Kent sundling
denver, colo.

Art by Dave Sundling
(son of mr. Truck)

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November 25, 2013
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Mr. Truck 11-25-13

Evasive maneuvers are part of towing trailers in traffic. Cars coming up on-ramps can cut you off in your right towing lane, side winds can push your trailer hard, and then there’s bad weather. Sometimes you can control some trailer sway by using the manual lever on your brake controller. But what is your reaction time, will you remember what to do in an emergency in less than a second? Tuson Sway Control is also like stability control.

Tuson RV just introduced a little box that attaches inside of your bumper pull trailers nose. The module in the box connects to your trailer brakes, left and right. The module learns from your trailers movements and controls your trailer in a sway event. Similar to how your newer pickup trucks Electronic Stability Control, controls your truck when it goes a different direction than your steering wheel on slick roads.

Tuson, the folks with trailer ABS and DirecLink trailer brake controller, now have a module that controls sway on bumper pull trailers. It will actually steer the trailer left and right to keep the trailer towing straight. It complements modern pickup trucks trailer sway control but works better and faster. If you have a sudden gust of wind, get cut off on a freeway or have your trailer load shift, Tuson Sway Control will keep the trailer towing straight. The module can read how worn your trailer brakes are and how big your trailer is and use your trailer brakes accordingly. Tuson can read automatically between a big trailer movement and a lane change making the right amount of trailer control.

We tested trailers again at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. Same place we tested Tuson ABS trailer brakes and DirecLink trailer brake controller a couple years ago. The test trailer was a 2014 Logan Coach trailer weighing 8,200 pounds when balanced with three water totes.

We tested with and without Tuson Sway Control, with and without the trucks trailer sway control. First tests we used a balanced trailer with front and rear water totes full, middle, 1/3 full of water. Second half of the eight tests were with water just in the rear water tote. Trying to cause sway with a pendulum action from the trailer. Two runs for each test. Eight tests. Starting each sway at 50 mph. The water totes were braced forward but allowed to move side to side to dramatize sway. All balanced trailer test runs started sway by driver. Most of the tests were done with the two Ford F250’s towing just the 18-foot Logan Coach Stockman Combo bumper pull trailer.

Amazingly the test runs using Tuson Sway Control with a balanced trailer or the rear loaded trailer, controlled well, and felt the same. Verses any configuration with Tuson disconnected, which had disturbing trailer sway.

We emptied the front two water totes leaving a 2,200 pound water container at the rear of the trailer to create sway, total trailer weight wad 5,700 pounds. When the weight was moved just to the rear of the trailer, sway was tried to be initiated by trailer, but with Tuson Sway Control, it wouldn’t sway. So the driver tried to force trailer sway, but couldn’t. The trailer came back to the middle immediately. Very effective trailer control. Truck responds well with Tuson, during sway maneuvers, with Tuson controlling trailer sway, it had little affect on the truck.

We used tow mode for both trucks. The 2012 Ford F250 has trailer sway built in, under a hard brake without Tuson, with induced sway from the driver, the truck braked hard with a front truck brake opposite of the trailer sway. A hard brake almost stopping the truck straight but not braking the trailer. During the incident a dash warning light came on, “trailer sway, reduce speed.” It was something to experience, wouldn’t want that to happen in bad weather. When using Tuson Sway Control, the same maneuver was dramatically less abrupt and didn’t cause the truck to use it’s “trailer sway control.”

Truck trailer sway control and electronic stability control are designed to automatically control your truck, with your trailer control a second priority. Tuson Sway Control’s only purpose is controlling your trailer.

The truck in our test with integrated trailer sway control couldn’t control the trailer, just the trucks reaction to trailer sway. Tuson Sway Control didn’t interfere with the truck trailer sway control, but did react before the trucks sway control did.

With the full water container at the rear of the trailer, driving the truck was scary as you would expect from a trailer with no tongue weight. But even with the trailer tongue bouncing on the ball when using Tuson, the trailer steered straight.

The Tuson module self adjusts for more or less brakes according to the trailer action side to side. Angle of the sway from the ball, self adjusts to how much brake was needed to control left-right movement. The computer learns from sway activity. It self adjusts for brake wear or brake adjustment independently. Pivoting rotation measuring movement from hitch ball happens in milliseconds. Trailer brakes are wired in parallel to the module box.

Two basic controls the module concentrates on, controlling average swaying of the trailer and hard sway from a fast instant side wind gust or unexpected evasive driving maneuver. Working when it’s needed and self-adjusting, what else would you expect in 2013. The laptop that was wired to the module during our tests indicated a 33 percent reduction in swaying. My experience would put it at 90 percent from the sensation of driving.

With the Tuson Sway Control installed, I had to do aggressive steering to try to sway even with the water tote at the rear of the trailer, which the module controlled through the trailers brakes.

Without Tuson Sway Control, light steering would create sway with the loaded water tote at the rear of the trailer.

Thanks to Bandimere Speedway for the use of the great track. (www.Bandimere.com)

Thanks to Transwest Truck Trailer RV for the nice warm shop for installation (www.TranswestTruckTrailerRV.com)

For more info please visit www.DirecLink.com or call (800) 968-8766.

Kent Sundling (alias “Mr. Truck”) spent 20 years wearing out pickup trucks as only a farmer could. With over 1 million miles pulling trailers, Mr. Truck has a unique collection of truck and farm stories that will educate and entertain. Mr.Truck gave up his bib overalls and John Deeres in his quest to save the farm and moved to the big city to sell trucks. After selling trucks for 10 years, this farmer now writes for eight magazines and owns over two dozen Web sites, helping folks find the “Right Truck.” If you have a question for Mr. Truck, you may contact him at his Web site, www.MrTruck.net. ❖


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The Fence Post Updated Nov 21, 2013 06:07PM Published Dec 30, 2013 01:51PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.