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Old 10-03-2008, 04:08 PM   #1
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Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Some members already have a TPMS or are familiar with them, so this post is to report that I took a risk buying one not advertised for trailer use... and it does work very well. I emailed Orange's US office and received a reply from a company official that he was using one of their units on a trailer at a distance of 31 ft. I needed about 33 ft. to get from the rear axle hub to the dash of my crew cab so I thought the risk wasn't too big. I bought the automotive model P409S made by http://www.orange-electronic.com/ and sold by http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/detail.jsp?ID=55.





The Orange unit has some big advantages and also disadvantages compared to the much more common, and expensive, Doran. For me the big advantages are the OEM style sensor mounted inside the wheel and the 7 yr. lithium battery. The main disadvantages are that it only monitors 4 sensors and they don't have the pressure range of Doran's either. This is not an issue with 50 psi trailer tires. Adjustments on the receiver allow it to monitor up to 50 psi. The high pressure alert is user adjustable, but maxes at 60 psi. The bright LED display will display psi above 50. The spec sheet says it will monitor up to 76 psi, but if the audible alarm is screaming at 60 I'm not going to wait to see if it will go higher. They do make a bus model, not sold by Tirerack, that monitors 6 tires and presumably much higher pressures. Point is, this thing is good enough for 50 psi tires, but not higher.

The low pressure alert is also user adjustable, but maxes at 35 psi. I would have liked that to be more like 40 psi, but even at 35 psi a ST205/75/R15 can still carry a load of 1480 lb which means it won't be overloaded even if my trailer was at max. GVW because its partner is still carrying 1820 lb---1000 lb. on the tongue, 6000 on the tires. In any case, the pressure is displayed on the receiver and I would hope to catch a slow leak long before the alarm sounds.

Temperature alerts can be similarly set and the receiver can be set to display either psi or temp or both alternately. Temp and psi are monitored continuously and an alert will sound regardless of which measurement is on display.

The tire of course needs to be dismounted to install the sensor and valve. The sensor adds 35 g and I did have the tires balanced then too. I took one tire in first to make sure I'd get a signal in my truck. In a show of good faith I even installed the lug nuts before walking over to the truck to see that I really did have a signal. The last 2 tires I put the receiver in my car and when I got home with the tires in the trunk it almost immediately picked up the two already on the trailer even though the full length of my truck and the front of the car was adding to the distance. The sensors only send a signal every 30 seconds, but most of the time all 4 tires show up very quickly whether sitting in the driveway or out on the hwy. On my truck the cig lighter socket is live all the time so I pull the plug on the receiver when parked. Either way the receiver clears the display when I start the truck so I know I'm always getting a fresh signal and not holding onto a stale one. The sensors cannot be turned off and transmit even when the receiver is unplugged. There are instructions for the electrically inclined to hard wire the receiver. I haven't found a good spot yet to velcro the receiver, but it is an attractive unit for an add on device, about the size of a credit card.

The valve stems are Al and would look really good on an Al wheel. To keep the shiny valve caps off of bicycles and other vehicles I carry a 3/8 socket and thumb wheel ratchet which works very slick for this kind of task.

The installation was very straight forward with no problems and no leaks on the rubber seals of the valve stem. The sensors read 1 psi lower than my digital gauge so I think that is acceptable too. All in all a nice product and after more than 7000 mi and almost daily use over 5 weeks I'm very satisfied. Given tt tire reputations, driving down the road knowing what the tt tires are doing is an amazingly reassuring experience. I'd hate to ever be without it again.

Along with all the various ymmv qualifiers, here is a FAQ from Doran's web page:
"My sensor was blown off (blowout), why was no alert triggered?
Instant tire failure is rare in comparison to the more common failure caused by gradual tire deflation. It is possible, during an instantaneous blowout, to have the sensor blown off the tire before it has had a chance to send a signal to the monitor. The Doran 360™ tire pressure monitoring system is designed to monitor tire pressures, not to prevent this type of catastrophic tire failure."
I have no idea whether the Orange sensor screwed to the valve stem bolted to the wheel would do any better and I hope not to find out.

Henry
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:15 PM   #2
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TPMS Update

Seeing Joe's question on TPMS in a different thread, I though I'd update this one. Orange still has a website, but this unit is no longer sold by Tirerack. When I bought mine from Tirerack, I called Orange for additional info and they offered to sell it direct at Tirerack's price, so I imagine that would still be the case. Tirerack sells Hella now which is a very similar unit to mine and does have a major manufacturer standing behind it, but it is more expensive. With any TPMS, make sure it will transmit the distance from the trailer or that you can return it without hassle.

I have had the Orange TPMS for 2 years and over 15,000 miles. It has had a real world test twice now and worked flawlessly at picking up a slow leak both times. Unfortunately the TPMS was the cause of the leak too The outer nuts that hold the valve stem to the wheel cannot be tightened too much or they twist up the rubber gasket between the stem and the wheel. It seems that the pounding of the road can loosen the nuts just enough to cause a slow leak and only while the wheel is rolling. I now check them before a trip to make sure they are snug and have had no further problems. Locktite would likely be the next step.

A TPMS uses the FM band to transmit its info to the cab of the truck. I have found that my iPOD FM transmitter interferes with this signal; destroys it is more like it, so we can't use both at the same time.

Henry
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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Just read about the Hella system and the one thing I see noted is:

  • Not recommended for installation on any type of trailer

So, while it might be a good system for cars/trucks, it appears that it would not help with protecting our Sunlines from tire failure damage.
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty View Post
Just read about the Hella system and the one thing I see noted is:

  • Not recommended for installation on any type of trailer
So, while it might be a good system for cars/trucks, it appears that it would not help with protecting our Sunlines from tire failure damage.
That may be becauce of the distance from the sensors to the reciever, Just my guess.
This is what they also say..... Sensors cannot be more than 32 feet away from control unit's antenna.

My TV & TT is only 35feet total so they may work for me.
I have factory installed tire presure monitors in all my vehicles and love them, so I would like to get one for my QUE.
Does anybody sell one with 2 sensors not 4 ?
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:21 AM   #5
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Camping World has an interesting system made for RVs. Read the reviews though . So you don't always get what you pay for. Mine is not made for a trailer either, but in my case it works. Clearly YMMV.

Another thing to watch for in trailer applications is that the psi goes high enough for your tires. My high pressure alarm comes on at 60 psi so it is really only good for up to LRC tires.

Henry
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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Do the controllers, display unit, show tv tires and trailer tires simultaneously?

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Old 07-12-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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The one good thing about the Orange is that it also reports tempurtures. This would be a very good plus.
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