My love for Hellcats began when I first read about them in an issue of Motortrend when they first hit the market back in late 2014. The idea of a modern American muscle car that put every other performance vehicle on the market at the time to shame. And to top it off, with a price tag well below $100k. It was still way out of my budget at the time, but certainly seemed more attainable than something like a Lamborghini or Ferrari.
In the spring of 2018, a friend of mine, who had also been a long-time fan of the Hellcats, to my surprise suddenly bought one without notice. It surprised me because he had talked about wanting one for years, but for a long time did not buy one. I remember when he first showed it to me. The car only had a couple hundred miles on it and he let me drive it. Unfortunately. Because it was under 500 miles on the dash, it was still limited to 500 horse power. Apparently Dodge added this temporary limiter because new owners were underestimating the brute force of the Hellcat powertrain and were promptly wrecking them. I assume it also has some to do with properly breaking in the motor before opening it up as well. Despite the loss of over 200 horse power, I was still in awe of the car’s power, sound, and styling.
At that time, I was trying to save up money for a down payment on a builder’s loan for a house I wanted to build on land that I had recently purchased. After thinking long and hard and being teased by the sight of my friend’s Hellcat almost daily, my house fund turned into my Hellcat fund. I began shopping for Hellcats all over the internet, located anywhere in the country. I first discovered a Hellcat Challenger that was wrecked, but repairable, and that still had a clear title. It was at an attainable price of $35,000 and would require about $5,000 worth of body repairs. I contacted my credit union to apply for an auto loan and fortunately had a very good credit score. They quickly approved me for the $35k, but wanted to see documentation first. The dealer that had the vehicle made an error on the title and had marked it as salvage. Though they went back and corrected the issue, it sent up a red flag at the bank and they then refused to approve the loan for that vehicle. It was a major let down for me as I had gotten my hopes so high for getting the car. So, the search was on again. Shortly thereafter I located another car. A black 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat with 40,000 miles on it. I remember it was listed at around $45,000 which was very cheap for the time. The car had an “Or Best Offer” option. I made an offer of $40,000 and it was immediately accepted. I was in shock. I contacted the owner and asked him what was wrong with the car and he stated that nothing was and encouraged me to fly up to NYC from Atlanta to inspect it. I contacted my bank, this car they immediately approved and printed off the check. I flew to NYC and fell in love with the car. I was now a Hellcat owner for $45,000 after transport, tax, tag, and title processing.
I drove my Hellcat alongside my friend’s for a whole year. We had twin Hellcats, both blacked out Dodge Chargers. It was an incredible year of car meets and rides. We quickly met other new Hellcat owners and built a group of around 10 of us who would meet up multiple times every month. Then my car began to need servicing. Rotors, motor mounts, leaking headlights, and an exhaust leak, all out of warranty. All minor issues for most cars, but on a Hellcat, the cost was over $6,000 to repair all of the issues. I simply couldn’t afford it. So I went to my local dealership to look at trading for a new Scat Pack. That’s when I discovered why I had gotten my Hellcat for such a low price. The dealer I had bought it from had purchased it wrecked at an auction with a clear title. The damage report had not hit the VIN history until after I had purchased it. That was the reason why the dealer was so quick to accept my offer. Even still, the car looked and drove great for a year and 10,000 miles and the dealership I was trading it into offered me $35,000 for the car. I accepted and wound up buying a 2019 blacked out Ram 1500 that I had fallen in love with.
Of course, it didn’t take long before I began to miss my Hellcat severely. I loved my new truck and its functionality for the work that I do so there was no chance I was letting go of it. That’s when my friend put a bug in my ear. The same friend who first bought a Hellcat before me and who was now on his second Hellcat, now a destroyer grey 2019 with an added $20,000 worth of performance modifications. The bug in my ear was to take one of the several Pursuit police package Dodge Chargers that I had already owned and drop a Hellcat engine into it. He made the suggestion while we were at the speed shop that built up his car. They had a Hellcat engine missing parts that they offered to sell for only $5,000. So, I enquired with the shop owners about if that was something that was possible. They told me that if I had a 2015 or newer police Charger, that the Hellcat engine could simply be dropped in and then tune the PCM. This turned out to be incredibly far from the truth.
