It takes a lot to hit a level of success where no matter what you produce, buyers will trust the quality of your product. K&N has no doubt achieved this level of success. As the world’s leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems, K&N products are unquestionably the choice brand in their respective department. But when you reach the top, you don’t just quit innovating. You find new challenges to take on, new products to develop. And for K&N, that means expanding its tuning line to include a new plug-and-play throttle control module.
Keep It Clean
Primarily known for increasing engine performance by providing customers with top-quality air filters and cold air intakes, K&N also offers cabin air filters, oil filters, fuel pumps, and carburetor accessories. The company’s lineup traditionally supports the concept of giving buyers the means to run a clean and efficient engine.
While many other suppliers dabble in these segments, there’s absolutely no arguing that K&N is the leader. Oil filters are developed with superior materials; unlike others, who lean on cheap internals. The air and cabin filters are expertly designed, allowing air to flow through as freely as possible while actually keeping the air clean. And if we want to say anyone else has had as much success with cold air intakes, well, we would just be lying.
K&N’s most famous product lines, cold air intakes and high flow air filters are known for producing throttle response. So naturally, the company has set out to conquer the next step: throttle control. But before we dive into the company’s hot new product, let’s have a little Throttle Control Module 101. This will help us better highlight how K&N models can provide improved performance and throttle response. (Besides a little refresher never hurt anybody.)
Throttle Control Recap, K&N’s Improvements
Traditionally, the throttle pedal and throttle bodies were connected by throttle cables. Slowly, over the past few decades, fly-by-wire systems have become more popular. And today, they dominate modern vehicles. A fly-by-wire system eliminates the throttle cable and uses sensors to work the throttle system. A throttle control module is responsible for opening the throttle body in relation to the position of the pedal and is the backbone of a fly-by-wire system.
K&N’s Throttle Control Module is designed to improve throttle response without modifying the factory ECU settings. It does so by increasing the amount the throttle opens up in relevance to the pedal position. This means that the driver has to push the throttle less in order to open the throttle up. Additionally, throttle response is greatly increased as there is less of a delay.
“The system processes input data from the gas pedal, and modifies the signal before sending it to the ECU for an adjustable level of sensitivity—creating an increase in throttle responsiveness that will make your car feel like a whole new machine,” says K&N.
You can obviously see how a racer or speed nut would benefit from this feature, but you may be questioning where someone else might realistically want to take advantage of this feature.
Instant power is everything and, in some cases, it can be downright life-saving. Let’s take a towing scenario for example. With a heavy load attached to a truck, obviously the truck will be weighed down. In fact, low throttle can be downright useless. When trying to move a rig out of the way or getting up to speed, having the engine jump to those high RPM’s faster can make a huge difference.
Off-roading is an elegant dance—at any moment you can be hung up on an obstacle holding the breaks between maneuvers as you plan your next step. Any delay between the tires locking up and spinning forward can set you back or land you in a sticky situation. By being able to more quickly bat the throttle wide open, you reduce the chances of something like that happening.
So, we’ve covered real-world application. But maybe you’re wondering how something that doesn’t increase power can help improve performance.
Well, if you took two identical engines—one with the K&N Throttle Control Module and the other with the stock unit—and you gradually eased the throttle to wide open, the engine equipped with the K&N unit will open faster, resulting in hitting higher RPMs faster. And though both engines are rated to make the same amount of power, the one equipped with the K&N Throttle Control Module will produce its max power sooner.
Great Bang for Your Buck
K&N Throttle Control Modules are on the market for a variety of applications, including late-model muscle cars, Jeeps, and trucks. And incredibly, they’ll only run you around $250—not a major investment for what it brings to the table. It’s a simple installation that can be done within a half hour and once it’s in place, the user can actually adjust the unit from within the cabin of their vehicle.
“The Throttle Control Module can typically be installed in less than 30 minutes with no software required, and is adjustable on-the-go—helping you fine-tune the sensitivity of your throttle response,” says the company. “The kit includes the module, wiring harness, adjustable knob, hardware, and detailed instructions—and is covered under K&N’s 90-Day Limited Warranty.”
This is the kind of product that really makes it possible for you to take better advantage of your vehicle’s capabilities. And since the entire system can be tuned on-the-fly, no matter the application you can dial throttle response to suit your desires.
Looks like K&N is about to check off another challenge—accepted and won.