manual translated loosely from Japanese to English.

    However the prudence, vis-a-vis safety for the driver, passengers, and general public, outweighs 21st century inconvenience, so even a Luddite should rightfully condescend.

    An aside, our 1986 excella has some type of hydraulic/pneumatic system mounted above the triple axle on both sides that supposedly, if hooked up properly, alerts to lowered pressure. I’ve never had it tested nor have installed the requisite on-board monitor. Weird. It looks like a 4 foot long shock absorber…mounted horizontally.

    The 2nd question above is the most important. I would rather pay more if I don’t have to think.

  2. Bill D. says

    Thanks Dr. C (insightout) for your questions and comments.

    From my perspective, both systems are about the same cost, ease of installation, operation and performance… I like both.

    I would rather hear the sound of a beeping monitor alerting me to a low tire pressure or fast leak than hearing the sound of a passing car’s horn alerting me to a failing tire and then hearing the sound of the tire wheel well breaking apart.

    Doran’s 29 page User Manual is clearly written. See their video on the installation of their tire pressure monitoring system:

    http://www.doranmfg.com/tire-pressure-monitoring-systems.htm

    In both systems, the monitor is first put in the program mode and each specific sensor is assigned to a specific wheel location. Note that once the sensor is attached to the tire valve stem it emits an RF signal, so when I return home after a camping trip I remove each sensor to conserve its battery. It’s my understanding that battery life should be about 5 years. I reattach the sensors to their originally assigned wheel locations before each trip.

    Having both systems is redundant, but while one system was sent back for checking, I obtained another for an eminent camping trip and, as seen in NASA’s Space Shuttles, redundancy of critical systems is not a bad thing.

  3. Bill D. says

    Update: Yes, Dr. C is correct in that having two systems is redundant, and over time, I have been happy with PressurePro’s performance and I have ordered 4 more sensors for the truck tires and I now monitor all 8 sensors (trailer and truck) through one PressurePro monitor.