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Why Replace the Heart of Your Challenger: Crate Engines

Written By: Connor MC

Shop Challenger Crate Engines

Walking into the garage to see a large Hemi engine sitting on a pallet is both unsettling and exciting. There are numerous reasons to change powerplants, from having nuked your original or maybe you started with something less than desirable. Getting a Challenger crate engine is a great way to start your build.

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Originally started back in the 1960s and available through The Direct Connection line of racing parts, crate engines were high performance engines that gave racers an easy and reliable method in which to upgrade their muscle car. Admittedly not much has changed. Ordering a crate engine for your Challenger is still a viable way of starting a high horsepower build.

Mail Order Hemi Engines

A crate engine is a complete long block engine that shows up to your door (in a crate) and is ready to drop into your Challenger and go. Remove the old engine as a complete assembly, drop in the new one and hook the wiring harness and fuel system back up - no serious disassembly or re-assembly needed. At the time, all the engines were carbureted thus a complete engine swap was fairly simple. Disconnect the fuel line, throttle cable and any wiring (a limited amount back in those days) and the engine could be easily lifted out.

Today, the same principle applies to the third-gen Challenger. Offered through what is now known as Moper Performance, available crate engines are produced to cover a broad spectrum of applications: from those that can serve as a simple replacement if your current engine is tired and worn to top end race ready 1000 horsepower monsters. Sold as a drop in assembly, crate engines are an ideal solution for enthusiasts that don't want the potential headaches often associated with having to dissemble their current engine in order to repair or upgrade it. Another major pro for a crate engine is the warranty - Mopar supports their crate engines with a factory-like warranty. Whether you just want a regular replacement 5.7 Hemi or to up your game and take your R/T to Hellcat levels, there is an engine for that and will be backed by OEM reliability and longevity.

5.7L V8 Eagle Crate Engine

The Mopar crate engine lineup for the third generation Challenger consists the of base R/T 5.7L 345 V8, a 6.2L Supercharged V8, a 6.4L 392 V8, and a 426 Supercharged V8. See below for the complete breakdown of each respective motor. Each engine assembly includes a water pump, front sump oil pan, flywheel and clutch, intake manifold and throttle body, fuel injectors, and ignition coil packs. 

5.7L V8 Eagle: The 5.7L V8 crate engine Hemi is the same 5.7L V8 found in 2015 Challengers. Featuring 345 cubic inches of displacement, this 90-degree overhead valve (2-valves per cylinder) V8 uses a cast-iron block with 4-bolt powder metal cap main bearings, powdered metal connecting rods and a nodular iron crankshaft. Bore and stroke are 99.5mm and 90.9mm, respectively. Compression ratio is set at 10.5:1and using variable cam timing technology this Hemi crate engine produces 383 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. This engine is suited as an OEM replacement for any R/T Challengers.

6.4L SRT V8 Apache Crate Engine

The 6.4L V8 Hemi crate engine is the same engine that is found in SRT model Challengers. Providing 392 cubic inches of displacement, this 103.9mm bore and 94.6mm stroke engine also uses a cast iron block and 4-bolt powder metal cap mains. The crankshaft is upgraded a forged steel design and hypereutectic aluminum pistons are used. Cylinder valves are increased to measure 54.3mm intake and 42mm on the exhaust. With peak RPM of 6,400 and a compression ratio of 10.9:1, the "Apache" 392 crate engine is rated at an impressive 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. This motor is well suited for those with a base 5.7 and want the next step up in performance.

6.2L Supercharged Hemi Crate Engine

In 2015, Dodge introduced a new 6.2L supercharged variant of the Challenger, dubbed the Hellcat. Well, this same Hellcat engine is available through the Mopar performance catalog and can be ordered and dropped into any non-Hellcat Challenger. Combining traits of both the 5.7 and 6.4L naturally aspirated V8 Hemis, the 6.2L Hellcat engine uses the same 103.9mm bore as the 6.4 Apache and the 90.9mm stroke of the 5.7L Hemi to form 376 cubic inches of displacement. The aluminum cylinder heads are the same as those on the 6.4L SRT engine.

Sticking with a dense iron block, the Hellcat engine also uses a forged steel crank and upgrades the pistons to a forged alloy in order to deal with the high power and cylinder level pressures generated by the supercharger; compression is dropped down to 9.5:1. Sitting atop the intake manifold is the twin-scroll supercharger that helps this motor develop a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. All in all, this is a beast of a motor that will provide the performance of factory Hellcat edition Challengers.

426 Supercharged Hemi Crate Engine

If none of the power levels listed above are enough for your need for speed, Mopar has released a 426 Hemi in honor of the classic 1964 track 426 (street version released two years later in 1966) that started it all. Of course, this generation of 426 has been modernized and the result is a behemoth engine that produces an astounding 1000 horsepower alongside 950 lb-ft of torque. This motor is based on a 426 cubic inch cast aluminum block, that while not only strong, is lighter than an iron counter-part. Bore and stroke are 4.125 in and 4.0 in respectively. Forged aluminum pistons are connected to a forged steel crankshaft via forged 4340 H-beam rods - all of which is needed in order to withstand the 3.0L twin-scroll supercharger's maximum 15 psi output. This is the be-all-end-all option for those Challenger owners that want to go seriously fast - and do so reliably.

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