Still thinking it would be a simple build, I started my search for a 2015 or newer Pursuit Charger at many different government auctions. I had owned older model Chargers, but wanted to use a newer one that matched the design used for the Hellcats. I was also still going by what the speed shop owners had told me. I eventually found a 2015 former Indiana State Police Dodge Charger with 142,000 miles. The car was listed as not able to start due to major electrical issues. Me being good with car electrical work, I decided to bid on it. I won the auction for $3,800. After transport and auction fees I paid $4,200 for the car. A steal for a 2015 Charger at the time, October 2019.
Now that I had the car, I began seeking the parts I needed. I found a 2016 Hellcat Charger on Facebook Marketplace that was totaled. When I say totaled, it was in really bad shape, but it looked like from the pictures that the powertrain would have still been good. So, I messaged the owner and decided to make a deal with him. I paid $10,000 for the car, but due to the damages and the fact the owner had not tested any of the parts, I only agreed to make the purchase if I could get a written warranty for the parts, and the seller agreed. I then drove 4 hours one way from Atlanta to Jesup, GA. It was a full day trip.
Once I had the car back to my shop, I began stripping it down bare. All of the interior, electronics, modules, etc. Several days later I hauled the stripped down wrecked car up to the speed shop to hopefully have them do the swap for me. The owners looked over the car and said they would have to take more time later to inspect the car and asked me to leave it with them. A couple weeks later I finally heard back from the shop, they asked me to swing by. When I arrived, they explained to me that the engine was severely damaged with cracks and warps. They advised me that anything could be fixed, but that it would cost more than a new engine. That was a hard blow, but I thought at least I had that warranty. I contacted the seller of the car and he asked me to check the transmission because if it was good, he wanted to just return the money for the engine. So, I hauled the car back to the auto shop I owned and a few days later began my own inspection of the transmission. It didn’t take long before I discovered the transmission’s case was completely destroyed beyond repair. Another blow to the gut for my project.
I communicated with the seller of the donor car and he agreed to return $9,000 and me keep a bunch of the parts that I had pulled from the car and wanted to keep. For $1,000 I purchased the Hellcat trunk lid, bumper cover, gauges, leather back seats, rear door panels, dash controls, red push start button/WIN module, the SAT/NAV antenna, and lastly the front passenger seat with blown side airbag that I wound up using to build a driving simulator with. I then made a second full day trip down to Jesup, GA in the rain to return the heap of metal.
Now that I didn’t have a powertrain, I began shopping again. It took weeks before I had finally located one. A 2018 Hellcat engine, transmission, and the entire cooling system including the oil cooler and intercooler for $10,000, plus $500 limited distance delivery. The parts reportedly had less than 11,000 miles on them. Due to the limited distance delivery I wound up still having to drive from Atlanta to the Tennessee Kentucky state line to pick up the parts, another full day trip.
A few days after getting the new parts home I called the speed shop again to get a quote for them to do the install for me. The owner told me that he did some research and that because my police car had a column cable shifted 5 speed transmission that I was going to have to have the dash wiring harness replaced with a Hellcat one so that an electronic floor shifter could be connected for the electronically shifted Hellcat ZF transmission to be used. He then gave me a quote of $5,000 which at the time I thought was high.
The next day I took the parts by a local repair shop I frequently used for repairs of resale cars for the car lot I owned with my father. I wanted to see what they thought and get an estimate to install the engine/transmission because my shop was not equipped with a lift. They looked it over and said it was uncharted territory, but they would do what they could to help me get the car put together. I then began doing my own research on the transmission shifter and wiring and confirmed that I was going to need an electronic shifter and new wiring. In addition to the shifter, the existing wiring I had on the car would not connect to the Hellcat PCM, therefore whether I swapped just the engine or the whole powertrain, I had to change the wiring. So I went onto eBay and purchased an unlocked Hellcat PCM, dash wiring harness, and under hood chassis wiring harness. I also found an electronic shifter and shift module that I needed for the build at a local salvage yard when looking for parts for another car. I managed to get the usually $300 part for only $35! I then found a Hellcat hood after shopping around for months and drove out to Anniston, AL to pick it up for $650.00.
