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Old 12-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #1
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TPMS reviews, please

I'm sure this has been asked before, but here I go as a n00b AS owner. After reading all the terrifying tire posts in these forums, we've decided that we definitely need to get a TPMS for our rig before we make any serious trips. To that end, here's what we would love to have you tell us about your TPMS. BTW, we don't need a TPMS opinion fight - don't discuss any TPMS you don't actually own or use today or haven't owned recently and then replaced with a different one. If you're a vendor and want to turn us onto your TPMS, please send a PM rather than posting here.

* Which TPMS do you use, and why?
* Which one do you wish you were using, and why?
* Does your TPMS provide both visual and audible warnings, and if so, what are those warnings? Please be as specific as possible.
* Does your TPMS monitor both pressure and temp?
* Can you replace the batteries in your sensors? If not, do you care?
* Have you ever lost tire pressure due to a failed sensor?
* Have you lost tire pressure due to a valve stem vs. a puncture, and if so, did the TPMS enable you to save the tire?
* Can you carry your TPMS console with you around the rig as you visually inspect your tires so that you can check pressure/temp at the same time you are examining the tire/wheel?
* Does your TPMS console look like something from the 70's, or is it a modern piece of equipment (e.g. thin, light, high quality display, etc.?)
* Where in your rig to you mount your TPMS console?
* Can you figure out what the TPMS console is telling you without futzing around with it, taking your eyes off the road, etc.?
* Has your TPMS saved your bacon on any specific occasion? If so, what happened, and how did you know something was either actively going wrong (pressure loss) or about to go wrong (heat buildup)? Were you either able to prevent violent tire failure and the resulting damage to the trailer, or respond quickly enough to avoid even worse outcomes?
* What super-important thing did I forget to ask you about the TPMS you like best?

Note that we didn't ask you what your TPMS cost you...we truly don't care. Our entire TT/TV investment and the safety of our family is riding on those flang-blanged tires, and there's no way a good TPMS would cost enough to make us blink under those circumstances.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:02 PM   #2
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I use the Dill TPS system purchased from tirerack.com.Comes with internal sensors combined with metal valve stems.Gives realtime individual tire temps and pressures.Has a alarm feature.Small,thin lightweight and easy to use.Mine is mounted on the dash with a suction cup on a GPS pad.The sensors sleep when not in motion to conserve internal battery life and wake up when in motion.I switched to Michelin 16 inch tires and have no variance in tire pressure to date but I will not travel without my TPMS.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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I use the Hawkshead system and have done so for several years. Generally pleased with it and have now put the same system on my motorcycle. As you can imagine, it is all the more important on a bike to ensure all is well with tires!

I selected the Hawkshead because:

- you can change the batteries in the sensors
- price was attractive and I could buy from a Canadian supplier (also available n the US and I think the same equipment may be sold under different names.
- it monitors temperature and pressure and you can set the alarm thresholds.
- it gives separate warning of very very slow likes such as normal tore pressure loss, slow leaks such as an imbedded nail, and fast leaks such as a blow out.
- I did not find any negative review about the product.

- I am still happy with it after several years use. We have not had a tire malfunction during that time to really put it to the test.

- I like the fact that in addition to giving me warnings, when we are on the road, anytime I like, I can easily cycle through the tires and check their individual temperature and pressure. Probably no reason to do this really, but it gives me something to do on long interstate drives!

- the monitor is very small. I mount it on the windshield with an included suction bracket.
It has a good bright screen that lights up whenever you press a button or if there is an alarm. It also beeps loudly and flashes a red worming light. If there is a problem, you need touch nothing, the screen very clearly tells you which tire is involved and what the problem is, over temp, leak, and what kind of leak, slow fast etc.

you can test the device easily by slightly loosening a sensor on the valve stem and that will cause an alarm.


Some units seem to be troubled by signals from other types of transmitter - we have never experienced that problem.

