RV Accessories – TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Now that we have our RV, let’s look at some of the accessories we felt were critical. We will start in the cab. The rubber meets the road in an RV with the tires. Many RVs have dual wheels that make it difficult to check if the tires have any issues, and the correct tire pressure is based on the weight, brand and model of tire being used. For a great overview of tire pressure and how to inflate RV tires, see RV Geeks HOW TO: Inflate High pressure RV Tires and the follow-up UPDATE: High Pressure RV Tire Inflation videos. Most often when tires fail it happens over time, not suddenly. Tire pressure and temperature is the best way to monitor the current condition of RV tires. In addition we wanted to monitor our TOAD (Towed Vehicle) so we needed both 10 tire monitor ability and the range to reach the Toad.
We weighed our RV with full diesel and LP tanks but otherwise empty after getting it from La Mesa RV in Davis, and we weighed each item going into the RV for our first trip, so I was able to estimate our loaded weight. Since we are spending the week-end at Thousand Trails, we don’t need to pack very much water.
Once you get your tires to the correct pressure based on the vehicle’s weight and tire brand how should they be monitored? Of course you could manually check the pressure, but pressure is only half of the story. The temperature of the tire is also important to know to understand if something is going wrong. After reviewing a number of websites and blogs we narrowed our choices to a couple of choices.
- Tire Minder TPMS manufactured by Minder Research. A good review video is posted by RV Education 101 – Tire Minder, Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
- Tire PressurePro manufactured by Advantage Enterprises. Their video is at PressurePro 10 Wheel Monitor – Full overview.
Tire PressurePro has the advantage that it interfaces with Silverleaf Electronics’ products if you are looking for a complete engine & tire
monitoring system. Since we believe at this time that the Freightliner’s engine monitoring system is good enough for us, we decided to go with Tire Minder, especially with the endorsement of this product from Gone with the Wynns in their list of Must Have gadgets, and reading many reviews on Amazon and Camping World’s websites. Only Camping World had the latest version TM66-M6 kit that includes a monitor, 6 monitoring modules, 12 batteries plus a hardwire booster for the toad. This version can monitor 22 tires – more than enough for our RV & Toad.
Getting the pressure right
We purchased a basic stick tire pressure gauge from O’Reilly auto parts. We then adjusted the pressure of the tires to Toyo’s recommended pressure based on their weight/pressure chart +200 lbs. for a quarter tank of fresh water (8 lbs. * 25 gallons). It ended up that all the tire pressures should be set to 95 lbs. for both axles given my assumptions. The tires were at 105 lbs. Note that the Journey’s weight will change once we start full-timing or pack for a longer trip.
The installation of the TireMinder system went without a hitch. The included printed instructions were easy to follow and in English. It came partly charged, but since the RV was in storage when I received TireMinder I charged it up. When I arrived at the storage facility the Journey was already pulled out and sitting off to the side so I could work on it. The tires were cold so I didn’t have to worry about that.
Following the instructions, I inserted the batteries into the monitoring module. I then released the air until the tires were at 95 lbs. according to my stick gauge. With the monitor in learn mode, I selected the correct tire on the display then screwed the monitoring module onto the tire stem. After just a few seconds (the manual states it could take up to 30 seconds) the LED turns green and the tire pressure is displayed on the screen.
I pressed the down button and repeated for all 6 tires on the Journey. It’s a bit tight putting on the monitoring modules on the dual tires, but I was careful and didn’t drop them. The modules have a molding that is easy to grip.
Next we need to purchase the monitoring modules for the toad.
Once done I switched TireMinder to monitor mode and cycled through all 6 tires reviewing the tire pressure and temperature.
Once the Tire Minder is installed and the tires being monitored there is a deviation of up to 3 lbs. both ways from the target 95. Tire Minder is accurate +/- 2% so that could account for part of it, but me reading a scale on a stick may also be part of it.
We were going to order a Tire Minder digital gauge, but after reading reviews ended up ordering the Acme Automotive A567 Truck Digital Dual Foot Tire Pressure Service Gauge 2- 150 PSI sold by JB Tool Sales on Amazon. The next time out we will weigh the RV after getting fully loaded then use the new digital tire pressure gauge to correct the tire pressure then see what the Tire Minder reports for pressure.
Besides TireMinder and the Acme digital tire gauge we have two 50′ high capacity hoses, truck tire inflator and air nozzle. I also added a gauge & release valve following the instructions at the top of this post provided by RV Geeks. Everything connected with the same standard quick connectors that the coach is equipped with.
Next Up – Accessories to purchase for the basement!