Throttle bodies are an essential component of your car's fuel system. They control the amount of air that enters the engine, and in turn, how much fuel is burned. In this throttle body guide, we'll answer all of your questions about throttle bodies. We'll cover everything from what throttle bodies are and what they do to when you should upgrade them and why.
We'll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of upgrading throttle bodies, so you can make an informed decision about whether it's right for your vehicle. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What is a throttle body and what does it do?
The throttle body is the part of the engine that controls how much air enters the engine cylinders. It's located between the air filter and intake manifold and regulates airflow using a throttle plate. When you press down on the accelerator pedal in your vehicle, this throttle plate opens up to allow more air into the engine, which increases throttle response and power.
The throttle body is typically located on the driver's side of your vehicle's engine compartment. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, it may be located at the front or back of the engine bay. You can typically identify the throttle body by its large throttle plate and several vacuum ports.
In some vehicles, there is actually more than one throttle body. This is known as a twin throttle setup, or dual throttle bodies, and is common in high-performance engines. The additional throttle bodies provide greater airflow for increased power and throttle response.
What are the different types of throttle bodies?
There are several types of throttle bodies:
- Single throttle body: A single throttle body is the most common type, and is typically found in everyday vehicles. It features a throttle plate that opens when you press down on the accelerator pedal.
- Twin throttle bodies: Twin throttle bodies are typically used in high-performance engines, as they provide greater airflow for increased power and throttle response.
- Electronic throttle body: An electronic throttle body is a throttle body that is electronically controlled, rather than being manually operated. This type of throttle body can respond quicker to throttle inputs and provide more precise control of air intake.
- Port throttle bodies: Port throttle bodies are typically used in racing applications and feature larger throttle plates for increased airflow.
- Butterfly-type throttle bodies: Butterfly throttle bodies are similar to port throttle bodies, but feature an additional butterfly-shaped plate that opens and closes in response to throttle inputs.
When does it make sense to upgrade a throttle body?
There are several situations when it makes sense to upgrade your throttle bodies, such as when you want to increase throttle response and power, or if your vehicle has an outdated throttle body that is no longer functioning properly. It is important to note, however, that throttle body upgrades are not necessary in most cases and will only be beneficial if your vehicle has the appropriate modifications.
What modifications are necessary to upgrade throttle bodies?
In order to reap the full benefits of throttle body upgrades, certain modifications need to be made. These include:
- Replacing the existing intake manifold with one designed to work with throttle body upgrades.
- Upgrading the throttle cable and throttle control systems.
- Replacing fuel injectors and fuel system components.
- Upgrading air filter, air intake, and exhaust components.
- Installing performance engine management systems or ECUs.
What are the symptoms of a bad or failing throttle body?
Some common symptoms of a bad or failing throttle body include:
- Reduced throttle response: The throttle takes longer to respond when you press the accelerator pedal.
- Rough idle: The engine may shake or vibrate at idle, and the throttle may surge up and down.
- Check Engine Light: The Check Engine Light may come on, indicating a malfunction in the throttle control system.
- Poor fuel economy: Your car may experience decreased fuel economy due to an inefficient throttle body.
- Misfires: The engine may misfire due to an incorrect air/fuel mixture.
When is it time to upgrade the entire fuel system?
In some cases, throttle bodies are not enough and a larger upgrade of the fuel system may be necessary. This usually applies when vehicles have more than one throttle body as well as when they're running high-performance engines. Some signs that you may need to upgrade the entire fuel system include:
- Poor throttle response, even after throttle body upgrades.
- Lack of power or torque from the engine.
- Inconsistent performance at higher RPMs.
Upgrading an entire fuel system typically involves replacing:
- The throttle bodies: Bigger throttle bodies can provide greater throttle response and increased power.
- Fuel injectors: High-flow fuel injectors can improve the air/fuel mixture for more efficient combustion.
- Fuel pump: An upgraded Bosch fuel pump may be needed in order to ensure that the engine is getting enough fuel at high RPMs.
- Intake manifold: An upgraded intake manifold can provide greater airflow for increased power.
- Air filter: A performance air filter can help increase throttle response and engine power.
- Performance ECU: An Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is an electronic device that controls the operation of a vehicle's engine. It monitors and adjusts throttle inputs, fuel/air mixture, spark timing, and other parameters to ensure proper engine performance. A performance ECU can provide advanced tuning capabilities that allow you to get the most out of your throttle body upgrades
Advantages of upgrading throttle bodies
If your throttle body is not functioning properly, you may need to replace or upgrade the entire fuel system. This includes replacing the throttle body and other components such as fuel injectors, air filters, air intake, throttle control systems, and engine management systems. The advantages of replacing or upgrading throttle bodies include:
- Improved throttle response and increased power.
- Increased fuel efficiency.
- Decreased emissions from the engine.
The disadvantages of upgrading throttle bodies
Despite the potential performance gains offered by throttle body upgrades, there are some potential disadvantages to consider. These include:
- High initial cost: throttle body upgrades can be quite expensive, and may require professional installation.
- Compatibility issues: throttle body upgrades can cause compatibility issues with other parts of the car, meaning you may have to purchase additional components or modifications in order to make them work correctly.
- Increased wear and tear: throttle bodies that are constantly being upgraded can wear out faster than those that are not, leading to further maintenance costs.
What should you look for in a performance throttle body?
When considering throttle body upgrades, it's important to know what features and specifications are important. Here are some features to consider when looking at performance throttle bodies:
- Material: Throttle bodies are usually made of either cast aluminum or billet aluminum. Cast throttle bodies are more affordable but less durable than billet throttle bodies, which can handle higher levels of power and torque. High-quality aluminum construction can increase durability.
- Size and shape: Throttle bodies come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different engine bay configurations. Make sure you choose one that will fit in your engine bay without interfering with other components. A larger throttle plate area generally increases airflow.
- Vacuum ports: Throttle bodies may come with different numbers of vacuum ports, depending on the manufacturer's design and the type of throttle body.
- Fuel system compatibility: Throttle bodies must be compatible with the fuel system they are being used with. Make sure the throttle body you choose is compatible with your vehicle's fuel system and can be used with other components such as the throttle control system, fuel injectors, and engine management system.
- Direct throttle linkage for improved throttle response: If you opt for a throttle body with direct throttle linkage, you will enjoy improved throttle response and increased throttle sensitivity.
- CNC machined components: CNC means computer numerical control, and it allows throttle bodies to be machined with very precise dimensions for enhanced throttle response and fuel delivery.
- Self-aligning throttle plates: Self-aligning throttle plates are designed to ensure a consistent throttle plate angle for improved throttle response and fuel delivery.
Why you should hire experienced professionals to upgrade or replace throttle bodies
Even if you are comfortable working on your own car, replacing throttle bodies can be a complicated process and should only be undertaken by experienced professionals. Having professional mechanics upgrade or replace throttle bodies is important for a few reasons.
- Throttle body upgrades require special tools and knowledge of automotive systems in order to ensure proper installation.
- Throttle bodies come in many different sizes and shapes and must be matched correctly to the existing fuel system. Professionals can make sure throttle body modifications are done correctly, taking into account all compatibility issues.
- Professionals can help diagnose any problems that may arise due to throttle body upgrades and make sure they are properly addressed.
By consulting with experienced professionals like the team at Snake Eater Performance to upgrade or replace throttle bodies, you can ensure that your vehicle's throttle system is working properly and safely. Our experts will advise you on the best performance throttle body for your car and help you get the most out of your upgrade. To learn how we can help, contact us today.