Why Should I Add a Throttle Controller?

Categories: Performance

What Is A Throttle Controller And Why Should I Add It To My Car?

Electronic throttle controls remove gas pedals and throttle cables. We emphasize controllers that can adjust the throttle application to improve drive-ability.

Modern cars and trucks are constantly evolving, mainly due to electronics advances. This enables vehicle systems previously controlled by mechanical hardware to be operated by computers that have undreamed of processing power a few decades ago. If properly applied, this processing power can reduce the built-in power and responsiveness of your vehicle without physically upgrading the engine. One such system found on vehicles injected with fuel today is electronic throttle control, commonly known as drive-by-wire.

Electronic throttle controls remove the conventional “mechanical” cable attached to the gas pedal at one end and the body assembly at the other. What’s an assembly of the throttle body? Mounted under the hood between the air cleaner and the intake manifold, throttle body assembly controls airflow into the engine via a butterfly valve, or plate, that opens and closes based on accelerator pedal position. On older vehicles with cable setups, the cable literally pulls the throttle plate open when your foot presses down on the pedal.

The cable is replaced by an electronically controlled system using advanced electro-mechanical actuators, sensor chips and highly accurate potentiometers on modern vehicles with drive-by-wire configurations. So the accelerator pedal is no longer attached to a cable -just an electronic sensor that determines how far down the pedal is pressed.

The throttle (gas pedal) position sensor relays this information to the vehicle’s main computer, the electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU takes that information and commands a small electric motor to open or close the throttle plate. At the same time, the ECU increases injector pulse width to boost fuel flow accordingly.

Standard drive-by-wire settings tend to lead to a slower response time than old-school cable settings. But what is the response to throttle? In particular, it is a measure of how quickly an internal combustion engine can increase its power output from a low RPM to a higher, more powerful RPM in response to the gas pedal of a driver. Although faster response is often associated with higher power, true “throttle response” is merely a measurement of the time needed to change the output power.

In modern vehicles under competitive pressure to achieve high fuel economy ratings, throttle response is deliberately programmed to be more gradual (“sluggish”) to save us from ourselves. Truth be told, this trick helps kilometers -but it also creates a throttle response that feels like Novocain was injected into the whole system.

As enthusiasts, we appreciate the need for speed and we enjoy the thrill of pushing our cars to newer limits. Slower throttle response only serves to increase the time it takes to reach your vehicle’s maximum power level. To address this issue, we offer throttle controllers that bypass and override the factory electronic throttle control settings and eliminate noticeable time delays.

Throttle controllers take information directly from the accelerator pedal position sensor; “advance” the numbers in the high-speed controller circuit, then send the new and improved signal to the ECU of your vehicle – bypassing checks that may cause confusion or errors when the final signal is sent to open the throttle plate. However, since the throttle controllers are connected to the ECU of your vehicle, they can also make useful revisions to the air/fuel mixture and ignition timing to increase the actual power and torque in addition to the speed of response.

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Basic Throttle Body Controllers

If you’re looking for great value, we’ve got several devices that keep it simple and specialize in just this function. For starters, the Weapon-R I-Throttle Controller provides 16 different throttle settings that can be selected at the touch of a button. Nine of them increase throttle opening speed to tailor response to just the desired amount for performance driving and even racing. And if you’re just cruising and want a better kilometer of fuel, there are 7 settings in the economy mode. For an excellent price, the Remus Throttle Responder offers 4 adjustable settings.

Likewise, the Buddy Club Throttle Booster features a manual control knob which can be rotated to maximize either economy or performance response. The AVO Throttle Controller is designed specifically for Subaru’s back to 2002, and features a standard (factory) mode along with 9 power and 3 off-road settings which offer extremely gradual throttle response necessary for trail climbing.

The JET Stage 2 Power Control Module is designed for the performance enthusiast who has already made bolt-on modifications such as a freer flowing exhaust system, aftermarket air intake assemblies, upgraded mass air flow sensors, and other items. It also remaps fuel and timing curves to maximize power, and is recommended for use with super unleaded fuel and 180 degree thermostats.

The BD Diesel Performance Throttle Sensitivity Booster is designed for a number of diesel vehicles in addition to gasoline vehicles if you have a late-model truck or SUV powered by a diesel engine.

Throttle Body Controllers with Other Added Features

We’ve also got throttle body controllers that adjust throttle body responsiveness and perform a host of other functions. Some are offered with built-in video display screens, while others geared toward value will display menus and information using one or two lines of text only. These are actually known as power tuners, or power programmers.

If you are interested in throttle controllers that do more than just modify the drive-by-wire system of your accelerators, please check all the options in our article “Are Super chips Really Super?”

Connection and setup is a piece of cake because most of the units referenced here either plug into the OBD II port of your vehicle or require a simple connection to the module(s) under the hood. We also believe in the saying “Responsibility comes with power” and these throttle controllers are designed to deliver increased performance responsibly – with integrated fail-safes in their programming to ensure smooth operation, avoid checking engine light failures and prevent your vehicle from accelerating out of control. All that’s left to address is one simple question – are you going to wait for power, or are you going to demand it right now?