It was a good sign when Ford brought back the Ranger in 2018. The Blue Oval pickup was sorely missed amidst the resurgence in popularity of midsize trucks, and quickly made a name for itself as an affordable gateway to the world of trucks. Ford fans like Jorge Castillo were definitely among those that wanted to see what the new Ranger was like, only to find that it had some quirks owing to its throttle-by-wire setup.
Thankfully, JMS came up with the cure for the throttle blues–the PedalMAX (PN PX1114F). This plug-in device restores the fun of driving a throttle-by-wire, turbocharged truck like the Ranger. It does this by enhancing sensitivity.
We recently got hold of a PedalMAX and set up a day to have Jorge come by and test it out. But first, we wanted to learn more about the device and what all it offered.
The PedalMAX arose from a need in newer cars with drive-by-wire systems. Rather than using mechanical parts to transmit a driver’s input, drive-by-wire systems use sensors and actuators to do the job. DBW systems are commonplace throughout the automotive industry nowadays, and the Ranger is no exception.
What’s lacking in the DBW system, however, is retaining the feel of instantaneous feedback. As it applies to throttle sensitivity, it’s a known issue that DBW systems lag when compared to their mechanical counterparts. Thankfully, JMS’s device addresses this issue head-on. The driver gets the old familiar feeling back, and has better control over the vehicle’s driving characteristics.
The PedalMAX is a non-intrusive device that installs inside the cabin, linking up between the pedal connector and the harness. As an in-line device, it’s easy to install and uninstall if needed.
Included in our kit was a sensitivity knob, which gives the driver full, on-the-fly control to adjust where he wants his throttle sensitivity to be at any given moment. It’s perfect for situations where the driver might want more sensitivity for, say, driving on the highway, or less sensitivity for driving off-road.
We took Jorge’s Ranger into the shop and got the hood open to remove the negative battery terminal. Next, we connected the PedalMAX to its included harness, making sure the pins were properly aligned before connecting.
From there, we went inside the cabin and got underneath the dashboard to get a look at the pedal harness. Our target was the pedal position sensor assembly and its wiring harness, the latter of which we detached. Here was where the in-line connection of the PedalMAX came into play. It connected between the wiring harness and sensor.
Afterwards, we used zip-ties to stow the PedalMAX in a secure, out-of-the-way location. That wrapped up the installation, aside from the adjustable knob. That we left to the owner’s discretion on where to install, but for ease of access, we coiled it up near the shifter.
PedalMAX Takes This Ranger To The Max
After we installed the PedalMAX, we asked Jorge to take the vehicle around for a few days and get his thoughts on it. He came back with heaps of praise for the PedalMAX and how it’s helped out the driving experience.
“My biggest takeaways are how adjustable and flexible it is,” he said. “I like that I can adjust it on the fly. If I need to make some quick passes, I can fine-tune it without having to mash the pedal. Also, it used to punt between first and third gear when accelerating. I noticed that problem went away with the PedalMAX.”
Jorge enjoys using the PedalMAX in various driving situations, which he elaborated on. “On my commutes, I have it around 25-percent,” he said. “On the freeway, I’ll move it up to 50 to 75-percent so I can make faster passes.”
Even off-road, Jorge feels that the PedalMAX plays an important role. “I’ve taken the truck to the desert and had a lot of fun,” he said. “I turned it up to get better response for desert prerunning, and on the technical sections, I turned it down for better control. The PedalMAX really helped me out.”
If you’re driving a late-model truck like the Ford Ranger, then the PedalMAX might just be your new best friend. Be sure to find out more on JMS’s website, and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, too.