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Trailer TPMS

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alabamatoy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 September 2019 at 1:06pm
Paul Wright suggested this product to me.  Jim Cambron suggested it to him.  I bought one and tried it this weekend on the little 5X10 utility trailer I bought (so I can stop borrowing Griffin's trailer!!).

The sensors are little bobbers that screw onto the Schraeder valve stem:

The sensors have a two-piece anti-theft shell which is pretty lame IMHO:

The system can support some astronomical number of tires, I guess you can use it one one of the multi-axle monster heavy hauler rigs.  But I need only 2 or 4, since my tow truck already has a factory TPMS.  Ford offers an optional trailer TPMS that integrates into the Superduty instrumentation, but its quite expensive and requires you to breakdown the trailer tires and is part of an even bigger option for trailer cameras and such.

The display comes with a nice little suction cup rig to stick it into your windshield.  This is what the display looks like as it goes through its self-test, so you can see the whole symbology:

The display battery is claimed to last about 60hrs of operation without recharge.  It has a little mini-USB charger, which may be same connection as your phone charger.  The sensor batteries are readily available dime-sized batteries you can get anywhere.  There is only one other button besides those shown, and that's an on-off switch on the left side.

How's it work?

Setting it up is a bit fiddely, but the instructions are pretty clear.  They dont seem like the automated translation from Chinese like you find in some electronics.  When you have it configured, it will cycle through the tires for which you have sensors.  It will display pressure and temperature for each one for a couple seconds, then go to the next.  You can set upper limits for both pressure and temperature and it will alarm when that is reached.  You can set a lower limit for pressure, and it will alarm then also.  It will also alarm for sudden changes in pressure even if its not a threshold breach.

The display senses light and motion, so on a trip, you really dont need to turn it on or off, it will sense lack of motion and turn itself off.  It will turn on again when it senses motion.  The display goes soft blue backlight when ambient lighting gets low enough.  I hate bright lights in my face, and this one is not irritating, just enough to be legible at night.  It only displays the tires you have setup, so its not showing all 26, only the ones you are monitoring.  It will flash the tire 3 times while displaying the pressure and temp, then go to the next.

I set this up on the utility trailer and ran it back from Signal Mountain to Madison last night.  It turns out that my El-Cheapo Retard Auto tire pressure gauge is wrong.  Imagine that.  I set my tires to 50PSI on the gauge, and both sensors read 55PSI.  The instructions recommend 20% overpressure alarm, and 10% underpressure alarm.  So I set the alarm at 60 and 45 respectively, and once we got on the interstate, they quickly hit 60 since they started out at 55.  Yes, Virginia, tire pressure rises with internally generated heat.   It alarmed as it should have, but this OF could barely hear the chirp, especially not with Little Feat "Rock and Roll Doctor" playing in the cab.  I stopped in S Pittsburg and adjusted the pressure back to 45 on my gauge, and the sensors were happy at 50.

An interesting thing happened.  The temps were running around 90degF on both sides. The instructions suggest a temp threshold of 158degF which seemed awfully high to me - my travels with my trailer tires and my IR thermometer have never seen higher than about 130degF.  The temp on the right side began to rise around the Ga line, and it stayed 10-12 degF above the left until I got close to Hwy 72 turnoff, and then began to drop back.  By Bridgeport, both were same temp again.  I think the right side sensor was picking up the increase in temperature from the Ford doing its DPF regen burnoff.  That's the side where the exhaust is.  My truck has no indicator whatsoever for DPF or regen, so it does its thing and you never know about it.  There's a Forscan fix for that which I plan to implement which shows DPF% full.

Paul runs this model of TPMS on his toy hauler, so distance from sensor to display shouldn't be an issue with my 24' enclosed, but I will find out next weekend when I get the trailer.  There is a repeater for the system if the distance from the rear tires is too far.

Now for the bad news.  Its ex$pen$ive.  Here's the Amazon link.  The 4 sensor version is a wee bit cheaper. 

I think its going to be very justifiable expense.  First, peace of mind, you can tell at a glance what's going on back there, and if something is going wrong you should be able to see indications of it before it becomes a disaster.  Second, if you can avoid a blowout situation, not only are you avoiding risk, but you are avoiding expense.  A blowout can damage the trailer body or fender, trash a wheel, damage bearings etc.
"If you didnt buy your 1st gen 4Runner new, then YOU are a newbie!!"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cj8lvr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2019 at 1:17pm
Spiffy.  I coulda used that over the last three weeks on my 5,500 mile trip to Utah and back with a few points in between.   I like how it's so "non-invasive" in that it just threads onto the valve stems.  That's nice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CJ7OX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2019 at 8:52am
That's a pretty cool set-up!
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