DL50 DirecLink trailer brake controller, buy now Temporarily out of stock.
The new DirecLink-50 proportional trailer brake controller is lite and affordable with most of the functionality of the DirecLink-100. The Tuson DirecLink product line is the most advanced proportional trailer brake controller and diagnostic tool.
DL100 DirecLink trailer brake controller, $399 buy now
As reviewed on RFD TV
Electric trailer brakes are not known as the best solution, just the cheapest solution. I remember being tickled when Ford introduced the first 4 wheel disc brakes in the 1999 Super Duty model. Front disc brakes have been around for decades because of the improved braking ability and 4 wheel disc brakes completed the picture. I liked the rear ABS on trucks in the eighties. With rear ABS, the front was still full braking and the ABS rear brakes kept the truck braking straight. It stopped fast but you couldn’t steer the truck. 4 wheel ABS does allow you to steer and brake, but the braking is not as powerful.
room for safe braking. With DirecLink ABS, you can use full brake controller gain with a smooth fast stop. Generally with auto’s the ABS will pulse 16 times per second, the pulsing (off and on with brake fluid pressure) can be as low as 5 times per second with DirecLink using ActuLink which is better braking. You have an initial pull and then skid with normal brakes, with DirecLink ABS, each pulse is a pull.
Buy now for pickup trucks DL100 $399 Free shipping & wiring harness 48 states. Buy now for semi-trucks $470
With very little hydraulic boost gap that is associated with some hydraulic brake systems, DirecLink already knows how hard your trucks braking and speed from your trucks computer thru the OBD-ll (on board diagnostic port, which is used by your mechanic to talk to the truck), other trailer brake controllers have to sense how hard you’re braking after you brake. Electric-hydraulic ABS trailer brakes can be used on a lighter trailer. Standard hydraulic brakes generally takes a heavier trailer as the powerful brakes can skid a light trailers tires. www.TusonRVBrakes.com
OBD-ll, on-board diagnostic port under your trucks dash, picture below, is the connection DirecLink trailer brake controller uses to network with your trucks computer. No one else does that. This two way communication ties the truck and trailer together with diagnostic trouble shooting and monitoring. Command Module (picture right below) comes with a couple of dash mounts and will fit anywhere you want to see it.
The unique link from the trucks computers digital network communicates to the DirecLink brake controller to the ActuLink actuator to the ActuLink ABS module to apply the trailer brakes. Truck, trailer and brake controller communicating for diagnosis and braking speed management. You want the trailer wheels turning during braking, just slower giving rolling resistance. If the tires lock up, they just drag and are skidding not braking. The flat spot on a tire that’s been skidded to a lockup ruins the ride and the tire, it would take thousands of miles on the trailer to wear the flat spot down. By then your horses and you will need therapy.
We burnished (30 times 30 mph 30 %) the new brakes, so we were ready for the brake test at the Bandimere Speedway in the foothills at Morison Colorado. We used a measurement wheel for time and distance which was wired to a counter and then wired to our in cab laptop. We did 3 runs per test and averaged the distance. We tested the trailer brakes on Bandimere straight track for feel and ABS ability on the quarter mile track that was glazed over with spent race car tire rubber. Our distance test was on the track return asphalt road. We accelerated to 60 mph on the smoothest, level part of the road. The wind was slight at over a mile above sea level at the base of the Rockies.
Why you need hydraulic brakes
Hydraulic disc brakes are plumbed in, like your truck with steel tubing and rubber hoses. It’s a hydraulic hose at your trailer wheel, not a wire bouncing with your axle. We’re all familiar with the “wire problem” junction boxes, wire connection corrosion. several connections to get to the brake magnet in the wheel. Hydraulics’ are more reliable. I’ve never heard anyone bragging about how good their electric brakes are, but they are cheaper.
At slow speeds, (30 mph) electric brakes do well, hydraulic brakes do better at higher road speeds (60 mph.) Electric brakes alone aren’t much. They need help from the truck. Hydraulic brakes on the other hand are powerful by themselves. Disc brakes are vented for cooling. Disc pads are cheaper than electric drum shoes. www.TusonRVBrakes.com
Why you need a better trailer brake controller.
DirecLink trailer brake controller works with electric drum brakes as well electric-hydraulic actuators. It automatically detects the type of trailer brake you hookup. DirecLink doesn’t have to be installed level. Instead of sensing what your trailer is doing, DirecLink reads the data network of your trucks computer. This constant communication, networks the truck, brake controller and trailer brakes for instant reaction for trailer braking. True proportional braking. DirecLink knows truck speed, so when you’re stopped you’re not running high amps to the brakes. DirecLink monitors wire connections, and warns the driver of any problems making it a great trailer brake controller by itself.
