Do Throttle Body Spacers Work?

February 22, 2012

Some car enthusiasts are skeptical about throttle body spacers, since they're not offered by car manufacturers. How well do they work in the real world?

Throttle Body Adjustment

Throttle body spacers are a pieces of metal used to change the airflow into the intake manifold. The spacer is bolted on the back of the throttle body, downstream of the main airflow. This is strictly an aftermarket enhancement used to increase the fuel economy, torque and horsepower. It basically directs the flow of air into the manifold to maximize the volume that goes into the intake. These can work well on many engines but not so well on other models. This can be a quick and inexpensive way to get better performance from an engine.

How it Helps
The throttle body regulates the air flow that goes into the engine. It is used in conjunction with a fuel injection system. A cable connects the accelerator to the throttle. When the accelerator is pressed, the throttle opens, allowing for more air into the intake system. The throttle body spacer permits more air than usual to go into the engine. Thus, the engine does not have to work as hard in order to get the correct amount of air into the combustion chamber.

One of the main benefits of a throttle body spacer is an increase in horsepower. Ultimately, the spacer increases the air velocity which causes an increase in atomization. Also, the spiral flow that results from a throttle body spacer offers much better combustion. If the vehicle has a carburetor, then the spacer improves the vacuum response which increases the performance. It also provides some extra height in the fuel to air mixture. This gradual flow into the intake ports increases the possible torque response. Because the throttle body spacer allows for more air, the engine does not have to work as hard.

Throttle Kit
Spacers will be found in many throttle kits. These kits make it possible to customize the throttle for your preferred riding conditions. They are very easy to install and contain other parts to increase vehicle performance. This is an inexpensive way to increase power and torque. With a throttle body spacer, it is possible to increase the torque by 25 ft lbs and add up to 18 more horsepower. Not all throttle body kits can be used for all engines. Ensure that you get a kit that will work for the make and model of your engine.

Type of Engine
These spacers mainly benefit older engines. In particular, those with fuel injection systems that have the fuel go directly into the throttle body, where it then mixes with air before going into the combustion chamber. It also can help with carburetor systems. However, if the vehicle has a multi-port fuel injection system or other top of the line system, then that small change in the air vortex will not make any difference to the performance, torque or horsepower. Therefore, before you go out and purchase a spacer, make sure your engine can actually benefit from having this upgrade.

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