Tech Tip: Challenger Exhaust Accessories to Maximize Performance

Recently we shared the news that AmericanMuscle is giving away a complete exhaust system for 2008-2019 Dodge Challengers. It’s easy to get caught up in how the system sounds and what materials it’s made from, but an exhaust system is more than some steel piping.  

Power & Performance reached out to the Challenger experts at AmericanMuscle and got a breakdown of accessories that can maximize the performance of your current system, or add to the system you select,  you know, after winning the giveaway, which can be entered daily until December 31.

“We kid, internally here at Turn5, that AM Challenger is ‘the Exhaust store’ because it is one of the most popular categories by a longshot,” AmericanMuscle said.  “By taking our learnings from the Mustang side, we are able to quickly implement for Challenger to make it quick and easy for our customers to make a purchasing decision and get the parts they want.”

Making modifications to the exhaust is not limited to replacing the entire system. Everything from gaskets to hangars, to mufflers and catalytic converters, make a difference in the performance of an exhaust. Accessories can be added to improve the flow and temperature of the entire system  to ensure your Challengers exhaust has the best quality sound and maximum power gains. 

Exhaust Maintenance

It has been 10 years since the third-gen Challenger made its debut. Ten years can amount to a significant amount of wear and tear on the exhaust regardless of the material it is made from. Over time the exhaust can hang just a bit lower than when it was first installed.

According to AM, this is an easy fix.

Once you have determined if the hangers are busted or rotted away, you can look into replacing the exhaust altogether as many systems use hangers that are welded to the body of the pipes, or use universal hangers.
Universal hangers are available and work to secure themselves to the body of the exhaust with fasteners and can hang from the factory hanger points.

AM says this repair is nearly effortless and will open up a few doors for the creative. Once you familiarize yourself with the factory exhaust and how it hangs, you’re one step closer to being able to rig up your very own custom exhaust system.

Challenger Mufflers

According to AM, the stock mufflers used on the Challenger are designed primarily to muffle the sound. This means that they are quite restrictive. If you don’t mind the factory exhaust system otherwise and just want to improve the airflow a bit and increase the sound quality, a simple installation of aftermarket mufflers can address this.

With an aftermarket muffler, the increased airflow means that the exhaust can escape the system at a faster rate which will help increase horsepower. For those of us who might not win the exhaust giveaway, making the switch to aftermarket mufflers is cheaper and easier than swapping the entire exhaust system.

Challenger Catalytic Converters

Like many other modern cars, the third generation Challenger’s factory exhaust is equipped with catalytic converters. The factory converters are restrictive regarding airflow and hinder the exhausts capabilities to help increase power.

When modding, if you add an axle-back or cat-back exhaust the factory converters will be left untouched. To maximize performance, consider “high-flow cats.”

Across the United States, catalytic converters must be present on a vehicle to remain emissions compliant in most areas. High-flow cats still use an emissions friendly catalyst which keeps them compliant with laws and regulations but allows more air to flow through, thus increasing horsepower.

Challenger Off-Road Exhaust

Given how restrictive cats and mufflers are, it only makes sense to remove both for even more performance, right? There are options, but this type of modification is illegal for street use and various kits will declare that they are intended for off-road use / track-use only. Unless the car is designed for track use only, it’s recommended this method be avoided.

That said, should you remove both and only use it off-road, exhaust pipes are crude, and if they are left in their natural form, they will be a serious eyesore sticking out from the rear of your Challenger.  Fear not, fitting exhaust tips to the pipes at the back will make the exhaust much more appealing and give it an OE look regardless of the make.

According to AM, exhaust tips can be purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes along with finishes which makes them perfect for those looking to add a personal touch that looks natural to the Challenger.

Heat Management

Exhaust systems get hot. Really hot. And despite a proper set of headers, heat can escape into the engine bay which can cause many issues as it robs the engine of power while it makes the cooling system work harder. 

To prevent this from occurring, consider header wrap.

According to AM, you will want to keep as much heat in the headers as possible. Wrapping the headers increases its ability to scavenge exhaust from the cylinders and keeps residual heat from the engine bay. Consequently, the cooler engine bay will also help keep the engine temp down and the power output up.

For more information, see AmericanMuscle. 

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About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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