April 12, 2005 - I had the Vigia Automatic Tire Pressure System installed on the Beaver Patriot. Ruben Giosa distributes the, Argentine built, system in the United States. Vigia means 'sentinel' in Spanish and is pronounced Va-Gee-A. My system is the 53rd that he has installed on a motor coach. Ruben installs the systems at the Santiago Trailer Repair facility in Carson, CA [21119 Wilmington, Long Beach, 90810]. I arrived on site the day before the installation. I plugged into available 20 amp service and spent the night. Because the installation took all day I spent a second night before heading out.
August 2007 - The system has worked well. One story: I drove for about 1 week with a screw in one of the drive tires. The system kept the tire inflated. I drove from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Anacortes, WA, about 750 miles, with the screw in the tire. The Les Schwab Tire Center [2311 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221, 360-293-5121] found the screw and patched the tire.
I travel long distances between areas where there is little or no tire service. And I don't always remember to check tire pressure. Benefits outlined in the Vigia sales literature include:
- Maintains tire pressure even when a tire is punctured.
- Easy to read gauges alert the driver to low air pressure situations.
- Automatically regulates and adjusts air pressure.
- Installs on almost all models of trucks and busses. Even autos.
- Improves tire life by as much as 20 percent.
- Improves fuel consumption. Get better fuel mileage.
Beside being widely used in Argentina, the system is being used on many busses in Mexico. There are long stretches of road in Mexico without tire service. Ruben will soon be installing an evaluation system at a Federal test center in Ohio. Systems such as Vigia will soon be mandatory for busses in Argentina.
The fully installed system costs about $3000.00. I got a 10% show discount because I bought the system while Ruben was showing the system at an FMCA rally in Indio in January 2005. I had seen the system at the same show in 2004. If you purchase a system tell Ruben that I recommended it. Contact: Gio-Set Corporation: 37 Landing, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, 949-412-9393. Ruben's cell phone number is 949-293-9937.
2007/06/29 The system is now being distributed in the US by Safer Corporation, Novato, CA.
2009/03/26 The link for Safer Corporation is broken. I don't have any new information about Vigia, Gio-Set or Safer Corp.
Click any photo for an enlargement then click your browser's back button to return to this screen.
The left photo shows parts used in the Vigia system. Ruben [with cap] and Pali make initial measurements. Ruben is from Buenos Aries , Argentina. Pali lived on the same street as Ruben. Ruben also knew Santiago [installation shop owner] in Argentina. Ruben, 58 years old, has been in the US for over 30 years. He owns a Mercedes dealership in Laguna Niguel. Pali is a service tech at the dealership.
Pali installed the Vigia Control Panel in the coach just left of and below the steering wheel. An air hose runs from a coach's air tank to the control panel. Similar hoses run from the control panel to each tire. The system continuously monitors tire pressure and adds air if needed. Maximum tire pressure is about 115 PSI. Recommended tire pressure for the Patriot is about 120 PSI. But the coach's air compressor will only compress to about 115 PSI. I will need to have the compressor maximum increased if I want to run at 120 PSI. Ruben says I need to have a Caterpillar tech change the setting.
A valve is installed in the center of each wheel. The air hose runs from the control panel, under the coach, to a quick disconnect at the tire well, down the curved hose to the wheel valve. From there the air is connected to the tire's valve stem. Photos of completed wheel installations, front and rear with tag axel. Installation began at 8 in the morning and everything was completed at 8 in the evening - including a test drive.
Santiago [white t-shirt], of Santiago Trailer Repair, with helper measure the area under the front, left slide. Because the slides of the Patriot extend beyond the tire well he had to fabricate mounting brackets. The fabricated brackets are shown in the subsequent photos.