Part 8: Electronic Hand Throttle
We recently came across a trick new product for Wrangler JKs that we just had to try out on Project 'Con Artist. The EHT-300 from Off Road Engineering is a neat little device that finally gives us a way to control the electronic throttle on our manual-transmission-equipped Wrangler.
The Wrangler JK utilizes a new electrical architecture known as CANbus, which links all of the component subsystem computers of the vehicle together to share information. Since CANbus utilizes drive-by-wire technology, the gas pedal is no longer directly linked to the engine, eliminating the ability to have a mechanical remote idle control. Add this to the fact that the JK has such a low idle speed and it can be problematic for some of our favorite aftermarket accessories, such as our Kilby compressor, which is much more efficient at 1,500 rpm than at 700 rpm.
Enter Off Road Engineering, LLC, which has been around since 1999 designing high-idle and throttle-control systems for Jeep TJs, as well as commercial applications, such as emergency vehicles, limos, buses, tow trucks, and any other applications that have a need for a faster idle to power high-draw accessories.
For the JK, they offer the EHT-300, which is designed to interface with the drive-by-wire technology. It is a plug-and-play unit that plugs into the factory wiring harness with OEM-style connectors, and allows the driver to control the vehicle rpm via a control box. You can even power the EHT-300 up to a preset, user-adjustable rpm level by adding an optional dash switch.
We met with Robert Muertter, President of Off Road Engineering, LLC, at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, for this quick and easy install.
With the EHT-300 installed, we no longer have to wait between tires for the air compressor to refill the tank or for a buddy to sit in the driver seat to keep the revs up. Above and beyond helping the compressor to refill the tank faster, we have found the EHT-300 to be useful while crawling over obstacles in low range and giving the throttle an extra boost to prevent stalling, just like a traditional hand throttle would. Setting a higher throttle also aides in winching by allowing the alternator to supply sufficient current during the winching operation. We imagine welding operations would also benefit in the same way, preventing battery drainage. The EHT-300 is also compatible with automatic-transmission-equipped JKs.