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Old 06-15-2011, 11:39 PM   #1
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Question Doran=Disappointing

We've have our Doran system on the four wheels (with metal stems) for two trips now. Many times during the day of driving we get a "lost sensor" alarm. At first I'd stop to see what happened. The sensor was there, of course, and the Doran was crying wolf. Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:49 AM   #2
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We had a the same problem on our nVision TPMS system. Regularly lost contact with a trailer sensor, regardless of where we placed the base unit. I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me a free 6' extension cord for the antenna. That allowed us to position the antenna much higher up in the cab of our truck. That pretty much fixed the problem.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:26 AM   #3
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We've had similar problems with our Doran unit with our new truck. The solution was to move the receiver unit to be above the dash. That seemed to give a better line of sight.

Also, we've had 2 sensors arrive DOA. Both were replaced without issue from the manufacturer but the extra shipping delay was definitely an inconvenience given our short towing season up here.

Otherwise, I'm happy with the way the system performs.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Will Contact DORAN

teagues and Freeheel: Thanks for the advice. I will try to contact Doran directly to see what they have to offer. We report result here.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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We had "false alarms" because the sensor, even when screwed on tight, did not depress the air valve enough to consistently provide air pressure to the sensor. In other words, the air valve core would close and shut off the air when moving down the road occasionally. The solution was to unscrew the valve core slightly so that the sensor would keep it pressed down and open.

doug k
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We had "false alarms" because the sensor, even when screwed on tight, did not depress the air valve enough to consistently provide air pressure to the sensor. In other words, the air valve core would close and shut off the air when moving down the road occasionally. The solution was to unscrew the valve core slightly so that the sensor would keep it pressed down and open.

doug k
Way Cool Idea! We'll try it tomorrow morning on the run from the Oregon coast to Boise, ID. THANKS!
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:18 AM   #7
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I had the same problems.....contacted the mfgr and then just removed them from the tires.....
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:00 AM   #8
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Doran says to not overtighten the sensors!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We had "false alarms" because the sensor, even when screwed on tight, did not depress the air valve enough to consistently provide air pressure to the sensor. In other words, the air valve core would close and shut off the air when moving down the road occasionally. The solution was to unscrew the valve core slightly so that the sensor would keep it pressed down and open.

doug k
Excerpt from my March 5, 2011 article "TPMS - Update":

"Over the phone, Doran Sales Representative, Debbi Gerdes (seen in the video), 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."

History Safari Express Blog Archive TPMS – Update
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
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I've had the Doran system for almost 3 years and generally it works fine. Sometimes I get an alert a sensor isn't working. Maybe I overtighten the sensors—how would I know how tight is too tight? Is "barely tight" enough mean just after you stop hearing air escaping?

Last year, at the end of the season, the system started acting badly. This year I reprogrammed it and on a short trip it worked fine. My lesson was to reprogram it periodically since the electronics seem to get unstable after a while.

We originally bought another brand from Doran, but there was no practical way to mount it in our truck. Just then Doran came out with their own system and we send the first one back and got the Doran 360. It had better mounting options. The 3 suction cups have stuck to the windshield through summer and winter for 3 years. I'd rather mount it closer to the driver, but nothing wants to stick to our dashboard that I can remove later and I don't want to drill any holes in it.

The locking allen screws on the locks can be overtightened and then they won't back out. You have to tighten them all about the same.

We are generally happy with the Doran although it has its quirks. We are also glad to have something to tell us what is happening with the trailer tires. It also means I can check air pressure each morning without using a pressure gauge on each tire. My pressure gauge and the Doran usually disagree by about 3 lbs.

Gene
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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These things, lot a lot of add-ons, tend to be fussy and take from the simplicity of the travel trailer concept. My Tundra, and all newer vehicles, have the sensors inside the wheel below the valve core. I have wondered if Toyota sensors could be installed in the trailer wheels and would give low presssure warning on the truck's tire pressure warning system?

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Old 06-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #11
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I don't think the Toyota sensors are very sophisticated.

Our '06 4Runner's system drove us crazy until we realized it was the spare that needed air—and not very much. The Tundra's system has never alerted us to anything because we have Load Range E tires which we run at higher pressure than the LR C OEM tires, so we'd have to lose a lot of air before it would warn us of anything. You can't set these systems for a specific tire pressure and they don't warn you of overpressure or have an alarm for rapid loss of pressure (blowout). You can't tell how low the air pressure is when the dash light goes on. You may not even notice it.