They sell an optional signal booster unit (repeater) for about $60. you can get one that runs on 12vdc or on AA batts. I bought this because we have a 30' trailer and a fairly long truck. Several times I have forgotten to use it and still had no problem with signal strength, but even so I like to use it to know that I have a good strong signal.



The only negatives I have found (and these may apply on other systems too).

(1) I cannot use the system to check tire pressures in the am before we set out for the day.

(2) When we do start the day's drive, it can take up to 15 minutes or so for all sensors to register with the monitor. Just seems to me to be a very long time, but according to the supplier it is normal.

(3) Although you can very easily change the batteries in sensors, the supplier does not sell replacement rechargeable battery for the monitor - they want to sell you a new monitor for $110 !

My battery is still good, however when it dies, before ordering a new monitor I plan to open it up and see if I cannot find a suitable replacement battery on Ebay that I can solder in place myself! Also, I suspect even with a dead battery, the unit may continue to work well as long as you leave it plugged into a 12v source.

As far as the button cell batteries in the sensor, they are not a type you can buy cheaply from the dollar stores. From memory I think they are #1632.

I checked at a local "Battery Plus" sore and unbelievably, they wanted $8 each!!!!

I since found I can buy maybe 25 of them for that money on Ebay from Hong Kong with free shipping. That is what I do and they work fine.


Hope there is something useful to you in the forgoing. Hope I have answered most of your questions!

Brian.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:28 PM   #4
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We use no TPMS. Instead used the money towards a $1500 upgrade to Michelin 16" tires and Sendel wheels. There have been no reports of a catastrophic (blowout) failure of this tire/wheel combination on this Airstream forum. There have been many reports of the GYM 15" tire failures.

I think the safety of your family riding on the failure of a trailer tire is grossly overstating the problem but I know that line is frequently used to support an idea. I visually inspect our tires, hitch and overall combination for security at each fuel stop, a walk around.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:53 PM   #5
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* Does your TPMS provide both visual and audible warnings, and if so, what are those warnings? Please be as specific as possible.

Yes, display visual, beep tone.

* Does your TPMS monitor both pressure and temp?

Yes. Temp is internal as sensor is basically same style as used on pass cars. Monitors PSI low, high and high temp.

* Can you replace the batteries in your sensors? If not, do you care?

No. Accepted as a part of internal sensor.

* Have you ever lost tire pressure due to a failed sensor?

No.

* Have you lost tire pressure due to a valve stem vs. a puncture, and if so, did the TPMS enable you to save the tire?

No.

* Can you carry your TPMS console with you around the rig as you visually inspect your tires so that you can check pressure/temp at the same time you are examining the tire/wheel?

No. Sensors are asleep until rotating, saves battery useage. I rely on a high pressure dual foot truck stick gage for checking and setting.

* Does your TPMS console look like something from the 70's, or is it a modern piece of equipment (e.g. thin, light, high quality display, etc.?)

Display is a bit dated.

* Where in your rig to you mount your TPMS console?

Comes with suction cup mount, I'm on bottom driver corner of glass but you can be creative.

* Can you figure out what the TPMS console is telling you without futzing around with it, taking your eyes off the road, etc.?

Audible warning. Remember most everything on your dash is visual.

* Has your TPMS saved your bacon on any specific occasion? If so, what happened, and how did you know something was either actively going wrong (pressure loss) or about to go wrong (heat buildup)? Were you either able to prevent violent tire failure and the resulting damage to the trailer, or respond quickly enough to avoid even worse outcomes?

Hasn't happened thankfully. Did have one warning early after install. Pulled over inspected and no fault found. Determined to be a broken sensor due to over torquing by tire shop at install. Sensor was flopping around. Replaced at n charge to me.

* What super-important thing did I forget to ask you about the TPMS you like best?

I favored the OE style sensor even with any limitations you can conjure as it was installed with new tires. monitoring internal temp I consider this a plus.

Includes a remote mag base antenna if needed.

I'm currently looking at getting 16" wheels and another Dill is a part of the future package.

