MoparMax covers all automotive things Mopar. A new issue of MoparMax.com is published on or around the 15th of each month and is updated throughout the month.
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Editor & Publisher
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Director: Casey Araiza
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Arizona Mopars on Display
Dodge Demon: Insane! 840 HP: Sandbagging?
Words by Richard Kratz
Photos courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Something wicked this way comes.
If you thought you felt an earthquake on April 11th, you were correct. What you felt was the world shaking when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the New York auto show. There are so many "First ever...", "World's only...", "Never before...", exclamations for this car that we hardly know where to start. The list is seriously long:
1. The 6.2L supercharged HEMI engine produces 840 horsepower 770 pound-feet of torque (assuming you opt for the $3,000 "Crate" option which includes an off-road only Powertrain Control Module that's lets you unleash the full potential of the engine), making it the most powerful muscle car ever.
2. Highest horsepower V8 engine ever produced.
3. First-ever front-wheel lift in a production car. This is certified by Guinness World Records.
4. World's fastest quarter-mile production car as certified by the NHRA with a 9.650 second, 140.09 MPH pass in Gainesville, Florida in November 2016.
5. World's fastest 0-60 production car at 2.3 seconds.
6. The only production car that goes 0-30 in one second flat.
7. Highest g-force acceleration of any production car ever: 1.8g
8. The Air-Grabber intake system includes the largest functional hood scoop of any production car: 45.2 sq. inches.
9. First-ever, factory-production car designed to run on 100+ octane unleaded fuel or 91 octane on demand.
10. First-ever, factory-production car with a TransBrake for quicker reaction times at the drag strip.
11. First-ever, factory-production drag car with Torque Reserve, to deliver increased levels of power and torque at launch.
12. First-ever, factory-production car with front passenger seat delete.
13. First-ever production car to come with drag radial tires.
14. First-ever factory-production car with innovative SRT Power Chiller liquid-to-air intercooler chiller system (uses the air conditioner to significantly after-cool the compressed intake air).
15. First factory-production car with After-Run Chiller that keeps cooling the supercharger/charge air cooler after the engine is shut off.
With either the as-delivered wide front tires or the optional 'crate' front skinnies, the Demon is the first production car capable of lifting the front wheels straight from the showroom floor.
That's 15 "First-ever's", "fastest's", and "Only's." And that's just the objective metrics, what can be measured. But the real impact of this car goes far beyond mere numbers. The car's looks, features and details equal the guts and sheer audacity shown by FCA to make this car in the first place.
The moniker, "Demon," was first used by Dodge in 1971 and 1972 for a trim level of the Dart. One factor in the short run of the original Demon was the name itself and its emblems--a friendly looking cartoonish horned devil and a pitchfork created a religion-toned backlash. One story on the car at the time criticized "...the unapologetic glorification and promotion of Satan and the dark forces he represents." We think maybe thanks to video games with dark themes, superhero movies that show that the hero and villain are often more similar than different, a more nuanced attitude to symbolism shown by Millennials, the Twilight vampire/werewolf books and movies, and other factors, the marketing of the modern Dodge Demon has used the 'dark' theme to great advantage. We've come a long way since 1972, who knows, maybe "deviled" eggs were the turning point.
The Demon is based on the 6.2L Hellcat engine, but is much more than just a Hellcat with the boost turned up. The red painted Demon engine has 'strengthened' rods and pistons according to FCA. We can only assume that means stronger forged rods and pistons than the Hellcat has. Details were not available when this went to press.
Upgraded valve train parts allow a higher redline on the Demon compared to the Hellcat, 6,500 RPM vs. 6,200. The Demon also has a larger supercharger than the Hellcat, 2.7L vs. 2.4L, and increased boost pressure at 14.5 PSI vs 11.6 PSI for the Hellcat. The fuel system has been upgraded with the Demon having two dual-stage pumps versus the Hellcat's one.
