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Old 10-30-2018, 01:48 PM   #1
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Optimal Internal TPMS installation

I submitted this to Forest River's design dept. Forest River does not see fit to include any TPMS option on the Forester, Sunseeker and probably most of their other rigs. I feel this is an oversight and will explain why and what I did about it, in hopes it ultimately reaches the design engineers.
 
There are many reasons why a good TPMS option is almost essential these days. The fact that almost all new car manufacturers including Ford include internal sensors on all their new cars today, is reason enough to make these standard equipment on motorhomes. There is plenty of data available to shows the dangers of blowouts on motorhomes, and this danger only increases as tires age. It is incumbent on motorhome owners to protect and watch their tires carefully and replace them as needed, and on a time schedule even if appearance and treadwear do not dictate this. I think this is inarguable.
 
I decided long ago, that a good TPMS system is cheap insurance on a big Class A unit given the cost of those tires. If a tire has a slow leak the driver often does not know about it until it is too late and it either causes a blowout or at the very least has let the pressure run so low that the sidewalls of the tire have been ruined, and the cost of a single big rig 22" tire is as much or more than the cost of a TPMS system. So TPMS is cheap insurance for that reason alone. Where almost all motorhomes today have duallies on the back, it should be obvious that a flat on an inside dually may never be visible until it is too late, making it quite likely that driver is driving down a highway with all the rear weight on one side totally supported on a single tire, thereby greatly increasing the chances of a blowout on that tire from overload. But even on a Class C where the tires are more in the $200 range, safety and convenience and timing on the road make a good TPMS invaluable. And yet only a small percentage of motorhome owners have a TPMS system, and thanks to manufacturers who don't include them as standard equipment, or at least optional equipment, owners may not even know about them.
 
Therefore I think it is incumbent upon industry leaders like Forest River to offer TPMS as an option on all their rigs, if not as standard equipment which industry leaders like FR should seriously consider. I have installed external tire pressure sensors on other motorhomes I have had, which then communicate with a dash mounted display to provide the driver with a constant readout on the pressures on all 6 or 8 tires and sound alarms when the psi falls below a pre-set minimum (or above a maximum). This always worked well but I found it very difficult to install this kind of system on my Forester because of the use of the stainless Dicor_Fastliner- style wheel inserts. Making it even more difficult is Forest River's decision to use cheap screw on valve extensions to bring the valve stems out to the outside where they are accessible for adding air. Thus a screw on external Tire pressure sensor might be on top of two or more screw on extensions, thereby great increasing the likelihood of introducing slow leaks.
 
Since I had a system with external screw on sensors, saved from an earlier Class A, I tried this route first with little success. The multiple valve extensions and stainless wheel inserts made it all but impossible to get it right. I ordered a set of Duallyvalve.com solid one piece valves of the proper length custom designed for a Ford E450, purchased from accu-pressure.com. While these reached thru the stainless wheel lines for attaching an air pressure chuck to add air, it was still very difficult or screw on the sensors due to clearance issues without using short valve extenders, defeating the purpose of the custom one piece valves.
 
Finally, after some research I discovered the Dill Air internal system
1506-453 Trailer TPMS System With 6 Sensors
available as a 6 tire system perfect for a class C motorhome with duallies on the rear. I had the internal sensors installed by a local Les Schwab Tire dealership (lesschwab.com) with a banded/cradle setup ordered from tirerack.com
6 BAND14/26IN ADJUSTABLE FORD TPMS STRAP 13.00ea
6 1025U DILL CRADLES FOR TRAILER TPMS 2.00ea
 
I used the brass Duallyvalve.com solid one piece valves to bring each valve stem out to where an air chuck could be fitted easily to add air when needed. Total cost was around $800 or so but now I have the ideal system to keep a careful eye on my tires.
 
I take the time to explain this carefully to share it with other FR owners and also in hopes that FR will eventually decide it is good business to offer this system as an option, if not as standard equipment, on all their RV's.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrosecity View Post
I submitted this to Forest River's design dept. Forest River does not see fit to include any TPMS option on the Forester, Sunseeker and probably most of their other rigs. I feel this is an oversight and will explain why and what I did about it, in hopes it ultimately reaches the design engineers.
 
