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There are so many performance upgrades for the 5.7L HEMI from simple to extreme engine rebuilding, but many of us that use our 5.7L Challenger as daily drivers have no intentions of upgrading requiring going inside the engine and are more interested in the power than can be gotten from bolt on upgrades. Hopefully this thread can be an information sharing of the various bolt on upgrades that actually work on the 5.7 and improve performance. This is not about measuring horsepower on a Dyno but by the seat of the pants and tests like 0 ~ 60 run times to see if an upgrade added power or not.

Many members very first threads at the ForumZ are asking what they should or shouldn't do to add power to their 5.7, so hopefully they can get help from this thread. Anyone seeking this type of advice needs to first face the fact of how new their Challenger is and how much warranty coverage they have left, as some bolt on upgrades like an unlocked engine control module to run a tune, which is required for the years 2015 up, will void your warranty. An engine tune is a good performance increase but not at the cost of your Challenger warranty, IMO.

It will seriously help in this thread for any input or questions if you will post first of all your Challenger Year, and R/T Trim Level, so we know exactly what you have. For myself I own a 2015 Challenger R/T Plus, 5.7L HEMI with an 8 speed automatic transmission, which came stock with a 3.07 open differential, 20" x 8" rims all around and 245/45/R20 tires. All of my upgrades are posted in my sig which can be seen by all, if the proper box is checked in your profile, I will be glad to answer any questions regarding anything in the list.

Bolt on upgrades are all upgrades that do not require going inside the engine itself, but just because you may be considering doing this type of upgrading do not think you'll be getting out cheap, you can go cheap but you can forget performance increases. If you go too cheap you may actually hurt the power you already have, in that situation you are better off not upgrading at all.

Here is the Facts of Challenger life, regarding a vehicle that weighs on the average 4,200lbs, the more you increase the engine power level, the less ability you have getting that power to the ground, WHY? Simply because Dodge only in recent years began putting tires on the Challenger that were not a joke in getting off the line traction. Unfortunately to run larger rear tires you have to have wider rear rims to run wider tires, which is the dilemma, do I go wider rims all around which is usually limited by what you can run on the front, or a staggered rim setup?

Also in most 5.7L automatics they came with an open differential, and used electronic traction control which uses the ABS braking system to simulate traction, by applying brake pressure to the wheel beginning to slip, allowing it to grab traction. From a totally logical point of view why would anyone wanting to go forward as fast as possible be applying rear brakes. At 100% stock the factory electronic traction control works great, giving you the illusion, you have a really bad ride, but it is only after you increase engine performance that you begin to discover it ain't so. Especially testing wise when you discover your increased performance is resulting in worse 0 ~ 60 times every time you run, scratching your head, what the heck is going on?

Once you discover traction control no longer delivers, and only the passenger rear tire is laying down rubber, how embarrassing. The manual transmission owners do not have this problem because Dodge from the factory put limited slip differentials in them. But too bad for the R/T 5.7L automatic transmission owners, B Mason in his 5.7L upgrade YouTube said it was best to upgrade the 5.7 from the rear forward and I agree.

Another rear end traction problem is negative camber which all Challengers have thanks to Dodge which is supposed to improve cornering, but some Challengers have more rear negative camber than others, and it is even worse on a Challenger that has been lowered. Too much negative camber wears out the inside of the rear tires, and in a burnout only lays a part of the tire width of rubber. Negative camber can be either partially corrected to suitable alignment specs, by replacing the stock bushings with SPC corrective bushings, or fully correcting with new adjustable upper control arms for both sides, the expensive option.

Bolt on upgrades don't seem too bad when you first begin but over time you will reach a point of monetary shock at the total spent, so if you don't want that shock, research and plan to see what it will cost you when your last bolt on is completed. Keeping in mind that if you decide to trade in your car to a dealer, #1 some won't even take an upgraded car, #2 they will use it as an excuse to pay you less, #3 you will only get market value and loose what you've invested. Insurance wise in a totaled accident situation they will only cover you to the book value of your year and model, unless you have a company that allows over insured for upgrade value coverage. The reason I'm bringing all this up first is so you can consider everything before you actually do anything.

Now FYI, there are a massive amount of various bolt on performance upgrades available for the 5.7L Challenger, but all those upgrades do not always work well together with other brands, you may very well still end up learning something the hard way, and sometimes that is a hard pill to swallow. Especially when you discover you just spent $1,500 dollars on an upgrade that has actually hurt your performance. More to come! Ry
 

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I’ve followed your threads and many like it with interest. It definitely seems like the usual methods that worked great in the old days of low performance factory smog motors don’t really work today. Well...don’t work AS WELL and require much more $$ for the relatively small performance increase. Basically, these modern performance engines are pretty well “hot-rodded” from the factory. Sure, there are some bits of gains to be had for investing a bunch of $$, but the “bang-for-the-buck” just isn’t there like it used to be. But again, that’s because these engines are pretty powerful from the start - which is a good thing.
Nevertheless, there are those that will still want to spend the $$ required to gain whatever power they can manage to get. To them I say, power to ya! (See what I did there?)
When I bought my car it already had a CAI and catback exhaust installed - not that I think they provided much of any performance gain, particularly without a tune, but they sound good.
I’ve been looking and thinking and researching all of the performance mods and I’ve about decided if I do anything I am only going to do one “bolt-on” mod. A whipple or Maggie supercharger with a relatively low boost (6-7 psi) and a conservative tune. Done. I’d leave stock throttle body, exhaust manifold, and cats. Still would expect 450 rwhp/520+ crank hp and that would put it somewhat north of a stock Scat Pack and make it a very fun car. (Luckily I have an M6 so I’ve already got a limited slip diff and I’ve got 295 rear tires that should help in the traction department).
I’m either gonna do that or nothing. Just my approach. Would it be some super “hot-rod” or race car? No, certainly not, but that’s not what I’m after.
Either that or I’ll just leave it alone and spend some money upgrading the stereo. I find that the longer I have the car, the more I just baby it everywhere and I find myself wondering if I would really end up appreciating the extra power.
But I’m still a hot-rodder at heart and enjoy reading about everyone’s experiences and adventures bumping up the performance of their cars.

Hot Rod On!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I’ve followed your threads and many like it with interest. It definitely seems like the usual methods that worked great in the old days of low performance factory smog motors don’t really work today. Well...don’t work AS WELL and require much more $$ for the relatively small performance increase. Basically, these modern performance engines are pretty well “hot-rodded” from the factory. Sure, there are some bits of gains to be had for investing a bunch of $$, but the “bang-for-the-buck” just isn’t there like it used to be. But again, that’s because these engines are pretty powerful from the start - which is a good thing.
Nevertheless, there are those that will still want to spend the $$ required to gain whatever power they can manage to get. To them I say, power to ya! (See what I did there?)
When I bought my car it already had a CAI and catback exhaust installed - not that I think they provided much of any performance gain, particularly without a tune, but they sound good.
I’ve been looking and thinking and researching all of the performance mods and I’ve about decided if I do anything I am only going to do one “bolt-on” mod. A whipple or Maggie supercharger with a relatively low boost (6-7 psi) and a conservative tune. Done. I’d leave stock throttle body, exhaust manifold, and cats. Still would expect 450 rwhp/520+ crank hp and that would put it somewhat north of a stock Scat Pack and make it a very fun car. (Luckily I have an M6 so I’ve already got a limited slip diff and I’ve got 295 rear tires that should help in the traction department).
I’m either gonna do that or nothing. Just my approach. Would it be some super “hot-rod” or race car? No, certainly not, but that’s not what I’m after.
Either that or I’ll just leave it alone and spend some money upgrading the stereo. I find that the longer I have the car, the more I just baby it everywhere and I find myself wondering if I would really end up appreciating the extra power.
But I’m still a hot-rodder at heart and enjoy reading about everyone’s experiences and adventures bumping up the performance of their cars.

Hot Rod On!
My 2015 R/T also had a cat back exhaust on it when I bought it, it was a FlowMaster American Thunder with 2 Super 40 mufflers and straight pipe out the rear using the original rectangular tips. My first upgrade was a downgrade and I did not realize it as many things on my Challenger going down modding road have been learned the hard way.