Each component with DirecLink and ActuLink continuously self-monitor and reports any problem to the screen on the Command Module brake controller. There are more than 30 parameters constantly being monitored. DirecLink with, adjustable screen brightness, gives you amps, voltage, controller temperature, connected to trailer, brake light voltage, vehicle battery voltage and more. All settings can be done on the go, velocity compensation, faster, slower, more brakes etc. DirecLink knows how fast the truck is going or slowing compared to the Prodigy controller and other accelerometer based controllers having to sense motion to engage trailer brakes.
My experience with DirecLink NE ABS with full brakes using manual override or maximum brake level, didn’t lockup, it was so smooth. No whiplash or road rage, with each wheel braking separately by road surface, the trailer is much more controllable. Usually you can’t use maximum gain on a controller unless in an emergency because of the erratic bucking. DirecLink, brake level when stopped is adjustable from 5 to 30%, nice if you stop on big grades, boat ramps etc. If you use the DirecLink on a trailer without ABS, electric or hydraulic, you can adjust the maximum brake settings. If you have trailer wheel lock up at for example 80% of maximum trailer brake, you can set the max brake settings to top out at 75% and avoid wheel lockup and flat spots on your trailer tires. The DirecLink is also able to check amps on electric brakes to each wheel allowing you to double check you trailer brakes.
It’s so adjustable, easy to plug in and set up, you can set a couple things and forget it or adjust 400 controller settings and configure it to tow space shuttles. There are two models, one for regular brakes, DirecLink and DirecLink NE for ABS brakes, both are a two way digital network with the trucks computer thru the OBD-ll port, nobody else has it.
With DirecLink the brake scale (gain) has two settings, one for medium trailer 1-20 or large trailer setting goes to the next 20, so 40 gain settings. And low speed brake setting of 10 in each of the 40. You can dial in the settings like a rocket scientist or not. With the low speed setting, you can adjust the brake level for slower, lighter stops. I have mine set so the brakes come on soft and ramp up fast. Using a velocity compensation factor gives you more braking at higher speeds, because the DirecLink is reading the trucks speed from the OBD-ll port.
Buy now for pickup trucks DL100 $399 Free shipping & wiring harness 48 states. Buy now for semi-trucks $470
Two power sources and grounds to the DirecLink controller, one from the truck OBD-ll port and one from trailer wiring harness which increases reliability. We used the Prodigy trailer brake controller for comparison in our brake tests. Using the Prodigy manual override lever didn’t turn on the trailer brake lights. The DirecLink did. I would think anytime I use the brakes, I want lights to come on behind me. In all tests, brakes and controllers were adjusted for maximum braking.
The DirecLink trailer brake controller is a fast install. Normal 4 wire trailer connection, DB-9 to OBD-ll The Control Module can be installed under the dash so only the Command Module can be seen. It looks like a CB, which is more accessible. I put mine towards the top of the dash at eye level. All the controls are in the Command Module with arrow buttons and menu. The manual override lever is there also for applying trailer brakes independently, making if faster to use than you see with most trailer brake controllers. The hand held controller is simple to adjust on the go, mount at eye level or attach where you want it for diagnostic readout and warnings you can see on the go.
You can a get a dual OBD-ll adapter to run DirecLink and a Edge, Superchips or any of the performance programmers along with the DirecLink. Reading digital data from the truck to DirecLink will be the same all the time, with other brake controllers that use accelerometer (motion detector) or pendulum can have a different reading each time you brake depending on a rough road and bouncing trailer.
Picture right, a Freightliner Cascadia engine diagnostic port, like the OBD-ll on pickup trucks and SUV’s for networking trucks computer to DirecLink NE controller.
It doesn’t just pulse, it monitors wheel speed, monitors deceleration and acceleration for optimal levels. You won’t flat spot your tires with hard braking, so your tires last longer. The ABS pulsing of the trailer tires stops 10% shorter on dry pavement and 20% shorter on wet pavement than skidding the tires in full lock-up without ABS. It also keeps the trailer directly behind the truck, preventing trailer slide-out.