There are many reasons why a good TPMS option is almost essential these days. The fact that almost all new car manufacturers including Ford include internal sensors on all their new cars today, is reason enough to make these standard equipment on motorhomes. There is plenty of data available to shows the dangers of blowouts on motorhomes, and this danger only increases as tires age. It is incumbent on motorhome owners to protect and watch their tires carefully and replace them as needed, and on a time schedule even if appearance and treadwear do not dictate this. I think this is inarguable.
 
I decided long ago, that a good TPMS system is cheap insurance on a big Class A unit given the cost of those tires. If a tire has a slow leak the driver often does not know about it until it is too late and it either causes a blowout or at the very least has let the pressure run so low that the sidewalls of the tire have been ruined, and the cost of a single big rig 22" tire is as much or more than the cost of a TPMS system. So TPMS is cheap insurance for that reason alone. Where almost all motorhomes today have duallies on the back, it should be obvious that a flat on an inside dually may never be visible until it is too late, making it quite likely that driver is driving down a highway with all the rear weight on one side totally supported on a single tire, thereby greatly increasing the chances of a blowout on that tire from overload. But even on a Class C where the tires are more in the $200 range, safety and convenience and timing on the road make a good TPMS invaluable. And yet only a small percentage of motorhome owners have a TPMS system, and thanks to manufacturers who don't include them as standard equipment, or at least optional equipment, owners may not even know about them.
 
Therefore I think it is incumbent upon industry leaders like Forest River to offer TPMS as an option on all their rigs, if not as standard equipment which industry leaders like FR should seriously consider. I have installed external tire pressure sensors on other motorhomes I have had, which then communicate with a dash mounted display to provide the driver with a constant readout on the pressures on all 6 or 8 tires and sound alarms when the psi falls below a pre-set minimum (or above a maximum). This always worked well but I found it very difficult to install this kind of system on my Forester because of the use of the stainless Dicor_Fastliner- style wheel inserts. Making it even more difficult is Forest River's decision to use cheap screw on valve extensions to bring the valve stems out to the outside where they are accessible for adding air. Thus a screw on external Tire pressure sensor might be on top of two or more screw on extensions, thereby great increasing the likelihood of introducing slow leaks.
 
Since I had a system with external screw on sensors, saved from an earlier Class A, I tried this route first with little success. The multiple valve extensions and stainless wheel inserts made it all but impossible to get it right. I ordered a set of Duallyvalve.com solid one piece valves of the proper length custom designed for a Ford E450, purchased from accu-pressure.com. While these reached thru the stainless wheel lines for attaching an air pressure chuck to add air, it was still very difficult or screw on the sensors due to clearance issues without using short valve extenders, defeating the purpose of the custom one piece valves.
 
Finally, after some research I discovered the Dill Air internal system
1506-453 Trailer TPMS System With 6 Sensors
available as a 6 tire system perfect for a class C motorhome with duallies on the rear. I had the internal sensors installed by a local Les Schwab Tire dealership (lesschwab.com) with a banded/cradle setup ordered from tirerack.com
6 BAND14/26IN ADJUSTABLE FORD TPMS STRAP 13.00ea
6 1025U DILL CRADLES FOR TRAILER TPMS 2.00ea
 
I used the brass Duallyvalve.com solid one piece valves to bring each valve stem out to where an air chuck could be fitted easily to add air when needed. Total cost was around $800 or so but now I have the ideal system to keep a careful eye on my tires.
 
I take the time to explain this carefully to share it with other FR owners and also in hopes that FR will eventually decide it is good business to offer this system as an option, if not as standard equipment, on all their RV's.


All reasonable and important but donít expect them to do that anytime soon. The higher end builders will probably be first.

My theory about factory installed TPMS with the capabilities of the after market ones is that there is little incentive. First the dealers have to want it and order it but then their rig costs more than their competitors. If wanted the customers could order this option if available but how many order rather than buying off the lot?

I suspect the factories generally design and build RVs for the typical use. It mostly sits in storage or driveway and rarely sees the road.