The cost for a sophisticated system like Doran and others is more than any manufacturer wants to spend and most people wouldn't want to pay more. The Doran and others can be set up for many tires as they can be used in 18 wheelers, so they could be used on the tow vehicle tires for another $200. We didn't do that because a problem with trailer tires is nearly impossible to detect until you got really big problems. It's much easier to know if there is a problem with the tow vehicle tires and $200 is $200.

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
a problem with trailer tires is nearly impossible to detect until you got really big problems. It's much easier to know if there is a problem with the tow vehicle tires and $200 is $200.

Gene
Gene,

Not sure I am understanding your point about trailer tire problems being nearly impossible to detect until they become a big problem.

I am more than a little paranoid about having a tire on the trailer fly apart and cause very expensive damage to the side of my trailer.

Now I know that having a TPMS isn't by any means a guarantee that this won't happen. On our last trailer (non-AS) we did lose a big chunk of tread off one tire, and from what I could tell by looking at the tire, it hadn't lost air, so a TPMS wouldn't have told me a thing.

I suppose it is possible it might have lost some air, I didn't measure it.

Then only way I detected this problem was that I felt vibration in the tow vehicle and stopped to do a walkaround. There was a chunk of tread missing maybe 15" long x the full width of the tire.

The reason I still opted for a TPMS though was that I had read that a common cause of tires throwing tread is overheating due to underinflation.

Surely the TPMS should catch that developing problem and warn me before it is too late? I also change tires at 5 year intervals to hopefully avoid problems due to age.

Seems to me that the TPMS should at the very least help me to hedge my bets.

Brian.


PS - I'm not familiar with the Doran system,

I bought a "Hawkshead" TPMS, wich I think is less expensive but more or less has the same features as Doran, monitors pressures, temperatures, limits can be selected, warns of slow or rapid change etc.

I also bought a signal booster or repeater that runs on a couple of AA batts. It is a small portable device 3" x 3" x 2" weatherproof box. I throw it up in a front cupboard in the AS so it is roughly half way between the TV cab and the AS back axle.

The booster may not even be necessary for my setup, I just wanted to ensure a good strong signal. On one trip, I forgot to use the booster and still had solid signals the whole time.

In fact the only time (happened once so far) that I had a lost signal from a sensor was when its battery was low. One of the reasons I selected the Hawkshead system is that the sensor batteries are easily replaceable.

If I haven't used the system for a while, I routinely check the batteries with a voltmeter and replace any that seem weak - I get them at very low cost from Hong Kong (Ebay!)
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:38 PM   #13
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I'd give up the sophistication of the Doran for the simplicity of the Toyota system in a heartbeat, if it would work. The Tundra warned us of two slow leaks, one a nail and another a bolt. Warning light came on, tire losing air, who needs to know how much air pressure is in the tire at any given moment.

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Old 06-17-2011, 01:03 PM   #14
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Brian, I should have said pressure problems are nearly impossible to detect. If the tread separates regardless of pressure, there's no way to know while driving unless you can feel a bump, bump, bump, or see pieces flying off in the side mirror, or someone alerts you. Nothing is foolproof, but I think the TPMS cuts your losses.

Doug, if the system knows how much air is in the tire at any moment, it can warn you of too little or too much pressure and how fast it is happening. The one time we had a flat with the Tundra, we discovered it in the morning and I never looked at the dashboard to see if a warning light was on. I doubt the Tundra has an audible alert because the 4Runner doesn't. I like simplicity too, but I'm willing to have a tradeoff to cut my losses.

It also pays to have a tire repair kit and a compressor. The flat happened nearly a 100 miles from anywhere I could get it fixed, so I fixed it. Our Tundra came with a smaller tire for a spare (not a donut, but still a bit smaller than the other tires), so I doubt I'll ever use the spare while towing.

If I were buying a TPMS system now, I would get ones where I can replace the batteries in the sensors—a lot cheaper than buying new sensors at $50 a pop. To make sure the sensors last, I remove them when not traveling to save the batteries. I think Doran says they last about 7 years.

There is no end to the stuff you can bring and if you are clinically paranoid, it gets pretty expensive. I am not paranoid, I have real enemies. They hide under the trailer at night.

Gene
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