It was now time to begin stripping down the car and swapping out the parts. I had to remove the front bumper, hood, headlights, all of the under hood/front end wiring, and the entire dashboard and it’s wiring. After pulling all of the wires out of the front end I left the new ones out until the engine was to be removed by the other shop later on. I then installed the new dash wiring harness. Once it was in, I was surprised and confused to discover there was no connector for the electronic shifter on the harness. I stared and searched for hours and couldn’t find the connector. The first chance I had I went back out to the salvage yard where I had found the electronic shifter to see how it was wired. The car at the yard was a Challenger and the connector did come from the dash. I pulled some of the wiring from that car, purchased it, and went back to my shop thinking I had it figured out, but nope, the wiring from the Challenger did not match my car. I even questioned the seller I purchased the Hellcat dash harness from and he insisted it was removed from a Dodge Charger Hellcat. I began trying to research the matter on the internet and came up empty handed. It appeared nobody had attempted to do what I was trying to do. That left me with only one more option, look at how another Hellcat is wired. That led to me making another full day trip down to Jesup, GA and back. As soon as I got there and began inspecting the wiring, it didn’t take long before I discovered that the connector for the electronic shifter in fact wasn’t run out of the dashboard, but instead ran under the passenger seat and tied into the complete car body harness. And there was no connector separating it from that harness which was tied into a Hellcat BCM mounted next to the glove box. I then came to the realization that I was going to have to swap every single wire and every single module on the entire car. So I tore out all the wiring, BCM, VISM, and ADCM out of the car and was able to purchase the parts from the owner for $400.00.
Now that I had to put all the new wires into my car. This involved now removing the rear bumper cover, entire trunk lining, all the seats, the flooring, the headliner, all of the interior trim panels, etc. I figured while I had all of this apart and since I was putting in Hellcat wiring, why not replace all of the cheap factory speakers with good ones. So I went to a stereo supply store and bought JBL speakers and an 8” deck subwoofer for the car. I then continued swapping the complete car body harness. As I was installing the new wires, I made another discovery. The fuel pump connectors were completely different. So I then began researching the fuel system and discovered that I was going to have to replace both of the fuel pumps and the fuel supply line. I went to the dealership and ordered a passenger side pump and a supply line. I held off on the primary pump though because it was $800! I started searching for a used primary pump online and could only find ones with the fuel level sensors removed. I found 2 different reasonably priced new complete pumps online, and both companies wound up cancelling and refunding my orders. I then went back to the dealership to see if I could purchase the fuel position sensor by itself and discovered that I could, so I ordered one. I then placed an order for one of the fuel pumps that was missing that part. Once I got the second pump in, I went to install both of the new pumps and discovered that the floater for the primary pump was not fitting. I left that pump uninstalled and decided to consult other mechanics on that issue. I finished all of the wiring in the car and began to reassemble it, now with the Hellcat modules, hood, trunk, rear bumper cover, gauges, stereo (stereo found on Facebook Marketplace for $220 out of a 2017 Scat Pack), dash controls, rear door panels, leather back seats, and SAT/NAV antenna. I also fabricated custom brackets to mount the electronic shifter inside of the police center console. I left the front end apart however because I knew the other shop was going to need it off for the engine/transmission/cooling system installation. I unfortunately at this point could not hear the new speakers because the key did not recognize the newly installed PCM and I could not put the old PCM back in because it was not compatible with the new wiring.
Now it was time to winch the car up onto the trailer and haul it to the other shop for the powertrain installation. At this point I knew that there were 2 potential future setbacks. One being that the police car had an electronic power steering pump, while the Hellcat has a belt driven one, the other potential issue being whether or not the drive shaft would be compatible. I dropped off the car and now began the waiting game. The shop was so busy it took a whole month before they began working on it.
Once they started, it was at first going well. They got the old engine, transmission, exhaust system, and entire cooling system removed. They then asked me to assist in running and connecting the new Hellcat under hood wiring. During that process, we discovered that the electronic steering pump had to go, because the Hellcat wiring did not have any connectors for it. On 2015+ the steering pump is actually built into the rack and pinion. So I had to find a whole new rack and pinion. I happened to have had a salvage 2011 Charger at my shop with an external electronic steering pump. I figured that one would work because it had external lines, unlike the 2015 rack and pinion. I pulled the part and took it to the mechanic putting in the powertrain. He said it looked good, at the time. The next day I got a call to stop by and the mechanic explained to me that the lines on the rack and pinion wouldn’t reach the belt driven pump, so I needed new lines. I went to a local auto parts store and ordered a Hellcat rack and pinion and the steering lines. The rack and pinion arrived quickly. I dropped it off at the shop and they installed it no issue. The lines wound up taking over a week to come in, mind you this was during the COVID-19 shutdown so parts were getting difficult to find. Once the lines came in and I dropped them off, it turned out that was only one of the sets of lines. I then went to a 2007 parts Charger that I owned and pulled the second line which fortunately did turn out to be a good fit. Now the steering issue was finally solved, after weeks.
