• Active Autowerke E9X M3 S65 V8 supercharger kit owner shares his blown motor and customer service experience

      Active Autowerke has been in the BMW tuning game a long time. They are a well known and established name. This blown motor is a story we reported in September of 2010. We asked for further details on how this was resolved and what happened but never received them and Active Autowerke did not seem interested in addressing it. They sure have had plenty of time to do so. Read the experience of the kit owner below and come to your own conclusion but perhaps how this was handled and other internal issues explain why certain key people have left Active Autowerke as of late.


      I'm sure you all remember seeing this thread back in September of 2010. It is my 2008 E90 M3, which I had taken to Miami and supercharged by Active Autowerke. From what they told me, it was their 4th e90 M3 that had received this kit. Unfortunately after having only 1,200 miles on the kit, while driving on the highway the motor failed and a piston left the engine of the car. After having spent several thousands of dollars to have them personally install their kit, I was quite surprised.

      While this is in no way an effort to flame what is a known BMW tuner, it is an effort to share my experience with you all. I am an Active Authorized dealer, as seen on their website, so I hope you see this as a credible post. We have installed many of their kits, products, and software tunes here in house. I am quite displeased by how this mishap was handled. In the long run I was left with a $25,000 hole in my pocket, let alone having to continue paying payments/insurance on a car that sat for 16 months...

      My experience went as follows:

      I purchased the kit from them and had them install it at their facility in Miami. We then drove 600 miles back to North Carolina where I continued driving it unmodified for 600 miles. One day, while driving down US1, under moderate acceleration, I heard a loud pop, followed by smoke billowing out the back and then several lights on the dash illuminated. I immediately pulled over, and noticed a pool of oil underneath my car and chunks of metal throughout the engine bay and underneath the car. This was NO mis-shift as I was at about 6,000 RPM when this happened and was not shifting.

      I then called a tow truck and had the car towed to my shop, where under investigation, found a huge hole in my oil pan and engine block. The cylinder 5 piston had grenaded and destroyed everything in its path. I then called Active Autowerke and their representative, whom will remain nameless told me to take pics and send them to them. I did this and received a call back from one of the owners the next day. I explained that I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary while driving and he suggested I see if the connecting rod will rotate freely on the crankshaft. We found that the connecting rod would spin freely around the block, thus ruling out a bearing or oil failure.

      I then began questioning what kind of help I could receive to get this resolved and me not be completely on the hook for the repair bill. They not only suggested, but helped aid in getting it converted back to stock and take it to the dealer under warranty. I was skeptical about this to say the least, but since I felt they were good guys, and they thought it was a 'manufacturer defect' that I would give it a try, which later I felt pretty bad about. They prompted me to remove my ECU and send it to them so they could flash everything back to original settings and that nothing would be detected that there had been modifications to the ECU. I had to purchase about $1,000 worth of parts that had been cut and altered by Active during the install to mask the previous modifications. Once I got the ECU back from Active, I sent it over to the dealership on a flat bed.

      After having the car at the dealership for a week, they came back and said they had found the top speed of the car recorded was 198mph, and that the factory settings wont allow for that. That speed was recorded while on the dyno. They denied my claim saying that modifications had been performed to the cars engine and they would not cover it. After letting Active know this, the best they would do is a partial credit for the return of the supercharger kit. Wanting to keep a good relationship with them, I reluctantly agreed and started the pursuit of finding a suitable used engine, which was practically impossible. I had asked their team several times to please look out for a used engine for me, at which one was never found.

      After the vehicle had sat for 16 months, I finally saved enough to purchase an engine and just now get it in, no thanks to Active Autowerke. I guess I should have pushed harder for them to step up to the plate and fix the issue when it happened, but in an effort to save face with them, I stayed quiet when the leak of this surfaced on the internet and let their team handle things. Now, after having to fork out over $25,000 for a new engine, I feel it necessary to let the rest of the BMW community know that when shit hit the fan, I was left to burn...

