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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, All. In two or three years, I plan on buying myself a Dodge Challenger; saving up and paying in full. I don't want to deal with a loan and payments, and paying in full for a car that's going to run me somewhere between 20-30k sounds quite satisfying to me. (Not that I'd get that big of a loan anyway at 19.) I have a pretty good idea of what I want, and I'm hoping that those a bit more well versed with these cars can help me narrow it down a bit further. Right off the bat, I'd like to toss out there that I'm only interested in 2008/2009 (I forget which year it was reintroduced) to 2014. I'm not a huge fan of the 2015+ facelift.

As far as the exterior goes, I figure I can sum up what I want in a single image. I found this on autotrader. I had looked at the price tag and realized it wasn't as far out of my reach as I expected it to be. :eek2:



A few bulletpoints I'd like to address. I love the color on this particular model. Torred, I believe? The black stripes are also a must. I don't think there are any models that don't have foglights, but those too are a must for me. Why, I don't know, but I insist on having them. As far as wheels go, I'm not afraid to get a new set, but if I can get the ones I want right off the bat, I will. The ones on this Challenger are pretty indicative of what I want. I'm assuming the hoodscoops are also standard fair? Assuming Torred is what I'm looking at here, is that a metallic paint or just a gloss red?

Interior wise, I'm looking for black and a full length center console. Leather would be a plus, but not mandatory. Is the full length console a standard option, or do only specific trims have it?

Moving onto the drivetrain, I know definitely which engine I want. 5.7 HEMI V8. I could go the next step up, but I like the way the 5.7 sounds more than the bigger hemi does. I forget if it's a 6.1 or 6.4. I've seen both sizes tossed around. Yeah, I could do a catback exhaust, but I'm considering not only the cost of the car will be greater with the bigger engine, but also my insurance rate and then on top of that you add the cost of the exhaust kit. I figure if I can lower my rate and get what I want while spending less, I'll take that option. It's not like I'm going to the drag strip, and even the 5.7's rated HP (375?) is more than double what my daily driver's puts out. Ford's 3.0 V6 in the Ranger trucks aren't exactly the powerful thing in the world, to say the least...

However, I'm trying to decide between the manual or automatic transmission varieties. I've never driven a manual, but I like the picture in my head when I imagine shifting through the gears manually with your foot to the floor. That being said, what I picture in my head doesn't always come out to be reality. I'll toss out there that the city I live in is nicknamed 'stoplight city' for a reason. As someone who has spend their entire life here, I'd say the nickname is very accurate. That and 'pothole county'. :cursin:

I'm told by several that I'll get sick of rowing through the gears very quickly, and the last thing I want to do is go swapping transmissions in something this new. On the other hand, I'm hesitant to go auto and forget manuals exist, having never tried one. Ultimately I need to try one, but I'm hoping one of you can tell me if the manual transmission on offer is any good to start with.

Something else I'd like to touch on is the rear diff. My DD has a standard or 'open' differential, and boy do I hate it with a passion. Are there ANY challengers at all in my year range that come with a standard/open differential? I'd like to avoid them like the plague. I would assume a performance/muscle/sports/whateveristhecorrectterm car would come standard with some kind of limited slip rear end, but I've been taught by my own experience that logic often times doesn't always work out in the real world for one reason or another.

Another this is brakes. I cannot stand drum brakes. Again, I'd assume that all Challengers would come with disks on all four corners, but unfortunately I can't assume anything. Rockauto doesn't list any drum-related parts for the Challenger (at least for 09), but I figure it's worth confirming.

I'll touch on modifications later, but for now I'd like to learn about the stock vehicles. Also, if anyone happens to know of a good 'encyclopedia' or the like that covers my year range, and maybe help to answer some of my questions, that would be great. Thanks to anyone who's read the whole thing, and an even bigger thank you to anyone who answers.
 

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I'll try to answer a few questions for you.

Yep, it's TorRed. It almost has a very slight hint of orange in the right light. It's a beautiful color. I believe it's more of a gloss, but may have a bit of metallic.

All challengers come with the console.

The 5.7 Liter Hemi is a great engine.

Everyone has a different thought on automatic vs stick. It gets to be an even harder choice on the 15 and newer as they went to a much better 8 speed auto. I personally have been daily driving a manual transmission for the past 6 years (BMW 330i, Pontiac GTO, and SRT8 Challenger) in city traffic and it becomes second nature. I personally love the feel of a manual trans and believe it gives you a bit more engagement when driving. With that said there's nothing wrong with the 5-speed auto on the 08-14 models.
It's not for everyone, but I love a manual trans.

All manuals came with a limited slip diff. Some of the auto's didn't.

Every challenger has 4-wheel discs. In general the R/T's came with a smaller setup than the SRT's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. Helps a bunch. Are there any quick ways to tell if it has a limited slip diff? It's my hope that Dodge was kind enough to put a tag on the rear diff.
 

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Look under the rear of the car and see if the differential has vertical cooling fins, if it does its an LSD.
 

