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I purchased a set of 15” rims from an old Thunderbird, got my snow tires from Tire Rack and ordered a set of TPMS sensors from eBay ($70 w/ free shipping FTW!). My question is this, can I just take the old rubber valve stems off and install the new ones with the TPMS sensors before I take the tires to be mounted? I know I can program them myself once they are installed, but I figure if I can save a few bucks by installing them myself, why not?
 

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Yes. If you got Ford OE type then yes. I bought a small 'tool' with a "T" handle, wire rope section and a threaded end which fits the threaded end of a wheel valve insert. $6 and was worth it for me.

Great for puling the valve up into the wheel. If you are pretty strong you can probably push the valve into place without such a tool.

The TPMS is installed before the tire is put on the wheel. So preinstalling them is not a problem. The TPMS is marked with which side goes 'up' That is which side of the TPMS body you can see after installing it in the wheel
 
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