Author Topic: On- the- bike TPS sensor change  (Read 16196 times)

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Offline BDF

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On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« on: April 13, 2014, 07:23:46 pm »
I have been tinkering around with trying to break the bead on the rear tire of a C-14 on the bike, then push one side of the tire over enough to get the TPS sensor out without removing the tire / wheel a**'y from the bike. I have not been successful as I do not have anything large enough in the way of a clamp or any way to deliver enough pressure to the bead.

We really wanted to see if this could be done before tech day as it will save a considerable amount of time replacing the batteries in the TPS sensors if we do not have to R&R the wheels, and get each tire and wheel into the tire machine.

This is also useful for anyone who wants to remove his / her own TPS sensor and replace the battery or send the sensor out to have someone else replace the battery but does NOT have a tire mounting machine. This method is done with wheels on the bike and nothing but the centerstand (although a small jack would be needed to do the front wheel of course).

Working with Pat Mulloy on Sat., we found a method that does work though using very conventional hand tools: he had a beam clamp large enough that it would reach around the tire. This is a very conventional one- hand clamp found at Home Depot, Lowes or similar, for use as a woodworking clamp. The key to the method that Pat came up with is using tire irons in combination with the clamp. So this is how we did it:

You will need at least one beam clamp, able to open at least 8" or more. Also at least two tire irons and three pieces of wood about 1 1/2" or so thick to hold the bead in the wheel's well.

1) remove the valve stem Schrader valve
2) put the clamp over the tire at about a 15 or so degree angle (to the axle) so that one jaw firmly grabs the wheel rim and the other jaw just misses the wheel and pushes only on the tire bead. Make sure the position of the clamp is at least 90 degrees away from the tire valve stem so there is no risk of damaging the sensor.
3) compress the clamp as far as it will go- this was not far enough to actually break the bead but it did leave a gap between the tire wall and the wheel rim; at this point, use the tire irons alternately above and below the clamp to further push the tire away from the rim. As the tire is forced toward the center of the wheel with the iron, take up any slack with the clamp. Pretty soon the bead will be clear of the rim; at this point just move the tire away from the wheel enough to jam a piece of wood in the gap and then release the clamp. Rotate the wheel 90 degrees, further away from the valve stem, again use the clamp and if needed a tire iron to open a gap between the tire and the wheel and stick another piece of wood in the gap. Do this in three places about 90 degrees apart and finally rotate the tire so that the valve stem (where there are no wood blocks) is facing the back of the bike.
4) Again position the clamp around the tire / wheel and begin to move the tire sidewall toward the middle of the wheel. It will move easily now that the bead is fully broken; you only need to basically squeeze the sidewall of the tire. Be careful as the tire bead approaches the center as it will move right across the TPS sensor and may actually touch it. If it does touch it, slip a tire iron between the wheel center and the tire bead to gently lift it away from the sensor and keep squeezing the clamp; the tire bead will move to the far side of the sensor.
5) The sensor will be fully exposed at this point (easy boys!) so just reach in with a hex wrench, remove the valve stem body (from the inside) and take out the sensor.

This is what it looked like when everything was in position to get to the sensor:



Similar photo using an Elk's hoof for scale :-)



Photos courtesy of Pat Mulloy.

When finished, just remove the clamp (being careful to allow the tire bead to slide over the sensor without damaging it), then remove all the wooden blocks, apply some bead lube to the entire tire bead and inflate the tire to re- seat the bead. Install the valve stem valve, inflate the tire to the pressure you want and the bike is ready to go- no need to re- balance anything as the tire / wheel did not move (the far bead was not broken).

I think the whole thing would go faster and easier with two clamps but we did not have access to another one large enough. But using two clamps, I think the tire irons would not be needed at all and the whole thing would go considerably faster. I will give this a try if I get a chance before Tech. day.

Brian
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Offline LakeTrax

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 02:30:25 am »
Good write-up Brian, and I certainly commend your efforts...
You have shown that this process is doable.
However, I just don't see the point in going through all of the effort. :017:

One may save themselves a few bucks($20?) by not having the tire dismounted/mounted... but they could also do hundreds of dollars worth of damage if something were to go wrong.

It just looks to me like a good way for an eager(yet mechanically unskilled) new owner of a C14 to scratch their rear wheel all to sh** AND break their sensor in the process.

