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Old 01-20-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
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Guide to Better Trailer Braking...

Here's a bunch of trailer info in one neat package...

Braking Guide

I just received my copy today, and it's well done, with good battery, wiring, brakes, controller info and explanations - lots of good brake (drum & disc) info, what to look for, how to maintain, etc. - and it's a freebie...

Of course, there's a few of pages promoting Tuson RV Brakes products, but the other info can be enlightening and a good reference manual...

I was interested in the DirecLink controller that plugs into the TV's OBDII port, uses the TV's computer sensors to direct the 'signal' to the trailer's brake system...They even have a system available that with the addition of wheel sensors on the trailer's axles (disc brakes)provides an anti-lock system that works in concert with the TV's anti-lock system...sounds like it could be good investment for one of those big-bucks, heavy 5th wheel rigs...

I've ordered a DirecLink to install on our TV, and will update here after I get some experience with it...I like the features utilizing the TV's sensors/computer to operate/modulate the trailer's brakes in a non-linear manner, instead of the more common 'timed', or 'inertia' method units...

Our old Voyager controller is tricky to adjust for the road AND low speed braking - never can get it right for all situations, dry/wet roads, etc...I just hope the DirecLink lives up to it's advertized operation, as it's kind of pricey!...But, if it saves our 'bacon' in just one panic situation, it will be worth it...!

Has anyone else installed one of these units?
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:06 PM   #2
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Ray

As you're probably aware from my other posts I like the Maxbrake and have them installed in both my tow vehicles. I can't imagine a controller used for electric brakes being any better. As you're probably aware the Maxbrake uses a pressure sensor installed in a hydraulic line in the tow vehicle and is able to provide extremely linear, well modulated braking, much better than the various inertial units or the older electromechanical designs that ran a hydraulic line to the controller itself or a cable to the brake pedal.

The OBD port is a diagnostic port not really an operational one and I don't know if I would want to rely on it for brakes.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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Jammer...

According the the Tuson Bk group, they don't Mfg. the MaxBrake unit any more...I see some available on ebay and Amazon, existing inventories I suppose....

I liked the description/use of the MaxBrake, and was going to go that route, but the Tuson outfit says that the DirecLink, using the OBDII connection to the TV's computer offers improved performance compared to the MaxBrake - I don't know, I'm just going by their info...I guess I've got 60 days to see if it's up to their 'advertized' performance in our set-up...or back it goes!

DirecLink is supposed to apply the trailer brakes in a non-linear mode, using the TV's actual speed as signaled by the TV's computer (and other sensor signals???) through the OBDII's signaled output...I guess as the RV's speed slows, the DL unit can alter/modify the trailer brake supply voltage accordingly to avoid an otherwise more aggressive application or lockup as you come to a stop...

Low speed lockup has always been a problem with our Voyager, inertia unit - get it adjusted for maximum performance at road speed, then it locks up during slow speed stops, scuffing the tires!

DL's description of operation sounds good, actual operation will only tell the tale - DL says you can modify the low speed operation independently of the normal high speed braking characteristics...we shall see...

As you mentioned, the OBDII port is primarily for diagnostics, and the DL has taken advantage of this by also providing data from various TV sensors as output on the units screen; system voltage, continuity of various circuits, transmission temp, etc...all added advantages, or 'bells and whistles' depending how you look at it...

I wonder if Ford, GM and Dodge's factory installed Brake Controllers use some sort of 'network' data from the truck's computer to output signals to the built-in brake controller? If so sounds like a good plan that DL has picked up on for the aftermarket?

It will be easier to install than the MaxBrake unit, just a plug & Play sort of thing...AND another new toy to play with!

I just hope it works as advertizes...
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:31 AM   #4
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Hi, my original Voyager worked pretty good, but my P-3 is so much better. I will be watching this thread to see how this works.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:25 AM   #5
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Ray

Thanks for the information on this company. I will be real interested in seeing how their controller works out for you.

I have been planning on installing disk brakes when I install new axles, but I am concerned about the reliability of the hydraulic actuator. This seems to be the weak link in the system. I see that they make a hydraulic actuator for disk brakes also. I wonder how good this unit is compared to the other units out there. I wonder if any forum members have installed their actuator.

Dan
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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I also recommend this published guide as it's good enough for anyone, novice or expert, as a reference to read and hand around.

Anti-lock trailer braking is my primary interest beyond the controller itself.

The DirecLink controller is my next upgrade.

.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
Jammer...

According the the Tuson Bk group, they don't Mfg. the MaxBrake unit any more...I see some available on ebay and Amazon, existing inventories I suppose....

I liked the description/use of the MaxBrake, and was going to go that route, but the Tuson outfit says that the DirecLink, using the OBDII connection to the TV's computer offers improved performance compared to the MaxBrake - I don't know, I'm just going by their info...I guess I've got 60 days to see if it's up to their 'advertized' performance in our set-up...or back it goes!

DirecLink is supposed to apply the trailer brakes in a non-linear mode, using the TV's actual speed as signaled by the TV's computer (and other sensor signals???) through the OBDII's signaled output...I guess as the RV's speed slows, the DL unit can alter/modify the trailer brake supply voltage accordingly to avoid an otherwise more aggressive application or lockup as you come to a stop...

Low speed lockup has always been a problem with our Voyager, inertia unit - get it adjusted for maximum performance at road speed, then it locks up during slow speed stops, scuffing the tires!

