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  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Pencil Geek's experience with PowerChips tuning, in his own words

    A buddy of mine sent me this, seems like something that should be posted up in this forum:

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PencilGeek
    It's always troubled me that PC has chosen to attack me in public -- considering that 1) I was never their customer, and 2) I've never even publicly stated that they tuned the stroker motor. They are now threatening to expose my private emails if I ever tell this story. It's very perplexing behavior from a company that supposedly has such a good reputation.

    Here's the short version (the long version would literally take 5-8 pages typed out) -- and would include full transcripts of emails, text messages, and dyno charts.

    • Before giving PC the stroker, PC represented that they had successfully reverse-engineered the MSS60 DME -- including fuel, spark, and VANOS.
    • Upon first day arrival at the dyno, I discovered it was not true. They had never hooked up any analysis tools to the DME, and didn't even know where to purchase such tools. I ended up telling them to go buy the Bavarian Technic tool for the job.
    • The stroker had a very nasty torque dip between 2500-3700 RPMs. PC was unable to fix it. They claimed that they fixed it. But if you look at the dyno charts of the "fix" it's obvious that they "masked" the problem by destroying the bottom end torque (below 2500 RPMs) to make it look like the torque dip had disappeared. We lost 40+ ft/lbs of torque (if memory serves me correctly, it might have been as much as 60 ft/lbs).
    • I asked why they didn't use the VANOS to fix the torque curve, Jeremy told me he didn't know where to find it in the ECU maps.
    • When the tuning was "done" (a few months later), RD Sport picked up the car and initially refused to take it because it started and idled so bad. They did end up taking the car, but called PC to complain about the bad running car. PowerChip promised to continue tuning the car to "fix" the problems.
    • In the meantime, I was driving the car. I had check engine lights, and literally 12-18 fault codes in the DME. If the fault codes were cleared, at least 8-10 of them would come back within 30-50 miles, and over time the rest would return as well.
    • I brought the car back to PC, and they insisted on a $1000 payment. I wasn't their customer, but instead of fighting with them for breaking another deal, I paid the $1000 out of my own pocket -- just to get the car fixed.
    • They kept the car for another week, and claimed to fix all of the problems. They got 3 more horsepower, and there were allegedly no fault codes or check engine lights. PC was very proud that they did not disable the check engine light -- and they had fixed all of the problems.
    • I picked up the car, and it ran just as bad as it always did. We all believed that I had bad idle control valve hardware. I spent $1400 to replace the idle valve hardware (thanks to Irvine BMW, my car was flagged in the system and no longer warrantiable). After replacing all of the idle valve hardware, nothing changed -- the car ran just as bad as it always did.
    • Here's the symptoms I was stuck with:

      • Would immediately limp mode upon any cold start -- whether it was 100 degrees ambient temperature or 30 degrees.
      • Would stall during warm up -- 1 out of 20 times.
      • Would stall after warm up -- twice.
      • Whether warm or cold, 20-25% of the time, the car would enter limp mode simply by launching the car from idle. These were not aggressive launches -- I'm talking about driving around town with my wife to go pick up groceries. Imagine limp mode 25% of every time you had to come to a traffic light!
      • Check engine light was completely disabled -- completely opposite of what they promised.
      • 12-18 fault codes stored in the DME. Clearing them had no effect -- they always returned.

    • At this point, i was tired of these guys. I flashed the DME back to stock -- and MOST of the problems went away! No more limp modes, no more stalls, no more cold start problems. I did still have a rough idle and fault codes -- but at least it wasn't an embarassment to drive my car around town any longer.
    • None of these problems existed when PC first got the car and as soon as I flashed it back to stock, the problems went away. Clearly, PC was the cause of all of the problems -- not faulty idle valve hardware or anything else.

    Some more annectodes:

    • While the car was in their possession, pictures showed up on the internet of my car at an apartment complex in Costa Mesa. I wrote an email simply asking for an explanation. The CEO of PC emailed back yelling and screaming at me -- how dare I inquire about my own car being used for possible non-business use. He was so pissed at ME for simply asking for an explanation, that he ordered my car flashed back to stock and returned immediately. (In hindsight, I wish I had taken him up on the offer.) I called Travis the following day and got things back on track.
    • On July 4th 2009, fireworks landed on the roof of the PC building and burnt a small hole. PC was in possession of my $12,000 Amuse Ericsson exhaust -- so I called to make sure it was OK. I got no response. Over the course of the next 30+ days, I called and repeatedly emailed PC to ask about my exhaust. They refused to take my phone calls, but always answered my emails. In every email response, they never told me the condition of my exhaust, or when/where I could come pick it up. They completely ignored all exhaust-related questions. I immediately surmised that PC was holding my exhaust hostage (kidnapped) because RD Sport (the real customer) had not paid for the custom tuning process ($3,000-$5,000).
    • After 30+ days, I was about to call the Costa Mesa police to report the exhaust stolen. I decided to make one last attempt on Friday before calling the police on Monday. I called business, cell phones, and emails. I finally managed to get Jeremy on the phone and asked about my exhaust. He acknowledged that they were holding my exhaust because RD Sport had not paid them. I objected and insisted on the return of my property. I finally picked up the exhaust a few weeks later on one of my trips to Southern California.
    • At this point, PC was pissed at RD Sport, RD Sport was pissed at PC, I was pissed at PC -- but I still had a car that ran like crap. So I negotiated between PC and RD to get the project back on track -- and give PC one more opportunity to fix the tune on the stroker. That's when I delivered the car back to PC -- and they insist that I give them $1000 (even though I was never their customer).
    • PC hit a block of cement in my car and damaged two of the HRE wheels.
    • Luckily, Eibach owed me a replacement wheel already -- which they honored. PC paid to get the second wheel repaired somewhere in Santa Ana -- not at HRE.
    • When I picked up the car, within 1/2 mile, I noticed a vibration that never previously existed.
    • We put the car on a lift and saw that the "fixed" wheel was bent.
    • On Christmas Eve 2009, that wheel broke.
    • The wheel was sent to HRE for warranty repair. HRE denied warranty repair because they could tell the wheel was improperly heated during a previous repair -- ala PowerChip

    So this is my cost of using PowerChip:

    • $1000 out of my pocket even though I was never their customer.
    • $1400 to replace idle valve that was never broken in the first place.
    • $1500 for the broken HRE.
    • My reputation due to their relentless character assasinations and accusations.

    I've never asked for anything from PowerChip. I don't believe in using the internet for extortion like some people. Therefore, I don't want a refund, I don't want to be repaid, I don't want them to replace my HRE. I only want to be left alone. But for some reason, that's the one thing they don't want to give me.

  2. #2
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