If you're trying to justify the trouble and expense, that is your call. But I value it as a silent observer watching out for what I may not see in time to prevent a nasty situation. My trailer is one of the heaviest tandem axle AS on the road, 30' w/slide.

Gary
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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A TPMS is cheap insurance compared to the after the fact damage to my trailer or my family.Michelin's are good tires but are not impervious to nails or road hazards.I also suggest you do what doug mentions above as that is just common sense.I also carry a torque wrench and check my re torque my lugnuts at every fuel refill but that is just me.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses!

Thanks again for the high quality input. So much useful info, so quickly. BTW, let's steer clear of any discussion of the merits of ST vs. LT or 15" vs. 16" - no matter what we roll on, we'd want a TPMS.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #8
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We use the TPMS from Truck System Technology (Trucking System Technology |TST Trucking Systems). Previously we had a Pressure Pro, but I didn't like the fact that it lacked a temp indicator nor were the batteries user changeable. When you have six tires plus a spare, spending $50 for each sensor when the batteries die is expensive! I am also much happier with the display on the TST setup.

I bought mine from Airforums member "Bandits"
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moflash View Post
I use the Dill TPS system purchased from tirerack.com.Comes with internal sensors combined with metal valve stems.Gives realtime individual tire temps and pressures.Has a alarm feature.Small,thin lightweight and easy to use.Mine is mounted on the dash with a suction cup on a GPS pad.The sensors sleep when not in motion to conserve internal battery life and wake up when in motion.I switched to Michelin 16 inch tires and have no variance in tire pressure to date but I will not travel without my TPMS.
Same for me with the Dill plus Michelin P235 75 15XL tires. I have the monitor mounted down low on my dash to keep it out of the sun. In service over two years with very good results. I use the remote antenna mounted close my trucks rear bumper. Dill has extremely good customer service. They quickly replaced the remote antenna, free of charge, after it was damaged by probably by me.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:38 PM   #10
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If you hang with this crowd long enough I have found I am constantly buying stuff to address all the intricacies of camping that are mentioned! (Love 'em all) My last purchase was a TPMS so I will share my findings. First, a source of info. (background info from July 2011)

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Note the links at the bottom of the article. I ended up purchasing the Tire Traker system. Ironically it is the same as several companies use including Tire Minder but it has a three year manufacturer warranty and it was on sale. I had to get metal tire valve stems but everyone one here says you should have those anyway. It works great. The 400C does pressure and temperature. I was getting a weird reading on one of my tires on the first trip but it reset and was fine after a quick off/on of the monitor and check of sensor. It is simplistic and setting it up is EASY. The four wheel system is $219 I believe. Camping W sells it as Tire Minder with a one year warranty and HawksHead as Pressure Track HD. I do not know how many other names it is sold as though it seems to be quite popular.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #11
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Thanks again. TST looks very nice indeed. Dill and Hawkshead are also nice, but I like that TST has so much flexibility regarding sensor configurations, and that the display looks to be about the same size as a pager. I would love to see a solution with a console that's really flat and, thin, with a nice active matrix LED or OLED technology and a capacitive touch screen, but I guess that's just not out there yet.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Thanks also for the referral to that Trailer Life article...it's just the kind of thing I was hoping to find. Super helpful!
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:58 PM   #13
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Another vote for the TST system. I have the new TST 507 external sensors and have been very pleased with it. I like the fact that the batteries are user replaceable and I can remove the system for extended storage. For winter storage I took them off and will put them back on before my first trip this coming spring.

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Old 12-26-2013, 05:28 PM   #14
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A vote for the TST 507. I don't pickup my trailer until late February but have settled on the internal 507 Sensors. I talked with TST. If you use just the regular external sensors you can use the standard AS rubber valves but if you want the newer Flow Thru sensors then you need metal valve stems. Checked with Discount Tire and they said the would replace/install the valve stems/TPMS and re-balance each tire for a total of $10 each. So I am going with the internal sensors.

Also like the size of the TST and the fact that it is a rechargeable receiver. One less thing to plug into the truck all of the time like the other brands.
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