The Top 5 Dodge 5.7 HEMI Performance Upgrades. The Dodge 5.7 HEMI engine is popular in many Dodge and Chrysler performance cars, Ram trucks, and other vehicles. Its large displacement provides reliable power right out of the box. The 345 HEMI, on the other hand, leaves a lot on the table. A few simple upgrades can elevate the 5.7 V8 to new heights. This guide covers the best 5.7 HEMI upgrades, power gains, cost, performance, and other topics.
*Some headings or titles may be referred to as Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, and so on. We could also be more specific, as in Ram 1500. This article is applicable to all models with the 5.7L HEMI engine – also known as the 345 HEMI. Although fit varies, the concepts and modifications we discuss are applicable to all.
345 HEMI Updates & Changes
As an engine that is over 18 years old, the 5.7 HEMI has seen its fair share of updates. Many of the updates are designed to keep up with stricter emissions regulations while also maintaining competitive performance and power. We wrote a guide about common 5.7L HEMI V8 engine problems, and we discussed these updates in greater detail.
The 5.7L engine received the most significant update in the 2009 model year. The 5.7 Eagle is its name. Many of the changes, such as variable cam timing and a better flowing cylinder head, help improve power and performance. Check out the article on common problems linked above for more information on the specific updates. Certain models, such as the Ram 1500 and Dodge Charger, have minor differences and offer varying power output.
The main goal of this section is to discuss 5.7 HEMI performance updates in general. Not all engines will react the same way to mods. In general, the later 2009+ 5.7 Eagle is more capable. However, older engines have lower starting power output and may benefit more from mods such as intake manifolds.
The point is that any power or performance improvements we discuss are only estimates. It’s not just about engine differences either. The results can vary greatly depending on other mods, conditions, age, mileage, and so on.
Upgrades for the Dodge/Ram 5.7 HEMI
The following are some of the best bolt-on performance upgrades for the 5.7 HEMI V8 engine:
- Tune (& fueling) (& fueling)
Reduce the number of cams These are all simple bolt-on modifications. They are the foundation for increasing power on the 345 HEMI. Even if you go with forced induction, the above mods are a great place to start.
This article will go over these 5.7 HEMI power upgrades in great detail. We’ll go over everything from the benefits to the risks to the power gains and more. Of course, there are numerous excellent HEMI performance parts, so this is not an exhaustive list. There are simply too many options and builds to cover everything. Let’s take a look at some other common 5.7L V8 HEMI engine modifications.
Other 5.7 V8 Performance Power Modifications
This article’s main focus is on the mods listed above. However, we will also discuss a few 5.7L HEMI power upgrades, such as:
- Body Throttle
- Manifold for Intake
We’ll go over all of these mods briefly near the end of the article. Additionally, keep an eye out for individual guides for a variety of 5.7 HEMI mods in the near future. Anyway, let’s get started and talk about some of the best Dodge & Ram 5.7 HEMI upgrades from above.
1) Tuners & Tuning for Ram 5.7 HEMI
Adding a tuner to your 5.7 HEMI is debatably the best power upgrade you can make. It’s not just the advantages of tuning the 345 Mopar engine. A tune is also the foundation for getting more power from other mods. When you begin modifying the airflow and fuel, it is critical to properly calibrate the computer (PCM) for all of the changes. A tune is still a great performance mod as a standalone upgrade for Dodge and Ram vehicles.
Adding a tuner to your 5.7L V8 provides the following advantages:
- 5 to 15 horsepower (on an otherwise stock engine)
- Gains in torque are comparable.
- Enhanced response
- Improved fuel economy
Other advantages may exist, but performance and power are the most important. On a stock 5.7 HEMI, you may only see 5-10 horsepower gains. With other modifications such as an intake, headers, and so on, the tune alone may yield gains of 15-20 horsepower. Torque gains can be comparable, and you’ll most likely notice improved throttle and engine response. With the right tune, you can get better fuel economy.
