2015 Dodge Viper GT: Lots of Engine Pings
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on February 9, 2016
Man, our 2015 Dodge Viper pings. I noticed the occasional crack of engine knock earlier during its stay with us, way back when I took it on a cross-country road trip. Since then, I really haven't driven it.
The other night I took the Viper and when I had the opportunity to lay into the throttle, memories of the road trip came flooding back. And I was reminded of the pinginess.
By now the engine's long-term knock correction would long have since adjusted to its steady diet of 91 octane. But sure enough, at full whack the big V10 delivered a crackling stream of detonation so prominent it made me wince. I lifted, and shortly thereafter gave it another dose of throttle and it readily pinged again, somewhat less this time but still cringe-inducing. A third return to the throttle yielded a slight reduction in pinginess, but still present. I stopped giving it full throttle at that point.
I know what some of you are thinking. I don't buy "tank of bad gas" arguments, unless we're talking about a fuel that's been sitting for six months or more. Around Los Angeles, every fuel station has high fuel turnover. And we only ever use name brand, "top tier" stations. The Viper has pinged before, it pings now, everywhere a ping-ping. And no other car in our fleet exhibits audible detonation like this thing does.
Its knock-prone nature is a little puzzling. It's not as though the big, lazy V10 is some highly-strung engine. On the contrary, the Viper's engine is relatively under-stressed as performance cars go. Maybe the Viper's knock correction algorithm is just really crappy. Then again, side-plug, wedge-chamber engines inherently typically don't have the knock resistance of the central-plug pentroof chambers found in every multi-valve engine today.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor 17,010 @ miles