The L5P Duramax Diesel engine found in 2017 and newer Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD/3500HD trucks and GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD is very impressive on its own. At 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque from the factory, it comes stock about as powerful as a tuned LML Duramax, the previous Dmax generation. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have room for improvement though. Tuners are one of the best L5P Duramax upgrades offering significant performance increases for minimal cost. The Edge Pulsar is one of these L5P Duramax tuners, and one you should definitely consider for your truck. It’s arguably the best L5P Duramax tuner when it comes to value proposition, offering a ton of “bang for the buck”. Find out how in this post, our Edge Pulsar Tuner Review.
We’ll Get to our Edge Pulsar Review, But First…
Before we get into our Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax tuner Review, we want to let you know a couple of things first. The Edge Pulsar tuner review is based on my experiences with this tuner installed on my own 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD L5P Duramax. Most of our testing experience has been in Florida, which is mostly flat land. We did have a brief trip in the Smoky Mountains however, where we got to test the Edge Pulsar at higher elevations.
There are a lot of factors that go into diesel performance. The environment you live in and other external factors can impact your gains. With that being said, we’re confident the Edge Pulsar offers a ton of value for anyone, no matter what climate or conditions you live in. Now, let’s get into our Edge Pulsar Tuner review and feature breakdown.
Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax Tuner Feature Review
Easy To Install
L5P Duramax tuners and programmers are different than most tuning we’ve seen thus far. This is because GM utilizes ECMs that no one has been able to crack. The result is there are really no truly plug-and-play tuners that simply plug into the OBD2 port anymore. Several companies have found a couple of different ways of navigating this ECM allowing you to tune your vehicle with a little extra work.
The Edge Pulsar is probably the easiest L5P Duramax tuner to install. You just need to disconnect the factory ECM, attach the Pulsar Device into it, and then insert it back into the vehicle. The toughest part about the whole thing is just getting the ECM in and out of the vehicle.
Switch-On-The-Fly Tuning with 5 Power Levels
The primary reason for interest in the Edge Pulsar Tuner for L5P Duramax trucks is for its tuning capabilities. The Pulsar comes preloaded with 5 different power levels. These power levels offer varying performance improvements. The highest performance is achieved in power level 5 which offers up to 90 more horsepower and 156 lb-ft more torque. Here is a chart showing all the different Power Levels and their respective performance characteristics.
|Power Level||Horsepower Gain||Torque Gain|
|1||19 horsepower||46 lb-ft of Torque|
|2||37 horsepower||71 lb-ft of Torque|
|3||52 horsepower||105 lb-ft of Torque|
|4||67 horsepower||125 lb-ft of Torque|
|5||90 horsepower||156 lb-ft of Torque|
These 5 power levels listed above are switch-on-the-fly capable, meaning you can easily switch to a different power level without re-flashing the vehicle. Its in-line tuner design connects directly to the vehicles ECM to offer instant tuning and other benefits as well. This design allows you to change power levels by pressing the +/- cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. You don’t have to install a switch or anything, making it almost impossible to tell your vehicle has tuning without looking closely under the hood.
If you purchase the Edge Pulsar Kit, this is what I run on my truck, you also get the Edge CTS3 Insight Monitor. When your vehicle has a Pulsar tuner installed and you connect an Edge CTS3 insight, it will allow you to adjust power levels through the monitor instead.
Smart, Safe Tuning
Unlike other tuners that give you more power but lesser reliability, the Edge Pulsar is a “smart” tuner that monitors EGTs and the transmission for slippage. If EGTs get too high, power will decrease to protect the engine. If the transmission slips, power will also decrease to protect the transmission. This makes the Edge Pulsar significantly safer to use than alternative tuning methods that don’t offer these fail safes.
Other Standalone Edge Pulsar Features
The Edge Pulsar doesn’t just let you add tuning to your L5P Duramax, but it can also let you adjust ton of settings you would normally have no control over! You can adjust the TPMS (tire pressure monitor sensors), adjust the speed limiter, re-calibrate the truck when you add larger tires, adjust the gear ratio, clear DTC codes, and more!
Here are some more Edge Pulsar Features:
- start a manual regeneration
- Start a transmission re-learn
- built-in throttle sensitivity control for improved throttle response
- High-Idle user settings to control rpms
When the Edge Pulsar is paired with the Edge Insight CTS3 you also unlock a treasure trove of new features. Check out all these features in our Edge Insight CTS3 Monitor Review.
