The $1 option package and preparing to launch | The Demon Diaries, Episodes 2 and 3

In the first episode of The Demon Diaries series, we covered the break-in phase of Dodge Demon ownership. This time around we’re hitting you up with a two-part double whammy.

EPISODE 2: The Demon Crate

Episode 2 takes us through the coolest one-dollar option that’s ever been offered on an automobile. I speak, of course, about the Demon Crate, that large 300-pound black box that holds a bunch of go-fast goodies that were designed to help optimize the Demon’s potential.

This is not just some piecemeal kit that a marketing guy threw together, but instead is an assortment of well-thought-out items that were meant to go with you whenever you ventured to the drag strip. Our video begins with a basic crate unboxing. We go through each and every item and give you an explanation of what each item does. For instance, the skinny front wheels were designed specifically for the Demon to save you 30 pounds off the front end of the car. Then there are heavy-duty Snap-on tools like the cordless impact gun, torque wrench, 1.5-ton floor jack, and even a digital tire pressure gauge. The electronics include a performance PCM along with an in-dash control module that allows you to utilize the full 840-horsepower that the Demon has to offer when running 100-octane fuel.

The coolest part of the kit, however (aside from the big black box), is the hard foam insert that was crafted to fit inside the trunk. Not only does it hold everything you’ll ever need, but after one look you’ll be asking yourself how something like this actually made it into a production car, because it’s that cool.

EPISODE 3: TransBrake and Launch Control w/ Jim Wilder, Demon Development Engineer

With the contents of the crate out of the way, it’s time to go through the Demon’s launch modes. To make sure we got our information correct, we enlisted the help of SRT Development Engineer Jim Wilder. With more than 1000 passes and an intricate knowledge of the cars traction management systems, there is no better-qualified person to explain how to properly get the Demon down the quarter-mile.

Let’s face it, as an owner, the Demon is somewhat of an intimidating beast—840 horses will do that. It’s the type of car that commands respect and requires patience and practice. If you give it that, it will reward you handsomely. The first reward, and by far the most important, is learning how to properly launch the car by using one of three methods (Two-Foot, TransBrake, Launch Control).

My introduction to the Demon came at the press launch that took place in mid-2017. Not only was it my first time in the car itself, but it was also my first time watching Jim run the journalists through the systems. As with most press launches, our time with the Demon was brief, and my initial impression of the launch systems, the TransBrake specifically, was that it was overly complicated and difficult to use. After having some one-on-one instruction from Jim, however, we found nothing could be further from the truth.

Before we try any launches, Jim shows us how to utilize the Line-lock system. This helps the driver heat the rear tires and improve initial traction by holding pressure on the front brakes and allowing for a burnout that warms the tire tread. Now we’re ready to run!

The first and easiest way to get out of the hole is by simply two-footing it. This tried-and-true method has been used by drag racers the world over. Simply put your left foot on the brake, your right foot on the gas, build the revs, remove your brake pedal foot, and WHOOSH—you’re gone.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon getting gas
Mike Musto

Next up is the TransBrake, the first of its kind to find its way into a production vehicle and one of the most talked about features of the 2018 Dodge Demon. While a traditional TransBrake engages first gear and reverse at the same time, the Demon instead engages first gear along with one of the clutches from second gear to essentially bind the transmission and, subsequently, hold the car in place. Not only does Jim go through this in detail, but he then explains the theory behind the Torque Reserve system and the extra steps that were needed to bring it to production. While it may seem complicated at first, I can assure you that after a bit of practice and seat time, it becomes second nature.

Finally we get to Launch Control, and, as Jim explains, this is a system that should be mainly used on an unprepped surface. Launch Control can be activated one of two ways, either by using the touchscreen or by hitting the LAUNCH button on the in-dash control module. Set your desired RPM for the initial launch to help figure out how much grip you actually have, take a few practice runs to feel the car out, and then you’re ready to go.

At just over 25 minutes, this is a long video. We recommend, however, that it be watched in its entirety as the information and techniques demonstrated are coming straight from the man who helped engineer it. Thus far the Demon has been an amazing machine, and with more practice our goal is to get it into the 9’s on the drag strip.

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