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Thanks for the info. Helps a bunch. Are there any quick ways to tell if it has a limited slip diff? It's my hope that Dodge was kind enough to put a tag on the rear diff.
If I recall correctly all Getrag's are limited slip and should have a larger case with fins on it. I believe all of the open diffs have a smaller case that is smooth. I'm pretty sure a very high percentage (or all) automatic R/T's and all V6 cars came with an open diff from 08-14. SRT's all came with a limited slip except for the 08's.


Edit: oops, it looks like hunttriumph already covered it.
 

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think you need to determine your budget is it 20-30k. at 30k you can get probably get yourself into a 2013-2014 and not be spending 20-30k on a ten plus year old car. For a 2008 RT don't think Id be inclined to pay much more than 10-15.
 

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Couple of things: One is before you buy the car you want to have enough extra money on hand for in case you lose your job. Having 6 months (more is better) worth of your monthly salary on hand to use to hold you over until you find a new job should you get laid off is very very comforting. You don't have to take the first (probably crummy) job you are offered.

Next, also, the general rule for buying a used car is to have 10% of the car's purchase price set aside just in case say the car needs a new water pump or something shortly after you bought it.

Last but not least be sure you fully fund an IRA or participate in your employer's 401(k) plan or retirement plan. (Do *NOT* put all your retirement savings in your employer's stock!)

To the above you don't have to respond one way or another. They are just to highlight there are other things to think about besides your next car. Welcome to adulthood.

Do not shun borrowing money entirely. There can be an advantage to borrowing some money -- say 25% -- to buy the car even if you have enough money to pay cash. One advantage is by borrowing to buy the car and paying the loan off helps establish your credit. At 19 you probably don't have that much credit history. You can get a real good loan rate by putting up the money you have saved to buy the car as collateral for the loan. You get some exposure to negotiating loan interest rates which should help you going forward.

Your other questions have been answered, pretty much, I can't think of anything to add.

As for the auto vs. manual that debate has been going every since the dawn of the automobile age (almost).

I've driven manuals for decades in all kinds of situations. I never was bothered by being in stop/go traffic, though I'm pretty good at avoiding it most of the time.

Not to brag but I'm very good at using the clutch and shifting a manual transmission so that driving one is almost pardon the expression automatic with me. But I'm not unique or exceptionally talented. Thus I dare say almost every person who drives a manual transmission equipped vehicle on a regular basis is also as adept as I am, some even more so. In stop and go driving I'm very aware the clutch can get overheated so I'm careful to avoid overworking/overheating the clutch -- at other times too -- and have managed to get very big miles out of clutches (in one case 317K miles). One car suffered a premature clutch failure. This model was known to have a weak clutch and the clutch was replaced on a 50/50 basis. With another car at around 140K miles the throw out bearing failed. (Double clutching may be cool in the movies but its death to throw out bearings.) But I've never had a car equipped with a manual transmission manifest any transmission trouble. My one previous automatic equipped vehicle, a Dodge D200 pickup, developed problems with its automatic transmission but I bought the truck used with around 50K miles on it and it was a commercial (CALTRAN) vehicle and I lay the blame for the transmission trouble on the previous owner and any number of drivers. Besides the transmission I found the engine had worn out camshaft bearings and I had to rebuild the engine. (All that idling...)

While all my cars since the D200 pickup have been manual -- save my 2 months with my 2018 R/T Scat Pack which came with the 8-speed automatic -- I can tell you I really enjoy the 8-speed automatic in my new Challenger Hellcat. My 2nd car and sometimes my 1st car -- my commuter car -- is my new Mini JCW with a 6-speed manual transmission. I often use the Hellcat automatic in manual mode, using the paddles -- mostly the up shift paddle -- to shift and this gives me considerable involvement. Not quite as much I guess as driving a manual but for a big car with a very big/powerful engine the automatic is easier on the engine and drive train and I don't feel I'm giving up any involvement driving the automatic.

Now I will admit that sometimes when I'm in bad stop and go traffic I'll put the transmission in pure automatic mode as it gives me the chance to focus even more on the heavy traffic. (Think I'm entitled as I have driven nearly 1 million miles almost all of then with a manual equipped transmission.)

Bottom line is drive examples of both and then decide which you prefer.
 

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Where do you live where the potholes are so bad? Alaska?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I live in southern indiana. The weather doesn't tear up the roads, rather it's the road crews that keep doing crap work. More often than not they just patch over patches. Very rarely do they actually grind and resurface.

I plan on saving up 26,750, which if my math is correct should allow me to buy one as expensive as 25,000 and then have enough left over for sales tax. I need to figure how much plates and that stuff will be. Considering just bumping up to an even 30k and calling it good.
 

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Probably the thing to do is try out both versions - since you're not an experienced 'stick driver, probably want a little time with a friend's car to get the hang of it.

Trying to test drive a 'stick during a user car dealer visit wouldn't be the easiest thing to do, especially with a model you're unfamiliar with.