Why I Chose the Edge Pulsar for my L5P
One of the primary reasons I chose the Pulsar tuner to review for my Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD is because I didn’t want to spend $3,500-$4500 swapping out the ECM and I wanted a tuner that is CARB Certified. The Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax meets both of these criteria, and to prove it, it has a CARB Certification Number of D-802-9. This means it’s a legal diesel performance modification for your truck that you don’t need to hide. It leaves all emissions systems in-tact and it can be used without deleting emissions components.
I also wanted something that is easy to use, user-friendly, and easy to install. I’ve gotten tuning before that required a 15-20 minute re-flash every time I wanted to change a power level. I’ve also had to trouble installing tunes because it required uploading tunes onto the device myself, and using a specific computer. Pretty much every tuning software isn’t compatible with Apple computers so I literally had to buy another computer just to use download tunes to my device and then install them on my truck.
After doing my research I decided the Pulsar met both of these criteria. It’s affordable and after reading the installation instructions I felt very comfortable with this device. I also LOVE Edge products and have used their CTS Monitors in almost every truck I’ve owned. The fact that I could pair my CTS3 Insight with my Pulsar was another serious plus.
After getting a free Pulsar tuner for my L5P Duramax from Edge to try out, here are my thoughts. I’ve had this tuner on my truck for almost 10,000 miles now, so I’ve had a pretty good trial period to develop my review. Let’s dive in.
Value & Price
At about $800, the Edge Pulsar sits similarly priced to other L5P Duramax tuners that don’t require you to exchange your ECM. Where the Pulsar differentiates itself however is its other capabilities. If you take a look at the features the Pulsar has, it offers many capabilities that you would need to purchase a monitor for. Things like DTC clearing, adjusting TPMS sensors, or calibrating the speedometer are valuable tools for any diesel owner.
If you want additional value and more “bang for the buck”, you should seriously consider purchasing the Edge Pulsar Kit instead of the Pulsar by itself. The Pulsar Kit includes an Edge CTS3 Insight monitor and the Pulsar for a better price than what you can buy them for individually.
Design & User Experience
One of the best characteristics of the Edge Pulsar tuner is its design. It doesn’t require re-routing wires and the install is simple. It’s an in-line computer that offers immediate power and comes with safeguards to protect your truck like EGT backdown and transmission slip power back downs. You don’t have to install a switch to change power levels, instead you simply use the +/- cruise control buttons on your steering wheel. It is also built to connect with other Edge devices like the CTS3 Insight, offering greater capabilities.
Now, I was worried as the Pulsar unit sits in the engine bay right next to the engine. It’s exposed to extreme heat when the vehicle is operating and extreme cold when your vehicle is parked outside during winter months. After driving my truck over 8,000 miles with my Pulsar I haven’t had a single glitch or issue. When I was in the mountains in January and faced extremely cold temperatures, my Pulsar worked perfectly. Even on long drives in Florida, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, I didn’t experience any issues either.
I’ve always been an advocate for custom tuning, but when it comes with a $3000+ price tag for the L5P Duramax, I wanted a more affordable option with still-respectable performance gains. The Edge Pulsar really impressed me right out of the box. It has 5 power levels that pretty much cover the spectrum, offering a tune level for every individual. While running through these different tune levels I also closely monitored my CTS3 Insight Monitor to see the tunes’ impact on my L5P.
I wanted to see if my number of Regenerations would increase and also how the tunes impacted various fluid temperatures and EGTS. After thousands of miles, I really didn’t notice an increase in the occurrence of regenerations taking place. When I drove to Tennessee with the tuner installed I only had one Regen occur on my way up.
EGTS slightly increase when using higher level tunes, but even so they don’t reach levels in which you should be worried about unless you are sustaining full throttle. If you are towing heavy or you encounter difficult terrain or other external conditions, you should choose a lower setting.
My average fuel economy improved slightly, but not as much as I’ve experienced in the past on deleted vehicles. At best, I experienced about a one MPG increase. Some of this could be attributed to my chronic smashing of the accelerator pedal because the higher tunes just make driving the truck so much more fun.