      It is very unfortunate, because I know accidents happen, and it really speaks volumes about someone or a business with how they handle them. I myself own a car shop and when one of my technicians ultimately caused an engine to fail on a customers car, I stepped up to the plate and took care of it out of pocket to appease customer-because it was the right thing to do. I know if the rolls were reversed, I would have stepped up and bought the customer(me) a new engine to correct the problem at hand.

      I have already sent Active Autowerke emails stating my side of things and what I think they should have done, but their responses were vague and essentially they don't want to help me out. I have given them ample time to take accountability for this, but it appears they do not want to do anything for me. I just hope that if someone else gets into this type of situation, they will address it in a better way for their customers.

      Again, this isn't intended to flame, but rather inform.

      Be safe with who you trust to modify your baby.








      This article was originally published in forum thread: Supercharged e90 M3 Failure started by Mpowered View original post
      Comments 125 Comments
      1. Yukohama's Avatar
        Yukohama -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        M nostalgia. I think it's time for a break from BMW for me.
        Click here to enlarge time for C63 AMG Black series? Click here to enlarge
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        Ok man now I'm so confused...explain to me again why anyone would own one of these motors ?? Click here to enlarge
        To make a NA monster. Other than that, it's pointless. If you are super BMW fan, there are MUCH better engines to get tuned. and if you care about power and you are not a BMW fanboy, forget BMW and get something else. Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        To make a NA monster. Other than that, it's pointless. If you are super BMW fan, there are MUCH better engines to get tuned. and if you care about power and you are not a BMW fanboy, forget BMW and get something else. Click here to enlarge
        If this motor did not have these oil issues it would be amazing... man BMW is pissing me off.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        If this motor did not have these oil issues it would be amazing... man BMW is pissing me off.
        I really think it doesn't have any oiling issue. Drew's and Paul Walker's car only had this issue and there is a reason behind that. Drew was doing runs 24/7, and the other car was a track car AND both had stock rod and $#@!. on stage 3 with upgraded rods, you won't face such problems IMHO.

        E-mail turner motorsport and ask if they had any engine failures with stock oiling system.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        I really think it doesn't have any oiling issue. Drew's and Paul Walker's car only had this issue and there is a reason behind that. Drew was doing runs 24/7, and the other car was a track car AND both had stock rod and $#@!. on stage 3 with upgraded rods, you won't face such problems IMHO.

        E-mail turner motorsport and ask if they had any engine failures with stock oiling system.
        I don't think you realize the extent of this issue. It affects stock motors as well.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I don't think you realize the extent of this issue. It affects stock motors as well.
        and we never heard of any oiling issue on stock motors. Rod? yes, but oiling issue? no.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        and we never heard of any oiling issue on stock motors. Rod? yes, but oiling issue? no.
        Nobody is talking about it. Check the front page, watch the video.
      1. black bnr32's Avatar
        black bnr32 -
        you guys worry too much IMO

        big revs are a wonderful thing
      1. Puerto Rican 335d's Avatar
        Puerto Rican 335d -
        wow what a thread Ive learned alot, but what makes me wonder it TOOK 2 yrs for the tuner to come up with a response, although legit there are some gaps as STICKY has mentioned like the lowering of the RPM. Anyway, we also have not heard from the ORIGINAL poster, Has he been silenced, maybe?Click here to enlarge
      1. akh23456's Avatar
        akh23456 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        wow what a thread Ive learned alot, but what makes me wonder it TOOK 2 yrs for the tuner to come up with a response, although legit there are some gaps as STICKY has mentioned like the lowering of the RPM. Anyway, we also have not heard from the ORIGINAL poster, Has he been silenced, maybe?Click here to enlarge
        how is lowering the rpms a gap i have their kit and its been 8100 since day one.
      1. Andrew@lutzperformance's Avatar
        Andrew@lutzperformance -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        wow what a thread Ive learned alot, but what makes me wonder it TOOK 2 yrs for the tuner to come up with a response, although legit there are some gaps as STICKY has mentioned like the lowering of the RPM. Anyway, we also have not heard from the ORIGINAL poster, Has he been silenced, maybe?Click here to enlarge
        No he has not been silenced, I'm not from AA directly, but I'm very very close with them, and they would not do that. Reason why they did not say anything till now, is because it was NOT their fault, and the customer continued to do business with them, why point him on blast if there was no issue at that time? Its not like this data magically appeared, they held on to it, in-case something like this would happen, and unfortunately this party decided to try and hurt AA's reputation, when they IMO did their best to help him in a reasonable way.
      1. sr20seb's Avatar
        sr20seb -
        There is absolutely nothing to talk about here. There are however too many variables and too many guesses to actually fault anybody. Just like other members who said before me none of us know the state of the engine prior to the kit installation. It might have been just "good enough" out of the BMW factory and $#@! like that happens. But that "good enough" couldn't handle the extra load, we can also speculate that this could have happened down the road if the car remained completely stock.

