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    • Anyone and everyone can lose a motor - Blown ESS-Tuning VT3 supercharged M3 S65 V8 engine

      The photos you will see below are of a blown S65 V8. Even the novice enthusiast can glance over the photos and see that something clearly was not right. So who is at fault? Is it ESS for a sloppy product? Is is it the owner for pushing his setup beyond where he should have? Is it perhaps a bad batch of fuel? Is it perhaps a freak accident? Is it perhaps a combination? The point being when you supercharge a high revving V8 that comes from the factory naturally aspirated you are taking risks.

      No company is expected to cover user error. If this is a case of the user pushing too much boost it is clearly his own fault. However, if this is the case of a product that has not undergone significant testing and without the necessary quality tuning to accompany it that would mean blame is not in the hands of the user.

      BimmerBoost is quick to point out there are hundreds of ESS supercharged cars on the road logging thousands of miles and running well. BimmerBoost is also quick to point out there are not thousands of miles on VT3 built motor setups and ESS does not officially even offer such a setup. How some users end up with these setups that one can not even officially purchase is up to you to figure out.

      When modifying cars there is a certain risk involved. Especially when pushing past double the horsepower if not more than a car had off the assembly line. It is important to work with a company that will work with you. Somebody that understands that pushing the limit comes with risks and there may be errors that are not anyone's fault. You live, you learn, you move on, and try to address whatever needs to be addressed.

      Below you will find the owner's take and you will also find the take of ESS-Tuning. Read it all and come to your own conclusion. Additionally, if you wish to push the limit keep in mind you should choose a company that will work with you and address any problems for your benefit as well as their own. There is a difference between supercharging and tuning an M3 and building the M3 S65 V8, supercharging it, and tuning it. If you make the wrong decisions you may end up in a finger pointing game with nothing positive being accomplished.


















      Owner's Take:

      "It's a long story and the thread's title is self-speaking but I want to share that shitty situation I've been dropped in these "Happy New Year" days....

      My car is E90 M3 2008 with DCT - well known in Russia (Moscow Unlim 500+) and Europe being the fastest ESS car there.

      The story started in October 2009 when my car became the world's 1st production E9X M3 with ESS SC kit. The milleage was 13,000 miles at that moment. The car was DD and going through lots of pulleys and soft modifications, I was running VT2-625 with 92mm pulley (which is equal to VT2-650) for 2.5 years when in May 2012 at 67,000 miles the engine decided to blow... Piston is 7th cylinder was broken somehow and 3 inches hole appeared in the block...

      That time I bought low-milleage (less that 1,000 miles) used 2011 engine and installed it. In May 2013 I installed VT2-650 spec crank pulley and 94mm SC pulley which resulted to almost 9 psi boost. That setup was used for 1 day Race Event (1 Mile race) only with 104 RON race fuel. After that day the car was reverted to normal VT2-650 specs.

      However, in 2 weeks after that day this new engine also decided to blow, being used for 13,000 miles only... The hole in the block appeared in the 4th cylinder...

      No need to say that the car was always serviced with love and oil was changed every 3,000 miles and fuel used was 98+ RON...

      So, 2 engines gone is 1 year((((((((((

      That time I agreed with ESS to send the car as it is to Norway from Russia for full VT3 build... That was late June 2013.

      31 October 2013, after lots of problems with availability of BMW OEM spare parts, I received the car!!! However, it was tested on dyno for 50 runs and only half day of driving after the build cause it was very cold already in Norway...But the car was running absolutely clean during that testing (per ESS understanding) and Hans delivered the car to me!!!

      ESS did:

      1) fully build VT3 engine (low milleage "donor" was bought by them in Germany) with 10:1 pistons, Carillo rods, ESS rod bearings etc.

      2) fully build VT3 fuel system.

      3) VT3 belt system.

      I was very happy and started my long trip to Moscow (1,500 miles) which I considered the best way for breaking in the engine on good european fuel...

      On my trip to Moscow engine RPMs were no more than 4,000 - I am very conservative in breaking in procedures.... When I came to Moscow, I changed the oil and decided to go and make 2-3 runs from 40 to 250 kmh to understand the difference...

      In the 1st run the car was extremely fast and was spinning the wheels at 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5 gear changes like it was lauch control from the stand point... even spinning the wheels so badly and hitting the RPMS limiter at all gears 100-200 kmh time was 5,7sec which is almost 0,9 sec faster than my VT2-650 best summer time on DRs!!!

      I decided to start againg and at 4th gear at 6000 RPMS I felt some "boom-boom" sound in the exhaust and little jerking during the acceleration... That time I stopped testing and the next day the car was taken to a trailer to be delievered to my native town (1,000 miles from Moscow)...