To actually flash the 345 HEMI powertrain control module, you’ll need a tuner device (PCM). Most tuners cost between $350 and $600 and come with some basic off-the-shelf tunes. The best results come from custom tuning the 5.7L V8 engine, which can cost another $200-300. Anyway, a tune is a good all-around mod for a reasonable price. Certain mods, such as intake manifolds, cams, and other upgrades, also require it.
HEMI 5.7 Dodge Tuners’ Fueling
It’s worth noting that the biggest gains from a 5.7 HEMI tuner will come from higher grade fueling. The higher the octane rating, the better. Most people only have access to 91 or 93 octane gasoline. You may be able to gain even more power if you have easy access to higher grade fuels.
We like ethanol (E85) fueling, but it’s too much for NA engines. There are options for converting your 5.7 HEMI to E85. This can offer extra gains of 10-20+ rear wheel horsepower. Running full E85, on the other hand, is about 30-40% less fuel efficient, so trips to the gas station will be frequent. This is especially true if you use all of your power.
To summarize, the higher the octane (or ethanol E85), the better the power gains with a tune. Unless you’re willing to deal with the hassles of E85 or race gas, 91 or 93 octane tunes are likely to make sense for most people.
Price of 5.7L V8 Tuner: $350-600
HP Gains for the 5.7 HEMI Tuner : 5-15 horsepower (20-30+whp with race gas or E85)
2) Performance Intake Mods for the 345 HEMI V8
Following that will be performance intake upgrades for the 5.7 HEMI V8 engine. These modifications are also known as cold air intakes, intake systems, and so on. With minor modifications, performance gains from a 345 Mopar cold air intake may be underwhelming. However, as you increase the engine’s power, it’s critical to allow it to breathe.
Cooler air can also be introduced into the Dodge/Ram 5.7L engine with the right intake upgrade. However, we usually disagree with the cold air intake designation. The majority of the gains are simply due to a more efficient air-box design and higher flowing cone filters. In any case, a few advantages of a performance supplement include:
- 0 to 7+ horsepower
- Torque can be increased.
- Improved response
- Enhanced engine sound
The factory intakes on the 5.7 HEMI perform admirably for the engine’s intended power output. If you don’t have any mods, an intake won’t help you much, if at all. However, with a tune, headers, and other modifications, an intake can produce 5-7+ horsepower. It’s not great, but an intake is fairly cheap and easy to install. We also think it looks great in the engine bay and makes great noises.
What To Look For When Buying Dodge Ram Intake Upgrades
To be honest, many intakes will provide comparable power and performance. There still are some important factors to consider, though. In a Dodge Ram 5.7 HEMI performance intake, look for the following features:
- Design of a closed air-box (unless going forced induction)
- A high-quality filter from a well-known brand
- Simple assembly/installation
An open design intake is fantastic for increasing flow on engines that are running on boost. When you have an intercooler, intake temperatures don’t matter as much. On a NA 5.7L Mopar engine, however, we recommend sticking with an air-box and lid. Otherwise, look for a good air filter and a quality 5.7 HEMI cold air intake kit. S&B and K&N are both great filter options.
Price of Intake Upgrades: $200-400
HP Gains for Dodge 5.7L Intake: 2-5+ horsepower
Upgrades to the 5.7 HEMI V8 Headers
Because there are so many options on the market, headers can be a lengthy topic. For more information, see our ultimate 5.7 HEMI headers guide. Headers are also referred to as exhaust manifolds. Catless vs. high-flow cats is an important consideration for exhaust manifold modifications. We’ll do our best to cover as much as possible in this short space, but an article about 5.7 HEMI header upgrades will be published very soon. Let’s talk about this awesome mod until then.
Without going too far, forced induction headers will provide some of the best power gains on the Dodge 5.7L engine. If we had to choose between two mods, it would be a tune and headers without a doubt. Headers are designed to reduce back pressure. Because the exhaust manifold bolts directly to the engine, it will provide the most power gains of any part of the exhaust system. The following are the advantages of upgrading 5.7 HEMI headers:
- 15-30 hp and up
- 10-20% torque is recommended.
- Exhaust note is louder and more aggressive.
