Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Cbishop

New member
We have a 2015.5 Unity TB to be delivered, hopefully, by early July. I read a lot about the importance of monitoring tire pressure. The dealer tells me that any Sprinter product with a "cut-away" chassis does not come with a tire pressure monitoring system.

The dealer is recommending one from Valor as the most reliable. It costs $1,320 installed. They say other systems are not that reliable.

My question: How important is this? Are other Unity owners having them installed? Should I just have it checked regularly and forget a TPMS?
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
I would love to have a built in and totally reliable TPMS on my Unity because the dealer is correct - we do not have anything like that built in. That said there is a certain flinch factor that comes up for me with the installed $$$ you cite.
 

earthship

New member
Tire pressure is an important safety issue and this forum has had lengthly discussions on the meritis of TPMS versus manual monitoring. Personally I have decided to have the Tireminder system installed on my Unity MB shortly after delivery in next couple weeks. A ball park figure is around $550 including installation and necessary valve stem changes. I understand that the system is reliable.
 

earthship

New member
Tire pressure is an important safety issue and this forum has had lengthly discussions on the meritis of TPMS versus manual monitoring. Personally I have decided to have the Tireminder system installed on my Unity MB shortly after delivery in next couple weeks. A ball park figure is around $550 including installation and necessary valve stem changes. I understand that the system is reliable.
 

glas1700

Member
Take a look at the TireTraker TPMS. I use it on our Geo Tracker toad, not the Sprinter, but it has worked perfectly for the past few years. A six wheels system is under $300.

The TireMinder system is identical, but costs more.
 

andrewj

Member
It is pretty simple. Do you want an inee or and outee. Lots of opinions here and a big thread about it. But to cut to the chase.

1. Measure your tire pressure manually before a trip, and really on a daily basis if you are ultra careful. (Also change your anode in your home water heater frequently, vacuum the coil on your refrigerator, oil the fan bearing in your furnace blower etc etc.)

2. Get a cheap TPMS system that uses caps on the valve stem. Several available online, but all look like they have similar LCD display so are likely the same Chinese supplier. I have the Tireminder or Tiretracker (box says one thing, order form said another) It seems to work and have tested on several cars and sprinter. Putting the caps on the inner rears takes an act of finger du Soleil. The cheap plastic extenders do not allow the caps to work, so you need to put them on the factory stems deep in the hole. Short fingers will not get you there.

3. Built in sensors - you must take the wheel off, dismount the tire and install them internal. Some use the valve stem to mount, others can be banded onto the rim. Internal system is likely a better solution for the reasons they have on their website, and the version you posted looks more commercial oriented but is almost triple the cost of #2.
 

SSTraveler

2014 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
As a first time RVer, The tire pressures have been my biggest worry, first being able to monitor them and second getting the pressure correct once you get all your stuff in it. Turns out the 61 psi posted on the door frame is to low. Actually the Tire pressure looked low from day one. I have the simulators which makes a big difference on how you can put extenders on because the simulators can move and cause a failure to your extensions so you have to secure the simulators as well. So Finally after many dollars and trial and error I have a reliable setup using the TireMinder 66 as the TPMS. I really like it, it is so easy to check the pressures on the digital display, it has completely taken the Tire situation out of my worry zone. I also bought Viair 400P RV air compressor that makes any pressure fills quick and easy. I installed all myself at a cost of $550, thats extenders, TM66, and Viair compressor. I wasted around $300 figuring it all out, including one flat tire service call while on the road. :bash: In hind sight I wish I would have gotten the Alcoa solid rims and then if I needed to add extenders I just would have just screwed on the 6" straight valve extenders on the inner rear tires and then I would have screwed on the Tire Minders and been done. It's very easy to do oneself and the worry would be gone away for right around $300 and the get yourself a good portable air compressor like the Viair for $200 and your off. :thumbup:
I think $1300 is spendy but peace of mind is priceless, good luck.
 

Chip D

Chip D, 2013 Serenity
I got a Duran 360RV6 system for $364.

http://www.rvupgradestore.com/Doran-360RV-Tire-Pressure-Monitor-6-Sensor-p/360rv6.htm

Trivial to self-install (as long as you have metal valve stems). Works great.
I concur with Avanti. The Doran is so easy and gives you such peace of mind. It's the inside tires you always worry about and the Doran makes it so easy.
Went through a Blue Beacon truck wash with my Serenity and came out of the wash, and got back on the Interstate in Indiana right away. It wasn't more than about a minute or two that I got the "Low Pressure" alarm. Was losing air pressure fast on the right rear inside wheel. Turns out that the high pressure washer slightly loosened the sensor (my bad for not tightening it) and there was a slow leak. Never would have known it without a TPMS.
Bought it from RVUPGRADES.
Chip D.
 

Denis4x4

2013 Unity TB
Several years ago, I "built" my own tire pressure gauge using parts and pieces from the welding supply store and O'Reilly's. It allows me to monitor the pressure as I'm adding air and it also allows me to bleed off air in the event the tire is over inflated. When I park the Unity for the winter, I check all the tire pressures and write them on the concrete in chalk. The drop in air pressure is little to none. I do have Tireman's valve stems. I have three vehicles with factory TPMS and the accuracy is suspect. The most expensive car is the least accurate! In fact, the TPMS batteries on that car died and the cheapest replacements on Amazon are $150. Been checking air in tires since the middle fifties when I worked at a full service gas station. For the price of a TMPS, you can buy three bottles of top shelf scotch!
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Been checking air in tires since the middle fifties when I worked at a full service gas station. For the price of a TMPS, you can buy three bottles of top shelf scotch!
The real issue has to do with the implications of running with rear duallies. It is simply too easy for a problem in the rear to go undetected until the tire is torn to shreds. TPMS is important not for convenience or owner laziness, rather for having real-time monitoring of hard-to-detect and potentially catastrophic problems. No amount of conscientious pressure-checking can substitute for this.

