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      01-17-2012, 07:20 PM   #1
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Unhappy Supercharged e90 M3 Failure



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.








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      01-17-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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That's fucked up. Do they have this disclaimer?

*Your shit might blow up.
*You may have to purchase a new motor at $25,000 out of your own pocket.

I understand people are modifying an engine not designed for forced induction, but you would think if it wasn't relatively safe (driving more than 1,200 miles with average amounts of load) that the shop wouldn't release it to the public or back it up.
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      01-17-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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WOW...that is terrible
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      01-17-2012, 07:50 PM   #4
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If Active Autowerke insisted to re-flash and install new BMW engine parts to cover modification in order to blame BMW NA for defect, isn't that illegal?

BMW NA should read this post (I'm sure they wil) and press charge them.
It sounds like very unethical business practice from a big reputable BMW tuner.

I'm really sorry to hear your story and thanks for sharing.
I hope AA steps up and response your post since they're also member of this community.


PS. I made a PDF of your post just in case mods delete your post for any reason.
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      01-17-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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Terrible deal for you. I do not, however, condone either your and AA's attempted fraud against BMW.
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      01-17-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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Wow - this really sucks, sorry to hear about your troubles but fraud is fraud.

I guess because things didnt work out in your favour that is the reasoning coming out and sharing your misfortune well after the fact.

Thanks for sharing though.
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      01-17-2012, 08:02 PM   #7
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I agree, but when you trust someone to say that it was a defect and otherwise I face a $25k hole in my pocket, I went along with it. I agree, that I shouldn't have gone about it that way either and I have paid dearly.
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      01-17-2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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Granted I didn't express to them that it had been modified, but I didn't tell them it hadn't. I simply stated to the service writer that I was driving down the highway and the engine blew. I know I should have placed the blame on Active from the start.
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      01-17-2012, 08:11 PM   #9
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Sorry to here that, hope the new engine works out. I guess we modify our cars at our own risk as most shops will not take the falt but have no problem taking your money. I'm getting alittle worried lately about reading all these blown engine threads but at the same time modding is in the blood and I could not be happy with a stock car unless it's just a beater. I guess all vehicle lines have the same problems when engines are pushed to a certain HP range, reminds of G35/350Z twin turbo setup over 8 pounds of boost and BOOM.. giving up reliability for power is a mother.
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      01-17-2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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sorry to hear that man....wow
I heard that it was your fault and it wasn't true!
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      01-17-2012, 08:15 PM   #11
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It was a shady move to try to pass it over as stock with BMW but I don't think I would call it fraud. If you truly believe that it was a manufacturing defect and you had been honest, you'd be in the clear but what you did was in a moral gray area IMO. BMW, by law, cannot deny warranty coverage unless they can prove that the modifications caused the failure. Even if they can, the law requires them to reach a settlement with the owner. You could see how this could turn into a big fight but BMW may take a portion of the responsibility after a lot of time, effort, and probably money. If any of the emissions equipment fails due to modifications, that sways things in BMW's favor in the eyes of the law. If you modify emissions equipment or your part causes an emission related failure and they can prove it, they can void your warranty.

That's not the point though. I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune but this is a risk you take when you boost a car like this IMO. There are too many variables and unkowns to pin this on anyone financially so, at the end of the day, the risk lies solely with the owner IMO.
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      01-17-2012, 08:17 PM   #12
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hmm..... if an engine blows up, can one claim insurance?
I don't mean fraud, I mean legally

Plenty of people modify their car's suspension, wheels, etc and have accidents and the insurance covers it...
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      01-17-2012, 08:31 PM   #13
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They can void the warranty on the effected emissions parts, not on the entire vehicle warranty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3PO View Post
It was a shady move to try to pass it over as stock with BMW but I don't think I would call it fraud. If you truly believe that it was a manufacturing defect and you had been honest, you'd be in the clear but what you did was in a moral gray area IMO. BMW, by law, cannot deny warranty coverage unless they can prove that the modifications caused the failure. Even if they can, the law requires them to reach a settlement with the owner. You could see how this could turn into a big fight but BMW may take a portion of the responsibility after a lot of time, effort, and probably money. If any of the emissions equipment fails due to modifications, that sways things in BMW's favor in the eyes of the law. If you modify emissions equipment or your part causes an emission related failure and they can prove it, they can void your warranty.

That's not the point though. I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune but this is a risk you take when you boost a car like this IMO. There are too many variables and unkowns to pin this on anyone financially so, at the end of the day, the risk lies solely with the owner IMO.
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      01-17-2012, 08:34 PM   #14
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this stuff angers me. companies release products that they put soooo much "R&D" into that the price of the product gets inflated, then the price gets inflated more because we drive a premium car (the BMW tax), THEN because we drive $65k+ bmw's we get another tax, end all being we have $13k superchargers, and $2k xpipes.... When we the customers pay premium prices, PREMIUM SERVICE is expected, and built into these prices should be some sort of allocation of money put aside by the company to deal and warranty stuff like this.

TISK! TISK! Active Autoworke, I know I wont be letting your products touch my car now.. unless they step up and somehow make good on this... And Mpoweredauto I feel for you man. Hope you have better luck going forward.
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      01-17-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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that is fucked up
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      01-17-2012, 08:35 PM   #16
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Too bad it had to happen this way, unfortunately, unless a person has a binding contract with the tuner stating that they will give a limited warranty on parts and labour to fix a customers car in the event of a failure, it is not common for them to step up to the plate and cover the cost of repairs to a customers car. I do think it was amazingly sneaky and criminal for them suggest putting the car back to stock and have the repair done under warranty.

I for one believe that a person modifies a car at their own risk. It is one thing to put an exhaust, software or an intake on a car, and most dealers that are mod friendly will over look stuff like that. With a supercharger however, the power increase is quite significant and the software and other fuel system mods to run it are quite a departure from OEM. Basically if a person wants the power levels that are associated with a supercharged M3 and still have a warranty, that person needs to look at buying a different car.

I guess this proves that Gintani went over and above the norm by covering the cost for Drew's engine. No matter what a person thinks about Gintani's parts, what they did in that case was definitely a good gesture on their behalf!
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      01-17-2012, 08:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persian54 View Post
hmm..... if an engine blows up, can one claim insurance?
I don't mean fraud, I mean legally

Plenty of people modify their car's suspension, wheels, etc and have accidents and the insurance covers it...
In case of an accident ,Yes !
meaning rear ending another car and crack your motor,they will cover under insurance.but if you are driving the car and BOOM...................you are on your own.
The one thing that most people don't know or understand,there are more than one place in your car that they can tell that the ECU was modified.not just that,they will be able to tell you,how many times was the engine at 8400RPM and time.


OP,Im very sorry about your loss but im glad that you got a new motor for your car
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      01-17-2012, 09:01 PM   #18
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It was their stg 2 w/meth
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      01-17-2012, 09:02 PM   #19
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A very, very high price to pay for an error.
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      01-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #20
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I hate reading things like this. It makes me very scared and weary about the modifications i have done to my car. It is really unfortunate that Active Autowerkes did not compensate you in any way. Other companies in the past,that have had this happen step up to the plate even though, as stated earlier in the thread, they are not contractually obligated to help.
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      01-17-2012, 09:20 PM   #21
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whoa.
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      01-17-2012, 09:23 PM   #22
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Guessing it's a tune issue.
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