Project Ford E350 Tow Rig: Part 2 – You only need the Edge!

edge products insight cts2 in retail box

When you’re towing, keeping tabs on what’s going on is pretty important. Many of the older diesel trucks (or vans, in my case!) did not have great gauge packages from the factory. My van had a spaghetti mess of aftermarket 52mm gauges and the EGT probe had started to act flaky. Instead of replacing yet another gauge, I decided to look for a more modern option.

Edge has been making performance aftermarket electronics since 1999 and is well known in diesel circles for their programmers. A few years ago, Edge Products came out with their Insight series of gauges, and the CTS2 is the larger of the options. The CTS2 is a touch-screen multi-functional gauge that reads data off the OBD2 bus, but also offers expandability with an array of additional sensors and other modules.

Edge even makes an Evolution version of the CTS2 which comes with programmer features to tune your vehicle. Unfortunately for me, as is usually the case, the Ford van powerstroke ECM is slightly different than similar year trucks, and Edge claimed that the Evolution would not program it. Cue sad trombone.

That being said, we could read most of the important data from the OBD2 bus, and we would add a few sensors for things that weren’t available from Ford (or that Edge Products didn’t decode).

edge products insight cts2 accessories laid out on table
Edge Products really includes all the things you need.

The CTS2 stand-alone unit is simple enough by itself. It comes with the display, a windshield mount, a cable to plug into the OBD2 port, a USB cable to connect to a computer (for updating firmware and making some programming changes), some zip ties, and documentation.

Oh, and of course it comes with a sticker.

hooking up Insight CTS2 to computer via USB
One of the things that the manual says to do first (you read manuals, right?) is to hook the unit to a computer to make sure it has the latest firmware.

I dutifully followed the instructions.

I also have a thing about removing the plastic that comes on new electronics. I like to savor the moment. It really is a moment for me. Hey, we all have our… things.

looking at the OBD2 port underneath the dashboard
Hey, that looks like an OBD2 port.

And, in fact, it is. You can also see a bit of the spaghetti mess that is the van wiring. In addition to the aftermarket gauges, the van also has an aftermarket keyless entry system, but the ’98 never had power locks. It also has added power windows, which the ’98 didn’t have either. It’s… precarious.

This is the extent of the wiring you’ll need to do to get the basic CTS2 up and running. You plug it into the OBD2 port. That’s it. Really. It will power on when you turn on the vehicle, and it will power off a few moments after you turn off the vehicle. Easiest wiring project ever!


  1. Oh man, Corky Bell; I have a copy of Maximum Boost sitting on my shelf, and it still comes in handy. He’s a fun writer!

    Love how easy this is to integrate, and it looks to be super-legible and useful! I hope that you do a feature on pulling out the old wiring from the A-pillar gauges, I’ll bet that was a ton of fun, haha.

    1. @Rick D. – oh man, it was a rat’s nest in there. Somehow I didn’t get a picture. I might still have the pile of crap that came out, and there’s _still_ a pile of crap in there.

    1. The CTS2 (and I guess the newer 3) are not listed as compatible. The F250/350 and the Econolines have different ECUs and slightly different CAN PID setups. Some of the sensors that the trucks have (like the boost sensor) use a different CAN PID, so the CTS can’t find them. That’s why we had to plumb our own boost pressure sensor.

      From our experience with the CTS2 and the ’98 E350, the oil and trans temperature work, are the two most important ones. There were no EGTs on these vehicles from the factory, so you were going to add one of those anyway. The kit covered in this article included the boost sensor, so that should be enough.

      Edge claims that they do not have a tuner that works with the E350 for the same reason. That being said, we had a really, really old Edge tuner that came with the van. The tuner happily said it was tuning/programming the van, but it’s unclear if it actually did.

      I hope this helps!

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