This theory explains the low end tires, converters, water pumps and plumbing fixtures, etc. why build something with higher quality that most wonít notice or want to pay the price.

Due to changes in life my DYNAMAX REV which has a higher quality build is not meeting my anticipated near future needs. I started thinking I could get a larger Sunseeker or Forester and put big bucks into suspension improvements. Then spend bucks on all the nice things that the Dynamax offers.

Then reality struck. Even with replacing the built in junk (excuse me, low end) stuff I still wonít have the Dynamax build and the pleasure of same.

Looks like most brands will wait for more public demand.

One final point. My Ford dealerís RV tech didnít understand why I had the TST system since my REV already has the Dodge system built in. As far as I know the cars today only give you an alert once the tire is too low.
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:12 AM   #3
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Thanks for furthering the discussion, Delco Bobby. You make a number of valid points. Including TPMS as a standard feature raises the cost... making it an option makes better economic sense, but as you say, "how many order rather than buying off the lot?" I don't know the answer to that, but in the single instance (this new Forester) where we purchased new instead of preowned, I figure the discount off MSRP that we got would never have been matched had we ordered a special configuration. And we got all the available options we wanted. I also concur that RV's "mostly sit in storage or driveway and rarely see the road". The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is also true with boats. We have both a sailboat and a motorhome and I know we are the exception in that we really get our money's worth out of using our toys. The benefits of being retired. Does make it easy, though, to buy a super low mileage barely used vehicle as we have done multiple times in recent years as we tried to find our ideal rig. The reason we bought the new Forester 3041 is that it is a brand new floorplan for 2019 and the only one on the market which really suited our needs.
 
 
You also point out "This theory explains the low end tires, converters, water pumps and plumbing fixtures". Not sure about the tires... I have always bought Michelins, but I feel like the Hankook Dynapro tires that came on my Forester get very good reviews and are priced a lot more reasonably than the comparable Michelins. I am satisfied with the ride and handling at this point. I agree that converters are the cost cutting way to go instead of the better pure sine wave inverters which we had on our Tiffin Bus. An expensive conversion for the owner by the time you add extra house batteries, and probably almost impossible to convert 30A to 50A. This is definitely a downside to owning a less expensive Class C. We miss our 50A. Water pumps are an inexpensive easy upgrade if called for, and likewise plumbing fixtures. First thing we did was get rid of the cheapo plastic camping toilet and put in a ceramic oval bowl Dometic 320. One cost cutting complaint I have is the failure to include HDMI cabling to the bedroom TV. WTF? They saved maybe $20 to leave this out when they were running the coax, and the difficulty of wiring HDMI up as the owner is 10-20x that. Grrrr.... Here again, our Tiffin had an HDMI splitter going to all 4 TV's as you would expect. My contact at FR told me this was a decision by the "Sales Department". Nice!
 
 
But I still think a good TPMS system is indispensable, especially on Class A's with the phenomenally expensive 22" tires. And if safety and peace of mind are worth anything, the cost is well worth the installation. Fortunately as an aftermarket install by the owner is not that difficult and the $113 charge by Les Schwab is a small price to pay. You are partially correct that "As far as I know the cars today only give you an alert once the tire is too low." I think this is true for less expensive cars. My current 2016 Durango and my previous Chevy Suburban LTZ both have full featured displays for the TPMS monitors. That is why this Dill Air system, I recommended in this post is so excellent. And it took some real effort to find! Mated with the internal banded monitors and one piece extended valve stems, I think it is THE way to go my Ford chassis Class C, especially with the stainless wheel liners. Constant readout and full alert system gives me what I want when on the road. And will save me replacing tires in the future. Highly recommended.
 
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www.Wind-seeker.com
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jbrosecity View Post
Thanks for furthering the discussion, Delco Bobby. You make a number of valid points. Including TPMS as a standard feature raises the cost... making it an option makes better economic sense, but as you say, "how many order rather than buying off the lot?" I don't know the answer to that, but in the single instance (this new Forester) where we purchased new instead of preowned, I figure the discount off MSRP that we got would never have been matched had we ordered a special configuration. And we got all the available options we wanted. I also concur that RV's "mostly sit in storage or driveway and rarely see the road". The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is also true with boats. We have both a sailboat and a motorhome and I know we are the exception in that we really get our money's worth out of using our toys. The benefits of being retired. Does make it easy, though, to buy a super low mileage barely used vehicle as we have done multiple times in recent years as we tried to find our ideal rig. The reason we bought the new Forester 3041 is that it is a brand new floorplan for 2019 and the only one on the market which really suited our needs.
 
