Throttle controllers are fast becoming the go-to mod for almost any modern 4×4, or any modern car for that matter. But there is still a lot of confusion around as to how they actually work, what they do, and why you should fit one.
Now the majority of vehicles these days are fitted with an electronic throttle body, also known as a “Fly by Wire” system, this kind of system is taken from the Aerospace world where you can have hundreds of components controlled by electrickery, again, this is where the CANBUS style systems come from, how one wire can control multiple systems. Really cool technology in some respects.
The only downside to this is that electronics throttles suffer from a few issues, that’s calibration and lag, firstly, let’s look at the LDV T60 and it’s Calibration:
As you can see, the 82% mark is about the best that you can do from factory, so no matter what, it means that I’m never getting WOT to overtake, pass, get out of a bog hole, or tow my trailer up a hill. So that’s pretty crap isn’t it?
The other thing that affects electronic throttles is lag, and this means that the computer will slowly ramp the power up, so the pedal box is slowly going from 0-82.7% over a second or longer, this means you get that hesitation, what some people call “Turbo Lag” (Though not related to the turbo at all)
Now, what a Throttle controller will do to combat these two things:
- Allow you to hit 100% of Throttle
- Eliminate the lag of the throttle
So, how does it do this you may ask?
Whilst we cannot speak for other brands, we can attest to the HikeIt controllers, which you can see at the bottom of the article.
The X9 has a clever PCB module which updates the points of reference for a vehicles throttle mapping. Throttle Lag is added by manufacturers for a number of reasons including fuel economy. The HIKEit X9 maintains the standard parameters of your vehicle; however, introduces a sharper throttle curve (or smoother when in 5×4 Eco mode) and reduces the “dead zone” in your cars accelerator pedal.
This also means that you can go through and pick a mode that is suited to your situation, do you want power to get past a Grey Nomad? HikeIt mode and off you go, you are offroad and want to slowly crawl over things without risking bounding and jarring the accelerator? Then 4×4 Mode.
That is one of the best parts about a throttle controller, and that is the adaptability of the options you can pick, you can set the accelerator to how sensitive you want it, and we’ve all been in a car that’s a bit touchy and occasionally “the foot slips”
Economy Mode (E) Economy mode has 9 settings that reduce the response from the pedal which will improve fuel economy and with a dampened response it can be particularly handy in situations such as driving off road, towing, beach driving etc.
HIKEit’s Cruise mode (with 9 level settings) is a tuned down version of the popular sport/tow mode which will give you more of a boost than your cars original setting. It’s perfect for everyday driving that won’t blow out your fuel bill and knock your socks off.
HIKEit’s Sport/Tow mode (with 9 level settings) is a fun way to get around without the adrenalin boost of HIKEIT mode. It’s perfect when towing anything and will adjust perfectly to the application at hand. After Auto IQ Mode, Sport/Tow mode is the most favoured.
HIKEit’s Performance mode (with 9 level settings) is not for the ‘Sunday driver’. HIKEit setting 1 is classified as intense while setting 7-9 is like ‘launch mode’. Touching the mode button while in any mode will activate ‘Over-Take mode’ that will instantly put the X9 into HIKEit Mode setting 9.
Auto IQ Selection Mode:
“Set & Forget” Mode
HIKEit’s Auto IQ Control Mode lets the driver set and forget while the X9 learns the driver’s behaviour and selects the mode from the best of 36 mode settings based on the current driving situation. Generally, fly-by-wire pedal accelerator systems have two sensors that measure both how hard and far the pedal; the X9 tweaks these for a more enjoyable, safer and fuel saving drive.
Entering the Anti-Theft function will lock the car’s throttle and will not accelerate at idle until unlocked.
