DIY Driveway: iDrive installation

iDrive Install (1 Of 2)

Most modern four-wheel drives have a ‘drive-by-wire’ accelerator and throttle lag can be an issue with this type of setup. This means there’s no longer a cable connecting the accelerator pedal directly to the engine’s diesel pump or throttle body; instead there’s a potentiometer that works as a transducer, which reads throttle input and gives a specific voltage from the pedal to the ECU. This tells the ECU to ramp up fuel and so on, so you get an increase in revs. So far, so good, right?


Where this becomes an issue is as the voltage ramps up, it ramps up slowly. Unlike old cable setups there is no instant boot mashing your accelerator because vehicle manufacturers tune-in smooth throttle response to minimise strain on the vehicle. If you’d prefer to control the throttle with your right foot rather than have the four-wheel drive do the thinking for you, there is a solution: install an iDrive.

By adjusting the voltages and therefore the input to the ECU, the iDrive is able to return throttle control to the driver. It can also ramp down the voltages and input, so when you’re out wheeling on more technical tracks, or you’re teaching your offspring how to drive, you can have a lot more throttle control thanks to more gentle input from the pedal. We’ve all been there, driving across a bumpy, rutted track, and our foot bounces on the accelerator… next minute we’re bunny hopping down the road, with the kids thinking it’s a game and the wife holding on for dear life and trying to disassemble you with her eyes. In cases like this the iDrive can, and probably will, save your life!

iDrive Install (2 Of 2)
Installation of the iDrive is simple and it gives you total control over your drive-by-wire throttle.


The installation

Thankfully the installation is about as straight forward as it gets. On the top of your pedal you’ll find a plug where the wiring harness attaches. Bear in mind that the plugs of the transducer and harness are vehicle-specific, and in some cases model-specific, so you need to make sure the iDrive you have is the right one for your vehicle. Now it’s just a matter of plugging it into your harness on one side and plugging it into the top of the pedal on the other. If you don’t have double-jointed elbows and shoulders, you can remove the pedal assembly easily enough; my HiLux has two 10mm nuts holding it on. That said, even me being the small giant I am, I was able to do the install without needing to remove the pedal, so chances are, with a bit of arm twisting, you’ll be right, too.

Once it’s plugged in, it’s a matter of running the cabling to somewhere suitable and connecting up the four-pin connector between the adapter and the actual iDrive unit. Then you’ll want to clean a bit of space on your dash for the control unit (with a bit of Prepsol or wax-and-grease remover) and use the double-sided tape to affix it to the dash.

From there, read the instructions, and you’ll know how to get it working as it should. The only other thing you’ll really need to know is how to set it up for an auto or manual transmission. If you hold down the ‘Mode’ button for three seconds, it will allow you to change that setting, with ‘88’ for Automatic, and ‘00’ for Manual.

Other than that, you’re done. Enjoy the changes with your pedal mapping… and stop worrying about throttle lag!




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