The Pulsar Performance Module Review
A Performance ECU Module for 2015-2018 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi, 6.4L Hemi, and new 2019 RAM Pickup Trucks: a Full Edge Pulsar Review
What the heck is an ECU Module?
Great question. Let’s see if we can help with that. We’ll start with what the Pulsar does. She effectively is a throttle response controller meets 8 setting tuner that is controlled by your stock cruise control buttons on your steering wheel. Still confused? Well, it’s complicated. Let’s slow down a little more and explain. First and foremost, check this out: there is no need for any PCM or ECU swap with this tuning module. Finally, someone came up with a way to tune a Ram Hemi without pulling out the computer and replacing it completely. Thanks, Edge! The Pulsar is compatible with both the 6 speed and the 8 speed transmission, so if you’ve got a 5.7 L Hemi Dodge Ram from 2015 through 2018, Edge has you covered with their new Pulsar.
The Pulsar is a Throttle Response Controller and Then Some
A throttle response controller allows you to adjust the level of acceleration or response you get when you press down on your gas pedal. If you long for the old days when there was no computer chip monitoring your throttle, when pressing down on your accelerator meant the truck would just go--then you likely need a throttle controller. If you are looking to adjust your accelerator pedal response to get the driving experience you’ve always want, a throttle controller is a must, and the Pulsar is all that and more.
The Pulsar is a Performance Tuner with 8 Preset Tunes
A tuner allows you to modify your engine’s computer to adjust various aspects including things like throttle response, horsepower, torque, ignition timing or spark timing, and even turn off that pesky MDS--or Multiple Displacement System. These preset performance tunes allow you some level of customization and control over your ECU or Engine Control Unit, so that you can drive your truck the way you want to--removing certain limits and restrictions the manufacturer arbitrarily put on your pickup. The Edge Pulsar can add up to 15 HP at the rear wheels for a gas motor, and in tow mode upwards of 15 ft-lbs of torque. While we’ve still got a ways to go, I’ll go ahead and give you the 8 Presets here (for quick reference: odd numbers are with the MDS on; even numbers have MDS turns off):
- Stock with MDS On
- Stock with MDS Off
- Fuel Economy with MDS On
- Fuel Economy with MDS Off
- Towing with MDS On
- Towing with MDS Off
- Performance with MDS On
- Performance with MDS Off (Max Power!!!)
What’s the Big Deal with MDS? Doesn’t it Increase Fuel Economy?
MDS is Chrysler’s (and hence Dodge’s) variable displacement engine technology, similar to GM’s dreaded Active Fuel Management system, which can deactivate four of the 8 cylinders in your Ram’s V8 in order to save on fuel economy and comply with Federal mandates. In other words, MDS cuts your engine’s performance by about half. While this does increase your MPG’s, especially when cruising on the highway at a steady speed, there are a number of unforeseen issues with MDS. First and foremost, it limits your engine’s horsepower and torque. If you are towing or want to be able to pass someone on the highway at speed or just accelerate like you used to be able to off the line before all this computer stuff was thrust into your engine, you truly need a way to bypass or turn off MDS. Another issue is engine wear. Since MDS deactivates half your cylinders, this means that the other four are doing all the heavy lifting, literally. Four of your eight cylinders end up getting worn out faster than the others. This can lead to issues related to unequal oil burn and even other value issues. And don’t get me started on what happens if you add on an aftermarket exhaust… things can get messy unless you can deactivate that MDS. Enter the Edge Performance Tuner.
Pulsar Review: What Makes the Pulsar So Special?
Before Edge came out with their new Pulsar ECU Tuning Module, performance tuning on a Dodge Ram was frankly a real pain in the ass. You used to have to pull the ECU (Engine Control Unit) or PCM (Powertrain Control Module) physically out of your engine compartment. Then you’d send the computer in to an aftermarket company like Edge, and they’d reprogram it or just send you an already reprogrammed one. You’d install the new one and viola, as simple as that, you can now tune your Ram’s engine. This whole convoluted process was known as a PCM swap. And honestly there was nothing simple about it. Today’s performance aftermarket companies have gotten really quick and smart about this process, sending you the new PCM often now before you even send yours in, but it still is a real pain. Furthermore, it’s expensive, sometimes costing upwards of $800 to a full grand. Ouch!
Hello, Edge Pulsar: So Easy Install
This new product, the Pulsar ECU Tuning Module, is plug and play. You just add it onto your existing ECU and you’re good to go. While we will have a video up showing exactly what to do soon, in the meantime, I can walk you through the install using words. It really is that simple.
Pop the hood on your Dodge Ram 1500. You can remove your air box if you want more room to play with during the install.
- Locate your ECU. It’s on the firewall, between your cab and your engine, behind/near your air box.
- Find the two plugs and follow their lines down beneath the ECU. The wires will be held together with a zip tie. Cut both zip ties. This will give us a bit of slack. Don’t worry. You can zip tie these wires back together afterwards if you’d like.
- Unplug both plugs from the ECU. Flip the two red clips by pushing the black giveaway clip just above the red part. Then flip the red clip up and wiggle the connector out. It should smoothly come out.
