I will mention this upfront, again, if you care about your factory warranty, close this page out NOW! If you have questions about your warranty and the information you are about to read, consult your local service manager.
If you are ready to paaartayyyyyy, follow along.
Last time, we chatted about different ways to get more power out of your 6.4L HEMI® engine. But, any significant modification to your Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat outside of simple things like a cold air intake or exhaust is going to require tuning. Tuning is reprogramming the computer to work correctly with all the new goodies you installed. Technically, it’s called a calibration. Anytime you change anything significant, you have to have a trusted tuner write you a custom calibration to work with the new modifications and parts. Prior to 2015, this was pretty simple. It got a little bit harder when Dodge had to crack down on the security of the PCM (computer) to prevent undesirables like us from getting in there and messing things up. Currently, the only way you can write a new calibration or tune to your PCM is to first start with an unlocked PCM – unlocked meaning the security has been bypassed and a computer or handheld can now write to it. That’s just the way it is, folks. Deal with it.
In order to have an unlocked PCM, you have two basic choices. You can purchase a second PCM that comes unlocked from a variety of vendors online. You can also remove your original PCM and send it to one of these vendors and have in unlocked. Once you have an unlocked PCM, you now have the ability to load custom calibrations on to it, and its happy horsepower time.
So the first step to this is getting to the PCM. Before unhooking your PCM, please make sure your battery is disconnected. The PCM is located in the engine bay on the passenger side of the car under the windshield wiper cowl. We are talking Challengers and Chargers here. The wiper cowl is slightly different between those two cars, but this is easy enough to follow. Using a pin pry tool, available at most auto stores, first remove all the “Christmas tree” pushpins holding the plastic cowl on to the car.
There are a handful of these pushpin fasteners along the front and edges of the plastic wiper cowl as notated in the photo below. Again, the Challenger and Charger are slightly different, but I am confident you can follow.
After you have removed the pushpins, and put them somewhere safe where you won’t lose them, you need to remove the windshield wipers. This is pretty simple, as well. Use a very thin and flat pry tool, such as a small flat blade screwdriver, and pop the plastic round cap off where the wiper attaches to the car. Under the cap, you will find a nut holding the wiper arm on. Remove the nut and remove the wiper. Prior to removing, note where the wiper position is in its neutral/off position. The wipers are also stamped with RH and LH on the underside so you can’t mess that one up.
Additional note: On the Challenger, there is a plastic Phillips-head screw right by the glass on the far left and far right of the cowl, turn each of those 180 degrees. The Charger also has an additional pin that needs to be carefully pried out at the very edge of the cowl where it meets the fender.
After removing the wipers, you can now carefully remove the plastic cowl. It has a handful of clips along the topside that clip into place along the bottom of the windshield. It requires no tools, just lift up and it pops out. Under the plastic cowl, you will now have access to two bolts on each side of the cowl brace.
On the passenger side, one of those bolts also holds the PCM bracket in place. Remove those 4 bolts. On the underside of the brace on the passenger side, there is also a harness connector attached to the brace with a plastic clip, you will pry this out with your pin pry tool. You can now remove the brace and have full access to the PCM.
Carefully flip the level on the harness connector and it will pull the connector from the PCM. Once both harness connections are removed, you can now completely remove the PCM and bracket from the car. Remove the two nuts that hold the PCM to the bracket and your PCM is ready to be swapped out or sent off. This is your first step in getting those ponies you always wanted.