Keeping Track Of Vitals Via A Data Logger - Diesel World

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.


1 Dunn’s truck has always performed well at the track, but to squeeze every last bit of performance out of the Cummins engine the tuners at Fleece need to closely monitor the engine during its pulls so that they can fine tune the performance.

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.


2 Marc Beaman starts by installing a pressure sensor on the intake manifold to measure and log boost levels as it enters the head.


3 To measure drive pressure the sensor must be isolated from the high heat of the exhaust manifold so a coil of copper tubing is used and the sensor is mounted away from the manifold against the firewall.


4 Here’s a Steed Speed manifold that Fleece modified to accept individual EGT sensors for each cylinder. Purchasing a modified manifold like this one is great for truck owners who don’t happen to have a full machine shop available to them.



5 & 6 Marc Beaman has an old Cummins head fixtured on the Bridgeport to machine the mounting holes and recesses for the bungs before TIG welding them into position on the Steed Speed manifolds that Fleece Performance modifies to work with their XDL data logger.


7 A modified manifold has already been ceramic coated and installed on Dunn’s Cummins. The copper tube directed toward the firewall is for the drive pressure sensor while the other fitting is for a traditional EGT gauge that Dunn can see while he’s pulling.


11 He also ties up the harnesses neatly along the firewall to prevent them from getting burned or damaged by engine heat.


12 Beaman made a mounting bracket and heat shield for Richards to mount the XDL module to the inner fender well. Once the harnesses are secured, he plugs the sealed connectors into the module.



13 & 14 An antenna is needed to receive GPS signals for true speed logging so Richards mounts it above the passenger door, then routes the slim cable down the weather strip to the engine bay. He then connects the antenna to the threaded connector on the XDL module.

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


8 Jake Richards installs the temperature sensors into the manifold making sure to “clock” the probe appropriately so that the exhaust pressure does not run perpendicular to the internal element in the sensor. It could be damaged if it were installed in the wrong orientation.


9 Fleece offers these billet aluminum clamps for those running the XDL along with their Cummins Coolant Bypass Kit to organize the sensor harnesses and bypass hose.


10 Richards routes the sensor harnesses cleanly into the billet mounts for a very clean look.


15 Richards routes the power harness into the cab through an existing grommet to make sure that the harness is protected as it passes through the sheet metal of the cab.


16 The sensor plugs and harnesses use weather-sealed connectors to prevent water intrusion problems and provide years of reliable data.


17 After welding the bung into the turbo outlet piping, Beaman installs another temperature sensor so that they can log turbo outlet temperature.


18 The intercooler outlet pipe is also fitted with a bung for a temperature sensor to measure the temperature of the charge as it feeds the engine.


19 When completed, the installation is compact and adds little weight to your competition vehicle. Richards ties up the unused harness leads so that they’re out of the way, but can easily be accessed should the tuners decide they want to monitor and log addition sensors.


20 Kolin Dunn’s 6.7L Cummins is a potent engine and armed with data logs of its exact performance, the team at Fleece Performance Engineering will be able to wring even more performance out of it.

Fleece Performance
Dept. DW
468 Southpoint Circle, Suite 100
Brownsburg, IN 46112