Next came the other issue that I had anticipated, the drive shaft. The mechanic called me and said the shaft would have fit, but the police one was broken. So I began my search for a Hellcat driveshaft and could not find one at all. I notified the mechanic and he told me a police shaft would fit, so I located one at a salvage yard 2 hours away and drove over to purchase it. I dropped the shaft off at the end of that day. The next day I get a call from the mechanic saying that he was mistaken and that the mounts on the shaft were the same, but the length of it was not. He then told me that he knew of a shop that could shorten the shaft. I picked up the shaft and drove 40 minutes to the machine shop. I dropped off the shaft and had to return at the end of the day to pick it up. I dropped the shaft off the next day back with the mechanic. It then fit, now that issue was resolved.
Next issue. The cooling system for the intercooler. The mechanic stated he need the factory cooling lines for the supercharger’s intercooler. I went again to the local Dodge dealership. They said they could order the parts, but had no idea when they would come in due to COVID-19. I went ahead and had them order them not knowing of any other option. I then called the mechanic to let him know and he said he didn’t want to wait that long, and really, I didn’t want to either. He then advised me that he could use universal cooling lines to make them himself custom if I was alright with it. I told him that I was as long as they functioned the same as the factory ones would and he assured me that they would. The next day he needed me to locate some cooling line adapters. I found what was needed at ACE hardware and delivered the parts to the mechanic. This now resolved the intercooler line issue.
Now it was time for the PCM tune. I had previously called a local mobile automotive computer programmer to see if she could flash the VIN into the PCM and program the keys and she stated that she could. So I called her and scheduled for her to come out and do the programming on the car. She arrived and hooked into the car to now tell me about another issue. At this point I was no longer surprised by setbacks. She explained that she could not flash the VIN into the car. She told me that she would not charge me for coming out and told me that I needed to take the car to a performance shop. So we then proceeded to get the exhaust system installed onto the car prior to me hauling it off to a performance shop. While the exhaust guy did his thing, I travelled to a local speed shop and explained my situation. The owner claimed he would not touch any Mopar computer systems and referred me to another shop that was located 40 minutes away. I called the other shop and they said it would be no problem to get my car running and to bring it by. I went back to the mechanic’s shop and they were finishing up my exhaust, but too late in the day to take it to the performance shop. The exhaust by the way consisted of stock catalytic converters and headers which were still attached to the motor I had purchased, along with an X pipe and stock Hellcat resonators I obtained from a friend who had cut them off of his. No muffler.
The next day I hauled the car off to the second performance shop. When I arrived, they said they should have been able to do the programming right then and there. Shortly after plugging into the car that story changed really quick. They then said they needed to keep it for a day. So, I left it. The car remained at that shop for about four or five days. They then called me and said they would not be able to do the programming. They told me that only the Dodge dealership could do it. I then called my friend who had his work done at the speed shop I mentioned earlier on. The shop I thought had given me a quote that was too high and the shop that had me thinking this was going to be a much simpler job than it turned out to be. He decided to give them a call and explained the issue. They told him to tell me to stop by the next morning with the car and they would sort it out. So, I did. This now being performance shop number three. They plugged into my car and immediately said nope, we have to send this PCM off to a guy across the country, he is the only one who can make this work. They told me they would send it off and it would return within 5 business days. ONE WHOLE MONTH LATER I called to see what the heck was going on with my PCM and they said the guy had still not touched it! At that point I was mad, which made the shop owner mad, which was then passed onto the programmer, who then just sent my PCM back untouched like the prick he was.
During the month that the programmer sat on my PCM, I reassembled the front end of the car which was still apart from the power train swap. Overall, I got everything back together with minimal issues. One modification I made since I was keeping the police front bumper cover, was cutting open the slots on the panels where fog lights would normally go in order to provide more air flow for the coolers behind the bumper that were not there before. The one issue that I did discover was that the Hellcat wiring had different headlight connectors on it. I had ordered brand new headlights for the car which matched the part numbers for both the Hellcat and the Pursuit Chargers, yet the connector only matched from the Pursuit harness. So I had to cut and splice those in.
