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Old 04-02-2014, 01:18 PM   #1
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Are TireMinders Needed?

I was wondering if I'm a complete idiot for not spending $320.00 on tire minders for my Interstate. Are they worth it and do they work well? Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:46 PM   #2
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As long as you check your tires often like when you are at a rest stop or a gas station and pay attention, you should be fine. I do a walk around every time I stop. I walk around a feel the tires and rims. If one tire is a lot hotter than the rest, then you need to find out why. Also feel the rim and hub area to see if a brake is sticking or needs adjusting. You might even have a wheel bearing going bad. Also pay attention to the trailer window relative to the window frame on your tow vehicle. If there is a tilt there, then you might have a low tire or a blown tire. You can get an IR thermometer but I never use mine. I use my hand.

Perry
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
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I don't have them, and never felt like I needed them. An accurate tire pressure gauge, an air compressor for when a tire is low (also handy for winterizing the plumbing), a plug kit in the toolbox that thankfully I haven't needed yet, and checking the tires as perryg114 described has been good enough for me for the 27 months I've owned mine.

Even though perryg114 is describing how he checks his trailer's tires, and we're driving Interstates, the philosophy and procedures are the same. Everything except what he said about the trailer window being level with the vehicle window and the trailer wheel bearings possibly going out.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:34 PM   #4
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I also carry a tire plug kit, although I don't recommend you run a plug permanently, it gets you to where you can get the tire fixed properly with a plug patch. Any tire I have had patched with just a plug has eventually blown out. I have also had the plug patches fail. If you come out of a store etc, and your vehicle is leaning funny, check the tires. The tire monitors are like radar detectors. They don't really protect you from the cop that came up behind you and is now on your bumper. If you walk around your vehicle you might see that bulge or gash on the side of the tire before it blows out.

Perry
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:54 PM   #5
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While I've never had to plug a tire on our AS, I have on many occasions on other vehicles and never had one fail. I've looked at them from the inside when replacing the tires and the plug appears to have melted and formed a patch on the inside. I did get the tools and patches from a gas station back when they did that sort of thing.

Tried one from a auto parts store and while the reamer worked OK, the needle bent double when trying to insert the plug which is why I bought a set from the pros. The hardest part usually after finding the offending nail or screw, getting it out, and reaming the hole. I suspect that would be really tough on the AS tires.

The Sprinter comes w/ a compressor and can of sealant.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:02 PM   #6
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The plugs don't do so well on high pressure tires and that goo that they use is heat sensitive and the combination of high pressure heat and time are not good.

Perry
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:03 PM   #7
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I to have had good luck with tire plugs, the kind like rope with goo on them. I have found them difficult if not impossible to push into a load range E truck tire and have actually drilled the puncture out larger to be able to get them in.

I have used the plugs and 12 volt compressor on the road from time to time when I was delivering trailers. There is no place better than an RV factory yard to load your tires with screws
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:21 PM   #8
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There is no place better than an RV factory yard to load your tires with screws
Or driving thru a new subdivision where they are still building houses.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:57 PM   #9
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Or driving thru a new subdivision where they are still building houses.

Or a motorcycle shop parking lot where we disassemble the crates bikes ship in
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:00 PM   #10
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I don't have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), but I'm seriously considering adding one. The 2500 Sprinters and all vehicles under 10,000 GVW come with them from the factory as required by US law.

I check my tires regularly and do a walk around at all rest and fueling stops. Two weeks ago at a rest stop just east of Little Rock I discovered the inside dual on passenger side was totally flat. Tire was ruined and I didn't feel a thing on the raod. On close inspection it looks like the rubber valve stem on that inside dual failed, with a crack right at the wheel.

In one year and 30,000 miles this is the second time I've used roadside assistance. The Coach Net service for this tire change was OK, but had to wait about 2 hours since the rest stop was not near a large city. I was going to change it myself and had everything out ready to do it. Then I discovered it is really difficult to get the Mercedes provided jack on the recommended jacking point for the rear wheels, especially on passenger side. The tanks that Airstream have added to underside make it hard to get jack on forward leaf spring mount in owner’s manual. Then once you struggle to get jack in place you won’t be able to get a full stroke on that hydraulic jack since the grey water tank is in your way.


