Auto Service World
Feature   July 1, 2002   by CARS Magazine

2004 Ford Explorer to feature drive-by-wire, better fuel efficiency

No mechanical linkage will connect the accelerator pedal on a 2004 Ford Explorer to the engine's throttle. But when the driver steps on the pedal, the Explorer's engine will instantly respond as an el...


No mechanical linkage will connect the accelerator pedal on a 2004 Ford Explorer to the engine’s throttle. But when the driver steps on the pedal, the Explorer’s engine will instantly respond as an electronic “drive-by-wire” system provides power on demand.

Electronic throttle control (ETC) is one of several new technologies Ford will introduce next year as standard equipment on the 2004 Explorer to help increase its fuel economy by about 5 percent while also reducing emissions. Both engines available on the ’04 Ford Explorer, the 4.0-liter V-6 and the 4.6-liter V-8, will feature “drive-by-wire”- one of the first applications in the auto industry of a torque-based, “intelligent” ETC with a gasoline engine. Advanced engine computing power is the key to optimizing the operation of this technology – a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and Electric Controller Area Network (CAN) will work together to seamlessly provide power on demand to the driver for more responsive “tip-in.”

A number of other technologies to be introduced on the ’04 Explorer also help improve its fuel economy by reducing friction and parasitic energy loss. These technologies include coated pistons, an upgraded torque converter, electronic returnless fuel system, low rolling resistance tires, synthetic rear axle lube and an advanced exhaust gas return (EGR) system.

The ’04 Explorer equipped with 4.6-liter V-8 engine will meet the U.S. federal government’s new standard for Low Emission Vehicles (LEV II). Additional enhancements to the vehicle to meet this standard include: a new electronic vapor management system, and upgrades to the engine air intakes and catalyst system.


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