Demon engine bay. Note the functional Air-Grabber intake on the hood that seals to the air box.
We all know that the more air and fuel you can pump through an engine the more power you can make. Dodge put a lot of effort into getting more air into the Demon's engine, the car has no less than three sources of intake air. The functional 45.2 square inch Air-Grabber hood feeds into the air box as does the driver's side Air-Catcher headlamp. The third intake source is an inlet near the wheel liner. According to Dodge these sources provide a flow rate of 1,150 cubic feet of air per minute, 18% more than the Hellcat. Dodge also claims that this is the largest induction volume of air of any production car.
Heat is the enemy of horsepower, the cooler the intake air the denser it is and the more fuel that can be utilized per combustion cycle. Dodge says that the three source intake system reduces intake air temperature by more than 30 degrees (F) compared to the Hellcat. But that's not enough for Dodge, not for this car.
The "SRT Power Chiller" is another production car first. This system diverts air-conditioning refrigerant from the car's interior to a chiller unit mounted by the low-temperature circuit coolant pump. The coolant in the liquid-to-air supercharger aftercooler is first cooled by a separate radiator (heat exchanger) in the grill. After being cooled by the heat exchanger the supercharger coolant flows through the chiller unit, which for all intent and purpose "air conditions" the cooler to a much lower temperature than a standard liquid-to-air system could ever hope to achieve. If you've seen the fast turbo cars at the drag strip with the giant coolers filled with ice that the hot, compressed intake air flows through, this is the same concept. Only you don't need ice, the system is available as needed.
A pass down the drag strip at WOT generates a lot of heat. After a pass, you exit the track, get your time slip and go park in the pits. Once you shut off the engine all of that heat is trapped, leading to heat soak. A heat soaked engine will produce less power on your next pass down the track.
There's all kinds of devilish trickery going on inside this 6.2L HEMI.
This is where the Demon's After-Run Chiller (another production car first) comes in. When the engine is shut down, the After-Run Chiller keeps the engine cooling fan and the supercharger coolant pump and chiller running to assist rapid cooling between rounds. You can monitor the supercharger coolant temperature on the Uconnect touchscreen in the instrument panel so you'll know when you've achieved your target temperature. Pretty damn cool if you ask us.
Yet another production car first can be unleashed if you opt for the $3,000 Demon Crate. We'll talk more about the crate in a moment, but for now we're concerned with two items in that crate: a Direct Connection Performance Parts branded Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and a button. When swapped with the standard PCM, the Direct Connection part includes a calibration for taking advantage of 100+ octane unleaded racing fuel. The second Direct Connection part is a new switch bank to replace the standard one in front of the shifter. This new switch bank includes a button to activate the high octane fuel calibration.
What is not clear at this time is if the Demon has a feature to allow you to remove the pump gas you used to drive to the track so that you can replace it with the race fuel. Dodge does say that the car can run on a mix of pump and race fuel and by relying on the knock sensors will tell you if the mix is too low in octane to utilize the race calibration.
VOLUME XII, ISSUE 2 - MAY/JUNE, 2017
Beautiful and dangerous creatures come out to play when the sun sets.
The Demon comes with an upgraded version of the Torqueflite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic used in the Hellcat. The torque convert has a stall speed 11% higher than the Hellcat, a higher lockup speed and delivers an 18% increase in torque multiplication.
Another production car first is a transbrake. Drag racers are familiar with transbrakes, they lock the transmission (usually by engaging 1st and Reverse gears at the same time) so that once a driver is staged in the starting beams they can activate the transbrake via a button, release the foot brake, mash the accelerator pedal to the floor and when they see the amber light let go of the button and launch. The process is much faster, easier and more consistent then holding the foot brake and trying to manually achieve a desired launch RPM. In the Demon, instead of a button the driver uses the shifter paddles. On the Demon the launch RPM will be at 2,350 as controlled by the PCM and TCM.