      I went to BMW dealer for diagnostic of any potential problem and had conversations with ESS on that... Nothing was found, except for some instability in fuel pressure regulator work, and ESS sent me out that regulator which I was waiting for 3 weeks from US... In the meantime, I was driving the car moderately and found the thing that the car was starting jerking at any speed if I floor the pedal more that 1/4, but at the same time could easily heat 270 kmh if pushing the peda moderatedly....

      The whole milleage by the day of receiving new fuel pressure regulator and new sparks and coils (ESS recommendation to change) was 400 miles... Also, I ordered and received by that day Awron Gauge with full options...

      However, when we let off the sparks, the following picture was with the spark from 4th cylinder... It was melted.... All other sparks were OK...

      We measure the compression ration in all the cylinders and.... 10.5-10.7 in all except 4th cylinder - 8.8....(((

      So, we installed all the new plugs, coils and FPR, and also fully discassembled the manifold for installation of EAS stack for boost gauge, then assemble all back and I leaved the dealer for testing... The car was running sooo clean that day on mid RPMS and fast driving!!! So, I decided to go full throttle...

      1st run from 3rd gear from 40 to 230 kmh was clean and the time from 100 to 200 kmh was VT3 time...) I stopped the car and tried againg but from 2nd gear from 30 kmh. And.... at 7000 RPMS of that 2nd gear the car started jerking and afterwards working like 2 or 3 cylinders are not working.... (((

      On that conditions I drove to the dealer (15 miles)... So, the whole milleage after changing the sparks etc was 70 miles. We took off the spark from that 4 th cylinder and it was melted the same way We measured the compression in that cylinder and it was 5.... Changing the spark did not help at all and the car did not work properly....

      I decided to take it to the trailer to Moscow fro investigation by letting off the heads to understand the problem in detail... That was discovered:

      1) From the side of 1-4 cylinders:

      > burn-through of cylinder head gasket near 3-4 cylinder (2.7sm approx hole)
      > scratches in 3 and 4 cylinder
      > broken piston in 4th cylinder around the bottom of piston and not good piston in 3rd cylinder

      2) From the side of 5-8 cylinders:

      > scratches in 5 and 8 cylinders

      The guys told me that the traces of detonation could be found in all 8 cylinders...

      Fotos attached...

      The only thing I am doing for last 7 days is crying in the situation of full silence and absence of support from anywhere"



      ESS-Tuning perspective:

      "Sergi

      You have been told for a very long time you have no warranty or support on your kits because you have always modified them with additional boost going back to your very first kit which ran a 92mm pulley. The VT2-625 runs a 96mm pulley with much different software than a 650 kit. You should never run a VT2-625 with a 92mm pulley unless you intend to take full responsability. AJ has always told you that your motors will blow if you run more than intended boost while racing at your events. Your 2008 car was over boosted and lasted 67,000 of hardcore racing. It lasted much longer than it really should have, you were lucky.

      Your second motor you ran the VT2-650 crank and the same 92mm pulley which generates close to 12 psi of boost. This is far beyond what we run on our production kit. Off the shelf VT2-650 runs a 99mm SC pulley and generates 8 psi which is max you can run. Even if you claim 94mm with the 650 crank this is much smaller than what we spec and still generates close to 11 psi, you knew this at the time.

      We do not sell a VT3 product to the public currently, there is no such product on our website and we do not offer support for such a product currently. You were informed that if we built you a prototype high boost setup there would be no support on it. You also picked up the vehicle without allowing us to do any road testing. You were informed by AJ at the time that we did not have proper time or road conditions due to weather to do any extended testing but you insisted on taking delivery anyway. You later contacted AJ complaining of hesitation on acceleration and a diagnostic report showing a failed 02 sensor. You were told NOT to drive the car at all until you could install gauges to monitor fuel delivery / AFR's which you did not do. You decided to continue driving the car anyway despite AJ's instructions up to speeds 180 mph according to your email. Your motor failed after you were warned to not drive it. Im not surprised the motor gave out considering you most likely had a fuel delivery issue like a failed pump pickup or fuel pressure regulator and maybe a bad 02 sensor with continued high load use.

      We told you before the motor blew to send the car in for inspection and you refused. You said you wanted to do it local. After your motor failed Hans told you over the phone last week to get the motor inspected locally then and follow up so we could see what could be done. You just emailed AJ and Hans yesterday with the results. Why would you make a post saying no one has followed up with you when we just got your email this weekend and we offered to help you out before the motor ever failed?

      This is a very good reminder as to why we tell customers to NOT modify our products and run more boost than designed and to follow our instructions at all times. Hopefully customers who currently are doing so or are considering doing so will learn from your mistake and not run more boost than we design the kit to run."

