The King Of All In-Cab Monitors and Why Your Diesel Pickup Needs One: Installing & Reviewing Edge Products’ Insight CTS3
The Edge Products Insight monitor began to replace analog gauges along the A-pillar years ago, and now you can find one in just about a third of all diesel pickups on the road. This isn’t by accident. Powerteq LLC, the parent company of Edge Products, has perfected its monitor over the years and its third-generation product, the Insight CTS3, is as state-of-the-art as it’s ever been. Its processing time is faster, its color touch screen is clearer and its functionality has expanded. It’s even Wi-Fi updateable. For thousands of diesel truck owners, Edge’s popular monitor is a device they simply cannot live without. In addition to keeping tabs on everything the ECM does and offering the ability to read and clear DTC’s, the CTS3 features an advanced integrated data logger with export capability. This means your technician can help you troubleshoot an issue while you’re on the road.
Sold on the power of the Edge CTS3, the owner of a ’13 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD was eager to get one installed prior to taking an 1,100-mile trip with 17,000 pounds in tow. To keep the LML Duramax diesel out of the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) danger zone, Edge’s EGT kit—part of the company’s extensive Expandable Accessory System (EAS) line of products that enhance the use of the CTS3 even further—was installed at the same time. Now, the late-model Chevrolet is more than ready for its date with the 38-foot fifth-wheel toy hauler it will be tethered to. You can check out the highlights from the 2-hour install and many of the key features of Edge’s CTS3 below.
The Edge Insight CTS3
Edge Products’ Insight CTS3 (the CTS stands for “color touch screen”) is the latest generation in in-cab digital monitors. For more than a decade, the CTS line has enjoyed tremendous success, especially in the diesel aftermarket, and the latest version is compatible with dozens of ’96-newer (OBD-II equipped) domestic vehicle applications (diesel and gas). Each CTS3 ships with the appropriate OBD-II to HDMI cable, USB cable, the monitor itself and a windshield mount. By plugging directly into the OBD-II port, the CTS3 can display virtually every parameter your vehicle’s computer keeps track of. This includes engine rpm, coolant temp, transmission temp, intake air temp, battery voltage, boost pressure, turbo vane position, fuel rail pressure, vehicle speed, engine load, MAF, fuel level and more.
EAS EGT Kit
Keeping tabs on exhaust gas temperature is very important in diesel engines and Edge’s comprehensive EAS EGT kit allows the end user to tie accurate EGT monitoring in with their CTS3. The kit, purchasable separately from the CTS3, includes an EAS starter cable, a thermocouple EGT probe and a 15-inch lead (so, in the event you need to remove or replace the EGT probe, you don’t have to remove the entire cable). As you might’ve already guessed, Edge’s Expandable Accessory System (EAS) can accommodate a host of other powertrain monitoring accessories in daisy-chain form.
Drilling And Tapping The Exhaust Manifold
When it came time to install the EAS EGT kit, finding a convenient yet effective location to mount the thermocouple probe was paramount. In the case of the LML Duramax, the preferred spot is at the rear of the passenger side exhaust manifold, right behind the factory heat shield. By gathering EGT data here, you’re about as close to in-cylinder as it gets, which is ideal. To access the exhaust manifold, we pulled the Silverado’s inner fender well liner. From there, we drilled an 1/8-inch pilot hole in our desired spot, followed by a 21/64-inch drill bit and ultimately an 1/8-inch -27 thread tap (shown).
Installing The EGT Probe
With the exhaust manifold tapped, the fitting was unthreaded from the thermocouple and installed first, followed by the probe (it’s important to ensure no damage is done to the tip of the probe and that you don’t overtighten the top nut when securing it). From there, the thermocouple line was routed toward the firewall, straight up and then strung along the top of the firewall toward the driver side of the engine bay. When routing the thermocouple line, we used the zip ties supplied in the EAS EGT kit to anchor it to existing plastic wire loom along the firewall.
Securing The EAS System
Here you can see the main EAS cable connected to the supplied EGT probe line. Edge prefers installers mount the EAS assembly on the driver side of the truck, so we followed their directions to a tee. Thanks to its design, the EAS system only requires you to run one cable through the firewall, which makes for a convenient, one-time struggle to snake wires into the cab.
The Plug & Play Part
An existing pass-through point in the firewall was used for the EAS system’s cable in our case, and we’ll note that most vehicles have a rubber or plastic plug (or grommet) that can be removed from the firewall to pass wires through. Then it was just a matter of plugging the OBD-II connector into the truck’s OBD-II port and routing the excess wiring up and out of the way (and as cleanly as possible).
Edge includes a complimentary windshield mount with every CTS3. Provided you clean the the area of the windshield you plan to mount it to (Edge provides an alcohol wipe specifically for this), the suction cup will semi-permanently adhere to the glass. By firmly pressing the suction cup to the windshield and rotating the cam lever toward the glass to create suction, the mount will remain in place indefinitely. Then you can attach the CTS3 monitor and connect the HDMI connector/OBD-II cable. If the windshield mount isn’t your thing, Edge also provides additional mounting solutions in the form of dash pods, pillar pods, center console mounts and gauge pillar adapters.
Crisp, Clear And Easy To Use
Once installed, the setup options are endless on the Edge CTS3. We prefer the traditional, gauge layout shown above and we made sure to make EGT the central vital we keep tabs on. After that, we added what is arguably the second most important item to monitor on a diesel tow rig: transmission fluid temp. As you can see, boost, fuel rail pressure, battery voltage, vane position percentage, speed and intake air temp also made the cut. The 5-inch, color touch screen is crystal clear thanks to its 720P resolution (vs. 480P on the previous, CTS2) and navigating through all of the CTS3’s settings is done seamlessly with a swipe and a tap.
The Ultimate Towing Companion
From the factory, the LML Duramax was said to be capable of handling 1,365 degrees F of exhaust gas temperature. Now, the owner of this ’13 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD will find out just how warm the 6.6L V-8 gets climbing mountains with a 38-foot, 17,000-pound fifth-wheel toy hauler attached. Thanks to the Edge CTS3’s ability to configure alert settings, a pre-determined limit on EGT (or any other parameter for that matter) can be established, with a warning and/or an all-out alert tipping off the driver when the threshold is met, or about to be met. Installing the CTS3 device and knowing exactly how the powertrain is performing will no doubt make the truck’s towing endeavors much safer going forward.