2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in Crawfordsville Indiana

Truck Modification - TPMS

I decided to add a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to the truck.  Seems the one brand most used on RV-Dreams is the Pressure Pro brand unit.  Wow are they expensive!  The cheapest I found was $705 for a 10 sensor system (6 truck and 4 for the RV).

While looking for a cheaper way to get this system I found it on E-Bay as a bid item with a minimum bid needed of $499.  I placed a minimum bid and Ha, I won!

Got the system last Wednesday and installed it on Thursday.  There is not much to do to install the system.  The package comes with 10 round sensors that attach to the tire valve stems, a power cord that needs to be hard wired to the truck, and the control monitor unit.  I started by looking up on the internet to find how to access the aux switch wiring in the truck.  The truck has 4 aux switches that are wired to the ignition so the system will only run when the key is placed in the Run position and the switch is placed to the on position.   The wires under the dash were easy to find so I had the wiring done in about an hour.

I used Aux 4.

I routed the wire to the passenger side dash where I put the monitor with the provided Velcro strips.

Didn't know where else to put this.

Next was to install the sensors on to each tires valve stem.  The procedure is to turn on the monitor/control unit and put it to program mode.  A wheel position lights up and the screen says "no sensor".  That's where you start.  Screw the sensor on to the valve stem and then return to the monitor and wait a few seconds for it to show a pressure.

Outside dual rear tire


Front tire.

Next, press the up or down button and the next tire location will show up and you repeat the process until all are installed.  When we get the 5th wheel I will install the last 4 sensors on it.  The TPMS will alarm me when a tire pressure goes below 12% and then again at 25% below the original set point.  It will also alarm if the pressure goes above 25% of the set point.

I had a chance to drive the truck at highway speeds this past Friday for 150 miles.  After an hour of driving with an ambient temperature of 95f , I checked the tire pressures to see how much they rise just driving.  The pressures went up about 12%.  I was surprised that they went up that much.  For example, the drivers side front tire when from a cold pressure of 86psi to 97psi hot.  Now I'm wondering how high the PSI goes while towing.  We will find out this Saturday when we tow the 5er 120 miles back to Jersey.

Stay tuned.


Truck tires, Movie, and Dinner

For the past few years of getting ready for RVing full-time, I have been studying all of the "best practices" from the other BLOGs and from the RV-Dreams forum.  One of the highest priorities is to always check and maintain your tire pressures.  I just have the truck right now so I figure I need to find out how I check the tires on it and especially the dual rear tires.  So, while I was laying under the truck inspecting the new trailer brake wiring a few days ago, I took a close look at the rear tires.  I was most interested in finding where the inside tires valve stem was located.   


Good news, it is located directly behind the outside tire's valve stem making it easy to find from the outside of the truck.  The not so good news is that they are quite far back making them hard to get air or even a tire gauge to it.  The dual wheel valve stem configuration is that the outer tire valve stem points away or toward the truck while the inner one points outward.  I will need a tire gauge that has a dual end on it with one pointing the opposite direction from the straight end.


Front tire with easy to reach valve

Rear outside tire with valve pointing away.  
The inside tire valve is about 6 inches farther inside the wheel hole

The tires are rated for 110 psi and I already have a gauge that is rated for that.  I got my gauge and put it on one of the tire valve stems and Ka-BOOM, the gauge exploded!  WOW!  The gauge was a cheap plastic gauge, but I never thought that would happen.  Now I am just a little afraid of the tires.  Patty and I were near a parts store on Monday so I decided to get a good tire gauge.  

The new good gauge.

Got the gauge out yesterday and thought I would check all of the tires.  Decided to check the front tires first as they are the easiest.  Pushed the gauge on to the valve stem and it worked, pressure was 120 psi!  After I took off the gauge the air kept blowing out of the stem.  Crap!  I kept pushing the gauge repeatedly on to the stem and finally the air stopped blowing.  Ok, now I'm thinking that this tire checking is going to suck on this truck.  Well, back in the saddle, I try the other front tire.  Same high pressure but this time air will not stop blowing out of the stem!  I cap it off some what with the valve cap.  


I then went on-line to see if this was some sort of issue I never heard of.  Seems from what I read on the Ford Super Duty site that I probably have the wrong valve stems installed.  This makes sense as the front tires are brand new and the valve stems were probably change out with the tires.  I didn't know that there were different stems, low and high pressure.  The low are good up to 65psi and are in most automobiles.  I also found out that the tires should be inflated to the level recommended by the maker of the truck, Ford and not the maximum rated pressure on the tires.  The pressures are found on the inside of the drivers door frame.  There is a big difference between the Ford pressures and the tire max pressures.  


All of the tires are rated at 110 psi and Ford recommends  the front be 85 psi and the back be 75 psi.  Big difference from the current 120 psi!  So I have tires over inflated by as much as 60% and possibly with low pressure valve stems and I have one tire losing pressure quickly in front of the house.  I can't drive the truck because the tire is too low and I don't know where to go that they have air.  So Patty calls our insurance company where we have roadside assistance and has someone come out to tow the truck.  Before the tow truck arrived, my neighbor Neal came over to see if he could help with his small air compressor.  We thought maybe by blowing in some air through the valve it would seat.  His air compressor only got up to about 80 psi but it was enough as the tire was now at 40 psi.  The blow back seems to work as the valve seemed to seat. 


The tow truck arrived and had an air supply and I decide to try and fill the leaking tire and see if that further fixes the valve problem and get the tire back to where it should be.  However, the tow truck can't get the pressure past 70psi.  I let the tow truck go and decide to go to a tire shop and get it checked.  Went to Crown tire about 5 miles from here and they took me in quickly.  I was right, the valves were the wrong size so I had them replaced on the 2 front tires.  


