This is Part 4 in a series. If you haven’t started at the beginning, please go to Post-1 and start your training at the beginning, and do it NOW!
In the process of an average installation, it is quite common for people to over-think the process. Since the throttle body is the first part the air hits as it goes into the engine, it’s usually very easy to get out. Of course, there are VERY rare exceptions, but you’ll find that out soon enough!
After 2,000 installations, I’ve only ran across one that I couldn’t get completed in under two hours. And THAT one, I will never do again! (It was a Toyota Sienna Minivan, BTW.)
As with all things, it’s usually better to start with a system that’s functioning well. There are a couple of simple tricks you can use to diagnose, and usually treat, any hidden weaknesses, which we’re going to cover here.
Before you begin, you’re going to do a walk-around. Start the engine and grab a flimsy piece of paper. Notebook paper or newsprint works well. Then, you’re going to walk back to the tailpipe and place the paper against the opening.
This may sound like a stupid question, but which direction does the exhaust travel?
So, if the paper is fluttering, being drawn into the tailpipe, that indicates the exhaust valves are open during the intake stroke. If this is what you find, then go to Post 5-Varnish and Vacuum for the solution.
Now, you’ve completed your testing of the valve operations and everything on that end is hunky-dory. It’s time to turn the engine off and go to the front of the vehicle. You’re going to give all your vacuum lines a good going over.
What you’re looking for are cracks, loose or swollen hoses and you’re listening for little hissing sounds that can sometimes be heard with vacuum leaks.
Usually, you won’t find much. But you still have to look, for one small leak can cause some serious issues in achieving maximum gains. If you want to learn more about that, go to Post 3 to learn more about diagnosing vacuum leaks.
Once you’ve made sure that all’s well on the western front, you’re ready to start the actual installation of the throttle body. The first step in that is to disconnect the positive cable from the battery and turn the ignition key into the “ON” position. This will energize the ECU, forcing it to be relieved of its memory.
A couple of alerts before you do. Occasionally, certain anti-theft prevention aspects may cause problems upon reconnecting your battery. Usually, an owner knows if there are any special protocols for changing out a battery, but if you’re not sure, then call your local dealer or your favorite auto parts store and ask them about it FIRST. Some have radio codes that need to be obtained, and some have the vehicle alarms act up.
Certainly, this information is included in the owner’s manual, but if you haven’t one, an ounce of prevention, as they say.
SO FIND OUT BEFORE YOU DISCONNECT YOUR BATTERY. But, if you forget, just look it up on YouTube.com. If that fails, then call me. I can help with most of these with simple solutions, based on my years of experience-and in my making the same kind of mistake.
Now, the actual removal and reinstallation of the throttle body is a little different on each engine, yet they are almost all about the same. Here’s what just a FEW of the many thousands of profiles look like: (The throttle assembly is boxed in RED.
As you can easily see, they come in a lot of different styles, but they all share a few things in common. Almost all are connected with only four bolts. Some use electronic controls which will need to have the pigtails removed, and some require removal of a cable. Only a couple have coolant hoses, but all are very easy to access, and equally easy to remove and reinstall.
Your job is to remove the throttle assembly and replace it with The Gadgetman Grooved throttle. Once you’ve done that, and made sure the PCV Vacuum port has been capped, you’re ready to reconnect the battery and go to the conditioning run.
This is where it starts to get FUN!
You’re almost ready to start the engine. Before you do, I need to let you know something. In systems with Idle Air Control (IAC) Valves and in Electronic Throttle Assemblies, the idle will have to be adjusted by the computer. Until it DOES adjust, the idle will be a little screwy.
Fortunately, this is usually handled in a few minutes for the most part, so here’s how you handle that if it happens to you.
Cable Controlled Throttle Assembly
Electronic Throttle Assembly
Regardless of which you have, the process is basically the same. IAC systems are most affected at idle speeds only, and the Electronic systems at all speeds.
So, if your system experiences idle issues, then you’re going to have to allow it to adapt naturally to the enhanced combustion profile. All you need do is sit in the driver’s seat and give it just a little gas. Hold your foot steady and do NOT try to keep it at a certain speed. The ECU needs to be allowed to do that. Your job is to just give it a LITTLE gas and then wait for the idle to stabilize. Then, GENTLY ease off the pedal until it’s at the idling position.
The engine may stumble a little, so wait, once again, for it to stabilize and repeat the process to the same level as before. What you will notice after a couple of cycles is that the system adapts more quickly each time.
Once you’re satisfied with the engine’s response, you are to increase the amount of pedal yet again, and repeat the procedure. Sometimes this will happen very quickly, and some require a bit of patience, but they will all learn what they need to learn in time.
With the Electronic systems, you need to keep increasing the level of pedal until it can stabilize itself quickly at any level of pedal.
Once your system is idling normally, then you’re ready for the Conditioning Run.
Restart the engine, and pull the vehicle out of the driveway.
Once you’re on the road, you’re going to go through quite a few cycles, each conditioning the ECU in a different power band. And each power band needs to be conditioned to have maximum value from your mod.
The ranges (in MPH) are 10-15, 15-25, 25-35, etcetera up to maximum highway speeds.
THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTED RANGES.
THE COMPUTER WILL MAKE ALL NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS OVER TIME.
POWER ACCELERATIONS ARE VERY NECESSARY
TO ACHIEVE MILEAGE GAINS, SO EVERY NOW AND THEN,
JUST KICK IT!
In each band, you are going to first drive gently, and then, pedal to the metal (ALL THE WAY, PLEASE!) up to the max desired range. Then, key off and restart and move to the next level. Feel free to repeat the procedure several times between restarts.
When you first practice these periods of heavy acceleration, you may notice a decrease in power delivery (only at first!). But each time you do this, what you’re doing is telling the computer to retard the timing. This is MISSION CRITICAL to obtaining your mileage increases, so be sure to do this OFTEN, and repeat the procedure until you feel the power increase, and increase SUBSTANTIALLY.
It is not at all uncommon to have to go through this procedure many times before the power truly kicks in, but when it does, you’ll know it.
While this is the sum of the conditioning run, it is NOT the end of the conditioning. This is going to cover about 80% of the conditioning, and the rest will happen as you drive the vehicle under normal conditions.
You will find it beneficial to restart the engine periodically. Each time you do, you will force the computer to transfer what it has learned during the previous drive cycle to the long-Term Fuel Trims (LTFT’s). Once the computer has re-learned its fuel delivery specs, you will be driving the most efficient vehicle of its kind on the road.
Now, if anything untoward occurs during the installation or conditioning of the ECU, like a check engine light, then pull the codes and reach out to Gadgetman.
After all, he is only a phone call or an email away.
Once your system has come up to speed and you’ve seen positive changes in the operations, then we want you to do us a solid. Turn your smart phone to yourself and record your own report of what The Gadgetman Groove did for you and your ride. Upload that video (“Share”) to YouTube and send the link to Gadgetman@GadgetmanGroove.com or send it as a Multi-Media message to 406-422-3291 (Ron’s cell phone) and let us share it with the world!
Now, get out there and share with all your friends and family what you’ve found with us, and have a GREAT day!
Welcome to Gadgetman Land!
And, as always, remember to smile for a stranger today.
You will both be glad you did.
If you would like to learn this amazing fuel efficiency technology, we want to hear about it! Email Ron Hatton, the developer of The Gadgetman Groove and we’ll see what we can do about that.
Post 6-Hidden Weaknesses
Post 7-Diagnosing Error Codes