Power and torque gains are impressive, but larger headers, such as 1 7/8′′ headers, can really wake up mid-range torque. On lightly modified engines, expect gains of 15-20 horsepower. Other basic 5.7 HEMI upgrades may result in an increase of 25-35 horsepower. Another advantage is a louder and more aggressive exhaust note.
Related : The Toyota Engine Fault Code P0441
HEMI Catless vs High-Flow Headers 345
Again, the main purpose of headers is to reduce back-pressure. Fully catless headers will perform best in this regard. Then there are sizing options, such as 1 5/8-inch headers or larger 1 7/8′′ options. Larger headers will also provide more flow, so a 1 7/8-inch catless header will most likely be the best performance upgrade for the 5.7 HEMI.
Catless headers, on the other hand, are technically illegal in all states. You are also unlikely to pass emissions testing. This is where high-flow cat headers for the 345 Mopar engine come into play. They still gain incredible power, but not quite as much as catless options. Expect gains ranging from 10 to 25 horsepower.
Upgrade Price for 345 HEMI Headers: $400-1,200+
HEMI Headers 5.7 HP Increases: 10-30+ horsepower
4) Exhaust Systems for Dodge/Ram 5.7L V8
Alright. We’ll move through this section quickly because it’s similar to the headers discussion. Exhausts are also not as beneficial as headers, so if you only want one exhaust mod, headers should be the obvious choice. Anyways, an exhaust system is still among the best 5.7 HEMI upgrades.
Power gains can vary greatly depending on the specific exhaust configuration. It’s about the same thing as the headers above. The ultimate goal of a Dodge/Ram 5.7L exhaust upgrade is to lower back-pressure. The most gains will come from a better flowing exhaust. Exhaust mods for the 5.7 HEMI can provide the following power gains:
- Comparable torque
- Fantastic sounds
A full exhaust system (excluding headers) can provide gains of 3-10 horsepower. 5.7-liter Mopar engines with catted exhaust will most likely be on the low end. A fully catless exhaust could provide 5.7 HEMI power gains in the 7-10hp range. With the right exhaust system, you’ll also get some awesome engine and exhaust sounds. However, if you go with a fully catless exhaust, no mufflers, and header upgrades, things can get LOUD quickly.
Exhaust for the 5.7L HEMI V8 costs between $300 and $1,000.
HP Gains from HEMI Exhaust: 3-10 horsepower
5) Cam Upgrades for the 5.7 HEMI V8
Another extensive topic is 5.7 HEMI cam upgrades. We don’t have time in this article to go over all of the specifics. However, we have a comprehensive guide on 345 HEMI cam mods available here. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to duration, valve list, LSA, and other topics. All of these variables can have a direct impact on the results of camshaft upgrades on the 345 Mopar engine.
Certain cam modifications may sacrifice some low-end torque in exchange for massive top-end results. However, not all camshaft upgrades are the same. Some have gained 50-60+ horsepower and 20+ torque without sacrificing low-end performance. Not everyone should expect those results, but it’s still highly impressive.
However, there is a drawback to performance cam upgrades on the 5.7 HEMI engine. Basic kits can range from $500 to $800 or more. When you include other components, a camshaft can cost $1,300 or more, such as this Comp Cams Stage 3 HRT kit. If you can’t do the installation yourself, that’s another significant expense. Labor for cam installs can range from $1,000 to $1,500 or more.
When you add it all up, you could be looking at $2,000 to $3,000+ for 5.7 HEMI cam upgrades. That is not a cheap power upgrade. However, if you choose the right setup, you can still get a lot of bang for your buck. Gains of 40-50+ horsepower are not unusual. It’s about as good as it gets without the addition of forced induction.
Price of 5.7 HEMI Camshaft: $500-1,300+
HP Gains from Cam Upgrades: 20-50+ horsepower
Other 5.7 HEMI Performance Modifications
Some mods that didn’t make the main list are listed below. We believe that the 5.7 HEMI upgrades listed above provide the best bang for your buck. However, there are numerous other excellent options and choices for power mods on the 5.7L V8 engine. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does include some of the runners-up. Again, we’ll have plenty more mod guides and performance information on the 5.7 HEMI in the near future.