- Loosen the three 10mm bolts that hold the ECU in place. There should be two on the left side and one on the right. Make sure you have one hand holding the ECU before you remove the third and final bolt--duh, right?
- Take the ECU out. Set it on a workbench or table. Attach the Pulsar. It connects right into the ECU just like those two plugs. The plugs are color coded. Nice! The Pulsar should make a flush connection with each port. There will be space in between the main Pulsar unit and the ECU, but there shouldn’t be any space between the plug and the harness.
- Now use the included three longer 10mm bolts to install the ECU and Pulsar right back into the engine, onto the firewall. No need to over tighten these bolts. Just get them snug so they hold the Pulsar and ECU in place.
- Finally, plug the two color coded plugs into the Pulsar harness and secure them in place by closing the red clips. These plugs are keyed, so they only go in one way and only fit into their color coded spot, so if they won’t go in easily, don’t force it. Lock them in place with those red clips and ta-da! You’ve installed your new Pulsar.
True Shift on the Fly Tuning
So you’ve completed your install. This baby is plug and play, so all you have to do now is get in the cab and start her up. Using the OEM Cruise Control buttons on your steering wheel, you can toggle through all 8 preset tunes. To do so, make sure your Cruise Control is off. Then press “+” or “plus” to go up, “-” or “minus” to go down. It really is that easy. And you can do it on the fly, while the vehicle is in motion. There’s no need to extra monitors or gauges. The Tune number you are on pops up in your stock HUD, right beneath your mileage. This number is from 1-8. You can toggle through to whatever setting you desire all the on the fly, at the simple touch of a button.
Edge Pulsar’s Preset Tunes
Keep in mind that the odd numbers have your stock MDS turned ON, while all even numbers have MDS OFF. The presets, once more, are pretty easy to remember:
- 1-2: Stock
- 3-4: Fuel Economy
- 5-6: Towing
- 7-8: Performance
You’re ready to roll on down the road, switching from tune to tune with ease.
Edge Pulsar + Insight 2 = Total Engine Monitoring!
Another great feature to this ECU Tuning Module is that it is fully compatible with Edge’s Insight 2 line: including both the Insight CTS 2 Gauge Monitor and the Insight CS2 Digital Touchscreen Gauge Monitor. Both Insight 2 models plug into your ODBII port and are completely compatible with the Pulsar. Before the Pulsar was introduced, keep in mind that simple plug and play options like this were not even possible with a Dodge Ram without using a tedious unlock cable. But now, you just plug the gauge monitor into your ODBII port, and you’re ready to roll.
Insight CS2 Gauge and Insight CTS2 Touchscreen Monitor
Insight CS2 with Pulsar
If you just want a more advanced monitor than your OE HUD, add on the CS2 gauge monitor. While the CS2 doesn’t add any tuning ability, it does give you additional gauges that can help you monitor what’s going on with your vehicle. Also, while you’ll still be able to control the Pulsar using your Cruise Control buttons on your steering wheel, with the CS2, you can also use the gauge’s d-pag to set your Pulsar’s power level.
Insight CTS2 with Pulsar
Want to fully monitor your engine’s potential? Add in the Insight CTS2 digital gauge monitor to really customize your ride. Imagine all the preset tunes of the Pulsar plus a touchscreen with additional gauges laid out exactly like you want them. With the CTS2 you can control your Pulsar with simple touchscreen controls. Both the Insight CS2 and CTS2 pair very nicely with Edge’s new Pulsar ECU Tuning Module.
Future Upgrades for the Edge Pulsar
On a final note, Edge plans on releasing updates for the Pulsar down the road, including the option to do true custom tuning via the OBDII port using a performance tuner, likely something similar to their current Evolution line. While this product is still in the works, and is certain to be a great upgrade to the Pulsar, this ECU module alone gives you the ability to start unlocking your Hemi’s potential today. If you’ve ever wanted to see just what your Hemi can do without all those restrictions and MDS deactivations, then you’ve gotta try out the Edge Pulsar now. We’ll keep you posted for future updates and upgrades, including full custom tuning that Edge says is in the works.
Speaking of Updates
Since the initial epic release of this innovative new product, the Pulsar has been upgraded to include a few additional features, just as Edge promised out the gate.
Right away, the Pulsar can now be used to adjust or calibrate for larger tire sizes, from 20” all the way up to 59”. And this impressive piece of performance gear can now calibrate gear ratios as well from 2.00 up to 5.99, so if you replace your stock axle gears, the Pulsar can communicate the change and adjust accordingly.
The Pulsar now is also offered in a kit with the Insight CS2 and CTS2, so we can’t help but reiterate that we believe custom tuning may well still be in the works as well. Nevertheless, these devices work very well in tandem as a digital gauge monitor, touch screen or high res with d-pad like buttons depending on the model, paired with a state of the art performance module for Ram trucks everywhere.
Introducing the Edge Pulsar
Time to Order an Edge Pulsar for your 2015-2018 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi or 6.4L and NOW the 2019 Dodge Ram too!
Get your Pulsar Today!
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