Would you agree that probably 75%(or more) of all C14 TPMS sensors that have ever needed new batteries were covered and serviced by dealers under warranty for free?...
For the other 25% that went bad, were out of warranty, and had owners that actually wanted to tackle battery replacement themselves... don't you think that the majority of those owners have some sort of hookup with a dealer/mechanic/tire machine and would simply rather remove the wheel in all of about 5-10 minutes and do the job the "old-fashioned" way?

Maybe it's because I own a Coats RC150...
Maybe it's because I like my thoughts to reside safely within the box...

I suppose I would just feel bad for the first person that bends/scratches the lip of their rim(or more than likely breaks their sensor) by attempting to do this.

I give you props though for actually breaking the bead with the wheel still mounted...  :beerchug: :great:

I just don't think that many people could pull it off without something bad happening-

Offline gsun

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 03:51:23 am »
What's so hard about taking the wheel off? I think Brian was just bored. Change the batteries when you change tires. If that's not often enough, you need to ride more!

Offline gPink

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 09:36:33 am »
So much negativity...

Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 11:21:45 am »
Well, I figured this out for two reasons: the second reason is that we have a tech day coming up and plan on doing quite a few of these (TPS battery swaps) and speeding that process up is very desirable as the day is quite full.

The main reason is that it seems like there are quite a few people out there who have TPS sensors throwing the battery warning and annoying them but 1) do not have a tire machine and so cannot dismount / re-mount tires and 2) may not have the tools or the ability to take the wheels off the bike. This method solves both problems. As there are people out there who will change TPS batteries, it becomes very doable for a lot more people I think if they can get the sensors out and back in the bike themselves and have someone else put new batteries in them. The downside of course is that one does need an air compressor to re- seat the bead and re- inflate the tire.

Now, as to some of your concerns.... it is not likely to bend a rim with a tool that can only exert 300 lbs. of force, especially since it covers the entire area outside the bead well. As to breaking the sensors, yep, that is possible but unlikely if my directions are followed: the bead is broken 90 degrees away from the sensor and the tire pushed into the wheel well area in places well away from the sensor (90, 180 and 270 degree intervals away). Once the clamp is placed on the tire over the sensor, the bead barely touches the sensor on as it is on the way by. And of course I suggest anyone attempting this be careful, fully aware and I presented a method to move the bead away from the sensor (using a tire iron although any full size screw driver will work as very little force is needed).

As far as this being an advisable job to present to everyone.... of course I do not know what the ratio of 'worked great' to 'that went poorly' is going to be. But I was far more wary of presenting a method of attaching a Rostra to a C-14 for exactly the reasons you describe and by comparison, I think this project is a walk in the park.

Brian

Good write-up Brian, and I certainly commend your efforts...
You have shown that this process is doable.
However, I just don't see the point in going through all of the effort. :017:

One may save themselves a few bucks($20?) by not having the tire dismounted/mounted... but they could also do hundreds of dollars worth of damage if something were to go wrong.

It just looks to me like a good way for an eager(yet mechanically unskilled) new owner of a C14 to scratch their rear wheel all to sh** AND break their sensor in the process.

Would you agree that probably 75%(or more) of all C14 TPMS sensors that have ever needed new batteries were covered and serviced by dealers under warranty for free?...
For the other 25% that went bad, were out of warranty, and had owners that actually wanted to tackle battery replacement themselves... don't you think that the majority of those owners have some sort of hookup with a dealer/mechanic/tire machine and would simply rather remove the wheel in all of about 5-10 minutes and do the job the "old-fashioned" way?

Maybe it's because I own a Coats RC150...
Maybe it's because I like my thoughts to reside safely within the box...

I suppose I would just feel bad for the first person that bends/scratches the lip of their rim(or more than likely breaks their sensor) by attempting to do this.

I give you props though for actually breaking the bead with the wheel still mounted...  :beerchug: :great:

I just don't think that many people could pull it off without something bad happening-
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Offline Roger M.

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2014, 11:24:28 am »
I think its a great idea and technique. As Brian stated, on tech day, folks who would like to tackle the battery replacement do not need to go one at a time. Great time saver.  :beerchug:


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Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2014, 11:27:38 am »
Negative and oftentimes seriously lacking humor..... it can be a tough crowd. No matter, I put the knowledge that this can be done as well as a viable method using inexpensive tools out there and anyone is free to use it / ignore it as he / she sees fit. I have already made all the money I expected to by doing this (nothing) and after that I am merely trying not to increase the entropy of the universe any faster than necessary.  :rotflmao:

Brian

So much negativity...
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Offline JerryR_WA

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2014, 11:39:14 am »
That's pretty good, I live for finding easier, quicker, cheaper, and different ways to do things.

