Test Drive – Pedal Commander Throttle Response Module – PC31

For the last week and a half, I’ve been trying out the Pedal Commander PC31, bluetooth enabled throttle response module.

The vehicle: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport (3.6L). 3.5″ lift, 35″ tires, 17″ wheels.

Setting up the situation:  My boss decided he wanted to try out the Pedal Commander 31 in his ’14 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, so he got one, but hadn’t installed it yet.  I had just bought a SuperChips Trail Dash 2 and was set to install that that same night, when he brought up the opportunity to try it out since he was going to be heading out of town with the family for a week, and then would be gone again for work, so his Jeep was going to be sitting.  Would I like to try it out?  I said sure, and that brings us up to the minute.

Info on the unit:  The Pedal Commander comes with 4 different default levels: Eco, City, Sport and Sport+.  From there, you can adjust, or tune, your pedal +/- 4 levels to find that sweet spot for your driving style and needs.

Eco: Used for fuel savings, smoother driving, better traction control in heavy weather conditions or for Off-Roading purposes.

City: Perfect for daily driving

Sport: “Spirited Driving”

Sport+: Great for racing at the track or performance driving

This also comes with a free app that you can download from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.  This is a great option for those of us that drive with our phones in a dash holder and want to be able to not have to try and get a good look at what’s going on with the unit.  Want to stow the module out of sight?  No problem, use the app.

Pedal Commander installed temporarily. Routed it behind the dash and layed it in the coin tray. Pardon the dust.

The black impediment that you see is my cruise control module. Made things difficult, but not impossible. But, you should have pretty good touch with your fingers.

The install: I would love to say that it was simple and I didn’t come out with any scrapes or scratches, but that would be a lie. To say that it’s “easy” to get to the plug at the top of the accelerator pedal would be an over-statement. A certain amount of manual dexterity is needed to squeeze into the very limited space behind the dash and above the accelerator. If you’ve got sausage fingers, I wish you luck.  Turns out, my cruise control module is directly in the way of front access.  So, under and behind the dash I went!

Once you have the the pedal unplugged, now you have to figure out how you want to route your cables. As this was going to be a temporary install, I decided to route the cable back behind the center dash around to the passenger side, then back out to the front.

The module cables gets plugged in between the pedal’s plug and the plug coming from the ECU. But you will have to deal with the infamous purple latch on the plug. I know. They couldn’t make it easy. But as long as you remember that, it should go “smoothly”.

Once you have it installed: The settings are pretty simple to figure out.

You have 4 different levels to start with (Eco, City, Sport and Sport+).  From there, you can further fine tune your throttle response, by going up or down in sensitivity.  I spent the vast majority of my time in the default “City” setting.  Only wandering a bit when we got snow and I tuned down the pedal to -2, while staying in City mode.

It worked very well.  The difference was very noticeable and I was no longer spinning my tires at green lights.  On dry ground, City was just fine for me after I got used to it.

There has been some discussion in a couple Jeep groups I’m a member of on Facebook about how much of a difference it can possibly make.  If you’re like me and have gotten used to how your Jeep responds, you might not even realize there is a delay.  You’ve compensated for it.  Or, at the very least, you’ve gotten used to it.

The discussion regarding the Pedal Commander generally centers around “leaving the light quickly.”  While this is a benefit to some, unless you’ve also tuned your engine to “Street Outlaws” levels, does that really matter?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  We’re driving Jeeps, not sedans.  But where it really shines is passing.  

Imagine, you’re heading for a long weekend, you’re stuck on a 2 lane highway and passing lanes are hard to come by.  You’re stuck behind some out-of-stater who doesn’t understand that you can actually drive the speed limit and maybe a little bit more.  So, you’re driving 62-67 in a 65 mph zone and you’re still an hour away from your destination.  The constant changing of speeds (isn’t cruise control standard on most models these days?) is getting on your nerves and you decide that you’re going to pass.  You start to build some momentum but once you get out into the passing lane, your throttle goes flat and you have to put your foot to the floor just to get past.  With Pedal Commander, there’s no reason for your foot to hit the floor.  The acceleration comes immediately.  

“This isn’t a speed thing, it’s a response thing” – Me in response to a Facebook commenter

I will say that a week and a half of commuter driving isn’t enough for me to fine-tune my driving habits to get the most out of the Pedal Commander.  I could easily see this being added in the future, but right now, the budget for the build is already set.  🙂

Conclusion:  The Pedal Commander throttle control unit is a very nice addition to a stock Jeep.  For a fairly low price point, your Jeep will be more responsive when you want/need it.  

Check it out here at Jeeps Are Life.