Close

    • 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. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        well, we all could have seen that one coming
      1. deemo319's Avatar
        deemo319 -
        Damn, that is ugly. Unfortunate and expensive.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Active Click here to enlarge
        Recently Jordan emailed and demanded us to pay $25,000 or he would go to the forums.
        If you have this e-mail I would post it.

        Secondly, if you have proof of reimbursement I would post that as well as it would be proof of you have stated.

        I do not understand why he would e-mail and demand $25,000 after you already reimbursed him for the system. That was an amicable resolution.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Almost 9000 revs with a blower and this $#@!tard thinks AA is responsible ??? What an idiot.
      1. ar design's Avatar
        ar design -
        Surprise surprise.... there is another side to the story.
      1. akh23456's Avatar
        akh23456 -
        Yea 8100 redline for active....do you think a stock car would last that long revved that high?
      1. black bnr32's Avatar
        black bnr32 -
        so, root cause of the mechanical failure is over-rev causing the rod to fail in tension or compression. correct?
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by black bnr32 Click here to enlarge
        so, root cause of the mechanical failure is over-rev causing the rod to fail in tension or compression. correct?
        It would seem that way from the details on the ECU. Mechanical over rev due to a missed shift - no rev limiter can stop/prevent that - ie, the good 'ol MONEY SHIFT.
        Lifes a $#@! then you go to driving school Click here to enlarge
      1. Andrew@lutzperformance's Avatar
        Andrew@lutzperformance -
        Like I had said previously, now that both sides of the story have been stated, its a crappy situation none the less, but AA is a stand up company and a great family of guys that dedicate their passion to their customers and dealers.

        You will see more AA E9x M3's rolling out our shop soon enough!
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by akh23456 Click here to enlarge
        Yea 8100 redline for active....do you think a stock car would last that long revved that high?
        IMO? I think it's downshifting and bouncing off the limiter sharply (if that is what happened) that is worse than just the revs by themselves.

        BMW tested the motor to 10k rpm. There are people revving it to 8800.

        I don't like that they take the redline down, I wonder what their reasoning is.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        IMO? I think it's downshifting and bouncing off the limiter sharply (if that is what happened) that is worse than just the revs by themselves.

        BMW tested the motor to 10k rpm. There are people revving it to 8800.

        I don't like that they take the redline down, I wonder what their reasoning is.

        If you look at the piston travel and velocity compared to crank rotation at those revs you would be amazed. Every hundred rpms and the velocity and speed of the piston and rod is exponential. Just a few hundred revs can kill and engine easily....I think we've seen that lately with these motors. When you say BMW tested the motor to 10k, what do you mean ? How did they test it ? I find it hard to believe that this motor could live for any extended period of time at those speeds.
      1. mm28's Avatar
        mm28 -
        Although not entirely relevant, I used to own a stage 3 AA E46 SC system for 2+ years and putting in under all kinds of abuse imaginable; street racing, road racing, drifting and some light drag racing, you name it and I've done it, and did it on a weekly basis.The ONLY mishap I've experienced was the meth tank (located at the trunk) came off under high G force conditions at the track with very tight corners; so the cause was 80% extreme driving condition and maybe 20% installation.AA's supercharger system had been rock solid based on my first-hand experience and they had ALWAYS been very easy to deal with.If I were ever to FI another NA BMW, AA will get my return business, and trust it will deliver the same level of satisfactions; simply don't care if others are advertising 100% more power.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        IMO? I think it's downshifting and bouncing off the limiter sharply (if that is what happened) that is worse than just the revs by themselves.

        BMW tested the motor to 10k rpm. There are people revving it to 8800.

        I don't like that they take the redline down, I wonder what their reasoning is.
        Once i downshifted a couple of gears and hit 8900. After that the engine started making a tlick tlick noise and the idle valve was damaged iirc. but that was it, no rod problem.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        Once i downshifted a couple of gears and hit 8900. After that the engine started making a tlick tlick noise and the idle valve was damaged iirc. but that was it, no rod problem.
        Most of the time in a mechanical over rev situation the top end it the first to go as the valves cannot handle it and end up getting bent of not broken, and beats a hole in the piston, cylinder wall or lodges in the head. That may have been what happened here but with this amount of misinformation from the OP there's no way to tell and also it's pretty difficult to find out what actually broke first when you have a catastrophic engine failure like this.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        Most of the time in a mechanical over rev situation the top end it the first to go as the valves cannot handle it and end up getting bent of not broken, and beats a hole in the piston, cylinder wall or lodges in the head. That may have been what happened here but with this amount of misinformation from the OP there's no way to tell and also it's pretty difficult to find out what actually broke first when you have a catastrophic engine failure like this.
        Definitely right and I think it was the bottom end that gave here.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Definitely right and I think it was the bottom end that gave here.
        S65 heads must be the $#@! Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        S65 heads must be the $#@! Click here to enlarge
        I managed to break a valve spring...
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        with this amount of misinformation from the OP there's no way to tell and also it's pretty difficult to find out what actually broke first when you have a catastrophic engine failure like this.
        Exactly. M Powered should come and clear some points. I really want to know how the pistons look.
      1. LZH's Avatar
        LZH -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I managed to break a valve spring...
        Ok man now I'm so confused...explain to me again why anyone would own one of these motors ?? Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LZH Click here to enlarge
        Ok man now I'm so confused...explain to me again why anyone would own one of these motors ?? Click here to enlarge
        M nostalgia. I think it's time for a break from BMW for me.