Now my question is, I read a lot about the sensor battery issue, but I was following a thread on the other forum and it indicated that Kawi has a 5 year warranty on the TPS battery.  Are many people going through this effort when Kawi would do it for them?


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Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2014, 11:50:34 am »
I doubt most people would swap batteries in a sensor that was covered under warranty. I know I did not- I had my sensors changed when they started throwing the low battery warning.

But things are changing: Kawasaki seems to have gotten a little resistant to changing the sensor when it still works but shows the low battery warning, waiting to change the sensors only when the actually fail. And this summer, the first C-14's are coming up on 6 years old and are beyond the 5 year predicted battery life so more and more people are going to be on their own regarding sensor (or sensor battery) replacement. And finally, as the new type sensors are potted, I would not have new sensors put in the bike even under warranty simply because they will not be easy to change batteries in if it is possible at all; the older types are quite easy to change batteries.

Brian

That's pretty good, I live for finding easier, quicker, cheaper, and different ways to do things.

Now my question is, I read a lot about the sensor battery issue, but I was following a thread on the other forum and it indicated that Kawi has a 5 year warranty on the TPS battery.  Are many people going through this effort when Kawi would do it for them?
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Offline gPink

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 11:53:33 am »
^^^that

Offline 4Bikes

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2014, 12:27:21 pm »
Thanks for looking into this Brian.  :beerchug:  This is a better solution than cutting into the tire during a tire change (to avoid multiple trips to the dealer for those that don’t mount their own tires.)  It can also be done anytime the sensor battery fails.
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Offline LakeTrax

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2014, 03:37:23 pm »
I wasn't trying to be negative when I commented last night, and I always find humor in a hoof... :-\

I just know how easy it is to snag the sensor when you're breaking the bead.

I wanted to point out that this should only be attempted and carried out exactly as Brian described-
If done carelessly and if somebody ham-fists this procedure, they're guaranteed to damage or break something. That's all-

The other point that I was trying to make is that most people have/will have their sensors replaced for free under warranty, and the few that actually end up changing sensor batteries themselves(must own an air compressor) will likely have access to the necessary tools to do the job the "conventional" way.

Hey, more power to those that actually know what they're doin' and choose to do things their own way... :beerchug:
It's the ones that don't know what they're doin' but insist on doing things differently that I feel sorry for-


Offline SO InnKeeper

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2014, 05:58:00 pm »
Those of us that have TPS out of warranty and live a long distance from the Dealer are very interested in the process. I just put new tires on my 08 and now the batteries are acting up.  Since my dealer wants $80 to R&R ONE tire, and a day or two, and is 100 miles round trip it isn't really feasible to have them pull the wheels, provide me the "old" TPS to replace the batteries and then me go home replace and return to be re-installed.
Changing the battery in itself is not a concern for me once the TPS is out, but damaging the tire is.  Won't putting the unusual stress on the tire with compressing it this way damage the cords or something in the tire.  I would NOT like to have early failure (side wall blow out or whatever) due to the compression.

Is this a concern?
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2014, 06:18:07 pm »
I tried breaking the bead on a tire (non C-14) a few months ago using this method and failed.  The problem was that I was using Harbor Freight's version of this bar clamp.  DO NOT TRY THIS (or any job requiring significant strength) with the Harbor Freight bar clamps.  THey simply are NOT up to the task.  In fact, I can find little use for them other than lining my trash can with broken parts (I bought several and have rapidly found ways to break them all).  They are just too light duty for any form of applying even remotely significant clamping force or pressure.  They are, in other words, garbage (said with a French accent).

No chance of bending the rim and probably the lowest possible chance for damaging the sensor if you pay even the remotest attention to where they are (think valve stem, duh!) and place your clamp more than a few inches from there.  Looks relatively EZ PZ and way faster than a big C clamp.
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Offline Roger M.

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2014, 07:15:55 pm »
Brian, if we need more of those clamps for tech day, let me know and I will bring extra. Have plenty of these clamps in my shop.  :great:


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Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2014, 09:36:08 pm »
I do not think that is really anything to worry about because the tire is not subjected to anything they are not normally subjected to when changing tires in the first place. The two things being done to the tire, breaking the bead and pushing one side toward the other are both things that always happen in the normal course of mounting tires anyway.

Brian


<snip>

Changing the battery in itself is not a concern for me once the TPS is out, but damaging the tire is.  Won't putting the unusual stress on the tire with compressing it this way damage the cords or something in the tire.  I would NOT like to have early failure (side wall blow out or whatever) due to the compression.