The R/T models - there are two versions:

Base R/T = cloth interior, often with lower audio equipment option 168w (4 speaker), unless ordered with higher option audio (SG I is 276w, 6 speaker)

R/T Plus = leather interior, SG I is standard and there's options for SGII 368w, 7 speaker and later was Performance Audio 900w (Harmon Kardon)

Auto R/T were open diffs by default and during '12 - '14 limited slip / anti-spin was offered as an option. All manual trans models are limited slip.

The tell tale is to look at the diff case. If there's fins / ribs on the bottom its anti-spin (A5). If its the smooth case its open diff.

Any of the models that are equipped with touch screen radios
430 = touch screen, no Nav
430N = touch screen & Nav
730N = touch screen & Nav

the touch screen radios have HDD for uploading audio files - you want to check to make sure everything works on these, some units appear to have bad screens of failed HDD as they've aged.

Another thing to spot, are cracks in the black plastic body side rocker covers. They're prone to cracking where they wrap 90* into the wheel well. Common issue on the '08 - '14 design. They later replacements seem to be better over the original parts they were built with.

Torred was used throughout the years except for 2011. The only red was Redline Red Tri-Coat for that year.

The example you posted is the 20" chrome-clad wheels. 18" wheels were standard for several years, except on R/T classics, which had a unique 20" wheel (varies over the years) with that package, along with the body side dual stripe.

HID headlights - these were optional on R/T models and on R/T Classic from '11+ it was part of the package. Its not uncommon to find a fully loaded R/T and it might still have the standard halogen lights.

The way to tell an OEM HID system is they have projector lenses in the headlight. The halogen versions have the ribbed reflector.

If you find an SRT model that falls in your price range - those all came with the Alcantara / leather seat. The only version with full leather seats are the '11 Inaugural Edition SRT 392 which came in either Deep Water Blue or Bright White paint - which probably isn't what you're looking for.

Standard equipment on Challengers
*4 wheel disc brakes
*ABS / ESP
*A/C
*PS / PB / power windows/ door locks
*center console
*Keyless Entry /push button start ('11+, was optional on '09/'10 R/T)

Some packages added Homelink, alarm and remote start (A5 only) - these were optional.

Also: if you're buying an A5 R/T - check the VIN # with a dealer to insure the service campaign P01 was done (timing chain / guide replacement) - this affected A5 R/Ts from '09 - '13 model years.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Damn, Hal. You must be after my heart.

In all seriousness, that info is a huge help. I'm going to have to compile a folder (in the physical sense) for all this info. For the kind of cash I'll be laying down, I want to make sure what I buy is truly what I want. I kinda got stung doing all the research AFTER I bought my first ride. Would have bought it anyway, but there were some things I learned later that I would have loved to have known prior.

Curious, what is an A5? I presume that's the designation for the 08-14 model years?
 

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Damn, Hal. You must be after my heart.

In all seriousness, that info is a huge help. I'm going to have to compile a folder (in the physical sense) for all this info. For the kind of cash I'll be laying down, I want to make sure what I buy is truly what I want. I kinda got stung doing all the research AFTER I bought my first ride. Would have bought it anyway, but there were some things I learned later that I would have loved to have known prior.

Curious, what is an A5? I presume that's the designation for the 08-14 model years?
A5 = automatic trans, 5-speed

M6= manual trans, 6-speed

started seeing these references in more recent years when the (new to FCA) ZF automatic came along. Its referred to as the A8, so you'll see these abbreviations turning up.

Another term you'll see is EVIC Electronic Vehicle Information Center

This is the "premium" level IP cluster that has:
*4 tire TPMS monitoring
*trip computer A & B
*alarm system
*Oil pressure / Oil temp gauges
*EVIC menus for user settings
*vehicle systems monitor (error messages)
*compass
*exterior temperature

The base cluster has more limited features that won't have all the detailed menus.

On the '09/'10 R/Ts the tell tale is having steering wheel buttons = EVIC

For the '11+ all steering wheels have buttons, but the cluster won't have all the other features, but the more basic:
*compass
*single TPMS monitor (doesn't show all 4 tires individually)

The other tell-tale is if the overhead console has the homelink buttons - base systems don't have the buttons.

Good luck with your search.
 

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I live in southern indiana. The weather doesn't tear up the roads, rather it's the road crews that keep doing crap work. More often than not they just patch over patches. Very rarely do they actually grind and resurface.

I plan on saving up 26,750, which if my math is correct should allow me to buy one as expensive as 25,000 and then have enough left over for sales tax. I need to figure how much plates and that stuff will be. Considering just bumping up to an even 30k and calling it good.
There is the car's purchase price, then sales tax, but also registration, and insurance. Be sure you get a high confidence quote on what insurance will cost you. You don't want to spend all your money on the car only to find out car insurance is beyond your reach.

And I think it bears repeating you want to have some additional money set aside in case your "new" car needs tires or something shortly after you buy it.
 
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