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      08-28-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
phrogbubbaE92
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aftermarket exhaust effect on warranty?

hey guys,

I did some searching and couldnt come up with a definite answer. I just put on an RPI GT full race exhaust on my car and am wondering how that will affect my warranty.. Will it void my drive train / engine coverage? I live in San Diego and take my M to BMW of SD, so if anyone has experience with these guys I would greatly appreciate any feedback.. Thank you in advance!
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      08-28-2010, 02:22 PM   #2
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Hi, Im in Riverside county. I take my car in to Riverside BMW which is Great in my opinion, and theres no issues with my exhaust. The key to any dealer attempting to Void your warranty for exhaust mod would be for them to prove the mod is the direct cause for the failure. Your car is still under the OEM warranty. Your New Exhaust is not.
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      08-28-2010, 03:01 PM   #3
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Thank you very much! Ill have to check out Riverside BMW.
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      08-30-2010, 02:30 AM   #4
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Every dealership is going to be different. I had a SMG problem with my E46 and the BMW Field Service Engineer (yes, the "expert tech" from BMW NA) was trying to blame every aftermarket part I had on the car (from the Dinan exhaust to wheel studs) for the cause of the problem. Reason being that they had no idea what was wrong with my car, and it was a $6-7k job to replace the it as BMW AG recommended.

For every forum member that says "Magnuson moss", try speaking from experience (like me) before saying they can't deny you coverage. Guess what? BMW basically said my car warranty was pretty much null... Until I went to arbitration and they lost. In the meantime my car wasn't getting fixed for free.
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      08-30-2010, 11:57 AM   #5
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wow... ill have to re-assess bringing in my vehicle with the "ticking" sound i have at startup and the wierd vibrations during shifts through 1-3 gear with my exhaust and intake installed.. if i were to bring my vehicle to a BMW dealership and the coverage be voided because of the mods, would that apply to all dealerships now?
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      08-30-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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Again, it depends on your SA, tech, and what they find or don't find. When I took my car in, they (the dealership's techs) had no idea what was wrong with my car. They opened a PUMA case with BMW. BMW said "we don't know, replace the transmission". But that's expensive. To authorize that job, someone from BMW had to come out and make sure it wasn't the dealership (or a customer) trying to rip them off. After seeing my car with mods (BBK, exhaust, suspension, wheels) the FSE probably figured that I fucked up my car and was trying to pass it off to them. I never did any SW updates (they reflashed the ECU and the SMG computer) so nothing I did should have fucked it up. Long story short, it was a gear position sensor gone awry.

They could tell you that the problem is being caused by the aftermarket parts and that they want to charge to fix it. They could also tell you that you fucked up your car. Or they could fix the problem and not mention the aftermarket parts. There's absolutely no way to tell what they will do or say. However, if you had a 100% stock car, they can't deny you coverage or say the problem isn't there (assuming it is there and reproducible).

Finally, yes they can flag your VIN so that when any BMW dealership looks it up, it will show up.
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      08-31-2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sly335i View Post
The key to any dealer attempting to Void your warranty for exhaust mod would be for them to prove the mod is the direct cause for the failure.
Wishful thinking. If dealer suspects a mod caused the failure they simply deny coverage. Plus they 'flag' your car, so every dealership will be aware of it. So the burden of proof is on YOU, not to mention you'd need to hire a lawyer to bring a lawsuit. The more reasonable approach is arbitration, like it was mentioned above, but if you messed with the ECU (any tune, including disabling O2 sensors), you're probably going to lose either way. And in you deleted the cats (a federal offense), your odds are even more bleak.

I personally can't understand why people risk damaging their cars and/or losing their warranties with anything other than catbacks and/or wheels when car is covered, but to each his own. No smart person (juror or judge) is going to deny that tampering with the ECU could have changed something that fried the engine, so that M&M is not going to do crap for you since most owners reverse anything done anyway before a dealer's visit. All BMW has to do is provide evidence of tampering and you're toast. And yes, at least the factory can easily do that. Good luck man.
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      08-31-2010, 08:25 PM   #8
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Wishful thinking. If dealer suspects a mod caused the failure they simply deny coverage. Plus they 'flag' your car, so every dealership will be aware of it. So the burden of proof is on YOU, not to mention you'd need to hire a lawyer to bring a lawsuit. The more reasonable approach is arbitration, like it was mentioned above, but if you messed with the ECU (any tune, including disabling O2 sensors), you're probably going to lose either way. And in you deleted the cats (a federal offense), your odds are even more bleak.