 
You also point out "This theory explains the low end tires, converters, water pumps and plumbing fixtures". Not sure about the tires... I have always bought Michelins, but I feel like the Hankook Dynapro tires that came on my Forester get very good reviews and are priced a lot more reasonably than the comparable Michelins. I am satisfied with the ride and handling at this point. I agree that converters are the cost cutting way to go instead of the better pure sine wave inverters which we had on our Tiffin Bus. An expensive conversion for the owner by the time you add extra house batteries, and probably almost impossible to convert 30A to 50A. This is definitely a downside to owning a less expensive Class C. We miss our 50A. Water pumps are an inexpensive easy upgrade if called for, and likewise plumbing fixtures. First thing we did was get rid of the cheapo plastic camping toilet and put in a ceramic oval bowl Dometic 320. One cost cutting complaint I have is the failure to include HDMI cabling to the bedroom TV. WTF? They saved maybe $20 to leave this out when they were running the coax, and the difficulty of wiring HDMI up as the owner is 10-20x that. Grrrr.... Here again, our Tiffin had an HDMI splitter going to all 4 TV's as you would expect. My contact at FR told me this was a decision by the "Sales Department". Nice!
 
 
But I still think a good TPMS system is indispensable, especially on Class A's with the phenomenally expensive 22" tires. And if safety and peace of mind are worth anything, the cost is well worth the installation. Fortunately as an aftermarket install by the owner is not that difficult and the $113 charge by Les Schwab is a small price to pay. You are partially correct that "As far as I know the cars today only give you an alert once the tire is too low." I think this is true for less expensive cars. My current 2016 Durango and my previous Chevy Suburban LTZ both have full featured displays for the TPMS monitors. That is why this Dill Air system, I recommended in this post is so excellent. And it took some real effort to find! Mated with the internal banded monitors and one piece extended valve stems, I think it is THE way to go my Ford chassis Class C, especially with the stainless wheel liners. Constant readout and full alert system gives me what I want when on the road. And will save me replacing tires in the future. Highly recommended.
 
The cheap tires I mentioned was in regard to mosr trailers.

I should probably read the owners manual for my 2018 F150 but I believe it only gives you the tire pressure and an alert if a tire becomes significantly low.

I noticed that when adding or removing air the displayed pressure does not change. I had to exit the system and wait a short while before I could get a new reading.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:17 AM   #5
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They are not there because they are not mandated by DOT.

The mandate is for vehicles below a specific GVWR. 3/4 Ton pickups all have them, but 1 Ton do not, because their GVWR exceeds the requirement.

My guess (and it is only that) is that DOT figures anyone driving a vehicle above the weight requirement is a professional and should know to check his tires on a regular basis.

Whereas most drivers of cars seldom even check their oil level, so DOT is protecting the ignorant from their own folly.

IF/When DOT mandates it, the manufactures will add them because they will have no choice.

Remember, FR and all the other RV manufactures buy their chassis and just go with what the vehicle manufacturers supply.

TST (Truck Systems Technologies) started making the TPMS for trucks, not RVs, to provide this for large 18 wheel trucks. We, the in the RV world are the happy recipients of TST seeing a need and filling it.
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:11 AM   #6
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I am sure you are right DouglasReid, they only include what they have to. Obviously the DOT mandate has to do with safety... odd that they do not see the safety need in larger vehicles... a blowout in a large motorhome is a helluva lot more dangerous than in a Honda. An RV owner can check his tires as often as he likes, but if he picks up a nail while driving (as I did recently twice) he won't have any idea until it goes flat enough to affect handling and by then the tire is ruined... and if it causes a blowout from running low, the damage to an RV wheel well is immense, especially where the tires are carrying 100 PSI and more. For my money, TPMS is cheap insurance.
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