Ford’s F-Series trucks have enjoyed blistering sales, and the trucks remain the best sellers in every category as of 2022. Eight decades of constant refinement have brought us hundreds of models, and the current F-150 trucks are breaking all records. Now in its 13th generation, the F-150 boasts dozens of trim levels, cab styles and engines in varying tune, with the Raptor sitting highest up.
Electrified vehicles are undoubtedly having their say, with an electrified F-150 on the brink. If you’re looking for the instant power delivery of electric trucks, but in your gasoline engine, then a simple mod is here to help.
Throttle controllers are the link between yesteryear’s muscle cars and the direction the car industry is heading. Electronics have played their part in delivering more performance, better handling and lower fuel consumption. It has also meant lighter and more reliable vehicles that do away with rudimentary mechanical systems needed to get the power created by the combustion of air and fuel down to the wheels. And installed on your truck, a nifty F150 throttle controller brings a lot of worthy benefits.
What are Throttle Controllers?
Developed in the late 1980s, throttle controllers were one of the first electronic devices used in cars. Today they take the form of various driving modes in countless of vehicles. Their task is to adjust how the throttle responds when you put your foot on the gas. For trucks like the F-150, controllers help in heaving all that metal from a standstill, and as the name implies, in a linear and controlled way. This helps all engines, those that are deemed as underpowered, and even the top-spec 3.5 litres Ecoboost spurred on by a few turbos.
Acceleration and throttle is delivered in cars with the help of various systems working together. Sensors along the acceleration pedal, and those in the throttle body in the engine put out signals read by the vehicles on-board computer, the ECU. The further you press the pedal, the more the throttle body opens, allowing for more air in for combustion. And this means a bigger bang and more power.
The main issue here is the inbuilt latency, or lag, that carmakers throw in for cited safety and emissions reasons. The signal from the gas pedal isn’t directly turned into power, and you can feel the hesitancy every time. There can be a few seconds before anything happens and for drivers wanting more feedback and control, this is a definite put off.
How A Throttle Controller Helps
An F-150 throttle controller cuts down on lag and throttle response times. In plain speak, this means a faster vehicle, and one that is quicker to 60mph. The quoted 0-60 times in various F-150 trims (especially those with the base 3.3 and 3.5-litre Cyclone engines) can do with some help. Particularly trucks that are fully loaded or towing.
Quicker response times help in countless situations. When overtaking, towing, going off-road, attempting steep inclines or just pulling out from the driveway or the lights. The instant feedback gives a better connection between driver, vehicle and road. And this aids safety. There’s no latency, no jerkiness and power comes on gradually.
Throttle Controller Modes
The F-150 has half a dozen driver modes to help with different terrain and varying road conditions. You can adjust many vehicle systems, including the throttle, with a turn of a dial for the low and high gears, or by going into screen menus. This is all good, but a throttle controller does better. It too has varying modes, but the adjustability can be fine-tuned in stages. You get more customization, so the throttle can be set just the way you like.
Performance or Sport mode correlates with the F-150 Sport Mode, but as mentioned, you have more room to play with. There are up to 10 incremental settings here, from a slight change from stock, to a completely new engine and car with the controller set to max. Acceleration is instant, and honestly, a joy. A boon for drivers that often tow, or anyone just after some fun.
Guzzling all that gas can put a dent in your pocket (with record-breaking gas prices) and you can dial the controller to Eco. Though the F-150 too has the same mode, the difference is the level of control and adjustment. This cuts down on the throttle response, meaning less fuel is delivered for the burn. Good when you’re stuck in traffic or cruising along the highway, or going the extra mile on longer trips. It also helps in wet weather and when off-road, to cut down on unwanted wheel spin and loss of traction.
If you can’t be bothered by constantly adjusting the Ford F150 electronic throttle control , then set it to Auto. This is a set-and-forget feature that changes the throttle response subtlety, according to road and traffic conditions, and how you drive. You get the best vehicle control with your foot down every time.
Are Throttle Controllers Worth It?
For the asking price of less than a full tank of gas, you get a major performance upgrade to your F-150. The truck feels more nimble and livelier, responds quicker to driver input, and delivers in spades. There’s no added power as such, but optimal use of that power. Safety too isn’t overlooked, nor when you’re looking to save a few pennies by cutting down on consumption. Installation is quick and you’re not messing with other vehicle systems. To sum up, the cheapest upgrade worth having.