1) Dodge HEMI 345 Supercharger Kits
The subject of superchargers for the 5.7 HEMI is extensive. We’re talking about superchargers here, but any forced induction is a great mod. It’s a winning combination for serious 500-700whp builds. However, there is so much to talk about. We wrote a 4,000+ word article about 5.0 Coyote superchargers and feel like we could have written three times as much to cover everything thoroughly.
Regardless, 5.7 HEMI supercharger upgrades are a great option if you’re looking to make a lot of power. However, if you really want to push the boundaries, it becomes costly. Fueling, cooling, pistons, rings, and other issues must all be addressed. In essence, a Dodge/Ram 5.7 V8 supercharger can produce significant power, but it can also be prohibitively expensive.
2) 5.7L HEMI V8 Throttle Body Modifications
The throttle bodies on the 5.7L V8 engine are 80mm in diameter. It’s the same size as the throttle body on the larger 6.4 HEMI engines. As a result, we don’t think it’s necessary until you get into the 450-500 horsepower range. Even on the larger, more powerful engine, it flows well enough.
If you choose to upgrade the throttle body, you may notice some minor power and performance gains on the 5.7 HEMI. We just don’t think it’s enough to justify the price unless you’re after 450+ horsepower. Anyway, if you do upgrade, go for something simple like an 85mm throttle body.
3) Upgrades to the Ram 5.7 HEMI Intake Manifold
Another popular 5.7 HEMI performance upgrade is an intake manifold. You have the option of porting the manifold or upgrading to a new aftermarket manifold. Some Ram 1500 owners choose to upgrade to the 6.4 HEMI manifold using an upgrade kit like this one. Another intake manifold modification is replacing the stock 5.7 HEMI manifold with a 6.1 HEMI manifold.
With numerous upgrades, the results can vary greatly. With the right manifold, you could gain 5 to 10 horsepower. Some, however, sacrifice a little torque for more top-end power. Unless you’re looking for a powerful 400-450+ horsepower build, we’re not convinced by the results. As a result, it didn’t make our list of the top 5 basic 5.7L HEMI bolt-on mods. If you want to learn more about 5.7L V8 HEMI manifold upgrades, we have a full article on the subject.
4) Rear Gearing on HEMI 5.7 Engines
Many Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler models equipped with the 5.7L MOPAR engine have low final drive ratios. These engines also lack torque in comparison to modern engines. Changing the ratio of the rear axle can help with torque. Shorter gears and a higher speed at a given RPM are the trade-offs. However, it can significantly assist in bringing the 5.7 HEMI to life.
Ram 1500 pickup trucks come standard with 3.21 rear gears. Moving up to something like a 3.92 is a good idea. Some Dodge Chargers have a rear gear as low as 2.62. Upgrading to a 3.55 or 3.73 is a good improvement for the HEMI. This is a large topic to cover in depth, so we’ll consider discussing it in its own article.
*If you want better acceleration and torque, we believe this is a great upgrade for the 5.7 HEMI. It simply did not make the list because it does not have a true 5.7 HEMI engine or power mod.
Summary of 5.7 HEMI Engine Upgrades
In our opinion, the 5.7 HEMI engine is underpowered from the factory. However, its large displacement implies that there is a lot of untapped potential. Even simple bolt-on modifications can help the 5.7L Mopar V8 perform well. A tune is an excellent starting point for laying the groundwork for more power.
Following a tune, we believe headers and camshafts are the best upgrades. They can both be pricey if you go for high-end options and don’t do the work yourself. When all is said and done, a tune with headers and cams can easily add 30-70+ horsepower. 5.7 HEMI upgrades such as exhaust systems and intakes can also add a little more power at a low cost.
Those seeking more should look into Dodge/Ram 5.7L performance mods such as throttle bodies, intake manifolds, and final drives. If that isn’t enough, it’s time to think about forced induction, such as a supercharger. If you go this route, you can easily build a 500-700whp 5.7 HEMI, but you may end up spending more than $20,000 on the build. Whatever path you take, a few upgrades can transform the 5.7 HEMI into a completely different beast.