My first CAI was a Spectre, which I had actually trusted from a previous Spectre installation on my Chevy Silverado which had a 5.3 V8 in it, and I should have known it was going to be a problem because the air filter itself was half the size as the one on the Silverado and the 5.7 was a bigger engine displacement. I did not know the Spectre was a total failure until after running some 0 ~ 60s and getting worse times with it, the HEMI just could not breathe with that filter. It was the type with an aluminum tube and the metal air dam, after running some 0 ~ 60s I came back to inspect and put my hand on the aluminum tube and literally burnt my hand on it. Once I was aware the Spectre CAI was hurting my 0 ~ 60 time, as the best I could get in a perfect launch was 5.6 seconds. I began researching CAIs to see what would work if anything, and took a chance and bought the AFE Momentum GT, it's filter dwarfed the Spectre in size, and improved 0 ~ 60 to 6.3 seconds, so at least I knew I was going in the right direction.

I may have had better times back then but did not know my intake manifold bolts were loose and no where near torqued down to it's specifications, just torquing those down seriously improved throttle response and overall performance.

When you said, "I find that the longer I have the car, the more I just baby it everywhere and I find myself wondering if I would really end up appreciating the extra power. " I find myself babying mine more and more, but still love it's raw acceleration the modifications have delivered as going from a 5.6 second 0 ~ 60 time on a perfect situational day, to a 4.4 second time is a big difference.

But when you take into consideration that a brand new 100% stock 2019 5.7L R/T today has the ability to run a 0 ~ 60 in 4.9 seconds, which beats many of the muscle cars of my day that were the top contenders, that is pretty impressive. My best friend owned a 1968 SS 396 Camaro and it's best 0 ~ 60 time was 7.9 seconds, the fastest Camaro back then was the 1969 ZL-1 at 5.2 seconds. My dream car back then was a 1967 Corvette 427 with side pipes which had a 0 ~ 60 time of 4.7 seconds, so our cars today with no mods at all are definitely old school contenders! :)

Edit: I am getting the above 0 ~ 60 time information from here:
0-60 Times | Find 0 to 60 & Quarter Mile Times Car Specs
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Ryan, you already know my story, but here's my thread from last year for anyone who've joined the Z recently: 90 Days of Mods!
Yes I do John!

I would like to ask you if you noticed any difference with the new CAI?
 

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Yes I do John!

I would like to ask you if you noticed any difference with the new CAI?
The difference between my Legmaker and the aFe was negligible. As you know, aFe posts claims on their website of a 14 hp gain over the stock airbox. But those numbers were achieved on a professional dyno under controlled conditions. Real world gains are probably half that, and maybe only 2 to 3 hp gain over the Legmaker CAI. In other words, butt dyno only. I did notice a difference between the stock airbox and the Legmaker when I first installed it 5 years ago, but it was mostly by sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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Today I took my 2013 R/T in for dealership service. I had to uninstall my Hemifever custom tune and restore my stock tune because of the V51 recall to reprogram the PCM for emissions testing. What I noticed most was the lag, almost like a resistance, when de-accelerating (letting my foot off the gas) as I drove to the dealership service center. The lag was so pronounced I mentioned it to the service writer before remembering this was how my Challenger used to perform before I uploaded the custom tune last summer. Wow! what a difference. I can't wait to reload my custom tune ASAP.

On the plus side, the stock tune produced a slightly deeper and a bit louder exhaust note from my aftermarket Corsa Xtreme. This wasn't something I noticed before today but while I love the new exhaust note, I will gladly swap it for the better driving performance of the Hemifever tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@HemiMetal

It's amazing how dialed back the stock tune actually is and you don't realize it until you roll it back.

From all my upgrades the Hemifever tune yielded the highest noticeable results.

The tune does wake it up for sure! :) Ry
 
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Do you have the leg maker that goes down into the fender? If so any pics down into the fender area please.
As @RyzRT said, I had the Hammer intake. But here's a stock photo for LegMaker's True CAI
View attachment 255834
Legmaker Fender Mount Carbon Fiber 4" Fender Mount Cold Air Intake for 5.7 & 6.1 LX & LC Vehicles.
Fits 2005 - Present LX & LC Vehicles
Just remembered there's lots of photos in LegMaker's posted Install Guide for the True CAI.
 

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This is a cool thread, I’ve done a few bolt-ons that have upped the fun factor of my car, although not in a way that increased power/performance they still are worthwhile if you’re looking to mod but are afraid/unwilling to do any serious mods or engine work.

