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Demon chillin’ the intercooler

by Patrick Rall on

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will be the first production road car — ever — to use the air conditioning system to cool the intercooler.

Dodge claimed that the system will lower intake air temperatures by a hefty 45°F, so even when racing on a hot day, the car will get the air density of a cool day.

Demon drag racing image

While the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s list of standard features unique to a production road car is already fairly long, the “liquid-to-air charge air cooler chiller system” is the most unique. Many people are familiar with line lock, the TransBrake, drag radial tires, and the other high performance features, but the Demon’s intercooler chilling system, which works with the interior air conditioner, is something speculators couldn’t have dreamed up.

The 2018 Dodge Demon intercooler is similar to other Hellcat cars, with a dedicated cooling loop using engine-bay airflow and engine coolant to reduce the temperature of the engine intake air. The problem is that on a hot day, air flowing through the grille and the intercooler doesn’t reduce temperatures as well. For example, on a 90-degree day, the hot outside air isn’t going to reduce intake air temps below 110 degrees or so.

In fact, while testing a Hellcat Charger last year, I noted that on an 88-degree day, the intake air temps when cruising down the highway sat right around 130 degrees while the intercooler temperatures stood around 110. That is taking 88 degree air and compressing it, which adds more heat, while that same 88 degree air works to remove the excessive heat from the intercooler.

The race-ready muscle car’s new liquid-to-air charge air cooler chiller system should have a hefty impact on performance, and work more consistently than relying on outside air.

The system works in cooperation with Drag Mode: when the system is activated, cold air is diverted from the interior to the supercharged Hemi’s cooling loop.

The end result is not just higher performance, especially on hot summer days, but also prevention of “heat soak” during the course of a day of racing.  It will run better on hot days, and on days with many races.

Dodge’s teaser video, “No Ice,” refers to a popular trick at the drag strip for supercharged car owners — packing ice on top of the intake plenum or the supercharger, to cool components. Demon owners won’t need to worry about ice, since the AC system will do the work of the ice without the melting mess.


Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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