So I waited for the paid professional to do it with his air/hydraulic jack and air tools. It took him about 15 minutes.

My other roadside assist was courtesy of Mercedes back in December due to fuel leak after dealer service for fuel filter. That one was a ride on a flatbed truck in Baltimore rush hour traffic. Also involved a 2 hour wait for flatbed that was low enough to get under bridges with that tall sprinter on top.


Just saying,
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:54 PM   #11
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This question is sort of like asking if a first aid kit is needed.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:17 AM   #12
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I don't have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), but I'm seriously considering adding one.
If you install the type that attaches to the valve stem, you run into a problem in the inside rear tires due to the rubber valve stem; most TPMS are designed to go on rigid stems and will cause undesired flexing of a rubber stem. If you install the type that is built into the valve stem on the inside of the tire like you find on the <10,000GVWR tires, you won't find any to fit the Alcoa wheels. There is a type that mounts on the inside of the tire, by means of a band around the rim; I'm thinking about getting that type for both my Interstate and my toad (12 sensors in all, including the spare tires) but not until I have to change out my tires anyway.

Quote:
My other roadside assist was courtesy of Mercedes back in December due to fuel leak after dealer service for fuel filter. That one was a ride on a flatbed truck in Baltimore rush hour traffic.
Which brings up a point that you already know, but didn't occur to me until you said that: If you have to call for a tow, make sure you tell the dispatcher that your vehicle needs a flatbed tow, is 9'8" tall (or maybe more if you have extra stuff up there like a satellite dish) and 22 (or 25) feet long, so they send a truck with a long enough and low enough bed the first time.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:14 AM   #13
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I have "tire minders" on all 6 wheels. It was a problem getting the rear inside tire minders off and back on with the Alcoa wheels. We bought the AI used (one year 10k miles). At first we got a lot of false alarms with pressure doubling in a give tire then normal 15 min later. We changed all the transmitter batteries and that alleviated the alarms. I also found one xmitter with a broken battery strap and replaced it. On an unrelated issue, one of the inside rear tires was cupped making a lot of noise. We took the AI to Mercedes suspecting a suspension or shock issue. The mechanic quickly noted that we had 5 contis and one Goodrich. The Goodrich was the correct size but not "e" rated. Upon further investigation with the original owner, we learned that he had the minders on the rear inside tires mounted on valve extensions. One of which developed a leak due to the constant motion. He lost pressure and shortly later, the tire. He was 3 hrs from home so he had Tire King replace the tire with one that fit. So we now have 6 contis and tire minders that are reasonably sans false alarms.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #14
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If you install the type that attaches to the valve stem, you run into a problem in the inside rear tires due to the rubber valve stem; most TPMS are designed to go on rigid stems and will cause undesired flexing of a rubber stem. If you install the type that is built into the valve stem on the inside of the tire like you find on the <10,000GVWR tires, you won't find any to fit the Alcoa wheels. There is a type that mounts on the inside of the tire, by means of a band around the rim; I'm thinking about getting that type for both my Interstate and my toad (12 sensors in all, including the spare tires) but not until I have to change out my tires anyway. ...
You are 100% correct don't put the valve cap type sensors on any tire with rubber valve stems. You will need ridged stems and I have found that the famous "Borg" dually kit now comes in a version specifically designed for the Interstate set-up with Alcoa and OEM Steel wheels. But I really don't like the screw-on sensors.

Here is link if anyone is interested: DL1SPAL Chrome Duallyvalve Kit

Since I'm about to install all new Michelin tires I'll get the proper valve stem installed at the same time. Being an engineer I'm trying to duplicate the OEM internal TPMS. The only suitable one I've found is from TST:
Truck System Technologies - TST 507 Internal Tire Pressure KitTST Trucking Systems

Only problem is the supplied valve stems will not work on the Sprinter. TST referred me to Bill "Borg" Falkenborg who was reported to have the proper adapter to get these internal sensors on his Dually Valve kit. I called Bill and he does not yet have the adapters developed. So I'll have to wait a few weeks to go forward. If all else fails I'll get his DL1SPAL dually stems installed and use the screw-on sensors.
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