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    • 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. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
        and none of those failed? if you felt it was AA fault, why did you continue to sell their stuff?
        An interesting question.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
        and none of those failed? if you felt it was AA fault, why did you continue to sell their stuff?
        And they said they reimbursed you for the cost of the kit yet you still weren't happy ?? Funny you left that out in your OP.
      1. Mpowered's Avatar
        Mpowered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        And they said they reimbursed you for the cost of the kit yet you still weren't happy ?? Funny you left that out in your OP.
        From my original post:
        "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."

        I was not reimbursed the entire amount which AA is now stating.

        I have said before that I am not an expert on forced induction but do feel that the kit needed more R&D, bearing in mind mine was the 4th kit they had installed.

        I will post pics, data and more Sunday. Either way, I was incredibly generous to have kept quiet for this long. Why am I speaking out now? Because I feel the possible candidates who plan to s/c their M3's should know the facts.

        I asked a direct question to Active, yet they answered all but my question of: have any other e9x M3's with your supercharger kit failed? I kind of suspect I may not be the only one and they are trying to cover up something.

        Either way, everyone have a great night! I will check back daily and reply to questions as best I can. Thank you all,
      1. Andrew@lutzperformance's Avatar
        Andrew@lutzperformance -
        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.

        Yes, we would have done a few things different, but you STILL have yet to have any evidence to prove that AA's kit was the cause of the failure.... Since you OWN a shop, the engine should have been documented, and disassembled by either YOU OR AA, and if you had AA disassemble the engine and they documented the dis-assembly and determined the cause of the damage was not their liability you at that point should pay AA for their time and labor. NONE of this was done, not even on your part, instead you make claims with no actually HARD proof..... let me put it this way, we have had several BLOWN engines come to us from other shops, we document EVERYTHING for the client, pictures, measurements, contamination results ect, then send it to a 3rd party engine lab (machine shop) and get their opinion on the failure, then return all information to the client.

        I never said if AA was responsible that they shouldn't make an effort to help you; however they did the following
        1. credited you for the kit AT WHATEVER amount you want to argue about, this it not their responsibility yet they still did this in good faith.
        2. Asked for proof of how you feel they are responsible, of which your only answer is "I only had the kit on for 1200 miles or 1800..." you still have not provided them proof of a tuning failure or "bad R&D", not to mention NO other engine has failed from an AA kit..
        3. They continued to do business with you and your establishment in good faith and yet you come out 1.5 years later claiming to "only make the public aware, yet leave important details out of your posts and since this came out some time later from your original post I don't doubt you requested some form of compensation or you would blast forums with your "claims"


        does that makes sense?
      1. ar design's Avatar
        ar design -
        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.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
        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.
        If you are trying to totally wreck your credibility, congratulations! You just did it like a boss. I honestly have no idea how you can claim to own a shop.

        Damage to pistons would indicate a tuning issue. 99% chance that if there were detonation issues etc, the factory piston would have gone bye-bye long before the rod collapsed and snapped due to excessive cylinder pressure.

        When the ECU was re-flashed with a supercharger tune, it erases all the freeze frame data. So again, fail.

        So, either you have a freak rod failure, which has nothing to do with AA, or you money shifted the car. Either way, I dont see why AA should have offered to fork over even $1.

        And again, I compete DIRECTLY with AA on non-SC products, so I have no horse in this race.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        "When the ECU was re-flashed with a supercharger tune, it erases all the freeze frame data. So again, fail."
        If that is true, its the most valuable piece of information
      1. e38 prototype's Avatar
        e38 prototype -
        "Yea, I need that money for the kit back... also I would like to continue selling the same thing that may have blew up my car if you don't mind, I'm also gonna post up on some forums after I make some money when I realize how much I'm gonna over pay for a new BMW block"....


        Come man.. seriously? That's the picture you paint here? Lack of common sense seems to be the only issue in your case...

        When you bolt a turbo or supercharger to a stock block, you EXPECT the worst to happen... that's nothing new anymore.

        Next time build the damn block and forget about it.
      1. Mpowered's Avatar
        Mpowered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by e38 prototype Click here to enlarge
        "Yea, I need that money for the kit back... also I would like to continue selling the same thing that may have blew up my car if you don't mind, I'm also gonna post up on some forums after I make some money when I realize how much I'm gonna over pay for a new BMW block"....


