What to Consider when Buying a New Throttle Body Spacer
With fuel prices going up, it's clear that fuel efficiency is the name of the game in the car industry. So how can you save on fuel without having to change to a hybrid or electrically-powered car? The answer lies within a 1-inch thick piece of metal known as the throttle body spacer. Here are a few things you have to remember when choosing the right throttle body spacer for your car.
Straight types vs. Vortex types
A throttle body spacer is an optional part of an air intake system. When installed, it changes the system's airflow by directing as much air to the air intake manifold. There are two types of throttle body spacers, which can be differentiated according to how it directs air into the manifold. The most commonly used spacers are those that direct air by straightening the airflow through the tubes of your intake system. Another type of spacers is the
vortex-wind throttle spacers. Although most studies suggest that the swirling direction made by vortex spacers provides better combustion, air should travel about a meter long before any significant effects can be felt. Unless you have a massive engine, it's best to install straight-type spacers. They're relatively cheaper than vortex types and more effective on a normal-sized engine.
Throttle-body injection systems vs. Multi-point fuel injection systems
As mentioned above, the throttle body spacer is an aftermarket add-on to your intake system. With that said, the type of spacer you will purchase has to fit the rest of your manifold. Throttle-body injection (TBI) systems are more likely to benefit from a spacer than a multi-point fuel injection (MFI) system. The smaller diameter of a TFI system benefits from the additional plenum volume provided by the spacer, which gives the fuel more opportunity to vaporize. So if your car has a stock MFI intake manifold and you wish to improve fuel efficiency, adding a throttle bed spacer might not give you the horsepower and increased mileage you expect.
Research your way to the right TBS
When you're in the market for a new throttle body spacer, research is key. The kind of spacers you need will largely depend on the car you own and its engine type. If you purchase a throttle body spacer that doesn't fit your vehicle's specs, it can be ineffective and excruciatingly noisy. Go through trusted message boards and focus on different real-world accounts from drivers with a similar make, model, and engine as your car; see which kinds or brands of TBS they prefer. You can also scout for detailed reviews of TBS brands on different online sites. It's best to be informed before making your purchase to ensure you get the right throttle body spacer the first time around.
How to Install a Throttle Body Spacer
You've already cleaned your air filter and double-checked your engine. Nothing seems to be wrong except for the fact that you still haven't increased your gas mileage and engine power. If you can't get the performance and fuel efficiency that you want from your car, why not install a throttle body spacer instead? Here's our step-by-step guide to installing a throttle body spacer in your car.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
Things you'll need:
- Throttle body spacer
- Socket set
- Socket wrench
- New gaskets
- Cleaning solution
Step 1: Open your car's hood to gain access to your engine's compartment and air intake system. Be sure to illuminate your workspace to give you more visibility as you work on your throttle body.
Step 2: Using an appropriately-sized socket wrench, detach the negative battery cable from the battery of your car. As a safety precaution, be sure to place your negative cable away from the battery so that it will not touch your car's battery while installing the throttle body spacer.
Step 3: Locate your air intake manifold, which should be connected to the opening of the throttle body. Once you've located the manifold, disconnect the air intake tube from the air filter and throttle body intake. You should also remove all vacuum lines and electrical cables attached to the tube.
Step 4: After removing the air intake tube, focus on the throttle body. Remove any bolts or accessories attached to the throttle body so that you can gain access to it. Unbolt the throttle body from the intake manifold and pull it away from the intake. Once removed, clean the surfaces of the assembly using clean rags and a cleaning solution.
Step 5: Insert the throttle body spacer on the opening of the intake manifold, placing two gaskets on each end of the spacer. Reinstall the throttle body to the manifold, connecting it to the other end of the spacer. Align the bolts in the throttle body, gaskets, spacers, and intake and screw them together.
Step 6: Reinstall any bolts or accessories removed in Step 4. Reattach the air intake tube, vacuum lines, electrical cables, and negative battery cable as well. Secure all parts in place.
Step 7: Once everything is bolted together and in place, you can now test your throttle body with your newly installed throttle body spacer.
What You Need to Know about the Throttle Body Spacer
- A throttle body spacer is basically a one-inch thick ring that is made of aluminum or nylon. The spacer is placed between the throttle body and the intake manifold, bolted on to the back or the outlet of the throttle body.
- A throttle body spacer changes the way air is directed into the intake manifold. This can maximize the volume of air that flows into the intake and the cylinders.
- Compared to other aftermarket enhancements and add-ons, throttle body spacers are less expensive. Installation is not too complicated and will not require a lot of work as long as it matches the engine specs.
- On average, car owners can expect around 5 to 25 horsepower gains or around 10 pounds of torque improvement. If the vehicle has other modifications, this will further boost the engine’s performance.
