If you’re willing to spend limitlessly to get the most powerful car available, there are just so many upgrades that make the perfect car. One that you might have heard of is individual throttle bodies. But what are these, and how do they make your vehicle more powerful?
Throttle bodies are unnecessarily expensive, and they don’t offer enough horsepower to justify the expense. Also, there are alternative and cheaper solutions that offer similar increases in horsepower, making individual throttle bodies unworthy.
In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about individual throttle bodies and why they’re important. Also, I’ll compare the potential upgrades that individual throttle bodies can make to your car to the price to see if they’re worth it.
What are Individual Throttle Bodies?
To fully understand what individual throttle bodies are and how they work, it’s important to first understand what single throttle bodies mean. Single throttle bodies are the more popular alternative that you’ll find on most cars today.
It works by regulating how much air goes into the vehicle’s engine, depending on the driver’s pressure on the gas pedal. The more air the throttle body allows into the engine, the more fuel is injected. This makes throttle bodies the major regulator of the fuel-air ratio in a vehicle.
While most people know all of this, most people don’t know that you’re not restricted to a single throttle body in your engine. You can get more performance from your engine by using individual throttle bodies for the cylinders in your engine.
In a single throttle body, only one air chamber is mounted to a single throttle body. Every cylinder in the engine feeds from air passing through this single plenum, which in turn, gets air from the individual throttle body.
Since the cylinders will have to rely on a single throttle body, there will always be a latency whenever they try to draw air from the throttle body at once. Since the throttle body can’t supply air to all components simultaneously, some will have to wait.
However, if the cylinders have individual throttle bodies to themselves, the latency will be nonexistent, eliminating the latency. Without this latency, the engine will be able to push more horsepower in less time, making the setup more powerful.
When every cylinder in an engine has individual throttle bodies, the throttle response improves. This improvement can be linked directly to the fact that any latency has been eliminated from the entire setup.
There are several components in a car that could use an individual throttle body to become more efficient. Also, individual throttle bodies are more powerful, but not necessarily efficient.
Disadvantages of Individual Throttle Bodies
With all the advantages of having a throttle valve, it’s still not a common setup in modern cars for two major reasons. Firstly, individual throttle bodies are unjustifiably expensive, as they only add minute horsepower compared to what a single throttle body offers.
Also, individual throttle bodies aren’t very efficient. Using them leads to poor fuel economy, which isn’t what anyone wants on a mainstream vehicle.
Until someone could come up with a solution to make individual throttle bodies a lot more efficient and cost-effective, people are more likely to stick with vehicles with single throttle bodies for the foreseeable future.
The major application of individual throttle bodies is in sports cars and high-performance vehicles. Since those need every bit of performance they can get without much regard for price, they’re the perfect candidate for a solution that isn’t very cost-effective.
If you’re buying a vehicle for your day-to-day cruise, however, individual throttle bodies are overkill. The speed and acceleration increase is only minuscule, and won’t even apply in real-world environments. Also, they’re so expensive that you’d rather stick to an alternative.
Do Individual Throttle Bodies Make More Power?
Before spending on a newer vehicle with individual throttle bodies, you may want to know if you can get more horsepower by making the switch. In most cases, you will, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Switching from a setup with a single throttle body to one with individual throttle bodies can make as little difference as 5 extra horsepower, and as much difference as up to 300. The gain you get depends on a variety of factors which I’ll explain in an instant.
To get an individual throttle body setup running at its full potential, you must ensure that your vehicle runs on an electronic control unit. If your car isn’t from the ‘80s, you should already have a standalone ECU that manages all activities from the engine.
Also, manufacturers can make extra tuning to a vehicle with individual throttle bodies to ensure that it uses as much energy as possible to get the maximum extra horsepower.
Unless you need the setup for a specific purpose, you probably shouldn’t worry about individual throttle bodies. The net gain in horsepower doesn’t equal the amount of money and effort that you put into it. Also, you can’t use that gain in real life, unless in extremely specific scenarios.
Are Individual Throttle Bodies Worth It?
If you deal with the anatomy of cars, you may notice that most vehicles still rely on the old but reliable single throttle body setup. Looking at this, you can already tell that individual throttle bodies are probably not worthwhile.
And as you may have rightly guessed, you probably shouldn’t sweat over getting individual throttle bodies for all the cylinders in your engine. Spending $5,000 to get some extra horsepower is very difficult to justify, especially when cheaper solutions exist.
If you don’t already know, engineering an individual throttle body will cost an additional $2,000 to $5,000, and the consumer (you) will likely be paying even more to access the finished product.
Unless you compete in car racing that requires you to get every bit of horsepower possible, individual throttle bodies are certainly an unneeded addition to your car. You can get similar horsepower gains by adding a turbo to your vehicle setup, and that costs way less.