        Come man.. seriously? That's the picture you paint here? Lack of common sense seems to be the only issue in your case...

        When you bolt a turbo or supercharger to a stock block, you EXPECT the worst to happen... that's nothing new anymore.

        Next time build the damn block and forget about it.
        The last time I bought a s/c from AA was mine. The last one I installed was a used unit that the customer supplied. I have not been profiting off their s/c kits since my experience.
      1. ar design's Avatar
        ar design -
        You going to fill the serious gaps in your story, or just keep bashing AA and Lutz?
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        E-mail turner motorsport and ask if they had any engine failures with stock oiling system.
        TMS - 2 E92 M3s

        Automatic Racing - 1 or ? E92 M3s

        Bimmerworld - 2 E92 M3s

        Fall Line - 3 E92 M3s

        Insight Racing - 1 E92 M3

        Rum Bum Racing - 1 E92 M3




        Find the engine builder.....that's the Oracle. Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        TMS - 2 E92 M3s

        Automatic Racing - 1 or ? E92 M3s

        Bimmerworld - 2 E92 M3s

        Fall Line - 3 E92 M3s

        Insight Racing - 1 E92 M3

        Rum Bum Racing - 1 E92 M3


        Find the engine builder.....that's the Oracle. Click here to enlarge
        Well, now that is something to chew on.
      1. Puerto Rican 335d's Avatar
        Puerto Rican 335d -
        Woohoo let the games begin, damn i started a fire. you go boys lets hear it out!!!
      1. xclone's Avatar
        xclone -
        Hey guys - just wanted to comment on Jordan's shop. He is no longer owner of the shop which I think may be why he is just now sharing this story. Import Motor Werks has done alot of work on my car and their mechanics are pretty darn good - custom fitting an IC, a meth kit (on a 5 series) and a few other assorted knick knacks. I know Jordan is moving out of the area so, again, I have a feeling he never posted so as not to sour the relationship with AA while still being a shop owner who sells their product.

        I can also confirm that the M3 was taken to the local BMW dealer who did indeed uncover the top speed was 190+ and denied his warranty claim.

        I have no dog in this fight either but I wanted to share that information as I think it will shed some light on unanswered questions as well as remove any bad feelings towards IMW as a shop. They've always been top notch and more then fair to me as a customer.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xclone Click here to enlarge
        I can also confirm that the M3 was taken to the local BMW dealer who did indeed uncover the top speed was 190+ and denied his warranty claim.
        how so
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
        how so
        Shadow memory ?
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        i meant how can he confirm, was he there, did he see the printout ect. how was he involved and not just told about..
      1. xclone's Avatar
        xclone -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
        i meant how can he confirm, was he there, did he see the printout ect. how was he involved and not just told about..
        I was asking my SA about how they felt about modding (before I had ever gone to IMW) and he relayed this exact story to me - almost word for word. There is much, much more to that portion of the story but, in short, he told me about an M3 that had a warranty claim for the blown engine. He told me this as I asked him about the tunes that "claim" they are undetectable - so he told me about the shadow memory and top speed. From knowing the OP, I know the car had far more then an SC on it as well. They opened a PUMA case and upon investigation, found the shadow memory as well as telltale marks of a SC install and other aftermarket parts and denied his warranty.

        While I of course have no photos or charts to prove this - it was an unsolicited account of this which I asked Jordan about and he told me exactly the same story.

        I don't want to add or take away from the OP as I know him and he's, from my experiences, a good guy. I just thought I would add some additional information that I know because I saw IMW getting thrown into the mix and they are really stand up guys there.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xclone Click here to enlarge
        I can also confirm that the M3 was taken to the local BMW dealer who did indeed uncover the top speed was 190+ and denied his warranty claim.
        Anything in writing to substantiate this?
      1. xclone's Avatar
        xclone -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Anything in writing to substantiate this?
        None.. just an unsolicited conversation I had with the SA who handled the issue before I knew the OP or ever been to the garage before. It was confirmed by the OP when asking if about it the first time at their garage.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xclone Click here to enlarge
        None.. just an unsolicited conversation I had with the SA who handled the issue before I knew the OP or ever been to the garage before. It was confirmed by the OP when asking if about it the first time at their garage.
        Unfortunate as this is a major point of conflict between the OP and AA. I am inclined to believe a car was not run to 190 on a dyno.