Proper Inflation

Max Kvidera | July 01, 2011
When owner-operator Kurt Grote switched to wide single tires, he installed an automatic monitoring system to do the job.

 Grote bought his first automatic system in 2008 when he switched to super single tires. Last June he updated to a Doran 360 HD system for $750. A screen in his cab allows him to monitor his tires, which he checks each morning. The system alerts him if inflation pressure drops 12 percent below a set level in any of his tractor tires.

“I urge drivers with singles [to get a pressure monitoring system], because once they go down, you’re down,” he says.

Jim Samocki, general manager of Doran Manufacturing, says the wireless system includes the in-cab monitor and sensors mounted on the tire valve stems. The operator programs the desired pressure for each tire. The system provides audible and visual alerts if the pressure drops 12.5 percent or 25 percent below the set pressure. In addition, a FastLeak alert is triggered when the pressure falls 2.8 psi in less than 12 seconds, he says.

The system can be installed in less than an hour, including connecting the display power wire into a 12-volt power source or hard-wiring into the truck’s electrical system, Samocki says. The sensors are projected to have a 3- to 5-year battery life and can be transferred when you change tires.

PressurePro, a competing system that has been in the market for 12 years, also provides 12.5 percent and 25 percent low-pressure alerts, along with two high-pressure alerts to warn of high temperatures, says Duane Sprague, president of L&S Safety Solutions, a PressurePro distributor. Sensors attached to valve stems automatically send alert settings every time tire pressures are changed, without requiring the operator to program the pressures. Sensors have a 7-year battery life. The cost is $743 for a 10-wheel tractor, including sensors, monitor and external antenna.

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