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In today’s modern vehicles, throttle cables are obsolete with the widespread use of drive-by-wire throttle pedal assemblies. In the past, throttle cables played a big part in letting the driver become one with the vehicle. Cars started utilizing an accelerator cable in the late 1960s, while previously the throttle was controlled by a mechanical connection. Both designs helped in giving the driver that exhilarating feeling of being in total control. Unfortunately, that sensation cannot be replicated by modern technology, no matter how hard engineers try. If you possess or have previously owned a vehicle utilizing a throttle linkage, you will no doubt be conscious of the potential problems that it comes with. Concerns such as binding, and pivot failures are common, especially as horsepower and chassis twist increases. Upgrading to a cable-style throttle will solve these problems for your street or race car. Our universal throttle cable offerings fit most any application or engine type and mounting location. We offer mounting kits, return springs, and other accessories to compliment and help complete your universal throttle cable kit conversion/upgrade as well. A popular upgrade is a complete replacement throttle pedal with cable throttle to replace the mechanical linkage found in classic muscle cars. This will make finishing your project that much easier.

How Do I Know What Length My Throttle Cable Needs to Be?

Choosing the right throttle cable length is a crucial piece of information needed to have a proper connection to your throttle body or carburetor. Ordering the incorrect size could result in potential issues with routing and pedal feel.

If the throttle cable is too short, it could affect base idle speed of the engine, and reduce pedal travel along with decreased throttle response. Alternatively, a throttle cable that is too long will make the car feel underpowered and sluggish, regardless of how far the pedal is pushed. Determining routing and measuring for overall length is germane to a solid installation. Most cables are cut to fit, but you still must know your length requirements to order the correct overall length cable.

Getting the properly sized cable can be easily attained. When replacing a factory accelerator cable, often the worn out or broken one can be used as a reference. If that is not an option, measuring from your pedal assembly to the engine’s throttle linkage, or entering the car’s make and model in our configurator will help you find the correct parts to keep your project moving forward.

What Throttle Cable Ends Are Available, And Which One Should I Use?

Knowing which end is best suited for the job is essential for years of trouble-free service. Something as simple as having the wrong throttle cable end may end up leaving you stranded on the side of a highway or end up costing you the race. Here are the top three throttle cable ends and what applications are best suited for them:

Quick-release ends: Quick-release throttle cable ends are ideal for use in vehicles where constant removal of engine components is a factor. If disassembling the engine regularly, a quick-release throttle cable end will prove to be essential.

Ball joint style ends: These ends are very similar to suspension ball joints, just on a much smaller scale. They are meant to allow the cable plenty of “wiggle room” without giving up too much slack. Ball joint ends provide a higher working angle than mechanical linkage. They are mostly used on fuel injected engines when precision is required but have also been used in carbureted applications as retrofits.

Heim joint ends: Heim joints, be it open end or captured stud, are often used for mechanical throttle linkage kits, but aftermarket throttle cables with threaded ends can utilize these as well if you need something for a custom fabricated throttle setup.

What Are the Benefits of Running A Cable Vs Mechanical Rod Linkage?

Running a custom throttle cable is beneficial in that it provides the user with added flexibility over a traditional mechanical rod linkage. Once the flexible throttle cable came into existence, automobile manufacturers all but ceased using a mechanical rod linkage to save costs and help prevent future reliability issues.

Custom throttle cables offer a more convenient and less problematic way to connect the engine and throttle pedal, especially in engine swap situations where the stock linkage is no longer a viable solution. Running a universal throttle cable provides a multitude of options when it comes to routing. Unlike the mechanical rod linkage, a cable can be easily made to go around potential obstructions or even allow non-stock carburetor or throttle body mounting positioning. That the main reason why automakers quickly deemed rod linkages as obsolete technology.

What Cable Finishes Are Available and The Possible Benefits of Each?

Regardless of the build, throttle cables can become a visually appealing part or be kept subtle like a factory part. It is a small touch but coordinating your throttle cable to your engine bay color/style will certainly get noticed when the hood goes up on the show field. We offer a universal throttle cable kit in three distinct finishes and in a multitude of lengths and end fittings:

Black Vinyl: The black vinyl covered throttle cables are the most common. While a black vinyl finish may not look as stylish as a braided stainless-steel finish, it does serve a functional purpose. Having a protective vinyl outer coating will help guard the cable from potential abrasion damage with other components in the engine compartment. Furthermore, the finish will help maintain the stock appearance that some seek to keep their throttle cable conversion discreet.

Braided Stainless Steel: Braided stainless-steel lines have been forever immortalized in the automotive culture as a far superior upgrade to stock lines or hoses. They have become a common sight on most aftermarket builds for years, thanks in part to their strength. A throttle cable assembly that is finished in braided stainless steel will no doubt be more abrasion resistant while still offering a great bend radius and routing options, even in extreme conditions. On top of that, it does complement the look of the engine bay when used in conjunction with other stainless hoses/lines.

Cloth: A woven cotton cloth-covered throttle cable gives a builder the option to maintain a period-correct look for early hot rods. Underneath the clear coated cloth finish, the same quality construction can be found in our other throttle cables. We carry a great selection of cloth throttle cables from Lokar that come in varying lengths and are available in a total of 6 color variations. The Lokar throttle cable is a great little touch for a period-matching throttle cable to help bring a build together.

Updated by Mark Houlahan