2007 Dodge Charger SRT8: Cleaning the Dirty Mopar Air Filter
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on October 26, 2015
I recently opened the hood on our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 to check the engine oil level (it's fine) when I noticed the blue Mopar aftermarket cold air intake. Specifically, I noticed how dirty the air filter was. The blue fibers looked dingy and there was a lot of dust and detritus between the pleats.
Figuring I'd show our Charger a little love, I took it upon myself to clean the air filter. Now I just needed to figure out how.
Since we bought our Charger used from a dealer, I didn't have any instructions or install knowledge to rely on. To the Internetmobile, Robin!
I started researching which air intake our car has. On Mopar.com, I determined we likely had the Cold Air Intake for the 6.1-liter SRT V8 used in the Charger/300/Magnum/Challenger (part 77060006AB). I knew these types of filters are typically reusable, unlike the one-and-done factory OE air filters. Unfortunately, I couldn't find official instructions for installation or air filter cleaning.
On to Plan B. I searched owner forums and found a few posts on the subject. The posts varied on advice, but the consensus opinion came down to a fairly simple matter of taking off the filter and gently washing it with water and soap.
When I went back to our Charger, I was initially unsure how hard it would be to get the filter off. It's snug up against a black plastic box and I wasn't sure if I could just pull it off or if I'd have to loosen or take off more of the intake pipe or bracketry. Thankfully, removal was just a matter of loosening the screw-based hose clamp and flexing the air filter some (its supporting structure is rubber) to pull it off.
It was then that I discovered the Charger's previous owner had applied oil to the filter. The bottom of the filter that was previously hidden from view was oily, which you can see by the darker coloring of the filter element in the photo below.
There was also oil in the air intake tube.
Hmm. Would I need to oil our filter, too? Some reusable aftermarket air filters require oiling. Back to the Internet. From what I could determine, the filter for our intake was not supposed to be oiled. There's even a warning on the top of the filter.
Seems the previous owner goofed. I took our filter and washed it in a bucket of water with mild detergent. At first I tried using a toothbrush to remove the little bits of leaves and stems lodged between the pleats or stuck in the fiberous foam, but quickly learned that was too abrasive. After that, I just used my fingers and manually rubbed the filter to get it clean.
The water quickly got dirty so I filled up a fresh bucket and repeated the process.
After that, I shook out the filter and let it dry in the sunlight. It was about 90 degrees outside, but it took all day to get dry. I let it dry overnight, too. After that, I cleaned out the oil in the intake and reinstalled the filter.
I don't have any measurable way of knowing if my cleaning boosted our Charger's horsepower, but I'd like to think it's running a bit stronger now.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor