The best part about “Do It Yourself” projects are the money you save and the pride you get from them. Hand throttles are nothing new; plenty of people have installed them on their manual transmission vehicles to maintain an elevated throttle while using the clutch and brake. Basically as a third leg. Some people think they have no place in an automatic transmission vehicle, but I think differently. The Renix era Jeep Cherokees don’t come with any type of elevated idle setting for cold days, but a hand throttle could accomplish this for my Cherokee. Other uses for this type of installation could be either an elevated idle while winching, or maintaining a certain amount of throttle while cruising in low range on a trail. There are other reasons for a hand throttle, but these are the ones pertaining to my thought process.
The parts needed for my version are pretty minimal:
1.) Gear selector for a bicycle
2.) Bicycle cable and cable sleeve
3.) Old cruise control linkage and misc. parts from it
4.) 3/4″ length of 5/8″ rubber hose
To start, I removed the shifter handle by pulling it straight up until it gave free. With the handle out of the way, I removed the gear indicator plate out of the way simply by prying it upward until it came free. I then fed the cable sleeve through the center console to the driver side footwell.
For a clean install, I cut a small corner of the shifter dust cover to make room for the sleeve and fed it through. Once it was through, I slid the cover plate back down then re-secured it, leaving the sleeve sticking through until I installed the bicycle gear selector.
With everything secured again, I installed the bicycle gear selector. In order to mount it to the shifter, I had to use a short length of rubber hose to make up the difference in diameter between the bicycle gear selector mount and the shifter. Once the bicycle gear selector was installed, I ran the cable through the gear selector and cable sleeve and took up the slack once the sleeve was in the gear selector.
Now that everything inside the Jeep was done, I slid the hand throttle cable and sleeve into the engine bay through a hole, which was already in the firewall, for the speedometer cable.
From there, I decided to repurpose the cruise control cable bracket mount to secure the hand throttle cable. I cut the cruise control cable and removed the old cable and sleeve from the wedge mount. Once the old sleeve was removed, I used a drill to hog out the old sleeve, which was left in the mount, to make the new sleeve have more of a friction fit.
The last step was to cut the cable down to the proper size and mount the old cruise control cable detent back onto the new cable. From the end of the mount where the cable comes out, I left 6″ of cable. This amount allowed me to keep the gear selector in the middle position, which would be vertical for the way I mounted mine, and still be able to have the throttle body at wide open throttle when the gear selector is turned to the max position.
Once the cable was cut and the cruise control detent was back on, I put the new cable assembly into the factory cruise control bracket and attached the detent to the throttle body linkage and tested it for proper operation.