I personally can't understand why people risk damaging their cars and/or losing their warranties with anything other than catbacks and/or wheels when car is covered, but to each his own. No smart person (juror or judge) is going to deny that tampering with the ECU could have changed something that fried the engine, so that M&M is not going to do crap for you since most owners reverse anything done anyway before a dealer's visit. All BMW has to do is provide evidence of tampering and you're toast. And yes, at least the factory can easily do that. Good luck man.
According to the Magnuson Moss Act, The Burden of Proof is on the Dealer.
The Act places a number of conditions on the language of the warranty itself, in that it must be clear and unambiguous. What's more, it must specify in very simple terms the conditions under which the warranty may not be valid. Can an automotive dealership void your warranty?
Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975.

Nearly everyone has heard about someone who has taken a vehicle that has been modified with aftermarket parts to a dealer for warranty service, only to have the dealer refuse to cover the defective items. The dealer usually states that because of the aftermarket parts the warranty is void, without even attempting to determine whether the aftermarket part caused the problem.

This is illegal.

Vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to void the vehicle warranty just because aftermarket parts are on the vehicle. To better understand this problem it is best to know the differences between the two types of new car warranties and the two types of emission warranties. When a vehicle is purchased new and the owner is protected against the faults that may occur by an expressed warranty - an offer by the manufacturer to assume the responsibility for problems with predetermined parts during a stated period of time. Beyond the expressed warranty, the vehicle manufacturer is often held responsible for further implied warranties. These state that a manufactured product should meet certain standards. However, in both cases, the mere presence of aftermarket parts doesn't void the warranty.

There are also two emission warranties (defect and performance) required under the clean air act. The defect warranty requires the manufacturer to produce a vehicle which, at the time of sale, is free of defects that would cause it to not meet the required emission levels for it's useful life as defined in the law. The performance warranty implies a vehicle must maintain certain levels of emission performance over it's useful life. If the vehicle fails to meet the performance warranty requirements, the manufacturer must make repairs at no cost to the owner, even if an aftermarket part is directly responsible for a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer cannot void the performance warranty. This protection is the result of a parts self - certification program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

In cases where such a failed aftermarket part is responsible for a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer must arrange a settlement with the consumer, but by law the new - vehicle warranty is not voided.
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      08-31-2010, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
Wishful thinking. If dealer suspects a mod caused the failure they simply deny coverage. Plus they 'flag' your car, so every dealership will be aware of it. So the burden of proof is on YOU, not to mention you'd need to hire a lawyer to bring a lawsuit. The more reasonable approach is arbitration, like it was mentioned above, but if you messed with the ECU (any tune, including disabling O2 sensors), you're probably going to lose either way. And in you deleted the cats (a federal offense), your odds are even more bleak.

I personally can't understand why people risk damaging their cars and/or losing their warranties with anything other than catbacks and/or wheels when car is covered, but to each his own. No smart person (juror or judge) is going to deny that tampering with the ECU could have changed something that fried the engine, so that M&M is not going to do crap for you since most owners reverse anything done anyway before a dealer's visit. All BMW has to do is provide evidence of tampering and you're toast. And yes, at least the factory can easily do that. Good luck man.
The dealer does not deny coverage or flag your car without going to BMW. The warranty is through BMW, not the dealer. The only role the dealer plays is to report the facts to BMW, who will ultimately make the decision on coverage. Most of the dealers don't care because they just want to get paid on whatever work they would need to do to get you back on the road. Furthermore, most dealers do not want to piss off their customers.

There is no risk of damage in replacing your exhaust with HFCs and a catback. We know this because many people have dynoed their cars, and measured AFR, with this setup. The stock programming is intelligent enough to keep everything safe.

Now if you remove the cats altogether, or buy a system which relocates them further downstream, there is a chance that you will run slightly lean in a very small area of the powerband. Will it cause damage over time significant enough to cause a failure? Who knows; I doubt it. My advice is to get a tune if you want to remove the cats.

I do agree that if you tamper with the ECU, then blow your engine, all bets are off - regardless of how solid the tune might be. Of course, there have been zero cases of engine problems related to ECU tunes reported here. You can bet the farm that if someone had a problem, they would be on this site bitching. The only programing related issues I've heard of are on supercharged cars, which obviously are no longer covered under warranty by BMW.
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      08-31-2010, 08:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrogbubbaE92 View Post
wow... ill have to re-assess bringing in my vehicle with the "ticking" sound i have at startup and the wierd vibrations during shifts through 1-3 gear with my exhaust and intake installed.. if i were to bring my vehicle to a BMW dealership and the coverage be voided because of the mods, would that apply to all dealerships now?
The ticking is normal.

Likely cause for the vibration is the exhaust making contact somewhere on the undercarriage....that is if it's a full exhaust.
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      09-01-2010, 03:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by sly335i View Post
(snip)
Nearly everyone has heard about someone who has taken a vehicle that has been modified with aftermarket parts to a dealer for warranty service, only to have the dealer refuse to cover the defective items. The dealer usually states that because of the aftermarket parts the warranty is void, without even attempting to determine whether the aftermarket part caused the problem.

This is illegal.

Vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to void the vehicle warranty just because aftermarket parts are on the vehicle.
(snip)
There's a good sticky thread here:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66970

Read post #81. IMO it's a very accurate assesment re: "performance" parts (point #2) -- which could be considered a subset of an "aftermarket" part. A full race exhaust could easily be interpreted as a performance part (same as a SC kit, ECU tune, etc) since it's more than just a replacement.

BMW has probably been fucked in the ass way too many times by owners doing stupid shit to their cars and then having to pay. Don't get wrong, I've heard of completely retarded things such as one guy that changed out his steering wheel and shifter and later had his turbo blow up (I think he had Evo or WRX). Guess what the mfg said? Your aftermarket part caused it. Any rational human being with any mechanical/car knowledge would go WTF! Guess what? He had to go to court. He'll probably win since it's completly retarded (unless his lawyer is a complete dipshit) but the whole time his car sat around broken.
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      09-01-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
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There's a good sticky thread here:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66970

Read post #81. IMO it's a very accurate assesment re: "performance" parts (point #2) -- which could be considered a subset of an "aftermarket" part. A full race exhaust could easily be interpreted as a performance part (same as a SC kit, ECU tune, etc) since it's more than just a replacement.

BMW has probably been fucked in the ass way too many times by owners doing stupid shit to their cars and then having to pay. Don't get wrong, I've heard of completely retarded things such as one guy that changed out his steering wheel and shifter and later had his turbo blow up (I think he had Evo or WRX). Guess what the mfg said? Your aftermarket part caused it. Any rational human being with any mechanical/car knowledge would go WTF! Guess what? He had to go to court. He'll probably win since it's completly retarded (unless his lawyer is a complete dipshit) but the whole time his car sat around broken.
This is sad, and also very true. And these things will continue to occur if allowed by the consumer. The best Fight is A Honest Fight. If you have a true Defect and your Mods are Reasonable And not over the top, Take your car to the Dealer. Don't be afraid to fight the good fight. Even if it cost you some of your time. The end results will benefit us all in the long run....
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      09-01-2010, 05:42 PM   #13
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I do agree that if you tamper with the ECU, then blow your engine, all bets are off - regardless of how solid the tune might be. Of course, there have been zero cases of engine problems related to ECU tunes reported here. You can bet the farm that if someone had a problem, they would be on this site bitching. The only programing related issues I've heard of are on supercharged cars, which obviously are no longer covered under warranty by BMW.
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=309484

He had his engine warranty voided by BMW because he tampered with his ECU. It's possible he had a shitty motor to begin with, but it didn't help that the ECU was reprogrammed. He's also got a few other threads up too. Sadly BMW never covered him.
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      09-01-2010, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
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http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=309484

He had his engine warranty voided by BMW because he tampered with his ECU. It's possible he had a shitty motor to begin with, but it didn't help that the ECU was reprogrammed. He's also got a few other threads up too. Sadly BMW never covered him.
I don't see what he proved in that post that would lead you to conclude that it was "sad" that BMW didn't cover him. I know he *said* he had bent valves, but unless I'm missing a post, I didn't see anything proving that.

He also never indicated who tuned his car, or what specific information the regional rep gave him. He easily could have had a shitty tune which blew out his ringlands...he could have money-shifted the engine. There are a number of things that could have gone wrong here.

But, like I said, you are really taking full responsibility for your car if you start messing with the programing. But if you buy the programing from a reputable tuner, I think your chances of encountering issues are very low.
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      09-01-2010, 09:19 PM   #15
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I don't see what he proved in that post that would lead you to conclude that it was "sad" that BMW didn't cover him. I know he *said* he had bent valves, but unless I'm missing a post, I didn't see anything proving that.

He also never indicated who tuned his car, or what specific information the regional rep gave him. He easily could have had a shitty tune which blew out his ringlands...he could have money-shifted the engine. There are a number of things that could have gone wrong here.

But, like I said, you are really taking full responsibility for your car if you start messing with the programing. But if you buy the programing from a reputable tuner, I think your chances of encountering issues are very low.
I think it's sad because IMO BMW never conclusively proved what he did messed up his car. They just said, hey, your ECU has been modded, too bad. Trust me, I understand their point, but if you're going to say that you messed up he motor due to an ECU tune, it would be nice to know wtf caused it.

It's entirely possible the tune did cause it somehow but it's possible that it didn't. He never did disclose who tuned the car -- not sure why -- but AFAIK it never was made public. Liability perhaps? He said he has DCT so a money shift should not be possible and he also claims that the rev limiter was not touched. A number of things could have caused it, but it was never identified is what gets me.

I just wanted to point out that when people put on performance mods then wonder if BMW will warranty their car the answer isn't always going to be yes.
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      09-01-2010, 11:04 PM   #16
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Yah for got forgot he had dct. No question about it with the ecu, but exhaust is in a different league IMHO. But even with exhaust one must do their homework. The effect, and how safe it is, depends on the motor and programming.
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