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Long Term Hellcat: Dream Cruisin’, louder stock exhaust and a new headlight look

by Patrick Rall on

Since the last installation of my long-term review of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, I have been enjoying the daily driving excitement of a supercharged Hemi at every chance. This month, I had my first Woodward Dream Cruise with the Hellcat, I added a new modification that helps calm the chatter of the active exhaust system while also making the system louder all of the time and I added headlight rings, giving my blown Mopar a unique look up front.

Also, this month marked my Hellcat’s first birthday and it has been an incredible year with the car. Many people question our decision to get such a lavish vehicle, but it is a remarkable experience to daily drive this supercharged beast. Not a day goes by that my wife and I don’t both love our Challenger. The picture above is the first picture that I took the night that she came home.

Louder Exhaust

Since before I owned my Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, I have said that if I owned one, I would figure out a way to keep the active exhaust valves open all of the time. While some people might like the fact that it gets louder and quieter in different driving modes or driving situations, I wanted my supercharged Hemi to be at its loudest all of the time.

Also, as many people with the adaptive exhaust system have learned, the valve assemblies in some vehicles “chatter”. When driving around at lower speed, there is an odd metallic noise that comes and goes, and if goes away in track mode when the valves are open the most. Some people have bought new springs for the valve system and other people have replaced the exhaust system with the hopes of stopping the chatter.

My solution to the chatter was the same as my solution to making the car louder – active exhaust modifier plates from MFER1. Well before owning the Hellcat, I bookmarked the MFER1 website because I was interested in how it worked, so once I got my own Challenger with active exhaust, I reached out to the company to discuss the product. They explained that their modifier plates would keep the valves open all of the time without disrupting the normal function of the valve actuator, thus new Check Engine Light from holding the valves open. Also, the design of the modifier plates prevent the spring chatter.

These sounded like the perfect product, so I was excited to install them once they arrived. They are incredibly easy to install, as the actuators are removed with three nuts and after you screw on extensions to the stock bolts, the modifier plate and the actuator bolt back on and you are done. It is really that simple and the results are awesome.

The points at which the car was its quietest, such as idling after a warm start or when cruising in Default drive mode, it is just as loud as it is in Track mode. With the valves open all of the time, the exhaust is much louder when decelerating and you get far more of the crackles through the exhaust that I have grown to love. Those crackles are louder, too, so in terms of exhaust volume, the MFER1 plates did exactly what I had hoped. The exhaust is louder in many situations, but since you are adjusting a portion of the exhaust rear of the cabin, there is no increased drone or anything like that – just louder, more aggressive exhaust notes in every driving situation and every drive mode.

I have included two videos – one with the stock exhaust and one with the MFER1 plates. In the video with the plates, take notice of how the exhaust note remains more aggressive as the fast idle comes down whereas with the stock exhaust, it gets quieter as the engine begins to warm up. Also, take note of the revs at the end of each video, as the MFER1 revs are much louder and more aggressive. Again, these videos are in Default mode.

Mind you, the exhaust technically isn’t any louder than it was before, but with the valves open all of the time, the exhaust is basically at “full volume” all of the time and I absolutely love it. There is no spring chatter and the exhaust is noticeably more aggressive, so this mod is a no-brainer to me. At $150, this kit is the best option for adding some exhaust volume while getting rid of the annoying spring chatter.

Cruising Woodward

We have already talked about the Woodward Dream Cruise and how the folks at the Modern Street Hemi Shootout provided an awesome area for Mopar owners and fans alike. It was a great day, but it was particularly exciting for me and my wife, as it was the first Dream Cruise with our own Hellcat Challenger. I have driven a handful of different Hellcat cars to Woodward in the past, but this year, we were showing off our own, beloved muscle car.

While it is cool to drive a new, unreleased muscle car – which I did this year with the Scat Pack Widebody – there is something special about seeing all of the people on the roadside taking pictures of your actual car. While we cruised the lengthy drive route with our Hellcat Challenger, the Scat Pack Widebody and the 392 Shaker car driven by the owner of Details Auto Detailing, it was fun watching all of the people on the side of the road talking about our cars while they snapped pictures. Once in the MSHS parking area, we hung out with our cars are scores of people walked by to admire the supercharged engine and to get pictures of the cluster of modern Challengers.

It was a great day capped off with a blast on the mobile dyno of Livernois Motorsports, in which my Hellcat Challenger laid down 644 horsepower and 615 lb-ft of torque in front of a huge crowd of onlookers. We love our Hellcat Challenger and we love showing it off, so the days’ worth of attention at the Woodward Dream Cruise was another great experience with our supercharged Mopar muscle car.

New Headlight Trim
Finally, just before we headed out for the Woodward Dream Cruise, Eric from Details surprised me with a set of color-matched headlight intake rings from Merrick Motorsports.

They are painted to match my Go Mango paint and they do so perfectly, while still allowing plenty of air flow to the engine. In fact, my dyno run resulting in 644 rear wheel horsepower was with these rings in place, so there is no concern of diminished air flow. The company offers these rings in a variety of styles and colors, including color-matching to all of the modern Challenger exterior colors.

 

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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