Front tire removed.


Repairman taking the tire off of the rim.

Cost was $128 as they needed to remove both tires from the rims to install the valves.  The wrong stems were most likely put in by the Ford dealership where we purchased the truck.  I could have gone there but decided not to because 1) they did it wrong to start with and 2) they are much farther away, and lastly, they would have needed the truck over night to look at it.  Tires are a big thing especially when towing and I wanted it done right.  The whole experience took from 10 am to 3:30 pm, not bad.  I also lowered all of the tires pressures to the correct pressures for the truck.


After all of that with the tires, we still had time to keep our original plan to see a movie and have dinner at one of our favorite places.  We decided to see the movie Ted at the theater in Atlantic Highlands mainly because on Tuesday it is only $7.  A short walk form the theater is the restaurant Off the Deck located on the water facing Sandy Hook and the Manhattan skyline.  We liked the movie but should have rented it on DVD. No need to see it on a big screen.  Dinner was great. We sat at the outside bar and watched the ferry (SeaStreak) deliver passengers back from their work day in NYC.

 Off the Deck Restaurant

Manhattan with the new Freedom tower going up just left of the pole.  Hard to see.

Looking back at our current town Highlands and Sandy Hook to the left.

Ferry unloading passengers from NYC 


 All in all an educational and good day.


Stay tuned!

BAT Pics and Beach

Finally, after 10 days we get the BAT back with a new Reese 22k 5th wheel hitch.  It was raining and cold yesterday when we picked it up at the dealer so I didn't look real close at what was done.  I did open the tail gate and saw the hitch though.  We got in the truck and headed back to the shack.  About a mile down the road, patty asked if I looked to see if the new South Dakota plates were attached, which I hadn't.  So, at a stop sign, Patty jumped out and found that they had not installed the plates; damn it! This is New Jersey during rush hour traffic and you can't make left turns and the dealer is on the left going back.  It took us 10 minutes just to turn around to go back to the dealer.  All's well, we got the plates installed and were then on our way back to the shack again.

 New South Dakota Plates

 New truck bed cover

 New 5th wheel hitch


We were back at the shack just settling in after a dinner of steak and spinach when I got curious about where they put the new RV electric brake plug.  Got a flashlight and outside I went to take a look.  Opened the tailgate and looked around with the flashlight, no plug!  I rolled up the bed cover, got up in the bed and still didn't see a plug.  I'm starting to get pissed so I lay down under the truck and look at the trailer wiring for signs of new wiring.  By gosh there was new wiring for sure, but where did it go?  Came back inside and went to the internet to see how one would wire a new plug.  It looks real easy and most put the plug on the drivers side just behind the wheel well.  I go out and look again, no plug.  So all night I was thinking  I was going to need to go back to the dealer and start a fight.


First thing in the morning I got up and out to the truck I went to look for the plug in the daylight.  I saw it as soon as I opened the tailgate.  They did a great job and put it near the tailgate so we can reach it from the ground, excellent!  So now it is a great day!


New hitch (note the plug on left near the tailgate)


Found out that our RV was completed at the factory on time on the 19th.  The schedule is to have it shipped this Monday from the factory in Indiana to the dealer in PA.  We are still on schedule for picking it up either the 1st or 2nd of August.  Yee haw!


We went to a great concert on the beach last week.  Thought I would put a picture here.



Stay tuned!

Waiting for the Fiver

Can't believe that it has been 4 weeks since we ordered the Sanibel.  We ordered it the day before Patty's birthday last month.  Bill Haines (the salesman) called last week to give us the VIN for the Sanibel and to say that it is still on time to come off the production line in Indiana next week on the 19th.  Now we are getting excited!

Since ordering the Sanibel and getting the BAT (Big Ass Truck) we have been getting ready for the departure start-up.  We had a roll-up cover put on the truck so we can keep stuff secure when not towing.   We bought a Progressive Industries power management system for the Sanibel to protect it from bad camp ground power supplies.  I will install that first thing after we get the Sanibel to NJ.  We have new anti-gravity chairs with tables ordered (tables came yesterday).  We also bought a new bike rack for the back of the RV with a cover so we can stow our bikes. Right now the BAT is at the dealer (8 days now, get it back tomorrow) getting the 5th wheel hitch installed as well as some minor warranty work.  Also, our South Dakota plates have arrived and the dealer will install those also!  Last week our launch site (Rob and Cindy's driveway) had a new main breaker panel installed which included two 50 amp breakers for us to use to power the Sanibel while in their driveway.

We have made our first camp ground reservations.  The first is at a camp ground in Grand Islan,d NY near Buffalo for August.  Grand Island will be our first camp ground stay and is scheduled for August 16th through the 27th.   Next is the Sugar Creek Campground in Crawfordsville, IN from August 28th - September 4th.  Then we are off for the trip across the country to Oregon for the RV Dreams Rally in Harrisburg. We plan to arrive at the rally site on September 16th. We also took a whole morning planning out our route from Indiana to Oregon.  We know we may not stick to our plan but we now have a baseline to follow.  Lastly, we booked a week at Disney's Wilderness Campground for a week next June where we plan to host my son and his family (grandkids!).

Just had to add that we won an E-Bay bid for a tire monitoring system!  The minimum bid was for $499 and that is what I bid a few days ago.  I couldn't find this system for less than $700!  The system should be here next week.  It has 10 wheel sensors that attach to a tires valve stems that send the pressure and temp data back to the display in the truck cab.  Guess I'll install the first 6 sensors on the truck once I can find the valve stems on the inner rear tires.  The main thing with this protection is really for the RV as a blow out can cause a lot of damage to the RV.


Tomorrow we should have pictures of the BAT with the hitch installed.


Stay tuned!