I have a 2015 challenger rt shaker, top mod I’d recommend is a cat back exhaust. It won’t add performance but just having a sweet exhaust note while cruising makes it a ton of fun - I went with Solo Performance exhaust and absolutely no complaints, it’s great and no drone.

if you have a manual transmission and want a more notchy, solid shifter then definitely go with a Barton. Not too hard to install if you’re a DIY type of person. Takes a bit of getting used to (much easier to lazily shift with the stock setup) but it’s improved the driving experience for me. Also a skip shift eliminator for the manual trans is a fun cheap mod, can’t stand getting forced into 4th if I’m not heavy into the throttle.

I do plan on going all out on a build at some point, but having owned this car for 5 years even with these simple mods and stock power level I still have a blast - enjoy what you got!
 

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Today I took my 2013 R/T in for dealership service. I had to uninstall my Hemifever custom tune and restore my stock tune because of the V51 recall to reprogram the PCM for emissions testing. What I noticed most was the lag, almost like a resistance, when de-accelerating (letting my foot off the gas) as I drove to the dealership service center. The lag was so pronounced I mentioned it to the service writer before remembering this was how my Challenger used to perform before I uploaded the custom tune last summer. Wow! what a difference. I can't wait to reload my custom tune ASAP.

On the plus side, the stock tune produced a slightly deeper and a bit louder exhaust note from my aftermarket Corsa Xtreme. This wasn't something I noticed before today but while I love the new exhaust note, I will gladly swap it for the better driving performance of the Hemifever tune.
I won't be able to reload my stock tune. I am not getting the OBD block from HP tuners. I figured with a cam, VVT deleted, MDS deleted and long tube headers it would not even run on a stock tune. No trips to the dealer for me!
 

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I've had my car for 8 years and am approaching the point where I will be "done." I spent a lot of time researching the components I swapped out, and it has been well worth it. All the bits and pieces seem to work well together. Currently working on the final bits now and then I will head to the dyno. I still could add a PD SC later if I want, but I think that for $6-$7k I would rather buy another car and work on that one. Thankfully I have a '76 Porsche 911 in my garage that I am working on to satisfy my wrenching itch... It's my father-in-law's though, so when that's running I am not sure what I am going to do. I guess pull another car from his property and start working on IT. Maybe the Triumph TR6. Owning this challenger has been a great experience that has sparked a wrenching interest for me. I will probably always work on cars now as a hobby. And when stuff breaks on any of our cars.
 
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I've had my car for 8 years and am approaching the point where I will be "done." I spent a lot of time researching the components I swapped out, and it has been well worth it. All the bits and pieces seem to work well together. Currently working on the final bits now and then I will head to the dyno. I still could add a PD SC later if I want, but I think that for $6-$7k I would rather buy another car and work on that one. Thankfully I have a '76 Porsche 911 in my garage that I am working on to satisfy my wrenching itch... It's my father-in-law's though, so when that's running I am not sure what I am going to do. I guess pull another car from his property and start working on IT. Maybe the Triumph TR6. Owning this challenger has been a great experience that has sparked a wrenching interest for me. I will probably always work on cars now as a hobby. And when stuff breaks on any of our cars.
I've had mine a little over 2 1/2 years and for me not every mod has turned out beneficial, and ended up on a shelf of what not to do, which my dad would have called the I told you so shelf, but I have always been a learn the hard way guy. My dad used to say I could never leave well enough alone, and one day many years ago when I was installing a high rise intake manifold on my 350ci Chevy Scottsdale truck engine, I looked over to see him pull up, and thought, "He would show up today.". He asked me what I was doing, so I told him I was installing a higher performance intake, he said, "What makes you think you know more than the engineers that designed this engine?" "Well I don't dad, but the guys that designed this intake do!" "You just can't leave well enough alone can you.". I wish he was still alive today, I would love to take him for a ride in Black Beauty! :)
 

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Couple of points up through the 2014’s a LSD was available with 5.7. The 5.7 had undergone several changes from the first RT Chargers in 2006 to the current 2020 offering.
 

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Couple of points up through the 2014’s a LSD was available with 5.7. The 5.7 had undergone several changes from the first RT Chargers in 2006 to the current 2020 offering.
So was that a change that the 8 speed automatic brought to the table in 2015?
 
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