Adding a Hand Throttle
Even though using an air conditioner condenser for on board air is faster than an electric compressor, it always seems to take too long. But that’s at an idle.
Now with an idle control, you could speed up the idle enough to set a bead. You might even be able to run an air tool or three. Different tools, but only one at a time.
I didn’t use the hand throttle kit from Rubicon Express, that would be too easy. Besides, where is the fun in getting everything all packaged together. You have to have some reason to go the hardware store, or in this case the bicycle shop You will want to pick up a shifter assembly for a bike. I got mine from Milhaupt’s in Appleton street. It is a single Suntour shifter and it was $6.95. Since the shifter did not come with an outer sheath, I picked up enough to enclose the cable that came with the shifter. About six feet. Add $4.00 for the sheathing and caps to keep the ends neat and tidy. You will also have to pick up a cable adjuster and a cable end cap. Add another dollar to the total. You will also need a couple of Zip ties. So we are up to $12.00 for the project. A cheap one. The fun part of this is explaining to the clerk that the shifter is for a Jeep.
Clerk: “What kind of bike is that.”
Me: “It’s not a bike. It’s a Jeep.”
Since I don’t have cruise control on my Jeep, I have an extra post on the throttle. I went to Kolosso Jeep on College Ave. to find the part that clips on to the throttle. After a little digging, we found it. Part No. 53078102-AB for a cost of $3.85. We’re getting up to $16.00. Still pretty cheap, and less than the kit. Which is a good thing. You don’t want to have to run around to find parts and spend more money.
OK, I have all the parts together, time to get some tools. You will need (at least for a TJ) a blade screwdriver, 8mm wrench, hacksaw, and a pair of wire cutters or tin snips.
On the Rockcrawler site, the installer routed the sheath through the firewall. I didn’t like the idea of stretching the cable that much, so I routed it down and underneath by the transmission and then up to the throttle body. For now, leave the cable out of the sheathing.
First thing, take off the driver side door. It saves a lot of time because you don’t have to go around it every time. I started by taking off the boot that covers the transmission shifter. I then fed the cable sheath through the second rubber cover down under the vehicle. Right now I just want to get the sheath lined up with the lever that I am installing. After getting the height right without getting in the way of the shift knob, I zip-tied the sheath to the shift lever down by the second rubber cover. Now comes the tricky part of the installation. You have to get a shim of some sort to build up the diameter of the shift lever so the bike shifter will stay in place. I ended up using a couple of pieces of air hose, surrounded by a piece of aluminum. The aluminum was used so the clamp doesn’t dig in to the plastic hose. I wanted to run the sheathing through the same hole as the shift lever. Because the bike shifter has the sheathing coming out at a bit off center, I had to cut a small hole in the boot.
Now to run the sheath up to the engine. I ran the sheath out to the passenger side of the vehicle and then up to the throttle body. Along the way I zip tied it to an electrical tie down by the starter. There is already a clip on the valve cover for the cruise cable, so I used that. Once I had a route planned, I had to see if the length would work out. Feed the cable through the bike shift lever and sheath. Hopefully it won’t be an inch short. (Story of my life.) Well, it wasn’t. Both the cable and the sheathing were about six inches too long. So I cut the sheathing with the hack saw and cleaned up the end so the cover would fit. I then installed the cable adjuster to the cruise control bracket and fit the sheathing into the bracket. If you have a TJ the rest is easy. Cut the spring off of the clip from Mopar and fit the clip to the throttle. Feed the cable through the hole in the clip. Now go inside and put the bike shift lever about where you would want it to end up when not in use. OK, go back to the engine (see why I take the door off) and cut the cable so that about ½ inch sticks out of the Mopar clip. Now crimp the end cap on the cable. All that is left to do is adjust the bike shift hand throttle lever to where you want the final position and adjust the cable adjuster on the cruise bracket so it will not raise the idle.
If you don’t have a TJ or you don’t have and extra connector, you will have to figure something else out. I have heard of people using ball (light switch) chain or creating a small loop of the cable and bolting that to the throttle.
Fire the engine up and test it out. Just remember, this is not a cruise control, it won’t shut off if you have to hit the brakes. You will just be fighting everything. And if you push in the clutch the engine will race without the force of pushing the vehicle. But you already knew that didn’t you?