Throttle Bodies

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Automotive Throttle Body
Automotive Throttle Body

A throttle body is a device that regulates the amount of air flow allowed into the engine. The throttle body is usually located between the air filter box and the intake manifold. It responds to the accelerator pedal using a throttle cable and linkages. In vehicles with electronic throttle control, the pedal has a sensor which sends a signal to the engine control unit. The engine control unit then controls an electric motor which moves the throttle linkages. The mass airflow sensor is also normally located on or near the throttle body.

The throttle body works by using a throttle plate which rotates on a shaft inside a bored housing. When the valve is rotated to the open position, air is allowed to flow. As the valve closes, air flow is limited which slows the engine and the vehicle. This throttle plate is a butterfly valve that sometimes has an airflow sensor located on it which communicates with the engine control unit. This allows the engine control unit to calculate the amount of air there is and match it with the correct amount of fuel. There may also be valves in the throttle body which can be used to allow minimal airflow when the vehicle is idling. One of these valves is called the idle air control valve and it is controlled by a small electric motor to control the amount of air which is allowed past the main throttle opening. This method of controlling air flow before it gets to the combustion chamber is one of the most effective ways to control the speed of a vehicle.

Most vehicles only contain 1 throttle body but some are known to have multiple. Vehicles that use multiple throttle bodies are normally very high performance. Each of the additional throttle bodies are linked together so that the valves are all operating at the same position. Some vehicles may implement individual throttle bodies which is when each cylinder in the engine has its own throttle body. Throttle bodies are usually made out of cast aluminum.

The throttle body has very similar functions as the carburetor. The functionality of the throttle body and fuel injectors together do the same thing that the carburetor does by itself. Fuel injection systems that have the injectors inside the throttle body are used a lot in older vehicles which are switching from a carburetor to fuel injection. This type of injection system is popular on older transitioning vehicles because it doesn’t require major modifications to the engines design.


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