Performance Parts Explained – Dodge
When discussing different performance vehicles like the Dodge SRT Hellcat or SRT 392 vehicles, there’s a lot of mumbo jumbo that many seem to overlook. Even the manufacturer’s website completely ignores the lack of education the common consumer would have about Brembo six-piston brakes, or Bilstein shock absorbers. What is a cold air intake system? Instead of glossing over these performance terms, we’re explaining what some of the most common performance parts are and what they do to improve vehicle performance. Here’s the first part of our new series – Performance Parts Explained.
Performance Parts Found On and Around the Hood
Air Catcher Scoop – This modification is a raised component on a vehicle’s hood. Take the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon for instance. On the hood is a wide scoop that is designed to catch air as the vehicle drives. To increase the volume of air, many air catchers are vacuum operated. The Challenger SRT Demon sucks in a whopping 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute.
Cold Air Intake – As opposed to factory installed air intakes, cold air intake systems are bolted on, and moves the air intake to a position outside of the engine compartment so that cooler air is sucked into the engine during the combustion cycle. Designed for improved engine efficiency, the theory behind a cold air intake is that by forcing cooler air (cooler air is more dense than warmer air) into the engine, it receives more oxygen per volume unit and therefore a more efficient combustion in the chamber.
Headlight Air Catcher – Depending on the design of a headlight in an automobile, a passage may be opened up to allow more airflow into the engine. For instance, on the Dodge SRT Demon, the headlamps are powered by LEDs, which lead to a 2.6-inch passage that acts as another air intake that feeds air directly into the airbox behind the headlight.
Shaker Hood – A shaker hood, typically found on Dodge Challengers with powerful engines, is the name given to the scoop that sticks up through a cutout in the hood and funnels air straight into the V8 engine’s intake for better engine performance. It got its name since the hood remains still while the scoop moves within a cutout of the hood caused by the torque of the engine. The resulting effect is that the protruding scoop shakes when revving the engine.
Performance Parts Found in Performance Exhaust Systems
Cat-back Exhaust – As opposed to factory designed exhaust systems, where the manifold is made to collect exhaust gas from two or more engine cylinders into one pipe, the cat-back exhaust system is a free-flow steel exhaust system known as a “side exit” for less restrictive exhaust. They also replace the factory-standard muffler for less restriction and a louder engine sound.
Exhaust Headers/Dual Air Extractors – Exhaust headers are dual extractors similar to the cat-back exhaust. They are made from steel and designed to replace restrictive factory cast iron manifolds. Typically, an exhaust header is made of circular tubing and designed with bends and folds to encourage exhaust to flow out through the exhaust outlet. Furthermore, they are made of individual tubes, one for each cylinder, that then leads all of the exhaust into a collector; if designed well, once the exhaust enters the collector, a negative pressure wave goes back up the tube and pulls out any remaining exhaust from the cylinder.
Performance Parts that Make Up a Performance Powertrain
Anti-Sway Bar – To improve the handling of a vehicle, anti-sway bars bolt the chassis down into a central location across the front and rear axle lines, and connect each side to the front and rear suspension. The anti-sway bar then twists to provide torsional resistance and limit the possibility of a body roll.
Performance Springs – In every vehicle there is a system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers, and linkages to connect a vehicle to its wheels and allow motion between the two. The springs of a suspension absorb the impact, along with dampers (shock absorbers). Performance springs tend to reduce the ride height by an inch for a lower center of gravity, offering a sporty ride and better handling.
Shock Absorbers – A mechanical or hydraulic device found in the powertrain of automobiles, shock absorbers are designed to absorb and dampen the shock when traveling over rough terrain. This improves the quality of the ride and handling of the vehicle.
Strut Tower Braces – Attached to an automotive suspension, strut tower braces enhance structural rigidity, steering response, directional stability, and vehicle handling by reducing the suspension load each strut tower handles and chassis flex.
Performance Brakes with Rotors and Calipers – A rotor is the American name for a brake disc, made of cast iron and connected to the axle. When applying pressure to the brakes, brake pads, usually a high friction material, will be pressed against both sides of the rotor. This friction will cause the disc connected to the axle to slow and eventually stop.
Calipers are the assembly that house brake pads and pistons. Today, many calipers use hydraulics to operate the pistons within a cylinder and also multiply braking force. The term before “caliper” such as “six-piston” simply refers to the number of pistons a caliper houses, such as six-piston calipers found on the Dodge SRT Hellcat. A brake piston is a mechanism within the caliper that, when pressure is applied to the brake pedal, forces a car’s brake pads against the rotor. In performance vehicles, the design may use as much as twelve pistons for optimal stopping force.
A bit of a headache, but after reading all of this, you may have a better idea of what makes a Dodge Challenger so powerful. Next in our “Performance Parts Explained” series, we’ll be covering Jeep 4×4 systems. What is a transfer axle case? What’s so special about crawl ratio? Stay tuned.