When I went to pick my PCM back up, the speed shop owner told me that I now had yet another issue. When I swapped all the wires and modules, I missed one. The RF key module. I still had the police car key and module. The owner told me I needed to get the RF key module and key out of the wrecked Hellcat that I had pulled parts from because this was now another issue that was discovered. He then stated that to fix the PCM issue I was going to have to go to the dealership and have them flash the VIN because they were the only ones who could do it.
I contacted the owner of the wrecked car and he told me he would sell me the RF module and key for the car for a super high price of $250. I could have gotten the parts new for cheaper, but figured this the best move because they would match up to everything else that I had swapped from that car. I received the RF module and key in the mail two days later and installed it into the car. The day after that I hauled the car to the dealership. One of their highly experienced electrical mechanics plugged into the car. After looking through the car’s many mismatched modules, the mechanic was confused as to how the computer was still saying the car was a 2015 police car after I had swapped all of the modules. He eventually discovered that somehow the police car VIN was flashed into my Hellcat PCM. It then dawned on me what had happened. The lady who had first hooked up to the car actually did succeed in flashing the PCM, but she flashed the wrong VIN into the computer. It had to be flashed with a Hellcat VIN in order to load in the proper settings. I then tried to explain that the PCM was supposed to have been unlocked. The mechanic informed me that it was, but once a VIN is entered, the PCM then relocks itself. It’s a one-time entry. He then advised me that I was going to have to order a new Hellcat PCM and get it flashed with the VIN from the wrecked Hellcat. So I spent another $563 on a second Hellcat PCM, the first one now being a paper weight.
The second Hellcat PCM came in the next day. I hauled the car back up to the dealership again to give it another try with the Hellcat VIN. The mechanic tried. Now a new issue arose. The car would start, but would then immediately shut off. The mechanic said the car was sending a fault code stating the barometer in the PCM was giving a false reading. He said it was thinking that we were at Colorado sea level elevation in Georgia. He then advised that his system was indicating the only fix being to replace the PCM and he concluded that the PCM must have been defective. So, they ordered a third PCM. The next day it came in and I returned again. They hooked into the car and guess what? You guessed it, the same issue again. After doing some research the mechanic discovered that in mid 2016 Dodge decided to delete a sensor off of the Hellcat engines. I had a PCM out of a 2016, and an engine out of a 2018. The 2016 tune was looking for the sensor that was not on the engine and then shutting it down. The mechanic said I was now going to have to order a PCM for a 2018 Hellcat and have the VIN for the engine flashed into it. He asked me if I even had the VIN for the engine and I said no, but suggested that he search the transmission control module for it. He managed to find it and provided it to the parts department to order the proper PCM for the car. I then realized that if I was now changing the PCM and the VIN, the RF module and key I had just replaced would now not work. I mentioned this to the mechanic and he agreed. I now was having to buy yet another RF module and key new from the dealer because like the PCM they cannot be reflashed. The dealer’s parts department sold me the next brand new PCM at cost, but that didn’t change the fact that I spent $220 for the first Hellcat PCM and $563 for the second one which were now nothing more than paperweights.
Several days later I made my way back to the dealership yet again. I installed the new RF module and PCM. We were then about to give it one more go, this time with the 2018 VIN that was pulled from the 2018 transmission. I made sure to mention to the mechanic that the VIN came back to a Challenger Hellcat and not a Charger. I didn’t need another expensive paperweight. He told me that he didn’t see any reason why that would have caused an issue. He plugged into the car and started with trying to match the new key to the new RF module. After several minutes he looked at me and said he had good news and bad news. Again, no surprise there. He told me the good news was that I could get all of my money back for the parts that I had just purchased. The bad news was that he couldn’t make them work, because the 2018 parts had to have a security gateway module to work, which was added on 2018+ Hellcats. He also told me that the gateway could not be added aftermarket, the car would have had to have come from the factory with it. He then advised me the only way he could think of to make the car work at this point was to purchase an MAF sensor and connector and custom wire it in. We then spent a couple hours looking over wiring diagrams trying to figure out if we could make it work. We determined that the MAF needed 4 wires. One was an IAT signal wire, one was a sensor ground common wire, one was a 5-volt power common wire, and the final one was a MAF signal wire. The IAT and ground wires were the same for the 18’ IAT as for the 15’-16’ MAF. The 5-volt common could be spliced from any of the other sensors, and the MAF wire was showing to have been pinned to slot number 64 on the PCM. The mechanic told me to return the key, hub, and PCM I had just purchased, and then purchase an MAF and connector. He also told me that when the parts arrived, he would help me get the part installed because he was determined to get my car running. So I ordered the parts and was told it would take two days before they would arrive.
