It seems as if more and more companies are getting involved in the throttle enhancing device field and Bully Dog is next with their latest hit product, Thruster. Since we’ve never covered one of these devices, some of you may not be familiar with what a throttle enhancing device actually does. The Bully Dog Thruster will make your car or truck, which is normally sluggish off the get-go, a lot faster out of the hole.
I’ll be honest, I’ve heard of these devices but I’ve never actually used one so I was skeptical. I talked with Jill Hepp, Marketing Director at Bully Dog, and she was certain we’d be happy with the unit. What are we going to put it on? Project TowBoat, our 2011 build we’ve been tinkering on over the last few years, is the candidate stepping up to the plate.
“Bully Dog is excited to introduce the Thruster Throttle Enhancement Device as a new member to our product pack,” Hepp said. “You feel the performance immediately and can control your throttle with the simple turn of the dial. It’s an easy way to give your vehicle the boost that it needs with or without a tuning device.”
This truck is equipped with compound turbos from BD Diesel Performance and Pusher Intakes which made for a serious upgrade over stock. The compound turbos are exactly what it needed to have more power down low for an easier and safer towing experience. Honestly, I don’t think it needed anything because of the way it performed, but I wanted to see the difference with one of these onboard.
Folding the flap back on the box and discover all the components you will need to complete this installation. It doesn’t get any more simple than this. Inside you will find a Thruster Control Box, Thruster Wiring Harness, On-The-Fly Control Knob, Cable Ties, Velcro Tabs, and an Adhesive Pad Set.
Among the components needed is an easy-to-read, color pamphlet with a step-by-step instruction sheet on how to put this on your car or truck. If you can read this, you can do this installation. The only tool you will need is a wrench or socket to loosen the positive side of your battery and disconnect it.
Out of the box, I noticed that every part included is made of a thick, plastic structure. I can tell that each of these parts isn’t going to fall apart and everything was delicately designed. I also like that they provide the zip ties to stow away the harness and velcro pads for mounting. I am not a huge fan of drilling holes in dashes and the provided velcro was a nice touch.
How Do You Do It?
Like I said earlier, this is as simple as it gets. To begin, you want to make sure that your kit comes with everything needed to install. Once you’ve verified that you’ve got everything, you’re ready to rock and roll. You’re looking at a maximum of thirty minutes to install this. The only way this could take any longer than that is if the throttle position sensor is tough to get to due to plastic.
So, you want to start by making the connection of the Thruster Control Box to the Thruster Wiring Harness. Once they are connected, you want to move into the engine bay area and loosen the positive battery cable and remove it safely. With the power off, you’re ready to continue. Do not forget to remove the battery cable killing the power because if you do and you complete the install, the factory computer will not learn the correct starting pedal position.
With the power off, you’re able to now move into the cabin where you need to locate the pedal position sensor. On most vehicles, this 2011 Ram included, the sensor resides just above the throttle pedal. What you need to do is remove this sensor leaving the plug exposed. Now, with it unplugged, you’ll want to replace the factory plug with the Thrusters plug forcing this box to be in-line between the pedal sensor and the OE harness.
Once you’ve got a connection made, you need to secure the harness. Using the supplied cable ties, tie the harness and the device up under the dash safely away from the accelerator and brake pedals. This device should not be loosely hanging or unsecured. Bully Dog also notes that you should not secure these to anything that will see extreme heat such as AC/Heater coolant lines.
Now that your device is connected, all that is left is making your connection to the module with the control knob. There is a four-pin connector on the Thruster main wiring harness and that is where the control knob will get power. As you can see, the control knob has adjustments from 0-25-50-75-100 percent intervals. You’ll want to make sure this control knob is easily accessible for throttle adjustments.
One quick thing I wanted to mention too is that if you find the desired setting you like, you can unplug the knob with the vehicle running and it will remember the desired setting. That is a neat feature making it easy for you to just get in and go without worry. Moving on, I got the battery reconnected and it was testing time.
How Did It Do?
I am pleased to announce that I am sold on Bully Dog’s Thruster. Wow. I had no idea that the truck even needed a boost like this. As I said, the compound turbos were exactly what we needed to make the perfect tow rig and I didn’t expect anything could make it better, but I was wrong. With the help of the Thruster, I’ve got way more throttle way sooner.
In park, I revved the 6.7-Liter Cummins engine and it seemed like it was revving up faster than normal, but I was worried that it was all in my head. After all, I haven’t used the truck today and I just started for this test drive. The revving continues and I’m almost certain that I’m getting more throttle sooner.
Using my Edge Products CTS3 monitor, I kept an eye on my APP sensor (Accelerator Pedal Position). I gave the truck enough throttle that the APP sensor read 10-percent throttle. As long as I maintain 10-percent throttle with the pedal, in theory, I should be able to turn the Thruster up and the RPMs should climb. This would ensure that it’s working and we’re getting more throttle at the same throttle percentage.
Sure enough, as I maintain the throttle position, the RPMs just climb. In fact, I could sit there and rev the truck up using the knob without using my foot which was kind of cool. I backed out of the driveway and hit the road. Instantaneously, and I mean that literally, I noticed a huge difference. It was like I was punching the throttle and I was easing on the throttle. This made the lag of the driving experience, lag I didn’t even know it had, disappear.
I can’t wait to hook to my race trailer and see how much better it pulls from a slow distance. On top of that, I’m looking forward to just passing traffic on the interstate with literally less effort from the throttle.
I’ll say it again, the Thruster is great. I like that it offers such a huge difference and you get that satisfaction of purchase, you know? It doesn’t void the warranty of the vehicle, it is available for all major manufacturers, it is an easy plug-and-play installation, and it’s backed with Bully Dog’s professional technical support if needed.
Even if you don’t think your car or truck needs a boost, I’m betting this would change your mind. It sure changed mine. For more information about the Thruster Throttle Enhancer, head on over to the Bully Dog website here. Let us know in the comments below what your thoughts are on the throttle enhancing deice craze.
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