DirecLink controller doesn’t have an accelerometer, so it doesn’t have to be installed level like most of brake controllers. The controller is easy to install, plug it in, start your truck, touch brakes and it powers up, finding the vehicle brand (GM, Ford, Ram, Toyota and Nissan) network automatically. Goes to brake scale if it shows green OK, ready to go, connected to truck, connected to trailer. For town, low speed brake setting, adjusts minus 5 to plus 5 just once. On GM and Ford the DirecLink will also give you transmission temp. As fast as the truck hydraulic sensor used in some trailer brake controllers.
Hydraulic brakes are powerful, dramatically more than electric brakes. But it takes some weight to control it. A light trailer will lock up the brakes with hydraulic discs. But with DirecLink, it doesn’t lock up, so can use it on any trailer. Much safer for empty as well as loaded trailers. 5 ABS pulses per second most auto’s are 16 but 5 will give you more road contact thus more braking.
Data and diagnostics
DirecLink has power and ground from both directions. Most brake controller can loose power from trailer and they are dead. DirecLink does diagnostics, black wire, low voltage, DL mode, direct link, digital message back and forth. black wire voltage is low, when you fixed problem, it will tell you. Ground is a problem with most brake controllers, with DirecLink, it will tell you if open ground, blue wire short, trailer harness worn through etc.
Red warning and beep from the DirecLink controller; will switch from network mode to PWM conventional mode if the connection is bad. It tries to always have working brakes even with a poor connection. Other things you can use, truck battery charging, brake voltage, temperature sensor for electric brakes, amps thru the blue wire, actuator temperature, will still pulse but controls temperature, so the controller doesn’t get damaged, power save mode, truck RPM, MPH. Has actuator data like, voltage drop, bad ground, real time test for wire integrity. fluid level OK, low or out, shorted or not connected.
But wait there’s more, actuator temperature, vehicle battery and trailer battery volts, abs diagnostics, checks wheel sensor, pressure transducer, with manual override, you can see brake pressure which can tell you if you have air in the system. With the fault screens, you can find, by slowly building pressure, the exact problem, call Tuson and they can assist in diagnosing your exact problem with help from the screen display.
DirecLink controller can tell if you have a flat tire (smaller tire spins faster), it will tell you “right front tire low.” Tire pressure monitor is coming in the future. The emergency breakaway cable is wired to the ActuLink actuator. It will apply your trailer brakes for about 20 minutes with a charged battery.
Electric Drum Brakes
|Old electric brakes on my Logan trailer had some miles left, we just wanted a fair test will all new brakes for both types||New electric drum brake assemblies installed with new shoes, springs, magnets and wires||Adjusted electric drum brakes more maximum force and burnished the brakes before the track test||Tested new electric brakes and new hydraulic disc brakes on Transwest’s “Road Simulator” all brakes passed before road test|
Hydraulic Disc Brakes with ABS
|The Logan trailer had 7K Dexter axles, we added Kodiak 13 inch rotors and pads||Kodiak calipers have two bleed nipples for easier access on either side. Bleed the actuator first, then ABS module, then any wheel, all are independent||Steel brake fluid lines and rubber hoses at the wheel to the disc brakes, like your truck has, more dependable than wires||The DirecLink Command Module with an extended phone cord can be used to take to the trailer axles for pumping the brakes to bleed the hydraulic lines|
|The ABS wheel sensor behind the disc brake rotor is….||…spring loaded on both sides of the switch to move with the flexing of trailer tires and wheels||ActuLink ABS module can be mounted to the axles for shorter tubing to wheels||Coming down steep grades with heavy trailers, makes buying hydraulic disc brakes with ABS a no-brainer|
Road Simulator at Transwest Truck Trailer RV to measure brake force.
|Measuring wheels wired to….||…counter box wired to…..||…all ends up here, the laptop in the truck cab||We tested with two trailer brake controllers, the Prodigy a popular controller and the new DirecLink|
DirecLink ABS system will work with up to 4 axles. Middle axle of 3 is a slave, sensing on if front or rear will lock first based on suspension type.
Limited Lifetime Warranty www.TusonRVBrakes.com
Trailer Brake Results
First two brake tests with a gooseneck trailer below at Bandimere Speedway by MrTruck.com, our test dummies drive faster
Two tests below conducted by Tuson RV Brakes with a bumper pull trailer
For more ABS trailer brake info; Tuson RV Brakes, LLC www.DirecLink.com
Thanks to Transwest Truck Trailer RV for the Road Simulator testing and use of their state of the art shop.
Thanks to Kodiak Disc Brakes and Bandimere Speedway
Buy now for pickup trucks Free shipping & wiring harness 48 states. Buy now for semi-trucks