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Challenger Hoods and Shakers: Adding Menace

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Shop Challenger Hoods

The main reason to swap your Challenger's hood is for weight savings purposes. Stock steel hoods are constructed with rigidity and durability in mind while aftermarket hoods are built for speed. Keep in mind the lighter the hood, the more likely you'll want hood pins. For carbon fiber hoods, hood pins might as well be a necessity.

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Pop culture hot rodding has always demanded that aftermarket hoods be used on custom rides. It’s a like a good suit paired with a proper top hat; it emphasizes the whole package. Third-generation Challenger owners have the option to run aftermarket hoods that bring plenty of benefits to the table. The Challenger is a popular hot rod, and to hop up a Challenger without the addition of an aftermarket hood will keep it in line with all the others already on the road.

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Challenger Aftermarket Hood Fitment

The use of an aftermarket hood has always brought performance gains to the table. They’re lightweight, saving you time at the drag strip, and even help cold air enter the engine compartment.

When you’re shopping for a hood for a third generation Challenger you will need to be careful to ensure you are purchasing the right hood for the car. This isn’t solely because of performance aspects though.

The third-gen Challengers is separated by an appearance split. Hoods will need to be specially crafted to fit Challengers running from 2008-’14 and 2015-’18. Though the cars are largely similar in appearance, the hoods are not interchangeable for cars separated by this generation split.

Materials Used

Steel hoods are used on Challengers from the factory. This means the hood is a considerably heavy piece of material. Because of this, aftermarket hoods comprise of a variety of materials to shave off some weight. Though, before grabbing a hood because of the material used, you need to balance the characteristics of the material in order to ensure it’s the right choice.

Steel: Steel hoods are the cheapest hoods you can buy from the aftermarket. The biggest benefit of these hoods is that you can get a hood with an aftermarket layout without breaking the bank. 

Like all aftermarket hoods, functional hood scoops can be incorporated into their design to provide performance gains. An advantage steel has over lightweight materials is its resistance to warping.

Steel is an extremely tough material and can be subjected to extreme conditions without deforming. The biggest drawback is the weight. With an aftermarket steel hood, weight savings will be minimal, if you get any savings at all.

Pros

  • Low Cost
  • Aftermarket Designs Available 

Cons

  • Heavy Weight

Fiberglass: Fiberglass has been a go-to material for aftermarket hoods for decades. History books will show that Plymouth and Dodge muscle cars, including the Challenger and Cuda, came with fiberglass hoods as factory equipment.

Fiberglass is considerably lighter than steel, which will provide weight savings alone. Some fiberglass hood layouts will bolt in place of the factory hoods while lift off designs will ditch the factory hinges and latches meaning even more weight savings are to be had.

These hoods are a bit more costly but not by much. The biggest drawback is that fiberglass hoods can warp under poor weather conditions and will need special attention in order to ensure the fit and finish isn’t lost over time.

Pros

  • Affordable Price Point
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Can Warp in Harsh Weather
  • Reduced Security Without Factory Latches 

Carbon Fiber: At the highest cost value, carbon fiber is the ultimate material to use when weight savings are in mind. Carbon fiber is a very strong lightweight material that many weekend warriors and full on racers go to in order to shave off weight.

Unlike fiberglass, carbon fiber won’t easily warp. Fastening options also allow for these hoods to ditch hinges and latches for additional weight savings. In extreme cold, carbon fiber becomes brittle and cracks easily. This is the biggest drawback of this material and if a carbon fiber hood is installed, climate controlled storage is an absolute must. 

Pros

  • Very Lightweight 

Cons

  • Reduced Security Without Factory Latches
  • Can Crack in Extreme Cold
  • High Cost

Hood Scoops

Aftermarket hoods can arrive equipped with functional hood scoops. The use of hood scoops allows for fresh air to enter the engine bay. This means that cooler air is readily available to the induction system which can provide gains in performance.

Additionally, cool air in the engine bay helps the engine maintain ideal operating temperatures, which is both safe and beneficial to performance. While shopping around for hoods, take into consideration that these factors repurpose the hood, defining it as a unit based on function as opposed to pure form.

Shaker Hood

Shaker hoods are very cool and provide the vehicle with optimal access to fresh air. Though, setting a Challenger up with a shaker hood system goes deeper than simply popping a new hood on. It will require one to alter the vehicle’s induction system.

What is a Shaker?

Drawing in air from outside of the engine bay is something that’s always been desired by performance enthusiasts. Cold air is denser and can contain more oxygen which helps increase horsepower. Cold air intakes are designed to function on this principle as are shaker systems. A traditional intake on third generation Challenger runs to an area under the hood where the coldest air is readily available. A shaker is an intake design that leads the intake system outside of the hood where only cold air is available.

The design of a shaker system for the Challenger leads the intake to two areas. The first area the intake leads to is right where the intake would be on any standard third gen Challenger. The intake also runs to the top of the engine to what is known as the shaker itself. The shaker peers through the hood to draw in air from outside of the engine bay.

With the addition of a shaker system, the appearance of the Challenger will radically change. This is something to take into consideration and may be the sole purpose one does or doesn’t install one on their Challenger. 

The performance gains of a shaker system do outweigh a basic cold air intake system and makes it something someone who is chasing maximum power output with a naturally aspirated Challenger will want to install on their car.

Installation of Aftermarket Hoods

Installation of an aftermarket hood is very easy but it will require two people. Because of the size of a hood, it can become awkward to handle and very dangerous regardless of its weight.

For the initial installation, one will want to test fit the hood and adjust it multiple times before setting it into its permanent placement. Because of this, you will want to have a friend around for at least a half an hour’s worth of work.

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon