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How to Add Horsepower to a Dodge Charger

by Scott Eilers; Updated November 07, 2017

The Dodge Charger is an American-made muscle car that was originally introduced in 1964 as a two-door, rear-wheel drive vehicle. The Charger was discontinued in 1977, but was later reintroduced in 1999 as a four door performance sedan that maintained the powerful engine and rear-wheel drive that made the original Charger a success. There are several different engines offered in the Dodge Charger ranging from a 2.7L V6 that makes 230 horsepower to a massive 6.1L HEMI V8 which makes 425 horsepower. All of these engines can be made more powerful with aftermarket modifications.

Tune the Charger using a hand-held tuner. Tuners modify the internal computer of the Charger, which controls many electronic processes of the vehicle. Using a tuner can provide a mild horsepower boost on even an unmodified Charger, but the use of a tuner is essential when installing other performance modifications. Tuning your Charger will allow it to take advantage of any other modifications you perform and maximize the horsepower increases provided by other aftermarket parts.

Install a high performance cold-air intake system. Stock cold-air intake systems are designed for economy rather than performance, and an increase of 8 to 15 horsepower can be had by replacing the stock intake system with a performance aftermarket intake system. The exact horsepower gain will depend on the make and model of the intake system as well as on the engine your Charger has. Larger engines with mroe cylinders typically experience larger gains in horsepower from aftermarket modifications.

Replace the stock exhaust system with a high-flow performance exhaust system. Stock exhaust systems are relatively restrictive in order to keep the cabin of the vehicle quiet. A high-flow aftermarket exhaust system will increase the airflow allowed by the exhaust and substantially increase the horsepower of your Charger. Note that this modification will also increase engine noise, and should only be performed if you are comfortable with having a louder, more aggressive exhaust note on your Charger.

Install a supercharger or turbocharger kit. Superchargers and turbochargers are slightly different forms of forced air induction systems, which funnel vast amoutns of air into the engine of the Charger. These modifications are complicated and expensive, but they can produce massive power boosts of over 100 horsepower in some cases. These installations should only be performed by a trained professional as they have the potential to cause extreme damage to your Charger's engine if installed incorrectly.

About the Author

Scott Eilers began writing professionally in 2006. He has been published as a coauthor in "Measurement in Counseling and Development" and "The Journal of Counseling and Development." He holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Science in clinical psychology from Argosy University.

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