Saturday, November 24, 2007


Thanks to my new tire pressure gauge and valve extender caps (see photo) that allow me to check the air pressure without removing the valve cap, I was excited to check the tire pressures before we took off after a 31 day long stay at Cal Expo RV park. The passenger side front tire: BINGO, right on target, and so easy to check.

Oh-oh. It was obvious even to my naked eyeball that the outer rear passenger tire (we have two on each side in the back) was was flat-ish, bulging out near the ground. Pressure gauge confirmed 47.5 pounds (should be 90 pounds). Okay, potential problem, but I stayed positive and moved on to the inner tire. ZERO pounds. Nothing on the new gauge. Nada.

That rocked me back on my heels. Had the battery gone dead in my new electronic gizmo? I got out my old trucker's pressure gauge... same puzzling result. Could it really be true that we had NO air in one of our tires??

I walked around to the driver's side, thinking that we weren't gonna' be leaving by 11:15 am, our planned departure. Not quite as bad: 46.5 pounds in one tire, 82.5 in the other. And the front tire was perfect! What the heck could flatten our four back tires while leaving the front tires untouched??

Flash: the new valve caps! All four of our back tires have long, metal tube extenders that make it possible to check the air pressure without crawling on the ground like a reptile. When we first got the new valve caps, in Port Townsend, I couldn't make them work on the rear tires (apparently some technical mismatch with the already existing extensions). While we were at Cal Expo, I took a little more time to try to figure it out and actually got one working, so we replaced the standard rear valve caps with the new valve caps.

Looks like the new caps are the equivalent of a slow leak! They work perfectly on the front tires (which is where they were most needed), and on the Jeep - in both cases, they are screwed directly onto the valve stem, rather than an extension. Probably could work on the rear tires, too, if perfectly adjusted - but I give up.

One of the great things about a motorhome with air suspension is the on-board air compressor. We hooked up our air hose and refilled our tires... a slow, but convenient, process. Ready to roll again!

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