Dodge Expands Hellephant Engine Range and Debuts I6 “HurriCrate” Motors: SEMA 2022

Yes, you can buy different "categories" of the Hurricane engine

If you’re looking for that perfect crate engine, Dodge and Mopar launched more options for you.

The Hellcrate and Hellephant crate engines already offered a few different paths for a horsepower nut’s project build. Now, though, the “pressure-charged” crate engine family is growing with more Hellephant Hemi variants as well as the new 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged Hurricane I6 introduced in the Jeep Wagoneer series. It’s name is the “HurriCrate”, because of course it is.

More details on the HurriCrate

If you’re not looking for a V8, these two engines offer more choice in different categories (see what they did there?). The base engine is called the “Cat 1”, and puts out 420 horsepower with 468 lb-ft of torque, just like you get in the Wagoneer. It features an aluminum block and head, plasma sprayed cylinder bores, cast aluminum pistons and dual integrated exhaust manifolds. The base engine puts out 22 psi of boost and runs at a 10.4:1 compression ratio.

The big differences with the higher-output “Cat 3” engine are toughened internal components (like forged aluminum pistons), greater fuel and air induction by way of higher-pressure fuel injectors and a wider throttle body, higher boost pressure (26 psi) and a lower compression ratio (9.5:1). With those and a host of smaller changes, the Cat 3 puts out 550 horsepower and 532 lb-ft of torque, as you’d get in the Grand Wagoneer.

The Cat 3 will launch first, in the second quarter of 2023. Then, the Cat 1 will arrive a bit later, in early 2024. Pricing for either engine in standalone form is not available just yet, but Dodge will also launch updated 8-speed transmissions (more on that in a moment) to suit the Hurricane engines, as well as the Hemi V8s.

If your “standard” Hurricane engine isn’t good enough, don’t despair — of course a more powerful variant is coming. Dodge is developing the so-called “Cat X” for racing applications. Specs are thin on the ground for this one, though rumors suggest it will put out more than 1,000 horsepower. Again, it probably won’t be street legal, however it comes.

More on the Hellephant engines

The bigger development for Hemi fans, though, is the range of available Hellphant engines debuted at SEMA. Yes, engines (plural), as four will be available through Direct Connection. While the 1,000-horsepower, 7.0-liter beast (dubbed the “A30”) is still around, you’ll now be able to get either a less powerful version or two more powerful variants. In its most powerful form, Dodge estimates the Hellephant will put out more than 1,100 horsepower.

There’s one key distinction among the four engines, and that’s whether you want an aluminum block (like we already know) or a cast-iron one. The “C” in C30 and C170 denotes an iron block, while the “A” in A30 and A170 get an aluminum block. All four engines get forged steel crankshafts and forged aluminum pistons, though the type of connecting rods you get will change between iron and aluminum block variants.

For all Hellephant application, Dodge offers an updated “DC2” Torqueflite8 automatic transmission for applications with more than 560 lb-ft of torque. The $5,995 unit mates up to engines putting out less than 560 lb-ft of torque, such as the HurriCrate motors. The DC1 will be available in the second quarter of 2023, while the beefier DC2 isn’t launching until the third quarter.

Direct Connection transmission lineup.
Those two number affixes refer to the alcohol proof number for the type of gas they run on.

The 30 engines can handle 30 proof, which equates to E15 premium pump gas. The 170 engines, by contrast, are tuned to run on E85 (or 170 proof).

Cast-iron Hellephant engine models also have a lower displacement, at 6.2 liters (or 376 cubic inches, rather than a 426 like the big Hellephants). All the engines get a 3.0-liter supercharger bolted on top, but the smaller engines make up the size difference with a smaller 3.02-inch supercharger pulley (vs. 3.17 inches on the aluminum engines). You also get a wider 105-mm throttle body (instead of 92-mm).

Depending on which crate motor you want for a bit of a wait. In this updated range, the A170 will launch first in Q2 2023. Yes, that likely means you won’t be able to get the motor and transmission at the same time, at least going off Dodge’s schedule for DC2 availability. Beyond that, the C170 will launch in the third quarter, and the C30 will follow in the fourth quarter. Those wanting to stick right down the middle on power with the A30 model will have to wait the longest, until early 2024.

Like the HurriCrate, pricing is not available just yet. Based on the old Hellephant, we’d guess the new quartet will land somewhere around the $30,000 range, give or take a few thousand depending on which block you go with and how much power you want. As before, the 717 horsepower Hellcrate and its 807 horsepower Redeye derivative are also available through the Direct Connection catalog.