DL's description of operation sounds good, actual operation will only tell the tale - DL says you can modify the low speed operation independently of the normal high speed braking characteristics...we shall see...

As you mentioned, the OBDII port is primarily for diagnostics, and the DL has taken advantage of this by also providing data from various TV sensors as output on the units screen; system voltage, continuity of various circuits, transmission temp, etc...all added advantages, or 'bells and whistles' depending how you look at it...

I wonder if Ford, GM and Dodge's factory installed Brake Controllers use some sort of 'network' data from the truck's computer to output signals to the built-in brake controller? If so sounds like a good plan that DL has picked up on for the aftermarket?

It will be easier to install than the MaxBrake unit, just a plug & Play sort of thing...AND another new toy to play with!

I just hope it works as advertizes...
I wonder if they went out of business due to the fact that since the advent of ABS, most manufacturers have STRONG WARNINGS about tapping anything into the brake hydraulic lines. I would advise anyone who has a later model TV with ABS and/or stability control to check into that with their automaker before installing a Max Brake or any item tapping into the hydraulics.
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link. I too will follow this thread to read about the results.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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I need to know if this is a new entry in the electro-hydraulic brake actuator universe, or is it the same as the Actibrake, Dexter, Titan, Hydrastar, BrakeRite systems?
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:13 PM   #10
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Markdoane...Go to the source for your answers, contact Tuson RV brakes direct - they have contact info on their web site...

Their info on the net seems to point to an entirely new elec/hyd trailer brake system, meant to be integrated with the DirecLink for maximum performance...
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:19 PM   #11
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Fascinating. I would love to have ABS on a trailer. But this is $300 for the controller, $3800 for the actuator and sensors, all on top of a Kodiak disc brake conversion.

Hope it's a harbinger for the future and prices will drop.

Reading the Tuson website and the accompanying Trailer Life review, I'm surprised it still uses a wire to the brake light switch as part of the harness connections.

Tom
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:21 AM   #12
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Well, got the DirecLink unit today...

It comes packed in a plastic display pack, bubble wrapped from DL in a large carton to avoid damage, with the proper FORD brake controller harness loose...

Straight forward install - plug in lead to the OBDII socket, plug in the brake controller harness to the Ford brake controller plug under the dash, plug in the lead to the hand-held controller...plug all three leads into the DL's main module - DONE! find a place to nylon tie (included) the module under the dash and secure the harness'...mount controller on dash to finish...

Fire up the engine, tap the brake pedal and the unit initializes the system within a few seconds...

There are three main screens -
1. Brake Scale - allows you to adjust overall braking effort
2. Low Speed Brake - for adjusting brake effort below 30 MPH
3. Trans Temp - interesting to watch transmission fluid temp rise as you drive...

There are other sub menu control options -
1. Trair Size - Med or Lrg - trailer over 10,000 lbs should use 'Lrg' setting, as it offers a larger range of Brake Scale - Med offers 20 increments of 'scale', Lrg offers 40 increments of 'scale'...
2. Brake Level w/Stopped - you can set brake level from 5% to 30% when stopped - allows for trailer brakes while stopped on slopes or boat ramps, etc..
3. Max Brake Limit - allows setting of maximum braking level just prior to trailer tire lock-up...If you notice skid at a particular % number (say 75% - on the screen) you can set Max Brake Limit % to a lower number (say 70%) - all other braking functions remain the same, and the manual application trigger will still provide 100% braking effort...
4. Ctrlr Reset - reset all functions to original factory settings...

Other display only options - Nos. 3 & 4 on one screen; Nos 5,6 & 7 on one screen; 8,9,& 10 on one screen...
1. Scrn Bright - screen brightness...
2. Scrn Sound - key 'beep' on or off...

3. VBat - TV's battery voltage
4. BrkLight Volt - Voltage of the 'Red' wire in the harness - brake light wire...

5. CTmp - Temp of the Control Module circuit board in degrees F
6. CAmp - indicated amperage of output of the controller to the 'Blue' wire during normal braking or running the manual override...
7. CVlt - displays the voltage of the 'Blue' wire..as in 6. above.

8. MPH - displays when TV in motion
9. KPH - Kilo's per hr when TV in motion
10 RPM - show engine rev's when stopped - when moving rev's disappear, showing only MPH & KPH values...

There are several other 'Fault' codes for low voltage, open or shorted circuits in the vehicle/trailer brake harness aft of the controller...

The coiled cord to the controller does offer some flexibility for mounting on the TV dash - they give you two 3-M molding taped mounting 'hooks'...it's still somewhat challenging to find a place where you can get at the manual 'trigger' easily, and still view the screen (which has large plain font for easy reading)...I found a the perfect spot, then discovered the shift lever blocked the center of the screen when engaged in 'Drive'!!!

I have noticed that I get a changing % figure when applying pressure to the brake pedal (vehicle stopped) - corresponding to effort - which indicates the DL is using input from a pressure sensor in the TV's brake system (I know there are two sensors on our TV's master cylinder)...

Interestingly - when moving, this % effort figure rises as you apply the brakes, and as you come to a stop with same pressure applied, the % figure drops off - probably to the Brake Level w/Stopped figure set in the system...

I won't have time to hook up and dial in the system with our AS in tow for a few days...will report back then...
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:33 AM   #13
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Hi, nice update Ray. We want pictures too.
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