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One of the most typical issues owners of the Dodge RAM truck tend to suffer is the ETC light flashing out of nowhere. When this happens, it means the electronic throttle control is damaged or malfunctioning – so it is time to repair.
But learning how to fix the electronic throttle control 5.7L Hemi engine is not an easy job.
There are various reasons the ETC may be failing. And there can be tons of different ways the problem manifests, so you’ll have to proceed accordingly.
You don’t have to worry, though. We know precisely how to tackle this issue and solve it (even by yourself).
Below, we talk about this in-depth so you can tackle the problem correctly. So take a look!
What is an Electronic Throttle Control?
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You shouldn’t go right into the how-to steps if you don’t know what an ETC is and what it does.
Here, you need to understand that the throttle body is an essential part of most engines nowadays.
If your truck has a 5.7L Hemi, it becomes even more critical as this engine requires maximum control.
The ETC’s whole job is to collect information from the accelerator (sensor in the pedal) and adjust the throttle accordingly.
When you press the pedal on the truck, the electronic throttle receives a signal from the sensor. The ETC uses this signal as a way to know how far to open the throttle.
For example, if you fully press the pedal for maximum acceleration, then ETC will open the throttle wide, so more air goes into the filter and then the engine.
When the air reaches the engine, it produces more pressure, accelerating, or going faster.
To make it simpler: an ETC job is to know how far you push the pedal so it can let enough air inside the engine accordingly.
Symptoms of a Bad Electronic Throttle Control on 5.7L Hemi
By now, you already have a general idea of what an ETC does. But how can you know if it is the electronic throttle control of the problem?
Well, there are actually a few ways to know that. Here are some of them:
Lighted ETC Danger
Your Dodge RAM has an ETC light that flashes when it is not working well. This is the most precise way to know that your truck needs some checking.
But this flashing may not happen 100% of the time. Or it may eventually occur too late (as it is usual).
So it’s always important to know the other ways to check this, as we explain below.
One of the main ways to know whether the ETC is malfunctioning is to check whether you’re getting the same amount of power from pushing the pedal.
If you feel a slight power reduction every time you push the pedal, there’s a high chance the ETC is malfunctioning.
This happens because the ETC does not calculate the amount of air to let into the engine well enough.
And in some cases, it occurs because the throttle body automatically reduces the amount of air that goes into the engine when it starts to wear off.
Similarly to a loss in engine power, you may also experience a problem when accelerating the truck. In some cases, you may not even be able to get out of an idle state.
This happens when the throttle system automatically limits the speed of air that goes into the engine.
To prevent any further damage, it keeps the engine working as slow as possible. And that means idle-level acceleration.
When this happens, you may still be able to get the truck going and receive some acceleration if you step on the pedal hard enough.
But it is also risky because it is a sign the throttle body is not working well and soon to just stop.
Apart from controlling how much air goes into the engine, the ETC also says how much gas goes in.
So when it starts to fail, you will not only experience a loss in acceleration and overall power but also in MPG efficiency.
When you sense the vehicle running over the gas tank faster than usual, that’s a sign the ETC is letting too much fuel into the engine. And that can be pretty costly if not fixed quickly.
Another reason this may happen is that ETC is not letting you accelerate too fast.
Sure enough, the engine will still consume a lot of gas – but at the same rate as if you were faster. So it will feel as if the truck is consuming too much gas.
Another typical symptom of a faulty ETC is when the idling doesn’t perform as usual. This is easy to perceive even as soon as you turn the engine on.
While the car may not have a problem starting, leaving it in idle either stop working out of nowhere or starts to feel almost like turning off by itself.
This symptom is a straightforward way to know that the ETC is soon to stop working, as it means the damage is high enough to affect the car performance without even accelerating.
Pedal or Engine Stoppage
When the ETC damage is nearly irreversible (most of the time), what you will experience will be clearer and near maximum danger.
In this case, you will not only experience acceleration, idling, and overall power issues – but the pedal may stop working altogether.
And that can be extremely dangerous in most situations.
At the same time, the engine may turn off out of nowhere. And in some cases, it starts to deaccelerate automatically even if you’re pushing the pedal.
In this case, you should always fix the electric throttle system before it is too late.
What Causes a Bad Electronic Throttle System?
Fixing the ETC without having an idea of why it is malfunctioning won’t be easy. That’s why you must always check for any of these common problems:
- The throttle body is filled with rust
- Air filter or vacuum are leaking
- A sensor or electrical connection is loose
- There’s severe physical damage on the throttle system
Some of these problems can be fixed. But others can’t (so you’ll have to replace the ETC and possibly other parts as well). Either way, below you’ll find how to fix accordingly.
How to Fix the Electronic Throttle Control of a 5.7L Hemi (DIY Method)
It’s time to truly learn how to fix electronic throttle control, Dodge Ram. After learning about the symptoms and causes, going over the solutions will be a lot easier.
But don’t worry if you have a different truck or engine. You may still find these tips worth trying. Just remember to follow our advice.
Without much further ado, here are the different methods you can fix an ETC:
01. Clean the Throttle Body
As we said before, rust is one of the most common causes of throttle bodies malfunctioning. The solution? Clean the rust thoroughly.
