The topic of throttle controllers has long been controversial among vehicle owners. Some advocate for them and recommend them to everyone, whereas others don’t see the point of having one. But at the end of the day, everyone has different needs and expectations from their vehicle. If you’re wondering whether it’s smart to install a throttle controller in your Toyota, you should first know what it is, and what’s the purpose of having one.
Throttle controllers are devices that improve your Toyota’s throttle response by enhancing the voltage signal from the fly-by-wire pedal assembly. You can tune the response from the gas pedal and reduce or completely eliminate the delay you experience between pressing the pedal and getting a response from the engine. This can improve your Toyota’s performance on and off the road.
Besides increasing the throttle response, another reason you may decide to buy a Toyota throttle controller is that it has a mode that offers fuel-saving benefits and superior control in 4×4 situations when you venture off the road. Without a throttle controller, your vehicle relies on mechanical cables that are attached to the throttle assembly and the gas pedal. In petrol engines, the throttle assembly controls how much airflow gets into the engine through a plate or butterfly valve that opens and closes depending on how hard you press the pedal. As you press it harder, the cable pulls the throttle open and you get more speed.
On most modern vehicles, however, the cables are replaced by actuator motors and electronic sensors. The sensors are placed on the pedals and they tell the vehicle’s computer how far the pedal has been pressed. The computer then sends a signal to the actuator that the engine needs more airflow. Most Toyota electronic throttle control systems plug right into the wiring harness at the gas pedal without too much hassle.
Keep in mind, throttle controllers won’t increase your Toyota’s horsepower, and they don’t control fuel mapping, injection timing or the air/fuel ratio. They only change how quickly the throttle responds by eliminating delays. Some people argue that you should just press the gas pedal harder and you’ll get the same throttle response, but that can’t be further than the truth. Your vehicle’s computer is programmed to smoothen out acceleration and provide better fuel economy. Throttle controllers reprogram the computer and open the throttle earlier than usual, something that can’t be achieved by pressing the gas pedal harder or faster.
The most basic throttle controllers provide great value and keep it simple. For instance, the EVC Toyota throttle controller features 4 driving modes to ensure you get the ideal throttle response in every situation. You can easily change the sensitivity of the throttle with the simple push of the button. The four modes are ultimate mode (performance mode), economy mode (opposite of ultimate mode), normal mode and automatic control mode (monitors your current driving behaviour and gives you the most suitable response to match it).
However, there are also throttle controllers that can provide a variety of other functions as well, such as built-in video display screens, or display information and menus. These models are more commonly known as power programmers or tuners. There are also “superchips” that can reprogram your Toyota’s entire computer, and provide extra horsepower, improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions.
And since controllers are directly interfering with your Toyota’s computer, they can get access to all kinds of information that is trucked but not displayed in the instrument cluster. Many controllers and tuners come with large colour displays, fuel pressure readings, real-time battery voltage readouts, air intake and coolant temperature, engine RPM, trans fluid temperature and other information.
If you decide you want to monitor all of this information, many controllers and tuners come with cables and input jacks that can be installed almost anywhere you want to read it in real time. Additionally, the throttle controller or power tuner can come with built-in jacks that allow its screen to serve as a backup monitor. Some units can even serve as DVD players.
Most people who have purchased an electronic throttle controller found that they’re an affordable and easy way to optimise their vehicle’s performance. With such a wide range of vehicle configurations today, the kind of mapping required by their sensors can differ greatly. Throttle controllers aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, they’re made for specific vehicle makes, models, induction types and engine for optimum results.
For people towing and venturing off the road, throttle controllers provide some much needed acceleration, reduce motor strain and use less fuel to get up to speed. And the fact that you can pick the controller mode based on your driving mode will ensure that your engine is performing as it needs to for the type of driving you’re doing. You’ll find a wide range of throttle controllers and power tuners online, and you can look up your Toyota’s model and make to choose a compatible one.