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Performance & Troubleshooting: KISS Your Throttle

Let’s talk Performance & Troubleshooting

I remembered this tip from my days driving my grandfather’s-passed-down 1971 yellow/black, 2-dr Dodge Dart 318 V8 with “Rallye” wheels (somewhat rare). He bought it new off the lot here in Denver when the kid who ordered it custom couldn’t find the money to complete the purchase when it was delivered. When I got it in 1995 it had 77k miles. True story. Anyway…

throttle_850It would go like this: I heard from a hot rod friend about a guy with the most hot-rodded car. Problem was it would not perform well, and the owner would scratch his head. He’d think “I’ve got a Holley 4 barrel, a hood scoop bringing in fresh air, new fuel pump, big V8 engine in good tune but I’m not putting in good 1/4 mile times. Why?” The engine was just not making near the horsepower it should have, on paper. Then a buddy one day noticed the throttle would not open all the way when the gas pedal was down because of a simple slack cable condition, or sloppy throttle linkage.

So check that your pedal moves the throttle into wide-open range, with a friend. It’s easy to miss because you need two people to do it (or a brick on the accelerator pedal).

Caveat: 1998 and earlier Volvos only. 1999+ uses an electronic system (ETM) with no mechanical cable.

In automotive troubleshooting philosophy, I’m a big proponent of looking for the simplest, cheapest most obvious solutions first, then move out to the complex solutions. This is possibly the best example of that. KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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