An interesting addition to the transmission is a launch feature Dodge calls, "Torque Reserve." When using the transbrake once engine RPM passes 950 two things happen. The supercharger bypass valve closes allowing boost to build in the intake system. Secondly, the PCM makes adjustments to fuel flow and ignition timing to optimize the launch. Dodge claims that Torque Reserve lets 8 pounds of boost build in the intake and produces up to 120% more torque at launch.
The working seat at the Demon office. Note the lack of a passenger seat.
Of course, a transbrake and increased horsepower and torque at launch puts a lot more strain on the rest of the drivetrain. The Demon addresses that with an upgraded driveshaft. The high-strength steel shaft is 20% thicker and has heat treated stub shafts to achieve a claimed 15% increase in torque capacity over the Hellcat.
For the rearend, the differential housing is made from heat-treated A383 aluminum alloy and the gear set is made from a stronger material (not detailed by Dodge at this time), deeper case hardening and a two-step shot peening process to increase torque capacity by 30%.
The rear axle half-shafts are larger in diameter, use high-strength steel and have 41 splines (up from 38) to handle a 20% increase in torque.
OTHER DRAG STRIP FEATURES
We can tell you from personal experience that one of the harder to solve and frustrating problems with drag racing a car with independent rear suspension (IRS) is wheel hop (similar to tire shake). Most of the late model, modified HEMI cars we see at the track where drivers complain about "tire spin" are actually dealing with wheel hop. This occurs when the tires get good initial bite at the line but then after about 1/3 of a wheel rotation the tires lose traction and the tire and wheel begins to hop up and down. Wheel hop is very hard on the whole driveline and can result in all kinds of parts breakage.
The Demon has a Launch Assist mode, which is basically an advanced rear-wheel traction control mode. Most traction control modes are only dealing with tire spin, which is not the same as wheel hop. The Demon's Launch Assist mode is programmed to reduce engine torque when wheel hop is detected.
The Demon is the first production car to come from the factory with DOT drag radials. In this case, Nitto NT05R's in 315/40-18 size. This is a lot of tire, in drag tire terms these tires are about 12.5 inches wide. Nitto makes them specifically for the Demon (thus the Demon logo on the sidewall). The tires mount to lightweight 11x18 inch wheels. Since you don't need wide tires at both ends on the drag strip, you can swap the front wheels and tires for skinnies up front if you buy the optional Demon Crate. You'll get more passes this way since when the rear tires are used up you can swap the less used front ones to the back. Dodge uses a different rear knuckle in the Demon to reduce negative camber by 0.5 degrees, which keeps the tire laterally level and increases tire contact.
The Nitto drag radial tires are made specifically for the Demon. Note the logo on the sidewall.
The Demon has a line lock mode to lock the front brakes and make it easier and safer to do the burnout to heat the rear tires.
Suspension changes designed for drag racing the Demon include special Bilstein Adaptive Damping shocks tuned for drag racing. When the driver activates Drag Mode, the front Bilstein shocks are set for firm compression and soft rebound damping, while the rear shocks are set for firm compression and firm rebound damping. This configuration is maintained as long as the engine is at WOT. When the driver lifts the system switches to firm compression and firm rebound front and rear for improved handling.
Other changes to the suspension include softer springs, 35 percent lower rate front/28 percent lower rate rear compared to the Hellcat and softer, lighter, hollow sway bars, 75 percent lower rate front/44 percent lower rate rear, again compared to the Hellcat.
Losing weight is the same as making more power when it comes to drag racing, and Dodge did what it could considering that the Demon is based on the inherently heavy LX/LC platform. They eliminated 232 pounds:
For $1 each, buyers can add back the front passenger seat, rear seats and trunk carpeting. Other options include a 900-watt audio system, power sunroof, heated/ventilated front leather seats, heated steering wheel, Satin Black hood, or Satin Black hood, roof and trunk package.
