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How do I Increase Throttle Response on a Chevy Silverado Electronic Throttle?

by Skip Shelton

The Chevrolet Silverado debuted as a truck line in 1999. Prior to that, the "Silverado" designation denoted the highest trim level available for Chevrolet trucks. All Silverado trucks have been manufactured with electronic engine controls. You can increase throttle response through some general maintenance measures. In addition, you can modify the truck's stock components for gains in throttle response time, including alterations to the power train control module (PCM). The addition of a cold-air intake kit and installation of a performance exhaust will also significantly increase the throttle response of your Chevrolet Silverado.

General Maintenance

Replace worn spark plugs, clogged fuel injectors and dirty air filters. Poor ignition and insufficient airflow will rob your Silverado of power and reduce throttle response.

Clean the mass air flow sensor, also known as the MAF. On the Chevrolet Silverado, the MAF will be located several inches from the air filter box between two screens. Remove the electrical plug, loosen the ring connectors and slide the screened section of air intake out from the air intake path. Spray the sensor thoroughly with MAF sensor cleaner. The sensor measures the amount of air coming into the engine. A dirty sensor provides an inaccurate measurement, which adversely affects performance.

Remove unnecessary weight from the cabin and bed of the truck. Additional weight requires additional power to move the vehicle. Reductions in weight will not increase the available power of your truck, but they will reduce the amount of power required to move the vehicle.

Performance Enhancements

Remove part or all of the Silverado's torque management. Torque management can delay or retard the fuel injection for up to several seconds when full throttle is engaged. It is also used to reduce the strain on drive train components associated with rapid power increases. The robust components on a Silverado truck allow a significant amount of torque management reductions. Connect a hand-held performance tuner to the ODB-II port and modify the torque management settings. Consult the performance tuner's instruction manual for exact steps.

Install a performance tune. Hand-held or professional installation of performance tunes are performed through the OBD-II reader. Throttle response time can be greatly reduced through alteration of fuel-trims, shift points, torque management and other optimizations. Most hand-held performance tuners have at least one performance program pre-loaded onto the device. For optimal results, professional tuning shops will customize your vehicle's program to accommodate any after-market additions and your particular driving habits.

Add a cold-air intake kit. Replace the stock air filter box and air intake tube with a cold-air intake kit. Best results will be achieved with kits that block heat transfer from the engine interior. Cold-air intake kits operate by allowing greater volumes of more dense cold air into the engine. Air warmed by the engine compartment is less dense than ambient air. Less dense air contains less oxygen in a given volume. Significant gains in throttle response are common with cold-air intake installations.

Install a performance exhaust. Manufacturer-installed mufflers are usually designed to balance costs with noise and performance. Performance exhaust systems let your engine remove more exhaust gases from the engine during operation, increasing the power output during the combustion process. Low RPM torque may be increased with pipe sizes 1/2-inch to 1-inch greater than stock sizes. Do not completely free your vehicle's exhaust throughput, as some back-pressure is required for low end power generation.

About the Author

Skip Shelton has been writing since 2001, having authored and co-authored numerous articles for "Disclose Journal." He holds a Bachelor in Science in education and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in management from Northwest Nazarene University. Shelton also operates a small automotive maintenance and part-replacement shop.

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