The Ford Ranger has been topping sales charts for the better part of a decade, since it first appeared in Australia way back in 2008. It’s homegrown, designed and engineered by Ford Australia and with Aussie buyers and road conditions in mind. The car has been present on the streets in various guises and badges, and most run on trusted 4 or 5-cylinder diesel, with power output ranging from 115 to 157kW.
Not spectacular by any measure but range-topping variants with 500Nm of pulling power best suit the Ranger and its intended purpose. If you want more power and outright speed, there are dozens of performance upgrades from as many parts makers. And one of the cheapest and simplest mods is a throttle controller. This will better 0-100kph times averaging over 10 seconds in all models to something more respectable.
What are Throttle Controllers?
Throttle controllers are small electronic devices that help your car get to speed, faster. They can be added to all cars with fly-by-wire throttle actuation, meaning most cars, the Ranger included, from the mid-1990s onwards. Controllers work by manipulating the signals your car’s ECU receives from sensors at the acceleration pedal and those in the throttle body to supply the engine with the right fuel and air mix.
By bumping up the voltage, the ECU is tricked into thinking that you’ve depressed the acceleration pedal further down than it actually is. And in response, you get faster acceleration.
The system is simple and effective. A throttle controller Ford Ranger overrides stock settings, including inbuilt throttle lag, to remove hesitation once you have your right foot down. There’s no jolting, and the car gets a move on in a smooth, linear fashion. The benefit here is those throttle controllers are also balanced with the gearing and safety electronic systems (ABS, Traction Control, Hill Descent etc), so throttle response is consistent across a range of driving conditions.
How does a Throttle Controller Benefit Your Ranger?
Acceleration and Overtaking
The obvious change that you’ll actually feel is the quicker pick of speed. The Ranger has some heft to it, and the faster acceleration will help drivers in a range of driving conditions. Moving from a standstill. either from the lights or the driveway, is where a throttle controller Ford Ranger excels. There’s no throttle lag, and the revs get going faster. They build up to also engage the turbo, so there’s no additional turbo lag. With these two issues out of the way, going onto highway speeds is a breeze.
But the fun doesn’t end here. In-gear speeds are also better, and this helps with overtaking and keeping the car at optimal rev ranges. You’ll be getting the most power out of the diesel engine, without stressing it. Combine this with an uprated Ranger exhaust to get the engine breathing and you’re set for more speed.
Towing and Off-roading
Utes are workhorses trusted by tradies, campers and off-roaders. With your Ranger fully stacked with work goodies in the tub, the added weight means you’ll be working the pedal harder than usual. A throttle controller is an ideal solution for quicker acceleration. The same goes when towing boats, trailers or caravans at the back. There’s no hesitance on inclines, and less so on the flats. Both scenarios are when the throttle controller is dialled into performance mode.
But where you need more traction and less wheel spin, like loose gravel or sand, a controller will work the opposite way to reduce the stock throttle response. This can get you in a tight spot when off-road, either with the wheels digging deep in sand and getting you stuck, or too abrupt lunges that can hurl you into rocks or stumps. And situations like these have too often caught even the most experienced drivers off guard.
Better Fuel Economy
With fuel prices going over the roof, you’ll want a way to maximise performance without breaking the bank. The bigger diesel is especially thirsty, gulping on average 9 litres in a combined cycle, even when you’re careful with the pedal. The figures goes higher with anything in the back. A throttle controller dialled in Eco mode can optimise fuel consumption, by restricting throttle response, and is something you’ll use in heavy traffic. Think about going to and from work in rush hour.
You can have fun scrolling through the different modes and incremental settings, but dialling the controller in Auto is a simple set-and-forget solution if you want hassle-free driving. This mode virtually records your pedal input and adjusts the throttle accordingly. You’ll be getting optimal throttle response, and the right amount of acceleration, each and every time. No matter where you’re driving. All the adjustments are done for you, so no taking hands off the wheel.
Any Cons Worth Mentioning?
The only thing to consider here is that by the time the acceleration pedal is halfway down, the ECU will be reading 100 per cent throttle input. This means not much will happen even if you press the pedal as far as it goes. But you’ll already be within speed limits. Another minor quandary is where to place the module itself. Overall dimensions mean it can go anywhere along the dash or the centre console, but be within arm’s reach when you decide to change settings.
Installation and Pricing
Installation is quick and simple, even for complete novices, with the unit being a plug-and-play device plugged between the acceleration sensors and ECU. These are perfectly legal devices, that don’t void warranties or require extra paperwork, and are some of the cheapest performance mods currently sold. You can even return the throttle controller within the specified period if you’re not happy with the results.