Keeping Track Of Vitals Via A Data Logger
Knowledge is power. Throughout history this simple saying has proven true over and over again. It’s no different in motorsports where knowing exactly what your engine, transmission and chassis are doing can literally mean the difference between winning and going home on the trailer. High-end race teams in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, NHRA and more use expensive data logging systems to get the most from their racecars. But until recently, ordinary diesel folks like us could never afford to equip our rigs with anything other than simple data loggers built into gauge packages. Enter the team at Fleece Performance Engineering in Brownsburg, Indiana, with their new XDL Expansion Data Logger.
The XDL has two internally monitored channels with a 20-Hz GPS that’s the highest resolution on the market and provides true ground speed monitoring for drag racing, sled pulling or other motorsports activities. The other internal channel is an accelerometer that measures up to +/- 8g. In addition to the internal channels, the XDL has 19 discreet external inputs and can also simultaneously monitor 96 OBD channels for modern computer-controlled trucks. The 19 channels are made up of 11 fast-acting RTD (resistance temperature detector) channels to monitor temperature, six channels to measure pressure and two channels to monitor frequency to allow users to monitor nearly every aspect of their truck.
Having the huge volume of data recorded by the XDL would do you little good without a means to display and interpret the data in a way that’s easy to read and understand. If the data were simply a jumble of digital code, very few users would be able to do anything with it. Fortunately, the engineers at Fleece Performance worked with the team at EFILive to display the data in a graphic form using the EFILive interface. Even though the XDL uses the EFILive interface, it’s not limited to trucks that are supported by EFILive. The data logger can be used on any vehicle as a stand-alone data logger to measure, monitor and log 21 channels of data. It can be used on mechanical injected trucks and tractors as well as carbureted gassers should the need arise.
The standard XDL kit includes the module, harness, GPS antenna, four RTD temperature sensors, two steel RTD sensor bungs, two aluminum RTD sensor bungs and two 300-psig pressure sensors to handle the basic data logging needs of most diesel truck owners. Additional sensors and bungs are available separately for those wanting more detailed data logging capability. You will also need an EFILive V2 FlashScan tool to interface with the XDL.
Fleece currently offers a large selection of sensors, bungs and hardware to work with the XDL and they are continuing to expand the offerings. They expect to have linear potentiometers soon that will allow users to monitor suspension travel to tune suspension to optimize the chassis for drag racing and sled pulling. The external channels operate on a 0-5-volt sensor input so the monitor possibilities are nearly endless, limited only by sensor availability and your imagination.
As competent as driver feel or chassis dyno runs are as tuning tools, logging data from actual competition and test session runs can help you take your truck to the next level. Sled pullers and drag racers can evaluate traction and suspension setups by evaluating the differences between wheel speed and GPS-measured vehicle speed—seeing the differences that slight changes in tire pressure or shock tuning make.
Tuning the engine with data in hand to go by will allow tuners to push the performance envelope knowing exactly how each cylinder is operating. Measuring pressure data can also help in tuning waste gates and turbo systems as well as evaluating charge air cooler efficiency to get the most out of your turbo diesel engine.
We had the opportunity to go to Fleece’s Indiana shop and follow along as Jake Richards and Marc Beaman installed an XDL on Kolin Dunn’s 2.5 class Dodge pulling truck. They installed it with a Steed Speed intake manifold that Beaman machined and welded sensor bungs into to monitor EGT for each individual cylinder. They also installed a pressure gauge on the exhaust manifold and on the intake side of the engine, as well as temperature sensors at the intake, turbo outlet and intercooler outlet to measure its effectiveness. They also have inputs available for future expansion should they decide to monitor additional parameters.
The installation is pretty straightforward and can be performed with typical hand tools without too much difficulty if you have or purchase manifolds with sensor bungs already installed. If you need to install the bungs you will need welding and machining tools as well as the skills to use them. If you do perform the installation yourself be sure to practice safe shop techniques and route the harnesses safely to prevent them from being damaged by hot and/or moving engine or chassis parts. Follow along over the next few pages to Richards and Beaman perform the installation. DW
468 Southpoint Circle, Suite 100
Brownsburg, IN 46112