A Guide to RC Colorado iDrive Throttle Controller
Utes are the workhorses of the automotive industry. They’re built to last, take everything that you can throw at them, and with a little maintenance, work as new. The engines are tuned for pulling power, able to get a fully-laden car to just about anywhere you point it. And they’re what you want in the bush, without having to spend enormous amounts on full-sized 4WDs.
Older cars that have seen a bit of love will be accessorised to the brim. A few simple additions can greatly improve off-roading capability and the best of all is they’re easy to find. The same goes for inexpensive accessories to improve usability and versatility when using the ute for work.
What has largely been missing though, is parts that tend to the performance side of things. And it’s precisely older utes that will see the most benefit. If you’ve got your hands on the first-gen Holden Colorado, know that it’s a simple aftermarket performance part in the shape of an RC Colorado iDrive throttle controller and can give your car a bit more push. This will make better use of power in both the diesel and two petrol variants.
What are Throttle Controllers?
They’re simple electronic devices that change how the ute’s ECU reads the signals sent to it by sensors lining the acceleration pedal and throttle body. In cars fitted with modern fly-by-wire acceleration (without the use of mechanical cables), the signal voltage is relayed to the ECU from the pedal transducer box. The ECU calculates the intensity of the signal and accordingly opens the throttle body to let the right amount of air in for combustion. The more voltage and the more the throttle body opens, the faster the car goes.
Issues arise with inbuilt factory delays that manufacturers cite for safety and regulations reasons. They’ll also quote ‘smoother’ acceleration to prevent the vehicle from jolting. The result is that with the pedal pressed, acceleration gradually comes on only after a few moments. This is throttle lag and something a Colorado throttle controller seeks to cut out. It does this by manipulating the voltage the ECU sees from the acceleration pedal.
Drivers can use a throttle controller to fine-tune the throttle response in the engine. This can be set for instant acceleration and something that will definitely benefit all engines in the RC Colorado. The ute builds up speed faster and feels more responsive. Alternately, the throttle controller can be used to actually increase throttle lag, such as when you want to avoid wheel spin in tougher terrain.
Why have a Throttle Controller in Your Colorado?
Better throttle response than what the Colorado comes with as stock certainly has its benefits. Acceleration in the 4-cylinder engines can be painfully slow (17 seconds to 100 km/h in ideal conditions) and the few seconds a throttle controller shaves off are a refreshing change. This is even more evident with any weight in the tub or tray. And while an RC Colorado iDrive throttle controller doesn’t magically conjure more horsepower, the sensation behind the wheel definitely feels that way.
With the throttle tuned to cut down inherent throttle lag, you basically get a new car. Overtaking is much easier and safer, both at lower speeds in typical urban settings, and when on the highway. The controller also helps the Colorado when towing. On steep inclines, and with the Holden Colorado throttle controller set for better throttle response, the ute and trailer combo can sustain safer speeds. There’s no hesitance or delay. In addition, the throttle can be tuned down from stock settings to prevent judder.
The lack of modern driving modes in the older Colorado means you’ll have a hard time in using less fuel. All throttle controllers are fitted with a selection of different modes, and choosing the Eco mode can save you some cash at the servo and add a few more kilometres in longer journeys. It’s also handy in heavy traffic.
And lastly, there’s the versatility the electronic throttle controller provides when off-road. Here the different throttle profiles can be useful for different situations. For instance, acceleration and power can be sustained when driving on looser surfaces such as sand. On the technical stuff littered with bigger rocks, the throttle control pairs well with low gearing in providing optimal control. There’s less wheel spin, and no risk of the ute digging into the ground.
Are There Any Downsides?
The only thing to note here is that once the pedal is halfway down the ECU can be reading full throttle input. This means that there won’t be much happening even if you flat-floor the pedal. By this time though the engine will be spinning happily, and the turbo in the diesel will already have kicked in.
Are Throttle Controllers Legal?
Controllers don’t add power so there’s no need for extra paperwork. And they’re perfectly safe too. They won’t impact other driving systems, like the ABS or Traction Control, and most variants have inbuilt cut-off when they sense a fault. Nor will they void warranties or insurance. The control units are easy to install, even easier to operate, and one of the cheapest and most versatile performance upgrades you can get for your Holden Colorado RC.