Mods, Tuning and Other Fun Stuff!

Discussion in 'Challenger R/T Engine and Performance Modifcations' started by AZ MSCL, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. AZ MSCL

    AZ MSCL Member

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    I'm the original owner of my car (Inferno Red 2009 Challenger RT) and I've done a lot of things to it - a few that I regret. Performance mods include an 85mm throttle body, Moroso catch can, Aria CAI (same as the Legmaker LC Hammer Design), used SRT headers, Corsa catbacks (the original set), BC Racing coilovers, Diablosport Predator Tuner and a dynotune. In my opinion everything I listed is a necessary mod if you want to get the most out of your car (other than the coilovers - you do need some sort of good suspension system and the 2009 Challenger just didn't have it). Some will debate the 85mm TB vs the stock 80mm - meh, you're choice. Just don't go bigger than 85mm unless you're supercharging. The catch can is also debatable but EVERYONE I know who knows these cars recommends one.

    I went cheap and installed a set of used SRT headers for $150 but the Corso catbacks (installed were about $1,000. The exhaust manifolds on the 5.7 RT are HORRIBLE and the most restrictive - dump them. The used SRT headers bolted right up to the Corsa catbacks. If you're going to add a tune you need a CAI and a tuner - this is what leads to the BIGGEST bang for your buck - the dynotune! Buy a DS tuner and a decent CAI - NONE are better than the other in my opinion. A "canned" tune with a CAI is only going to give you a few extra HP, not much (maybe 5-10). Trust me. Spend $100 and get it DYNOTUNED! You need a CAI and a tuner for dynotunes otherwise you can't return the car to stock if you want (unless you take it back to the dynotuner. A tuner does A LOT of extra things that are invaluable! Buy one from Diablosport, it's the best for Chrysler products (and SRT). All this sounds complicated (it is somewhat) but I figured it out, so can you. The tuner can get you into trouble if you start monkeying around with things and you don't know what you're doing. But they can do some AWESOME things too - they are a must have item.

    So, with the headers, catbacks, CAI, tuner and dynotune I got 30 rwhp and 60 rwtq extra! That's a lot considering. That equates to about 415 hp and 450 ft/lbs tq. Forget all the crap that a CAI will give you 15-20 HP - they won't. A dynotune with the other items will do it. I will supercharge my car one of these days when I have about $10,000 laying around - that's the BIG increase. You can SAFELY push the 5.7 engine up to about 475 rwhp without modding the engine or forging it. That's around 550 engine hp! (I can't remember exact numbers at the moment).

    Suspension (because the car sat too high): This has been a nightmare for me. In hindsight, I wish I had just bought some used SRT springs and left it alone. Instead I bought a $2,000 Eibach kit that was really great - but the car was too low FOR ME. Every speed bump, curb, driveway, etc was a thump, crunch or a scrape if I wasn't really careful. So I bought some other springs that said would lift it - they made it even lower (there is no standard amongst spring manufacturers it seems). Then I bought some mid-priced coilovers that wore out after a couple years. The great thing about coilovers is you can make the car as high or low as you want (within the coilover's limits). Now I'm debating going back to standard suspension or buying some high end coilovers like Eibach. If you're going to spend money on mods - don't go cheap! Great coilovers are Eibach and KW (I think KW makes the ones for Mopar).

    Bling: Everyone wants their car to look nice but this stuff can get costly. It's your money and car - do what you like, just know bling doesn't make the car go faster. I put some nice chrome covers under the hood (radiator cap, oil cap, fuse box cover, etc). I added a chrome T-shifter and the metal pedals. I removed all stripes and added some nice hockey stick "HEMI" decals that really look nice. Then I quit - all future money goes for performance mods - it must make it stronger or faster.

    Put good tires on your car - DO NOT skimp on tires! Nitto's are great but they're also expensive and soft. Plan on changing them out more often than other tires. I currently have Continental DWS Extreme Contact's on mine and that's all I will buy in the future most likely. 245/45-20 front, 275/45-20 rear. Boss chrome wheels.

    Gotta run, hope someone finds this of interest.
     
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  2. chithead

    chithead Full Access Member

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    Great information! Thank you for posting your experiences with the Challenger. Will be beneficial to a lot of other owners for sure.

    The suspension info is most helpful for my goals. Debated on the SRT springs with better shocks and roll bars, may just go that route now after what you said. Don't want it too low, but another inch at most should be alright.
     
  3. AZ MSCL

    AZ MSCL Member

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    Also to note: My Dodge dealer said it was fine to replace the crappy RT exhaust manifolds with the SRT headers (exhaust manifolds) - wouldn't affect my warranty. Get RID of them - they are the worst thing Dodge did to the RT 5.7 cars. Everything I did bolted on smoothly - no unusual mods or bends were required. Additionally, with the dynotune my car will pass emissions with no problem, HOWEVER, that WILL affect your warranty - don't do it until your warranty expires or you simply don't care. The way around the warranty issue is to return the car back to stock with the tuner before taking it to the dealer and reinstalling the tune when you leave. It takes about 5 minutes each way or less and it's easy once you get the hang of it (yes, I was terrified the first few times, everyone is). Some dealers are funny about tunes and tuners - others are not. Ask yours. Regardless, I'd remove and reinstall the tune if it has to go in - better safe than sorry. Bottom line again: Dodge often updates or flashes your PCM when you take your car in, particularly while under warranty. You don't want a tune installed if they do that.

    I'm looking at new coilovers now, likely the Eibach Pro-Street S ($1480) or Multi-Pro R1 ($2300) plus installation $$$. Note on installation: Not all shops know how to correctly install coilovers - find a reputable shop. I learned the hardway. Still haven't decided which way I'm going yet on suspension but likely coilovers.
     
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  4. IntimidatorRT

    IntimidatorRT Well-Known Member

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    my 2009 RT has SRT shocks and springs. love the look, not too low and likes the curves very well, may be a little rougher than the Rt shocks but you got to have a trade off somewhere. but either way, I do like the looks and the ride.
     
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  5. JLFast

    JLFast New Member

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    Nice list of mods, thanks for sharing. Im going to see about a pair of SRT manifolds for my 5.7.
     
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  6. chithead

    chithead Full Access Member

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    Welcome to the Forum!

    Those SRT exhaust manifolds are a great upgrade for sure! I think you will also need the midpipes with those too because of the pipe size difference between SRT and RT - can anyone confirm?
     
  7. AZ MSCL

    AZ MSCL Member

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    Here's a couple pics, one is a comparison of the stock exhaust vs the Corsa catbacks (the stock stuff is BIG, on the right) the second is a comparison of the SRT (gold colored) vs stock RT exhaust manis. Yes, the stock SRT mids will work. Also, the SRT headers bolt right on to the 5.7 engine.

    SRT shorty's and mids.jpg

    CorsavsStock57autoexhaust.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017

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