The quality of this unit is apparent immediately. The design was very well thought out and the unit itself fits seamlessly onto the OEM ECM. It has also exceeded my expectations in terms of durability. If you think about it, the Pulsar is right next to an extremely hot V-8 Diesel engine in a crammed engine bay. If it wasn’t up to the task, you’d find out very quickly.
I found significantly more good than bad during my Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax tuner review. Tuners can sometimes be tricky or you can definitely tell there is a lack in user friendliness or even just usability. The Pulsar is easily one of the most impressive tuners available, straight out of the box. It’s easy to install, even by a diesel novice, and it doesn’t require any complicated set-up on the computer. It works seamlessly and provides instant power with varying levels. I Love the safety features that were incorporated to make this tuner as safe as it is powerful. If you are looking for a tuner that will make your L5P Duramax more fun to drive and more capable, the Edge Pulsar is it.
The only really negative comments I have about the Pulsar is that the fuel economy gains weren’t as big as I was hoping for. I do have bigger AT tires than the factory ones however, 34×11.50R20 Nitto Ridge Grapplers, that could contribute to the lower fuel economy. The other thing I disliked about the Edge Pulsar is that it doesn’t come with a monitor. Many of the features are going to require you reading from the product manual for instructions on how to complete them. If you get a CTS3 Insight however this becomes a non-issue. The Edge Pulsar is also not available for 2020 or 2021 L5P Duramax trucks yet.
Is the Edge Pulsar Tuner Right For You?
If you are daily driving your vehicle or using it for work this is a great tuning device for you and your vehicle. It provides a number of different power levels without sacrificing fuel efficiency or reliability. It’s also extremely user friendly and easy to install, making it a great choice for novice mechanics or people who just want a quick, solid tuning solution without the headaches.
Not A Emissions Deleting Tuner for the L5P Duramax
If your vehicle isn’t street-driven, this tuner might not be the best option for you. It doesn’t have emissions deleting capabilities, so if your truck is going to be a competition truck or used for things like sled pulling, this is not the tuner for you. Instead you will need to pay the higher price of swapping the ECM and using custom tuning through the HP tuning software. Just remember, deleting your truck’s emissions is 100% federally illegal on registered and highway driven vehicles. If your truck isn’t used in competitions, emissions-compliant tuning is the way to go,
How to Install the Edge Pulsar L5P Duramax Tuner
Disconnecting the ECM is easy, you start by disconnecting the battery. Then, you need to let the vehicle sit for 5-10 minutes! Than there are a couple of bolts you take out, and three connectors that need to be disconnected. After that, the Pulsar is pretty much ready to come out. Just be careful as it is a pretty tight fit! We had the best luck removing it with two people. One person maneuvers the ECM out, while the other pushes/pulls hoses and other vehicle components out of the way.
Once the ECM is removed, you plug the Pulsar device into it. It’s easy to tell how it connects if you simply look at the two devices. You just align the plug locations and then push the Pulsar onto the ECM firmly. You need to make sure you plug the Pulsar in from directly over top of it, and you push straight down. There are hundreds of tiny pins you can damage so you want to make sure to approach the ECM from straight on.
After it’s plugged in, there are two brackets that Mount into the new, larger ECM unit. These brackets are what you use to secure the unit when it plugs back in to the vehicle. Once these brackets have been installed, you re-install the ECM into the vehicle. Make sure you re-connect the connectors and secure them with the factory clips. Re-connect the batteries and insert the mounting bolts to secure the ECM.
L5P Duramax Edge Pulsar FAQ
The Edge Pulsar tuner has 5 different power levels offering a best performance increase of 90 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque.
The Edge Pulsar retails for an average price of $800.
The Edge Pulsar is a tuner for 2017-2019 Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty trucks with the 6.6L L5P Duramax Diesel engine. Different Edge Pulsar Variants are also available for other trucks.
A tuner is a device that improves performance on your vehicle by changing the engine’s factory settings. Manufacturers often limit power to improve reliability. Many vehicle owners choose to tune their vehicles to improve horsepower, torque, throttle response, and fuel economy. Diesel tuners are one of the best performance modifications for any diesel truck.
If you have a 2017-2019 GM HD truck with the L5P Duramax Diesel engine the Edge Pulsar will work with your truck.
You can change power levels on your Edge Pulsar by pressing the +/- buttons on your steering wheel that are used for controlling cruise control when cruise control is not activated. Your vehicle’s speedometer will change showing you which power level is selected when you change power levels.