Two days later the parts arrived at the dealership. I brought the car back yet again and picked up the parts. I then saw the mechanic who had been assisting me standing in the service manager’s office. I walked over to try and ask him about helping me to put the part in, and he closed the door in my face. It looked like he was about to get chewed out. I asked my service advisor if he had gotten into trouble and she told me that he had, but that it was not related to what the mechanic was doing for me. She then told me that if I wanted to get the MAF sensor installed, I was going to have to drop the car off the following week and give them two weeks to work on it. Of course, I said the heck with that and left. I got the car back to my shop and began digging into the wiring diagrams. I determined where all of the wires needed to go and hooked them up. Once I had the wires connected, I hit the start button. The car started, and now ran better than it had previously, but still wasn’t running properly and was still showing several fault codes. I shut the car off, then started it again. This time it started for only a moment and then immediately shut off. I then began to smell a fluid burning. I got out of the car and discovered a major fuel leak under the hood. Turned out to have been the fuel supply line where it attaches to the fuel rail. The mechanic who had installed it forgot to tighten down the clamp. I tightened the clamp, and tried again. Same result as initially. It ran better, but not just right. Regardless, I was eager to try out a road test.
I then attempted to put the vehicle into gear with the electronic gear shifter. However, it was time for the next issue now. The shifter did not work. The back lights didn’t even light up. I brainstormed for hours and then decided to take apart the center console and check the wiring. All of the connectors were plugged in properly. Then I discovered that the connector for the center console wiring was pinned out differently from one end to the other. I recalled that I had gotten the console wiring and shifter out of a Dodge Challenger. I started researching online and found that the wiring was different from the Charger. As I was looking through the console trying to determine where the new wires were run, I noticed another smaller connector in the console and the wiring colors looked familiar. I realized that they matched the colors of the wires on the Challenger gear shifter connector exactly. So I cut off the connector and spliced in the wires. Problem solved; the shifter was now fully functional.
I removed the straps and winch cable from the car and drove it off of the trailer. I messaged my Hellcat friend to let him know that the car was moving and he excitedly asked me to try and drive it to his home. I then discovered yet another issue, the power steering wasn’t working. So I checked under the hood and discovered the mechanic also forgot to add steering fluid, so I added some. The pump then worked properly. Now it was time for a road test! The car seemed to have been running well prior to getting it onto the road. As soon as I began to accelerate the RPM’s dropped out and the car went into limp home mode. I took it back to my shop and hooked it up to my diagnostic scanner. It was still sending a ton of sensor fault codes.
I spent several weeks messing around with the wiring and sensors on the car with no success getting it to run properly. With the help of a friend with a lot of influence at the local Mopar dealership, I was put into contact with their lead electrical tech who was certified to work on Hellcats, Demons, Vipers, etc. The tech started working on it and after a few hours of messing around with it he told me he was thinking one of the four MAP sensors was bad. So he advised me to order a new one and try it out. I went to the dealer and put an order in for the part, and of course, another three days to wait. Once I got ahold of the sensor and hooked it up, it still didn’t work. While I was changing the sensor, I noticed that the part number on the new one, which was ordered with the VIN from the 2016 Hellcat, did not match the part numbers on the four 2018 MAP sensors on the engine. So I then asked my friend with a 2020 Hellcat to let me borrow one of his sensors which matched all of the 2018 sensors on my engine. Still didn’t work. So then the tech spent several more hours on it. While he was working on it, I started thinking that maybe I needed all of the 2018 MAP sensors swapped for 2016 ones. When I mentioned that the tech took the new one I had and tested the voltage versus the 2018 ones. Everything seemed to have been giving the same readings. Shortly after that we called it a night. The next day the tech messaged me and said that they had another customer bring in a 2015 Hellcat for servicing and they were going to switch some parts around. Later that night he messaged me again and had it fixed! They discovered that the 2018 MAP sensors and the accelerator pedal had been changed from 2016 to 2017. So they ordered me new proper fitting parts, and it was now running like a champ for the most part, but would stall on hard accelerations and would loose a ton of power when hot.