The optional Demon Crate, a veritable Pandora's Box of go fast goodies. And everything is Demon branded. Everything.
Open the Demon Crate and put the foam trunk liner under the rear deck into the trunk. It neatly holds most of what you see in this photo, except for the PCM and interior parts.
Securely mounted front skinny wheels, Demon branded jack, air pump, tire pressure gauge, torque wrench and impact gun. Check.
We can't imagine anyone who is going to be paying the steep cost of entry to buy a Demon (price hasn't been announced yet but you know it's going to be much more expensive than a Hellcat) not paying the price to buy the option Demon Crate. The Demon Crate is literally a very handsome and well-made crate customized with the buyer's name and car's serial number and VIN. The Demon Crate includes:
Direct Connection Performance Parts:
Demon-branded track tools:
When the included foam trunk case is installed it offers a very cool and secure way to carry your front tires, jack, torque wrench, tire pressure gauge, etc., to the track with you.
NOW, ABOUT THAT 840 HP RATING...
Dodge makes a point to mention that the 840 HP rating is certified to the SAE J1349 industry standard. But it's important to note that the J1349 standard proves that the engine made AT A MINIMUM the claimed horsepower and torque output—it says nothing about making more horsepower than rated. It's well known in Mopar circles that the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, also certified to SAE J1349 standard, makes more than its rated 707 horsepower. People behind the scenes tell us that every single Hellcat sold made more than 707 horsepower, perhaps 25-30 more horsepower. Why would a car company underrate a car? Lots of reasons mostly relating to insurance cost (for both OEM and owner), marketing, reputation, etc.
In the case of the Demon, we have good reason to believe that 840 horsepower rating is a case of, well to be frank, sandbagging. And we happen to have a very good control car to compare the Demon to in the form of the MoparMax Maulin' Magnum race car.
Our race car is a 2007 Dodge Magnum with a supercharged engine and retains the factory IRS geometry. We keep extensive logs, both digital and paper, when we race. So we have the numbers for what our car can do. Dodge was kind enough to publish the time slip for their record setting 9.65@140 MPH pass. From that time slip and from the factory spec sheet, we can run some calculations.
Serialized air vent. Included in the Demon Crate.
This optional switch bank comes in the Demon Crate. If you don't buy this option, you don't get the PCM which unlocks the full power of the car. We expect every owner to pay for the crate. Once the PCM is installed, this switch bank allows you to activate the engine calibration that can use 100+ octane unleaded racing fuel.
The Demon is going to be full of logo's and "Easter Egg" touches. How many Demon logos will owners be able to find on their cars? While not a Demon, this silhouette in the windshield frit is a nice touch.
No rear seat for you. Demon comes standard with rear seat delete. Like the front passenger seat and trunk carpet you can add it back in for $1 (one dollar). If you're going to buy one of the 3,300 Demons to be made, spend the $3 to buy these options. Even if you just store them, having them will increase the resale one day.
This Demon logo'd four-point harness bar is not a Dodge option. Rather it will be available through Speedlogix. It is said to mount to existing, accessible points in the car so that no drilling or cutting is required. It will be interesting to see what other companies step up to the plate to pay FCA to license the Demon brand on aftermarket parts for the car.
BACK TO TOP
This is the official time slip of the Demon's record setting pass at Gainesville Raceway. A lot of information can be gleaned from a time slip.The Dodge time slip is time/date stamped 21 November 2016, 8:34 PM. Using Weather Underground's online historical weather database we know that on that date and at that time the temperature was 43 degrees (F), humidity was 65%, and barometric pressure was 30.16 in Gainesville. We know that the physical altitude of Gainesville Raceway is 138 feet according to AirDenistyOnline.com. Using our calculator we determined that the air density for the Demon's record pass was true mineshaft air at -760, 760 feet below sea level (man, we here in the Southwest would kill to ever get to see that kind of DA!).