- The price of throttle body spacers can range from $60 to more than $300. These are sold per piece or as a kit, which includes the gasket, bolts, and washers.
The farther you press onto the gas pedal, the wider the throttle plate opens up to let more air get into the engine. When you release the pedal, the throttle body closes the butterfly valve and limits the flow of air. The throttle body, which sits between the air filter and the intake manifold, controls how much air goes into the combustion chambers, where spark ignition and mini explosions happen to produce power. This makes the throttle body a crucial component in controlling the speed of the vehicle.
One way you can rack up more horsepower and torque without stressing your engine or hurting fuel economy is by adding a throttle body spacer. This tiny metal ring can bring a little bit more excitement to your driving.
What is a throttle body spacer?
A throttle body spacer is basically a one-inch thick ring that is made of aluminum or nylon. The spacer is placed between the throttle body and the intake manifold, bolted on to the back or the outlet of the throttle body. The spacer can be smooth on the inside or may be designed with ridges. The spacer is an aftermarket add-on for the air intake system. This can work on many vehicles, but the performance gains offered by this mod will vary based on application, injection system, and type of engine.
What does a throttle body spacer do?
A throttle body spacer changes the way air is directed into the intake manifold and can maximize the volume of air that flows into the intake and the cylinders. Spacers with helical grooves or ridges can create a whirlwind or what manufacturers call a miniature hurricane or turbulence. The design is based on the idea that when air flowing into the chambers is spun, it will have higher velocity and mass.
The swirling air is also easier to mix with fuel in the combustion chambers. This leads to more efficient combustion due to a more consistent spark and hotter detonation. Not all spacers, however, are built with spiral cuts or grooves. Some of them are designed to offer an unobstructed path for a smoother, straighter airflow.
Ridged bore throttle body spacers can enhance throttle response, boost power, and improve fuel economy through denser, high-pressure air created by a wave or turbulence. Meanwhile, smooth bore throttle body spacers can increase the volume of the intake plenum, leading to better high-rpm power.
Whether it is the vortex type or the straight and smooth type, throttle body spacers can help bring in more air into the combustion chambers, which helps the engine generate more horsepower and torque without putting too much stress on it or spending too much energy. More efficient combustion also means that the engine will not be gobbling up more fuel than needed.
What kind of throttle body spacer benefits can you get from installing this mod?
Although the results may vary, you can get some horsepower boost, torque gains, enhanced throttle response, and improved mpg simply from installing a tiny metal ring into the intake system. Compared to other aftermarket enhancements and add-ons, throttle body spacers are much easier on the budget.
Installation is not too complicated and will not require a lot of work as long as it matches the engine specs. This makes the spacers a popular choice for novice car enthusiasts. These can be a good way to start shoring up your car’s performance, whether as a hobby or a pet project. The spacer you will install can be paired with other modifications and will make room for other improvements.
How much power gain can you expect when using a throttle body spacer?
On average, car owners can expect around 5 to 25 horsepower gains and around 10 pounds of torque improvement. If the vehicle has other modifications, this will further boost the engine’s performance. The power gains will be much higher or more significant. With the throttle body spacer alone, the results will be relatively smaller. To get the most improvement out of engine power and torque, pairing the throttle body spacer with the right kind or set of performance parts can do wonders.
Is a tune necessary when installing a throttle body spacer?
Normally, a tune is not required when installing a throttle body spacer. But if the spacer is installed with, say, a new throttle body or some modified components in the intake system, then tuning is highly advised. The throttle body spacer can be a part of a much bigger modification process or can be a requirement for upgrading the induction and throttle system. In this case, you will need to make some adjustments. Tuning will help make the modifications effective and efficient.
What are the downsides to using throttle body spacers?
Some spacers may create noise similar to that of a small turbo. This can be distracting or may be a nuisance for some. Before getting a spacer to install into the intake system, you have to check for clearance on the throttle body and see if this will not cause any interference with the system. There could be some issues with fitment when not matched properly with other mods or parts. There is also a possibility of a small leak.
Spacers might alter the rpm range of the engine. Some owners have noticed a drop in power at low or high rpm. Although they are built to help boost horsepower and torque, the effects could be hardly felt on some vehicles. The results will vary based on application, type of injection system, and engine displacement. Any improvement in fuel economy can be minimal or may be insignificant as well.
How much does a throttle body spacer cost?
The price of throttle body spacers can range from $60 to more than $300. This is sold per piece or as a kit, which includes the gasket, bolts, and washers. Before you buy one for your vehicle, make sure that it is the right match for the engine size and type, your vehicle’s requirements, and driving application. Also check if the spacer is 50-state legal or if it meets the requirements in your local state.