Drive-By-Wire Solution For Your Classic Car

Lokar’s Modern DBW System For Late Model Engine Swaps

By Tommy Lee Byrd   –   Photography By Brian Brennan

Swapping a late model engine into an old car isn’t a new concept, but there have always been challenges along the way. When early hot rodders were installing overhead valve V8s between the ’rails of their 1932 Ford, there were plenty of hiccups that were eventually sorted out with custom-made and aftermarket components. Today, the technological obstacles can be much more complicated, but trusted companies in the automotive aftermarket bring new products to the marketplace to make engine swaps and customization much easier.

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02 Available from Lokar is the Clayton Machine Works Billet Drive By Wire electronic throttle control assembly
Available from Lokar is the Clayton Machine Works Billet Drive-By-Wire electronic throttle control assembly. Either pedal/drive-by-wire assembly are pre-programmed for specific OEM and aftermarket applications, including the popular factory crate engines.

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While Lokar is known for its famous shifters, the Tennessee-based company manufactures a wide variety of parts, including this Billet Drive-by-Wire Electronic Throttle Control Pedal Assembly, which is part of the Clayton Machine Works product line. This product offers an easy solution to a tricky issue when swapping a late-model engine into an old car.

03 Lokars Clayton Machine Works product line features this CDBW GM06G Drive By Wire Throttle Pedal Assembly
Lokar’s Clayton Machine Works’ product line features this CDBW-GM06G Drive-By-Wire Throttle Pedal Assembly. It features a billet aluminum pedal arm and stylish pedal pad. This one is designed to work with ’08-12 Cadillac CTS-V wiring, but there are other options available.

For old-school hot rodders, the idea of a throttle pedal and throttle blade communicating electronically can be intimidating. Fortunately, drive-by-wire technology has been in the mainstream for more than 20 years and has a great track record for safety and smooth throttle actuation. GM introduced drive-by-wire electronic throttle actuation back in the ’90s and it became standard on all LS-based car and truck engines by 2003. Ford and Mopar joined the drive-by-wire bandwagon as well, and now it has become commonplace in the new-car market.

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04 Along with the drive by wire throttle pedal assembly were installing a matching billet aluminum brake pedal assembly
Along with the drive-by-wire throttle pedal assembly, we’re installing a matching billet aluminum brake pedal assembly. Lokar’s Clayton Machine Works’ product line offers this system for automatic and manual transmissions. We went with the MCP-A1, which is the Gen1 Automatic pedal assembly.

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For quite a few years, gearheads would avoid the drive-by-wire system all together by switching intakes and throttle bodies to older designs. The fact of the matter is that several options are out there for quick-and-easy drive-by-wire pedal assemblies. Lokar and Clayton Machine Works went one step further by stylizing the pedal to give you more options aesthetically.

05 Hot Rods by Dean had already modified the transmission tunnel and firewall so our application isnt identical to an original 1965 Chevelle
Hot Rods by Dean had already modified the transmission tunnel and firewall, so our application isn’t identical to an original 1965 Chevelle. However, you can expect similar results on your stock or modified car.

We recently had the chance to use one of these drive-by-wire throttle pedal assemblies in our 1965 Chevelle project car, which is powered by a Gen V LT1 engine. We also upgraded to a new Muscle Car brake pedal assembly, which has a matching design. Our car is currently stripped down to the bare bones at Hot Rods by Dean, but you can easily install new pedals without a drastic amount of teardown or fabrication. Lokar’s Drive-By-Wire Throttle Pedal Assembly is a simple two-bolt install that works with many GM, Ford, and Mopar applications.

06 The electronic throttle control module features two threaded holes on the mounting surface
The electronic throttle control module features two threaded holes on the mounting surface. We mocked it up in the desired location and marked the firewall. Lokar suggests tracing around the bottom of the assembly, then measuring 31/32 inch from the bottom mark to accurately drill the bottom mounting hole.

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We’re happy to know there is an easy solution to adapt a late-model engine and get the factory-style throttle response that makes these high-tech engines deliver power in such a smooth and efficient manner. Lokar’s throttle pedal assembly ties into nearly any late-model engine wiring harness and uses an OE-style Williams Controls throttle position control sensor, so that throttle actuation is precise and reliable. LS swaps and LT swaps can have plenty of obstacles, but don’t let the drive-by-wire throttle system scare you. Follow along as we install Lokar’s Billet Drive-By-Wire Electronic Throttle Control Pedal Assembly in our Chevelle project car and you’ll see the easy install and great looks of the new pedals to operate our high-tech muscle car. MR

07 The two 3 8 inch bolts are 2 1 4 inches apart measured center to center
The two 3/8-inch bolts are 2-1/4 inches apart measured center to center. After the holes are drilled, you can attach the pedal assembly to the firewall. Lokar suggests using a bolt that is only 1/2-inch longer than the thickness of the firewall to keep it from bottoming out. A 3/4-inch-long bolt works in many cases.
08 The throttle pedal assembly uses an OE style Williams Controls throttle position control sensor
The throttle pedal assembly uses an OE-style Williams Controls throttle position control sensor and a simple wiring connector to snap into your ECM wiring. At this time, we also indexed the pedal arm, which features a splined bushing for a wide range of adjustability.
09 Installing the brake pedal assembly is quick and easy
Installing the brake pedal assembly is quick and easy. It mounts in the same configuration as the original and comes with the necessary hardware, nylon bearings, washers, and clevis hardware. If you’re running manual brakes, attach the clevis and pin in the top hole, and if you’re running power brakes use the bottom hole.
10 With the throttle pedal assembly and the brake pedal assembly mounted
With the throttle pedal assembly and the brake pedal assembly mounted, we can evaluate the spacing and mounting position. Everything looks great, so we can finish the install. Notice how the brake pedal retains the original-style brake light switch.
11 Since the floor pan and firewall still have areas of bare metal well remove the pedals and finish working and painting the areas
Since the floor pan and firewall still have areas of bare metal, we’ll remove the pedals and finish working and painting the areas. This will also allow us to protect the finish on the aluminum arm and pedal pad.
12 Lokars drive by wire throttle pedal assemblies come with multiple wiring options
Lokar’s drive-by-wire throttle pedal assemblies come with multiple wiring options. The easiest is the plug-and-play, which features an OE-style plug that snaps into the ECM wiring harness. Lokar also offers it with flying leads for custom applications. Lokar provides specific wiring instructions for custom installs.

Sources
Hot Rods by Dean
(623) 581-1932
hotrodsbydean.com

Lokar Performance Products
(877) 469-7440
lokar.com

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