Many people erroneously think that throttle programmers add power, or trick your pedal to thinking it is pressed further than it is to “cheat” the system. What they really do is much more complex yet singular in purpose.

Throttle Programming – From Old School to New School.

When cars were cables and carbs tuning your throttle was all mechanical. Change the return springs, change the opening rate of the butterflies, pedal pivot points, until you achieved the desired result. All the horsepower in the world won’t go if the throttle cannot fully open.

On more modern vehicles it requires a digital solution. No longer are cables opening the throttle. It is all done by sensors, servos, and electrical impulses that determine how much throttle you apply. Because, most manufacturers program for fuel economy, EPA specs, and to avoid lawsuits, many vehicles have a delay between pedal movement and actuation.

If you drive a manual transmission vehicle with this fancy drive-by-wire tech you are doubly annoyed by the delay. It’s hard to feather the throttle when the throttle is always a tick behind what you are doing.

Throttle Programmer – Does What?

Most of the programmers install inline with the circuit from the accelerator pedal and the throttle servo. The programmer modifies the signal being sent between the two to either advance or retard the signal.

Boosting the signal speeds the activation up and opens the throttle faster. It can also be used to change the acceleration curve. You can have the throttle open at say 30% increments for the first half of travel and 120% for the last half-pedal travel. (This would be terrible to drive, it’s just an example.) The point is you can customize your throttle opening to give good fuel economy up to a certain point and then go straight plaid when you get a little pedal happy.

Where this pays dividends for us in the off-road world is better pedal control when crawling. Instead of being a light switch, we can tune the pedal to be much more linear and mimic a well-tuned cable/spring combo for precision throttle control.

Then when we hit the road back home you can change the setting and have a better on-road pedal feel and daily driveability.

What are your thoughts?

Would you program your throttle for better response, to gain fuel economy, or to improve control off and on-road?

Would you never do it? Tell us why you would add one or not add one in the comments! Stay tuned as we will review one, or several, of these modules in the coming months.

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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