When the rust covers the throttle body, the valve won’t move properly, so the air won’t go into the engine as it should. This will obviously cause problems.
It is typically recommended to use a throttle-body cleaner or a rust remover spray.
02. Reconnect Everything
There’s no physical damage or rust to worry about in some cases – but a cable or sensor that’s loose. Sure enough, the solution is to reconnect and check whether the system works.
You can usually find the sensor(s) close to the throttle body. Checking whether everything is attached correctly and connected is necessary.
One way to do the whole job better is to disconnect the sensor and throttle body, clean them up, and reconnect. Be sure nothing is loose. This may fix the issue.
03. Change the Hose
If you checked the throttle body and sensors, but everything seems fine, you may also be looking at a hose pipe problem.
This pipe connects the engine computer to the throttle system. When it malfunctions, the throttling suffers.
First, checking whether it is appropriately attached can be enough (you may find it loosened). But in most cases, the hose is broken and leaking. So you’ll have to replace it.
This can be a little difficult if you’re a beginner. But it usually doesn’t take more than 10 to 20 minutes once you already have a replacement hose.
04. Reset the Throttle System
Finally, it may not even be a physical problem but an error in the computer system.
When this happens, the ETC may start to malfunction even when it seems like everything is connected correctly and in a pristine state.
What’s the solution in that case? Simple, resetting the whole throttle system and computer may fix the problem.
Why does it work? Because the problem may be related to code issues on the electronic system.
In short, the ETC incorrectly senses there’s an issue, and it starts to malfunction.
Here’s how to fix that:
- The gentle way is to turn the ignition key without starting the engine. After a few seconds, start pressing the pedal and keep your feet on it for 5 seconds. Then release and start pressing again for 20 more seconds. This should reset the ETC system.
- If the previous way doesn’t work, another thing you can do is to get the ETC and sensors out of the truck. Then disconnect the battery for a few minutes (at least 10 minutes). Then start the engine and see how it performs.
If none of these methods seems to fix the problem, then you will probably need to replace the throttle system by hand.
How to Replace the Throttle System
When the problems seem to not get fixed even when you’ve tried everything, nothing will be more effective than replacing the whole throttle assembly.
The replacement of this part is not something a beginner will find easy.
But it is not too hard either. So anyone with decent mechanic experience can get the job done in less than an hour.
Here are some steps to follow:
01. Find the Throttle Control
If you’re just starting out fixing truck stuff, you will have no idea where the throttle body is located.
Don’t worry, it looks like a pump and connects directly to the throttle sensors and air filter. You can find it on top of the engine or close to it.
In most trucks, it is covered in plastic or metal. So while the cables and pipes will come out of it, the piece looks like a small box.
02. Take the Throttle Cover Out
To proceed with the replacement, you need to use a screwdriver to unscrew it all. In some cases, you will need a wrench.
Either way, loosen the cover softly and take it off. This will discover the throttle body.
03. Unplug Everything
Then proceed to disconnect everything from it. This includes the hose pipe where the air filter connects and the wires from the sensors on the other side.
Then proceed to disconnect the rest of the body by getting the bolts out. You may need a wrench for this. Finish by removing the throttle body.
04. Install the New Body
With the space free for the new throttle body to get in, you shouldn’t have much problem setting it up.
If you got the right throttle body, this should take between 5 to 10 minutes to set up. Just follow the same process of removal but backward.
Then screw the bolts in, reconnect the hose pipe, wires, and put the cover back. Then you’ll be done.
If you need help to set up the throttle body, we recommend watching this excellent video:
05. Finish & Check
The rest of the throttle system is even easier to uninstall. Just unplug a few small screws, detach the cables, and replace them.
Once you’re done with that, you can check the engine. Turn the car on (it should start right away). Then check the idle and the acceleration.
If you experience no problem, then you’ve successfully replaced the throttle system.
Here is a video you can watch if you need more help:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Even though we already explained how to fix and replace the throttle body comprehensively, you may still want to know a few extra things.
Here are some questions you may have with their respective answers:
How much to fix electronic throttle control?
The throttle control body itself may not cost more than $200. A cheap model can be as little as $100 or even less.
If you repair the ETC yourself, then you won’t need to spend any money.
Taking it to a repair shop may cost you anywhere from $50 to $300 or more depending on the damage.
Should I take my Dodge RAM to a repair shop?
Did you try the different methods we showed before? If not, try them first. None of them worked? Then try replacing the ETC by hand.
If you’re unwilling to do that, then taking the vehicle to a repair shop is the way to go.
Be aware that most mechanics will cost you a lot more than doing the repair yourself. So consider that before making this decision.
So, did you learn how to fix the electronic throttle control 5.7L Hemi? We hope so. If not, then re-reading the article may help you out.
Either way, remember that fixing this problem doesn’t require a degree in mechanics. Even an inexperienced driver can get the job done in a few hours.
Try your skills and luck to see how it goes. The worst thing that can happen is breaking up an already damaged ETC. So there’s not much to regret.