Is this a concern?
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Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2014, 09:41:48 pm »
Yeah, I would not try it with any clamp that was not all- metal, or at least the main part of the jaws.

I just picked up a pair of Irwin 12" clamps rated at 600 lbs. and they work like a charm. One clamp alone almost breaks the bead but the second one finishes off the job with no need for tire irons or any other tools. There is a funky jaw cover on both jaws that is made out of some slippery plastic and causing the clamp to slip away from the bead of the tire. After removing the covers, the clamps worked really well and the kicker is that the jaw covers are the perfect size to hold the tire away from the wheel! It is like a C-14 TPS sensor removal kit I tells' ya'!

Will try to take some video of this process tomorrow night and will post it if it works reasonably well (the video- the clamp process works very well).

And Rev, it is especially far faster than a rusty C- clamp which is what most of us seem to have.  ;D

Brian

I tried breaking the bead on a tire (non C-14) a few months ago using this method and failed.  The problem was that I was using Harbor Freight's version of this bar clamp.  DO NOT TRY THIS (or any job requiring significant strength) with the Harbor Freight bar clamps.  THey simply are NOT up to the task.  In fact, I can find little use for them other than lining my trash can with broken parts (I bought several and have rapidly found ways to break them all).  They are just too light duty for any form of applying even remotely significant clamping force or pressure.  They are, in other words, garbage (said with a French accent).

No chance of bending the rim and probably the lowest possible chance for damaging the sensor if you pay even the remotest attention to where they are (think valve stem, duh!) and place your clamp more than a few inches from there.  Looks relatively EZ PZ and way faster than a big C clamp.
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Offline wayne_jenkins_CT

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2014, 10:26:26 pm »
Nice to see someone trying an 'out of the box' way to solve a problem!  I still think inner tubes were the best way to go.
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Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2014, 10:30:14 pm »
I tried the video thingy and it just did not work out. So I went through the process and took a bunch of photos: think of this is a photo essay :-) 

First of all, I used these 12" long clamps. They come with a plastic jaw protector that I found got in the way and made the clamp slippery- they worked much better with the jaw covers removed.


Remove the valve stem and turn the wheel so the stem is facing down (more or less)- then put the first clamp on the back of the tire so that the moving jaw just touches the rim on the way by and put a little pressure on it:


In this position, the far jaw will firmly catch the wheel edge:


Put the second clamp about 3" or 4" away from the first clamp and put some pressure on that one too.


Alternate between the clamps moving the bead in until it is broken from the wheel:


Slip a block of wood in-between the wheel rim and the tire, between the clamps. I used a piece of 2X4:


Remove both clamps:


Rotate the tire about 70 or 75 degrees AWAY from the valve stem and again use the two clamps about 4" apart to squeeze the tire and place another block of wood between the tire and wheel- this time will be much easier because the bead has already been broken. Continue to do this until only the area immediately around the valve stem is left with the tire bead seated on the rim:


At this point, put both clamps on the tire again, about 5" apart and centered around the sensor and begin to squeeze the tire down but do NOT move the tire all the way to the center of the wheel because it will catch and break the sensor- this is the first part of this process that takes some care and fiddling. The sensor cannot be seen in this photo but it is immediately behind the tire bead; it is easy to tell where the sensor is because it is mounted to the valve stem:


With the tire held up near but not against the sensor, reach in with a tire iron or long, flat blade screwdriver and gently move the tire away from the wheel as you continue to squeeze just one clamp. The tire bead will slide over the sensor. It may and probably will drag on the sensor so be careful to go slowly here and not let anything bang or move suddenly. Once one edge of the tire bead is over the sensor, move the tire iron to the tire at the other end of the sensor and then squeeze the opposite clamp so that the entire tire bead is over the sensor:


Once the bead is over the sensor, carefully squeeze both clamps, a bit at at time, and watch the tire slide over the sensor body until it is on the other side. Again, go easy here because the sensor is plastic and if the tire catches it and lots of pressure is used on the clamps, it will break. Finally, the entire bead will be on the far side of the sensor and the sensor itself can be removed using a hex wrench:


Once the new battery is in the sensor and the sensor reinstalled in the wheel, again use a tire iron to help get the tire bead over and past the sensor as the clamps are released a little bit at a time. Once the entire sensor is 'behind' the tire bead, release the clamps, remove all wood blocks, check to make sure the wheel and tire bead are clean (clean them if needed), apply a bit of rubber lube to the entire bead and inflate the tire to again seat the bead. Then install the valve stem and inflate the tire to the final pressure.