Now to sort out a few other little details. The AC wasn’t working, the keyless entry barely worked with a super weak signal and continuously saying key fob not detected, the steering wheel was cocked sideways causing the steering angle sensor to freak out and illuminating the TC/ABS fault lights, the check engine light was illuminated due to the car missing Hellcat exhaust valves and sending a fuel level sensor fault code, the air bag light was illuminated due to the car needing a new airbag module flashed with the 2016 Hellcat VIN (airbag module locks and can’t be re-flashed, same as the PCM), and there were messages on startup for unavailable blind spot monitoring, “Service Active Dampening Suspension,” and “I/C Coolant Temp Too Low.”
I first addressed the steering alignment. Once aligned, the traction control and ABS lights went off. Then I started looking into the AC issue. I inspected the system and everything appeared to be good, but there was something electrical telling the compressor to shut off. At the same time, I noticed the intake was hot enough to cook on, which then led me to the I/C coolant temp issue. I tested the power to the I/C coolant temp sensor, which I had to changed due to it having had been broken off during installation of the engine. The signal was good, but the sensor was giving crazy output data. I had purchased the sensor at AutoZone, so I went to the dealer and purchased a Mopar sensor. As soon as I installed it the AC kicked back on ice cold and the new sensor gave proper output data. However, the supercharger was still not cooling properly. The pump wouldn’t run. That then led me into discovering that the auxiliary I/C pump is also year specific, and the one I had was from 2018 and had come with the power train. A friend helped me track down a 2016 pump. Once it was installed, the I/C cooling system was now fully functional. Another symptom that the new pump fixed was the engine stalling and loss of power. The car was now driving at 100% proper Hellcat performance.
The next issue I tackled was the keyless entry issue. One of the Dodge techs printed off a keyless entry system schematic for me. I looked it over and discovered that I was missing a remote start antenna, which mounts in the driver side C pillar. I went to the dealer and purchased the part. I then took the C pillar trim panel off and discovered a wire that I recalled was just laying in there with nothing connected to it. I installed the antenna and thankfully that issue was resolved. The keyless entry now worked from long range, stopped giving key fob not detected faults, and even would remote start, sometimes. Other times it would say “Hood Open.” So I ordered a Hellcat hood latch with an open/closed switch on it. When I went to install it, I found the connector for the switch on the Hellcat wire harness I had installed, but when I would plug it in, the horn would sound until I would unplug it. Still haven’t figured that part out yet.
Next issue was the fuel level senor fault. It took me several attempts and removing both of the pumps more than once to finally discover that the mechanic who dropped one of the pumps in had installed the fuel level sensor upside down on the pump. Another year compatibility issue. I had a 2016 fuel level sensor that I bought from Dodge, but a 2018 fuel pump. I had to flip the sensor over to the proper position and then modify the floater arm to fit properly. Once I finished, that issue was now resolved. MIL code went away and fuel gauge began giving accurate readings.
I then found a company selling a complete active dampening suspension system for $465 shipped. I jumped on it. The purchase included all of the shocks and coils for front and rear. I have not yet installed them. I also discovered Hellcat side view mirrors on eBay for $175 new, but have not yet ordered them either. However, once those parts are installed, I suspect the messages presented on startup will go away. That still leaves me with those two items, the airbag module replacement, and active suspension exhaust valves. I have been trying to locate reasonably priced exhaust valve actuators, so that I could plug them in and get the codes to go away, but so far everyone who has them treats them like they are made of gold.
One more minor issue I later discovered, was the Bluetooth phone mics. On the Hellcats, the mics are built into the headliner, on the Pursuits, they are in the rear view mirror. At some point I will need to locate the wires from the rear view mirror and splice them into the mic wires within the new Hellcat harness. Once I’ve finished with the last few modifications, the car will have almost all of the factory Hellcat features and options.
To be continued…..
©Copyright of Remi Martel 2020