Some commonly asked questions
Can a throttle controller void warranty
This is a bit of a sticky question, so to give you the absolute best answers, here’s a quote direct from HikeIt:
Your new car warranty may be affected by installing any aftermarket modification or non-genuine product and unfortunately new car warranties are often interpreted differently depending on what dealership you see or speak to. At HIKEit we have extensively ran tests on new (and used) cars and found that when correctly installed it will not damage a vehicle in anyway. The HIKEit also has a setting that can return your vehicle to it’s factory setting in the unlikely event that it develops a fault; in this mode the HIKEit will be switched off and and won’t effect the drivability of the car. Installation is quick and easy but if you have any concerns just unplug it and return it to us for a replacement or refund.https://www.hikeit.com.au/support/
Will a Throttle Controller cause more wear on my car?
The HIKEit only uses already available power which is reserved by the manufacturer. As HIKEit will only activate when you need the power (e.g. when applying power, HIKEit will not work when idling). Your car’s machine-driven parts (e.g. the engine, clutch, transmission, brakes) are only pushed to the limits which are appropriate not beyond. The security functions and safety of the engine and the vehicle’s ECU do not get changed at all or get turned off. It’s out of the question for HIKEit to push your vehicle beyond its factory limits.https://www.hikeit.com.au/support/
Does a throttle controller give more power?
The HIKEit has no control over injection timing, air to fuel ratio, fuel mapping and so on, therefore cannot increase power output. The HIKEit simply improves the way your throttle responds, (better than other controllers on the market) by allowing you to adjust in 36 tune settings (or automatic) the delay in the throttle system.https://www.hikeit.com.au/support/
What is the Anti-Theft Mode?
Entering the Anti-Theft function will lock the car’s throttle and will not accelerate at idle.
To enter into the anti-theft state hold the MODE and buttons together for three seconds.
The display will show 000.
Use the 3 buttons (MODE, and ) to enter a 3-digit anti-theft password.
Once you have entered your desired password hold the MODE and buttons for 3 seconds; the screen will show LOC to indicate you are in the anti-theft state.
To exit the anti-theft state just press any button to display 000 then use the MODE, and buttons to input your anti-theft password which must be consistent with the password entered when entering the anti-theft state, then hold the MODE and buttons for 3 seconds.https://www.hikeit.com.au/support/
So how does it save fuel?
Usually when you put the pedal to the metal the engine straight away goes into higher revs which essentially causes you to use more fuel. The ECO mode (fuel saving mode) on the HIKEit slows the response of this down, which stops the engine responding in that way. The slower response allows your engine to get to the right speeds without using as much fuel. Which means that instead it creates a smoother acceleration rather than the higher revs. This function in turn can give you up to 20% more distance for the same amount of fuel.https://www.hikeit.com.au/support/
I have a Mercedes and have been having some throttle lag, when I reported the problem to the dealer, they said no faults came up on the computer , so everything is normal. My son had installed a similar branded unit to his Colorado with great results, so after reading up on throttle controllers I decided to go with the Hikeit units (as they offer a lifetime warranty), and the results we very impressive ( my biggest concern was getting a warning light on the dash,by adding a non standard extra, but thankfully nothing has shown up). In my mind I thought the auto mode was the way to go but it proved to be too touchy for my liking ( on take off) so have opted for the cruise mode (co-7) and seems to be the favourite (at the moment). I was worried about fitting the unit, but after undoing the mounting bolts at the accelerator, it was super easy. The results are instant and makes me wonder why all manufacturers don’t fit them as standard.
Installed one of these on my Grand Cherokee over the weekend and wow what a difference it makes, around town the auto mode and cruise 6 seem to be the best and hike it mode is great fun for overtaking. Great customer service from Matt and an awesome product what else could you ask for
Installed one in my 2012 Automatic Hilux, and wow. Such a better car to drive. Would recommend this unit over others as it has more custom setting to suit your vehicle and really does perform. Thanks HIKEIT
Wow, this is an important testimonial, so many delights here!
5 minute job on my 2018 PX MK2 Ranger, mounted it to the right of my steering wheel.
Feels like its woken the car up, heaps more poke than it had before.
I find Sports 2-4 best for around town, and Cruise 4-6 on the highway.
Hikeit mode 9 tore up my lawn on the first go just after I installed it, I don’t think I’ll ever have any need for that mode in future.