        The only true way of knowing and proving what happened to this car is to have telemetry being recorded prior, during, and after the event. We don't have that. We don't have $#@!. If this would be me I'd have to stick the tail between my legs. You can't just say "It was working fine before...." I've heard that statement in different industries and each time I hear it I wanna rage. You need to have better proof because all the vendor has to say is this: "Well here's our other customer and his $#@! has been working fine for 1 year, so there!"
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Puerto Rican 335d Click here to enlarge
        wow what a thread Ive learned alot, but what makes me wonder it TOOK 2 yrs for the tuner to come up with a response, although legit there are some gaps as STICKY has mentioned like the lowering of the RPM. Anyway, we also have not heard from the ORIGINAL poster, Has he been silenced, maybe?Click here to enlarge
        I don't know why all of a sudden he went quiet now, does not look good on his part.
      1. Mpowered's Avatar
        Mpowered -
        It is hard to keep up on all forums, as well as continue my business and family life. But I assure you I am not silenced. There have been some further developments on this topic on other forums, but will copy/paste to this one to tomorrow.

        Quick reply: pistons look fine, valves look fine- will post pics soon.

        Lutz- if this was your kit that you designed and sold, would you have done anything differently when my engine failed with having less than 2,000 miles on it?

        I have installed many different s/c kits, including AA kits on BMW's at my shop here in NC, but I will not claim to be an expert in F/I. I do however feel that if I build a kit, and sell it, that I would stand behind the reprocussions it may cause. Guess that is just my take on things.

        If you have direct questions for me, please direct them in that manner so that I can reply. Thank you.
      1. Mpowered's Avatar
        Mpowered -
        Also, I never mis shifted this car. Engine could have hit 8705 RPM at ANY time of it's life based on their freeze frame data.

        This car had the rev limiter raised by AA software BEFORE it was s/c'd, which could have been when it hit is number. But 8705 still isn't high enough in my opinion to have done this.

        I stand behind and will include pictures to prove I never "money shifted" my car.
      1. DBFIU's Avatar
        DBFIU -
        I just have one question. How can you conclude that the supercharger kit was the cause of the failure?
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
        It is hard to keep up on all forums, as well as continue my business and family life. But I assure you I am not silenced. There have been some further developments on this topic on other forums, but will copy/paste to this one to tomorrow.

        Quick reply: pistons look fine, valves look fine- will post pics soon.

        Lutz- if this was your kit that you designed and sold, would you have done anything differently when my engine failed with having less than 2,000 miles on it?

        I have installed many different s/c kits, including AA kits on BMW's at my shop here in NC, but I will not claim to be an expert in F/I. I do however feel that if I build a kit, and sell it, that I would stand behind the reprocussions it may cause. Guess that is just my take on things.

        If you have direct questions for me, please direct them in that manner so that I can reply. Thank you.
        Sorry, but that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
        I just have one question. How can you conclude that the supercharger kit was the cause of the failure?
        Same question.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Same question.
        Me too. But I think we all know the answer.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
        I have installed many different s/c kits, including AA kits on BMW's at my shop here in NC,
        and none of those failed? if you felt it was AA fault, why did you continue to sell their stuff?