2008-2010 Dodge Charger
2008 • 2009 • 2010
Jon Paulette is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.
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2010 Dodge Charger (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The 2008-10 Dodge Charger is one of the last living examples of a true automotive archetype: the big ol’ American sedan. It’s handsome, roomy, comfortable and, if it’s “got a Hemi in it,” almost ridiculously powerful.
The Hemi cars get most of the attention, of course, but, thanks to a thriving tuner market, the V6 models offer plenty of performance potential. They look just as good, they’re easier to find and you’ll probably pay less. The money you save can be spent on all sorts of upgrades. Like, for example, a new stereo system.
The Charger’s factory stereo options are kind of like salsa, in that they're easily ranked according to intensity. There was “Mild” (the base 4-speaker system with 66 throbbing watts of power), “Medium” (Boston Acoustics systems with 6 or 7 speakers) or “Hot” (the top-of-the-line Kicker system with 13 speakers, including a trunk-mounted subwoofer). The stock receiver was a single-disc AM/FM/CD player. A touchscreen navigation system was available as well.
Whether you’re looking to take a base unit from “mild” to “wild” or an SRT from “hot” to “inferno,” the Dodge Charger is easy to shop for, easy to work on, and well worth the investment.
Replacing your factory radio
Removing the Charger’s factory radio is relatively easy. Installing a new one can be a bit more challenging, depending on whether you choose a single- or double-DIN receiver. Either will work, but there’s a slight difference in the installation process.
The Charger's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)
To remove the old unit, use a panel tool to pry out the top and sides of the trim panel surrounding the receiver to release the connecting clip. Ease the assembly out carefully, disconnect the wiring harness, and remove the trim panel. After you remove the four Phillips screws securing the receiver to the dash, disconnect the receiver and remove it.
Single-DIN units install with relative ease in most cases. If you plan to play music from your phone or iPod, you’ll like the “shelf” that’s built into the single-DIN adapter. It’s a great place to put your music player.
Installing a double-DIN touchscreen receiver is where things get a little (but not too) challenging. The opening isn’t quite wide enough as-is, so you’ll need to cut away some plastic bits around the edge of the sub-dash. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, but you’ll need a Dremel tool or hacksaw to carefully trim away the excess. The Charger is an old-school kind of car, but that doesn’t mean you want to go medieval on your dash opening.
The Charger's spacious factory opening will hold a wide variety of receivers. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
In order to install a new stereo, you'll need a special adapter, like the PAC C2R-CHY4 or RP4-CH11, to enable the new stereo to work with the Charger's electronics. These adapters aren't cheap, but if you purchase your new stereo from Crutchfield, we'll give you a very healthy break on the price.
No matter what kind of receiver you choose, the downside of replacing the stock radio is that you’ll lose the factory satellite radio, hands-free cell phone and other MyGIG features. The upside is that many new receivers are satellite-ready out of the box and also offer Bluetooth® functionality. A Bluetooth microphone looks and works great when you run the wiring up through the steering column and mount the mic on the inside top of the instrument cluster.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, Dremel tool or hacksaw blade (for DD installations only)
Steering wheel controls
It's relatively easy to retain your Charger's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.
Replacing your factory speakers
The Charger's factory speakers are located in the front doors, the dash, and the rear deck.
The Charger’s big, thick front doors can house big, powerful speakers. We've found that Kenwood’s Excelon KFC-XP184C 7" component speaker system or Excelon KFC-X183C 7" coaxial speakers work particularly well in the Charger. These big speakers sound terrific, and they fit right into the speaker openings using the included bracket. Of course, a wide variety of 6"x9", 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" units will also work nicely in this car.
Removing the factory speakers involves removing the door panels, which involves removing several covers, screws and clips. This isn’t terribly difficult, but it is kind of, well, involved. You’re dealing with potentially fiddly bits of plastic here, so work carefully and remain patient. It’s better to do it the right way slowly than to break stuff quickly. Your Crutchfield MasterSheet™ (free with purchase) has details on this and other aspects of the installation.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, T15 Torx driver
Anything up to a 7" speaker fits in the Charger's front door. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The rear deck also features a pair of stock 6"x9" units, so a wide variety of 6"x9", 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" units will work nicely here, as well. Aftermarket 6"x9" speakers should fit right in, while other sizes will come with an adapter bracket that’s included free with your speaker purchase.
To get to the speakers, the rear seat and rear deck will need to be removed. The degree of difficulty is reasonable, but the amount of work depends on whether your car has a fixed or folding rear seat. Either way, this job will take time and a bit of muscle, so you might want to find someone to help. We also suggest that you find a clear, clean place to store the cushions and panels as you remove them. If you think seats attract stains IN the car, you’ll be amazed at what can happen when you take them out!
The rear deck houses two speakers and, in some cases, a sub. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Note: During one of our installations, we noticed that the rear deck cover had (accidentally, we assume) been glued to the base of the rear window. After a bit of gentle cajoling, it came out with little or no damage and it went back in perfectly. We doubt this is an everyday situation with the Charger, but it’s something to look out for.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, long flat blade screwdriver,10mm or 18 mm socket
Depending on the factory stereo package, your Charger could have two or three in-dash tweeters. Boston Acoustic models have two corner units, and the Kicker package adds a 3-1/2" center-dash tweeter. They’re all easy to remove, but with the corner units, you’ll have to splice into the factory wires, and you may have to trim the new speaker’s “ears” to fit beneath the grille. A wiring adapter is available for the center tweeter.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, right-angle Phillips screwdriver (for corner units)
A panel tool makes it easy to get to the dash-mounted tweeters. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Charger
Some Chargers have a little more bass than the average car. The 7-speaker and Nav-equipped cars came with a 2-ohm single voice coil subwoofer in the center of the rear deck, while Kicker-equipped models came with a 10" square dual-voice coil subwoofer in the trunk. Both run off a factory amp and will only reproduce bass.
This Kicker sub is part of a factory option package. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing the rear deck sub involves the same process as replacing the rear speakers, so if you can, try to either replace everything at once or plan ahead for a future install by pre-wiring when you set up the speakers. You’ll also need to re-drill the mounting screw holes and cut out the carpet pad below the rather slim factory sub to obtain the mounting depth needed for an aftermarket unit. Plugging a round 10" subwoofer into the Kicker is do-able, but you’ll need to fabricate an adapter bracket and wire the sub into a new mono amp.
The trunk-mounted battery really helps if you're wiring an amp. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
If you’re truly serious about bass, you might want to choose your own sub and build your own package. High-quality enclosures from Sound Ordnance will hold subs up to 15" subwoofers, and the Charger’s spacious trunk will hold a pretty big box. It also holds a rear-mounted battery, which means you won't have to go through the firewall when you're wiring your Charger for a powerful aftermarket amplifier to drive those big subs. That's a huge time-saver when you're doing the installation yourself.
There are plenty of other ways to improve your Charger. Here are just a few of them:
Installing a security system in your Charger isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.
iPod® and satellite radio adapters
If you don't want to replace the factory receiver, you can still add versatility and great sound to the system. We offer several adapters that will allow you to use an iPod, MP3 player, or satellite radio with the factory system.
The Dynamat 10435 Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit will take care of the front doors. If you install a big sub, you might want to line the trunk lid as well.