It’s been quite some time since the last Project Log: Update! of the HEMIWagon. Oh the places we’ve gone.
As of the last serious update, the KW V2 Coilovers were installed, the front end bushings were completed, and the rears were a partial because of some hiccups. Well, last week, all of that was corrected. The rear subframe had to be dropped for some awesome reasons, and in the end, it meant that the bushings could be completed 100%, and also was down for the epic installation of what is now making the beast move.
What’s a project log without a before picture? This is the rear subframe of the HEMIWagon. About 177500 miles on it, most bushings were shot, axles were replaced last August because I tore up a CV boot on the drivers side, and the passenger side alignment was just out of spec with no way to correct it.
The control arm situation was tough at first. As a fun fact, do you know how many companies make adjustable sets for the Chrysler LX platform? Two. Razors Edge and Spohn. If there’s another one, great, but I couldn’t find it. I went with Spohn because I liked the design better. I got black ones, because I thought red would clash with the bright yellow KW springs on the car, next to the black everything else. The control arms fixed the alignment perfectly, but would I really write a whole project log update for four shiny new control arms? Nope.
It was time for a differential swap. The wheel bearings were cooked, they literally had nothing left to them. I started the search for a Limited Slip Differential, and wish I saved a few more of the pictures.
A 2010 Challenger that went up in a garage fire ended up being the donor vehicle. Actually, two 2010 Challengers and a 2006 Charger have been donor vehicles for the HEMIWagon. In time, a 2005-2008 300C will probably also be a donor, but more on that when I get there.
The thing about the picture above is that the VIN for the car and the description of the part don’t line up. I ended up asking the seller for more photos of the part itself, and lo and behold, it was the exact part I was looking for, listed incorrectly. The 3.06 Limited Slip Differential in the Challengers is a whole hell of a lot bigger than what’s pictured, and it doesn’t use a 3 bolt driveshaft. It means you’re looking at a 215mm differential for the LX cars. They’re all open from the factory. This meant I scored the differential carrier and the ring and pinion gears that I’ve been searching for. Only one thing left to do now...
I asked on the LXforums and a few other places about what LSD to go for. Quaife, Getrag or Wavetrac. The Getrag units are clutch based, which I wasn’t super thrilled about, I wanted to have a zero maintenance unit. Quaife and Wavetrac are nearly identical in how they function, but a lot of Quaife units have been breaking lately, and Quaife has been blowing people off by not honoring their lifetime warranty anymore. That just means there’s only one option left. Wavetrac it is. One edge of the carrier had to be ground down a bit for clearance, but it’s a normal thing, so just carry on and drop the unit in.
Before installing your differential (mine had 40,000 miles before the garage fire totaled the Challenger), make sure you clean it out extremely thoroughly. I assure you, it was not this clean when it arrived, but I popped the cover off when it got delivered, and it was impressive how clean it looked even before the unit got flushed out. The differential came out of a V6 car, which means that it was far less likely to have been thrashed on.
Also, a word of advice with these differentials, the snap rings are huge. By that I mean be EXTREMELY careful when removing them, and make sure you have the proper tools. These snap rings could kill someone. Safety first, kids.
And now, the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for, the shiny, totally poly bushing’d rear subframe of the HEMIWagon.
The axles are bigger, the wheel bearings are bigger and wheel hubs are nice and shiny, but they came at a price. When swapping parts between cars, know that it really helps to have the corresponding VINs on hand. I have two separate VINs for 2010 Challengers, one for the rear and a separate one for the interior (more on that later). It took 4 tries from either a dealer or parts store to have the correct axle seals for the differential. If you work in a parts store, I encourage you to learn about custom swaps and compatible part numbers. It helps everyone else too.
But wait! There’s more!
This part is the super long overdue section, where I’m going to be vague because I am fairly certain (as I couldn’t find any supporting forum info) that I’m the only crazy bastard who chose to go this far. About a year ago, I went looking for some Challenger seats. The benefit to the Challenger seats are the actual seat bolsters, as the stock Magnum seats have none. I didn’t want seats that were plastered with SRT badging, as it’s not an SRT and I didn’t want to have to mess with the upholstery at all. After some very extended back and forth with a great and very patient guy who ended up moving very close to me, I scored a beautiful set of 2010 Challenger RT seats. The guys Challenger is bad to the bone. Recaro seats up front, cam, exhaust, he had been looking at more motor work as well. He kept his seats, and luckily I was looking at the right time. Owning a wagon is also the best part, because both seats fit in the back with no problem.
This was the really hard part. The seats were not plug and play. In fact, they were everything but. Physically, the seat rails fit perfectly and bolted right in, but that was the extent of it. The wiring harness and necessary sensors made this swap very difficult. That said, the end result is extremely rewarding, knowing that I probably have the only Magnum with a fully functional, power Challenger seat swap in the front. The rear seats have not been touched yet, but I have been searching for seat covers, as the seat backs are different on the Magnum (because it’s a wagon). I also plan on installing seat heaters for the back seats when I do that, and integrating the controls to look like the front seats do for the rear.
This was a test fit, and not quite how it looks right now. I spent many hours getting these working and together, now that I know exactly how it goes, I could probably replicate it in an afternoon with the right parts. If you own a Challenger and you know how the seat back lights come on, just know that when I do the back seats, I plan to wire up those lights as well, but they are currently not powered.
You thought that was the end of it!? Of course not, but that’s the end of the pictures (unless you saw my post on Facebook).
I just picked up my wheels yesterday morning. 18x9 5 spoke steel wheels, and I’m now tire shopping again. The tire I was originally going to get is no longer made (story of my life right now), so I now have to settle for a different size altogether. I’m going to be getting a set of 255/55R18 tires for the rear, and keeping the fronts at 225/60R18 for a staggered look without going crazy. Now, I’m not 100% sold on this, as I may end up stuffing larger tires on the car, but I need to talk to a guy at Diablosport as well as take another look at the sizes and rear suspension. The rear of the car may be raised about a 1/2 inch if that’s what it comes down to to stuff some balloons into the wheel well (265/60R18 if I can find a tread I like).
For anyone who wants to know some numbers, the axles are rated for 500HP and safely tested north of 600 on some drag cars. The differential has no horsepower limit as long as it has the correct fluid and fluid level. I currently have just shy of 400 miles on the differential and it feels great. Just need to go back over some grease fittings because there’s a bit of a squeak that I can’t track down coming from the rear drivers side.
Photos of the wheels and the new tires when they get test fit, painted and stuffed onto the car.
Until then, Happy Mother’s Day, go do something nice for your mom, and if you have questions about the HEMIWagon, post them below!