You’re at the stoplight… the guy next to you revs his engine, you rev yours, it’s mutually understood that it’s about to go down. Red, red, red, GREEN! You smash your pedal to the floor and then… wallow in sorrow as you see your opponent’s taillights pulling away in the distance. You would’ve had him if only your car was able to transmit power to the wheels more quickly! So how do you make sure this doesn’t happen again – how do you improve throttle response?
Well, there are a few solutions to this, each of varying complexity. Let’s take a look at three main areas you can reassess to make your car quicker off the line: drivetrain upgrades, engine modifications, and tuning.
The drivetrain transmits the power from the engine to the driving wheels, which in the case of the Mustang, are the rear wheels. Right off the bat, you can get some more responsiveness by swapping out the stock driveshaft for an aluminum driveshaft and an aluminum flywheel to complement. This upgrade drops the rotating weight, which in turn means more power will get to the wheels, and it will do so more quickly by allowing the car to rev faster. Additionally, increasing the gear ratio is another way to get a quicker reaction from the car. For Mustangs the most popular ratios are 3.73 or 4.10, and this is the number of times the driveshaft needs to spin for the wheels to complete one full rotation. With these higher gear ratios, the car will jump into the powerband sooner, meaning it’ll be quicker from a still position. Precisely for this reason, we’ve chosen to go with a 4.09 rear gear ratio for our 2018 Mustang drag build. Changing up the gear ratio does, however, require the speedometer to be recalibrated to maintain accuracy.
A car’s power plant contains a variety of components you can upgrade or add in order to increase throttle response, though some are more complicated than others. The first is very straightforward – a throttle body spacer. The throttle body, in response to the driver pressing the gas pedal, allows air into the engine, with more air leading to increased fuel injection and ultimately more power. Throttle Body Spacers aid in increasing low to mid-range torque in the engine, just as carburetor spacers did back in the day. Piggybacking on this upgrade, a larger diameter throttle body and/or the addition of a cold air intake will allow for increased airflow, providing an increase in horsepower and torque.
Lastly, you can make some improvements in the engine’s combustion efficiency, which also means increased power, by upgrading the factory coils. Replacing them with high-performance coils results in more spark from the spark plugs, which burns the fuel mixture more efficiently within the combustion chamber.
As previously mentioned, many modern cars operate with a drive-by-wire throttle control, meaning it’s the car’s ECU controlling the opening of the throttle body. The easiest way to modify the vehicle’s factory settings, and one of the easiest ways to increase power and throttle response, is with a handheld tuner. You can use the tuner to modify many aspects of the ECU so you can dial it in for your exact needs. It’s possible to increase torque and horsepower, modify shift points, increase throttle response, and more. Needless to say a tuner is an awesome and simple way to get more out of your car. Steeda offers tuners with preloaded, lifetime tunes for a variety of vehicles, as well as just the tuner alone.
These are not the only ways to increase your vehicle’s throttle response, but they are some of the most simple and effective approaches. For all of these upgrades and more, be sure to visit www.Steeda.com, or you can always give our performance experts a call to answer any questions you might have!