I never bothered with TPMS when we owned a 2500. I made a different choice when we got a 3500.
 

Chip D

Chip D, 2013 Serenity
The real issue has to do with the implications of running with rear duallies. It is simply too easy for a problem in the rear to go undetected until the tire is torn to shreds. TPMS is important not for convenience or owner laziness, rather for having real-time monitoring of hard-to-detect and potentially catastrophic problems. No amount of conscientious pressure-checking can substitute for this.

I never bothered with TPMS when we owned a 2500. I made a different choice when we got a 3500.
Amen!!
 

blue

2011 LTV Unity CB
+1. I don't want the first indication of a tire problem to be seeing flying pieces of rubber when checking the rear view mirrors.
 

Peter Tourin

2020 Unity RL, ex 2012 Unity MB
TireTraker website shows all models out of stock. the 6-tire unit costs $289 from them. Camping World sells TireMinder's newest model for 6 tires for $345. They don't look the same as the TireTraker models. Extra transmitters seem to run around $40 per.
 

MeRob

Member
When I had my 5th wheel 3 yrs ago...it had less than 8,000 miles on it. I spent more time checking the tires than pulling it... Tire covers etc. Then while returning home... BANG!... my right front rear tire blew. No damage. Les Schwab said my tires were too old (7 years ). I just installed my spare and continued on my way. A day later, on a Sunday... I heard another BANG! and saw pieces of tire, fiberglass, belting and $$$ erupting on the other side of my 5th wheel.
Tires, like fish sandwiches, have a Best Before Date...no matter how careful you are with them. Regards, Rob
 

Peter Tourin

2020 Unity RL, ex 2012 Unity MB
I covered this in another thread, but...

We bought our '12 MB used with 7400 miles on it. It has flexible valve extenders on the duallies. We've had 4 flats and lost 2 of the tires because we didn't know they'd gone down and drove till they shredded. We only felt/heard something that alerted us in one instance - we just didn't know in the other 3 that we had a flat. A TPMS would have given us enough warning to save the tires - and possibly to keep us from being marooned out nowhere on a Sunday, trying to find a compatible replacement tire and someone to come over and do the tire change. Turns out that when the PO had the extenders installed, they used normal car valve stems - not even high pressure rubber stems, much less metal ones. So the extenders were vibrating and shaking the stems until they failed where they went through the rims.

Not a normal circumstance, but you get the point - if we'd installed a TPMS, we would have known as soon as they started to get soft - and we would have stopped and avoided a lot of grief.
 

Rock Doc

Member
The real problem, as MeRob said, is that when these tires go, they're like a 7-year-old--they're not going to do down alone, and they take big $$$ with them in the form of bodywork and holding tanks. Several years ago I had a trailer that lost four tires on one trip (hot, trailer loaded to the max) where the last tire took off the trailer's fender. Fortunately, no one was hurt with this. But it did cause the expense of buying and installing a new fender for the trailer--not to mention the replacement tire. I check my tire pressures compulsively when trailering, and I also check the tire temperatures with an IR thermometer at each and every stop. However, TPMS is like having a real gauge instead of an idiot light--you have the opportunity to proactively intervene and avoid the catastrophe rather than having the idiot light (or rupturing tire) tell you that the catastrophe already happened.

Consider it this way, if you save just two tires (not even considering collateral damage), you just broke even on the cost of the TPMS; anything after that is true savings.

Rock Doc
 

Peter Tourin

2020 Unity RL, ex 2012 Unity MB
+1 Rock Doc
The cost of the replacement tire - and it's probably not a match for what you have, it's whatever you could get of the right size.
The cost of the road service.
The lost time waiting for it all to get done.
The cost of replacing your replacement with the correct matching tire.
The cost of anything else that got busted up in the process....

It starts making a TPMS seem pretty cheap, all told.
 

TJLee089

2013 Itasca Reyo 25R
As a first time RVer, The tire pressures have been my biggest worry, first being able to monitor them and second getting the pressure correct once you get all your stuff in it. Turns out the 61 psi posted on the door frame is to low. Actually the Tire pressure looked low from day one. I have the simulators which makes a big difference on how you can put extenders on because the simulators can move and cause a failure to your extensions so you have to secure the simulators as well. So Finally after many dollars and trial and error I have a reliable setup using the TireMinder 66 as the TPMS. I really like it, it is so easy to check the pressures on the digital display, it has completely taken the Tire situation out of my worry zone. I also bought Viair 400P RV air compressor that makes any pressure fills quick and easy. I installed all myself at a cost of $550, thats extenders, TM66, and Viair compressor. I wasted around $300 figuring it all out, including one flat tire service call while on the road. :bash: In hind sight I wish I would have gotten the Alcoa solid rims and then if I needed to add extenders I just would have just screwed on the 6" straight valve extenders on the inner rear tires and then I would have screwed on the Tire Minders and been done. It's very easy to do oneself and the worry would be gone away for right around $300 and the get yourself a good portable air compressor like the Viair for $200 and your off. :thumbup:
I think $1300 is spendy but peace of mind is priceless, good luck.
What leads you to conclude that 61 psi, as posted on the door frame, is too low? It is my understanding that this is based on the GVWR, which should never be exceeded.
 

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