The rear sensor can be tested by putting the bike on the centerstand, starting the bike and running the rear wheel up to ~20 MPH (any gear although 4th or 5th is quieter and less jerky on the centerstand) for about a minute. Before doing this, put the bike's LCD readout on the tire pressure screen and once the rear TPS has turned on, a reading will show on the screen if the battery replacement worked.

There is no easy way to test the front sensor without riding the bike that I know of. There are several difficult ways but the most fun ones would involve an electric drill and a large sanding drum to spin the front tire up.  ;D

Brian

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Offline gPink

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2014, 10:42:16 pm »
Thanks Brian, great option for we frugal/changerless folk.

Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2014, 12:06:08 am »
Glad to help if I can, and that is really who this whole thing is for- those without their own tire changers who would like to change the batteries in the TPS (or have someone else do it). Removing the wheels is not all that difficult or time consuming but without a bead breaker at the very least, it is still difficult or impossible for the C-14 owner to get at his / her own TPS sensors. This method at least allows it to be done with fairly inexpensive tools available readily available.

As Kawasaki is now changing out the TPS sensors for a new type that is potted, and may be very difficult to change batteries in them, it also gives people an option even if the sensors can be changed under warranty. The older types sensors are pretty easy to change batteries and when the dealer swaps them for the new type, the older type is gone forever. I would opt to keep the old sensors and change the batteries out of pocket even if under warranty.

Brian

Thanks Brian, great option for we frugal/changerless folk.
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Offline LakeTrax

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 03:09:21 am »
Second time around looks much better/more informative Brian. :great:

One thing to note:
If your bike has TC and you want to be able to see the rear TPMS info on the gauges while running on the center-stand...
KTRC needs to be turned OFF-
If KTRC is left on, the gauges will start flashing some sort of "traction failure" warning as soon as the rear tire turns anything more than just a few mph.

Offline ABureau

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2014, 02:11:50 pm »
So timely ,I just ordered batteries from digit key and thought what  apain to remove wheels ,tires ,just boring grunt work,but alas!!!an easier way
Thanx for info Brian and all those who make this COG group so helpful.
Art

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2014, 05:32:09 pm »
True but you can power right through that KTRAC warning, just like all the other, by pressing and holding the top button, pressing and releasing the bottom button and then releasing the top button. The warning clears, the red, generic 'warning' LED comes on and the tire pressures show. I did several of them yesterday and used that proccess on all the rear sensor batteries changed (all worked).

The other method to test a TPS sensor while it is off the bike is to tie a string around the valve stem and then swing the entire sensor around in a circle until the display shows a pressure reading, which will be -0- PSI (of course) and then a Low Tire Pressure Warning; again, turn the warning off and you can check the other sensor. Someone foolishly mixed up the front and rear sensors on a bike and had to use that method to determine which sensor was the front and which was the rear. A little funny and sad, all at the same time.

Brian

Second time around looks much better/more informative Brian. :great:

One thing to note:
If your bike has TC and you want to be able to see the rear TPMS info on the gauges while running on the center-stand...
KTRC needs to be turned OFF-
If KTRC is left on, the gauges will start flashing some sort of "traction failure" warning as soon as the rear tire turns anything more than just a few mph.
KiPass keeping you up at night? Has the low fuel warning burned your retinas? Find peace, harmony and the answer to these problems. www.incontrolne.com

Offline BDF

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Re: On- the- bike TPS sensor change
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2014, 05:13:36 pm »
UPDATE:  So on Tech. Day in Monson, we did several C-14 TPS sensor battery changes with the wheels / tires still on the bike, using the clamp technique. It is absolutely faster and easier than removing the wheels, and all sensor R&Rs tried were successful and without any problems. On the last one of the day, I changed both batteries in both sensors, again with the wheels still on the bike, in something like an hour or a bit more; that is from start- to- finish and included both R&R'ing the sensors from the bike and removing and soldering in new batteries in them as well.

I think this is a viable method for just about anyone to do regarding R&R'ing the sensors with nothing more than the two clamps mentioned earlier and a few blocks of wood. Changing the batteries takes a bit of soldering skill and a little tinkering to open and close the sensor, as well as a Torx T-8 driver but should be doable for the average home hobbyist. And there are places to have the batteries changed if someone wanted to send the sensors out, or at least there used to be.

Brian
KiPass keeping you up at night? Has the low fuel warning burned your retinas? Find peace, harmony and the answer to these problems. www.incontrolne.com