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  1. #1
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    7 out of 7 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No

    Supercharged e90 M3 Failure

    Click here to enlarge

    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 $#@! 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.
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    Last edited by Mpowered; 01-17-2012 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Add Pictures

  2. #2
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
    Won't let me post pics but,
    You should be able to post pics now, please do.

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    Thank you for posting this.

    I always pressed Active Autowerke to mention what happened with this but they stayed quiet. It would seem you stayed far too quiet as well. I don't think it's fair for you to have to eat the full cost on this. Gintani paid for a motor failure in more ways than one that wasn't even their fault.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
    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
    Do you have their e-mail responses?

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    I do have the email conversation between them and I. Unfortunately all communications of when it occurred were via phone up until now. I can PM you the email message.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
    I do have the email conversation between them and I. Unfortunately all communications of when it occurred were via phone up until now. I can PM you the email message.
    Just forward it, admin@germanboost.com

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    Wonder what RPM the motor is at around 198 mph?, was that with the charger on the car? if so thats probably the cause or start to weakening the rod/piston

    Other than that.. are you thinking the tune needs checked?

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    As soon as they suggested taking it back to stock to try and defraud the dealer you should have hired an attorney. Shady move to say the least but why do you think they are responsible for the failure ?? Was there a warranty ? You gotta pay to play and as soon as you start wrenching on cars like this trying to get more power you better EXPECT something is gonna break.

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    Running 198 on a dyno isn't putting a load down like it would on the street.

    I was always reassured that Active spent ample time on R&D and that they tune conservatively-based on what I was told directly from them. Would the engine have failed without the charger? Doubtful. At least it would have been covered under warranty...

    Their website states 2 year unlimited mileage warranty...kind of vague don't you think? Is that on only the supplied components??

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    I know the feeling of having a motor give up, it sucks.

    Active shouldn't have had you take the car to the dealer after removing all the modifications, and even if that was acceptable they should have known that the top speed of the vehicle would still be able to be read by BMW. They should have at least given you the amount you paid for the supercharger back in full.
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  11. #11
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    man that sucks..given how gintani handled their motor situation i know where my money would go if i were to supercharge an S65...that customer service really isn't fair especially from a company with such rep and history..AA FTMFL
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  12. #12
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by doogle Click here to enlarge
    They should have at least given you the amount you paid for the supercharger back in full.
    +100

    LostMarine, if you're reading this thread, hope you know what NOT to get bud!
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  13. #13
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Mpowered Click here to enlarge
    Running 198 on a dyno isn't putting a load down like it would on the street.

    I was always reassured that Active spent ample time on R&D and that they tune conservatively-based on what I was told directly from them. Would the engine have failed without the charger? Doubtful. At least it would have been covered under warranty...

    Their website states 2 year unlimited mileage warranty...kind of vague don't you think? Is that on only the supplied components??
    Their warranty is just for the components.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Their warranty is just for the components.
    I wouldn't call that much of a warranty but again, any warranty at all when modifying cars is good but isn't really worth much.

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    got any pics of the pistons?
    Some people live long, meaningful lives.

    Other people eat shit and die.

    I'm not racist, I hate everybody equally; especially fat people.


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  16. #16
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
    I wouldn't call that much of a warranty but again, any warranty at all when modifying cars is good but isn't really worth much.
    None of the sc kit makers for the s65 warranty the motor. Only Dinan offers a warranty beyond the components. A warranty on parts only is pretty much standard practice. AA should only pay if it is their fault but clearly this could have been handled better.

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    Sorry to hear about that motor. They seriously should have stepped up instead of just hiding from you. Thanks for this post so we all know the truth!
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  18. #18
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    Wow, that's a awful story, I would be beyond pissed. AA has had a pretty solid rep IMO over the years....did they have any comments on why/how they think the motor may have failed?
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    ESS 6XX kit

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    I was wondering what happened to your car. I have been saying for years that A/A has awful service and this tops the cake. Just out of curiosity would 198MPH really launch a piston unless the bearings went first? Was it an oil passage problem again?

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    Promoted to front page. Let's see if we can get AA to help you. E-mails may be additional incentive Click here to enlarge

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    Ever since trying to fit the AA Downpipes on a 335i, I have sworn never to touch Active products again. Sad to hear about this though. I have a buddy who had a AA Supercharged e46 M3 and I don't think he could have ever covered this kind of damage out of pocket.

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    I honestly think BMW tuners are overly generous when it comes to this sort of thing. You don't see tuners of other platforms paying for new motors when cars blow up. When my 350Z blew up my shop helped me out tremendoulsy with labor charges though, which I was happy about. You gotta pay to play. There are better ways to handle things though, and think the situation should have definetly been handled differently by Active.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BoostAddict Click here to enlarge
    There are better ways to handle things though, and think the situation should have definetly been handled differently by Active.
    I think this is the major point in all of this.

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    Unless the engine's failure is a direct result of an installation error by AA or caused by poor tuning with their software, i see no reason why they should pay for it. If i had a Z06 and ordered a turbo from Precision and grenaded the engine, should Precision have to pay for it?
    Let me ask you this, were you monitoring the engine? What AFRs did the car normally run? What boost was the car running? Was there any indication something was wrong?
    i'm genuinely not trying to sound like an ass, but there are definite risks involved.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by rader1 Click here to enlarge
    If i had a Z06 and ordered a turbo from Precision and grenaded the engine, should Precision have to pay for it?
    No, but was it a kit designed for the Z06 with a tune from Precision? See the slight difference there?

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