AutoModding your 2010 Dodge Charger: Handling and Brakes

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2010 Dodge Charger - Before Mods

Yes, all the V8 Charger people can brag about power, with all their Hemis and their Hellcats. But power isn’t the only thing they have. They also have almost 300 lbs more in weight than your V6 Charger. That means you’re driving the Charger superleggera, and you already have the edge in braking and handling. Here are a few simple mods you can use to take your corner game to the next level and leave those chunky V8s oversteering in your wake.

Brakes

Power is nothing without control, but the biggest reason you’ll want to upgrade your 2010 Dodge Charger’s brakes is so you can stay on the power longer and still have something in place to keep you from grating your Charger like parmesan through a chain link fence. Despite the 3.5’s weight savings, it’s still a 3,727 lb car. That means the brakes, as they warm up, will begin to fade under the massive load of all that American steel.

Power Stop K2560-26

Thankfully, Power Stop has some options for you. Their Z26 Extreme Performance brake pads resist fade up to an insane 1500 degrees with Power Stop’s drilled and slotted Evolution rotors. Those holes keep the discs up to 180 degrees cooler than stock rotors, and the slots continually channel gas and dust away from the braking surface, guaranteeing you a clear contact patch.

You can save big by getting one of Power Stop’s easy kits. You can get your kit with front pads and rotors, which will see the most duty, or all four rotors with pads to cover all your corners. But if you really want to take care of everything in one pass, check out Power Stop’s 1 Click Kit, which includes all four rotors, their Z26 Evolution pads, known to provide 20% more stopping power than stock, AND four of Power Stop’s bright red calipers.

Suspension

Lowering your Charger will work wonders for the handling. The physics are pretty simple. The higher your center of gravity, the more body roll you’ll encounter when the car turns. It’s like the difference between carrying a cinder block by its base and a grandfather clock by its base. They might be the same weight, but the clock is going to sway when you change direction.

eibach-2876.140

Thankfully, lowering your car is a pretty simple endeavor thanks to the wizards at Eibach. This is one of the most respected names in aftermarket suspension mods all over the world. Their Pro-Kit springs will give your Charger a moderately lower stance, (eliminating that lame wheel gap) and progressive rate of the springs make for a smooth ride in the straights and a firm grip in the corners. Lowering springs will also reduce squat for your launches, so you can get the power down faster, and reduce dive under hard braking, so you can more evenly distribute the weight between corners.

Stiffening

Another great way to reduce body roll is with an anti-roll bar, also known as a sway bar. (This is not to be confused with a roll bar, which is a safety structure that keeps your car from pancaking you in the event of a roll over.) A sway bar links your lower control arms and uses a torsional force to keep the sprung weight of your car flat in the corners. Like a good set of lowering springs, a sway bar helps evenly distribute the weight.

Energy Suspension 5.3141g

The Charger is equipped with a front sway bar right out of the factory. But it’s designed to keep your great grandmother’s godmother comfortable on her way to bridge club. Eibach again saves the day with their famous sway bar kit, which includes both front and rear sway bars and the required urethane bushings. The rear sway bar, once again omitted from the factory, is 16mm, and the front is 30mm, as opposed to the stock bar of 25mm.

Sway bars aren’t the only way to firm up the ride, either. Between many of the major elements of your car are bushings, slightly flexible pieces of hardware that serve as buffers to help fight vibration. Stock bushings are usually rubber and allow the parts of your car to move around a bit more. This means a weight shift, which contributes to body roll.

You can eliminate that issue with some firm polyurethane bushings from Energy Suspension. This rear differential mount bushing kit will keep that diff from wiggling around, and you can tighten up your undercarriage with this sub-frame bushing kit. You can install this kit for your rear control arm bushings. Poly bushings can also sharpen your steering. These rack and pinion bushings will take care of that. It should be noted that poly bushings should be greased periodically to prevent noise, but are also more durable than rubber.

Slimming it down

We have the stopping power, the stance, and the tightness, but there’s one more thing you can do to improve your handling, and it won’t cost you a thing. You can reduce the weight.

Your Charger will never be a Caterham Seven. It will always be on the heavier side, like any safe, roomy sedan. But there are a few things you can lose if you’re really trying to save weight. The spare tire, for example, weighs 32 pounds, with another 5.8 for the jack. If you’d rather opt for Fix-a-Flat, you can save some considerable tonnage. Maybe you never use your rear seat pad. That will save you several pounds. Or maybe your little passengers only use the rear seat. The front passenger seat weighs about 55 pounds.

Even small things can add to the total weight savings. That useless engine cover obstructing your view of the awesome engine weighs about 3 pounds. The lower intake baffle (which will already be gone if you’ve installed the K&N we mentioned earlier) is 2 pounds. All of this adds up, and while you may not want to go to the extremes of seat removal or ripping out the interior (or even going without a spare), saving weight is a great thing to keep in mind as you’re trying to make your car faster. It’s easy to let unneeded crap pile up in your trunk, and the weight of it can affect handling and even gas mileage.

2010 Dodge Charger Handling Brakes Mods
[vehicle image via motor-kid.com]

In review

Today we firmed up the suspension and structure, lowered the car, improved the stopping power, and dropped some excess weight. Combined with the power and sound we added on Monday, we’ve built a solid performer. Now we just have to make it look the part. Come back Friday as we give you some options for appearance and protection mods to make your Charger look your own.

2010 Dodge Charger - Parts Breakdown
[click for full size image]

1. Power Stop K2853-26: Upgrade all your brakes with this drilled and slotted rotor kit for all four wheels.  Pads are included
2. Power Stop K2560-26: The bulk of your braking happens up front.  Improve the front brakes with this pad and rotor kit from Power Stop.
3. Power Stop KC2853-26: This complete kit offers four rotors, calipers, and pads from the geniuses at Power Stop.
4. Eibach 2876.140: Improve handling, braking, and even acceleration with these lowering springs. Also eliminate wheel gap.
5. Eibach 2873.320: Eibach’s famous sway bars will firm up your handling and reduce body roll under cornering.
6. Energy Suspension 5.1115G: Firm up your differential mount, and your whole ride, with these polyurethane rear diff mount bushings.
7. Energy Suspension 5.3141G: Your lower control arms will flex less and ride tighter with these poly bushings from Energy Suspension.
8. Energy Suspension 5.4114G: Stay cool under pressure with Energy Suspension’s firm polyurethane sub-frame bushings.
9. Energy Suspension 5.10105G: Get sharper steering and a more responsive ride with Energy’s poly rack and pinion bushing set.

Which vehicle should we AutoMod next? Maybe we can offer some suggestions for your own project? Drop your suggestion in the comments, and if we decide to feature it, we’ll send you a $100 StreetsideAuto.com gift card to get started. The winner will be selected the last Friday of every month.

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