Turn Up The Performance Of The W5A580 Transmission In Your Late Model Dodge Challenger

Posted by on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The W5A580 is a five speed automatic transmission build by Mercedes and used in many Dodge vehicles with a rear wheel drive layout. It also goes by the name 5G-Tronic or 722.6. It was used in the Mercedes-Benz SLR and the B-Class, the Jaguar X308 and the XK, the Maybach 57 and 62, and the Dodge Charger, Magnum and Chrysler 300.  It was also used in the very popular late model Dodge Challenger.

The W5A580 automatic transmissions can be found in the late model Dodge Challenger

Image source:

Of the three pony muscle cars (Camaro, Mustang and Challenger) re-introduced in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Dodge Challenger is the one most true to its original body design. It is an immensely popular performance vehicle, especially when equipped with the 5.7 or 6.1 liter HEMI engine. These motors make lots of power in their stock form, and when modified can easily make much more. While many owners make modifications to the motors in their Dodge Challenger, few do much to the automatic transmission.

There are many things you can do to the W5A580 transmission to make it more performance oriented and stronger. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

The factory torque converter leaves a lot to be desired. It is designed to stall around 1500 to 1800 rpm’s. While this is great for all around gas mileage, it’s not so good when it comes to racing. It’s a known fact that most motors make more horsepower as the rpms increase. Therefore, I recommend that you upgrade your stall converter to one that is rated at 2100 – 2400 rpms. This will allow you to launch your car when the motor is making more power. Expect lower quarter mile ETs with a performance torque converter.

This is the W5A580 automatic transmission found in the Dodge Challenger

A good performance torque converter should come equipped with furnace brazed fins and anti-balloon plates. It should also have a hardened drive tube and heavy duty mounting lugs.

Remember that a higher-than-stock stall converter will create more heat in your transmission. It is therefore recommended that you install an aftermarket transmission cooler to supplement the factory transmission cooler.

Next, I would advise that you install a product to firm up the shifts. In the old days, your only option was to install a shift kit. This required that you remove and modify the transmission’s valve body.  With the modern W5A580 you have an additional option: a handheld tuner. A handheld tuner makes all the modification necessary to improve the quality of your shifts by interfacing with the factory computer. This is possible because the transmission is fully electronic, and is controlled by many electrical/mechanical solenoids.

Both a shift kit and a hand held tuner will result in similar performance improvements and quality. They will both increase the line pressure in the transmission, resulting in more gripping power on the bands and clutches. They will also reduce the time it takes for the bands and clutch to full apply. This gives you the tire chirping shifts most performance buff desire.

A handheld tuner can be used to improve the shift quality in your W5A580 automatic transmission


Sooner or later, due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with a decision to replace the W5A580 transmission in your late model Dodge Challenger. I highly recommend doing so with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission comes with a much better warranty; three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. In the rare event that you need to contact the company that re-manufactures transmissions, they are just a quick phone call or email away!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.