      "Again, just to make this 100% clear: There is a very good reason we set the maximum boost pressure the way we do in the various kit stages. We do not leave massive amounts of safe power on the table as some people seem to think. If you increase boost over our standard settings, there will be a much greater risk of failure as Sergei has demonstrated. The fact that the bolt-on 625 kit ran for 67.000 miles with a massively overboosting 92mm pulley is actually much longer than expected.

      When Sergei was getting ready for the Moscow unlimited 1 mile race on his second engine he asked me what I thought of running the 650 crank/92mm SC combo, and I specifically told him that he may get through the race but that the engine will with very high probability be damaged in a short period of time. The stock S65 simply can not take 11-12 PSI. He made his race, and the car ran for another week or two before caving in -as expected. The cost of a new engine is the price he chose to pay to run 4PSI overboost at his event.

      When it comes to the VT3, it is critical that fuel delivery is monitored at all times. If any part of the new stand-alone, high capacity fuel system fails the engine will be damaged in a matter of seconds at high load. In Sergei's case with a brand new VT3 prototype setup being installed, I told him that I strongly recommend leaving the car with us for 6-8 weeks after assembly to properly test it in various conditions. He did not have time for this and forced us to deliver the car 1 day after assembly with only a few dyno pulls and a short road test in 35F, wet roads conditions on it's back. He then chose to ignore my specific instructions on not operating the car hard without O2 monitoring equipment installed. I specifically recommended the EAS gauge setup. He chose to ignore all warnings, and he denied to send us the car back when he experienced high load acceleration hesitations and a primary O2 sensor on bank 2 error code. Instead he kept driving the car without any monitoring equipment until the engine eventually had massive failure due to fuel starvation combined with high load operation.

      We received the email of the engine condition yesterday from Sergei, and my initial plan was to simply have the car sent back to us in Norway as previously instructed and sleeve the block/install new pistons and go through the entire fuel system/O2 sensor system again to find the error that most likely has developed during his 2000 miles of use as the car operated and dynoed correctly before we delivered it. This is a relatively quick and easy fix that does not cost very much, however we do not and we never will give any kind of warranty on high-boost custom setups as the chance of failure is very high unless the driver is attentive and has proper measurement gauges installed. The VT3 is a race setup, and it should only be used by people who are aware of it's risks and high chance of long term problems due to the massive power delivery and the complex nature of the system. Sergei was informed over and over again of these risks, both on overboosting his previous VT2 kits as well as on the prototype VT3 setup.

      Sergei's VT3 engine build, boost and software is identical to Drew's setup. The only difference that keeps Drew's still running strong is the awareness of the driver when operating such a complex and delicate beast. If an O2 sensor goes bad, back off it! If one of the fuel pumps stops working correctly, back off it! Follow these simple rules and the VT3 will live for a long time as Drew has demonstrated."

      This article was originally published in forum thread: ESS VT3 M3 - Engine Fails Before 2,000 Miles started by benzy89 View original post
      Comments 144 Comments
      1. benzy89's Avatar
      1. godmachine's Avatar
        godmachine -
        ouch
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        Wow, this guy went through 3 engines now? Why is he having so many issues I wonder? You don't hear many people with supercharged s65's and these many problems...
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Prob doesn't help he's in Russia, but that's not an excuse
      1. lulz_m3's Avatar
        lulz_m3 -
        I have limited knowledge of ESS products, but are all of these kits using an OTS tune or do they dyno tune each kit specifically to the car?
      1. mjmarovi's Avatar
        mjmarovi -
        This sounds like poor tuning. I'm assuming fuel is good quality, oil is good, and no workmanship mistakes on actual install of everything.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Here's Roman's (ESS) response

        Sergi

        You have been told for a very long time you have no warranty or support on your kits because you have always modified them with additional boost going back to your very first kit which ran a 92mm pulley. The VT2-625 runs a 96mm pulley with much different software than a 650 kit. You should never run a VT2-625 with a 92mm pulley unless you intend to take full responsability. AJ has always told you that your motors will blow if you run more than intended boost while racing at your events. Your 2008 car was over boosted and lasted 67,000 of hardcore racing. It lasted much longer than it really should have, you were lucky.

        Your second motor you ran the VT2-650 crank and the same 92mm pulley which generates close to 12 psi of boost. This is far beyond what we run on our production kit. Off the shelf VT2-650 runs a 99mm SC pulley and generates 8 psi which is max you can run. Even if you claim 94mm with the 650 crank this is much smaller than what we spec and still generates close to 11 psi, you knew this at the time.

        We do not sell a VT3 product to the public currently, there is no such product on our website and we do not offer support for such a product currently. You were informed that if we built you a prototype high boost setup there would be no support on it. You also picked up the vehicle without allowing us to do any road testing. You were informed by AJ at the time that we did not have proper time or road conditions due to weather to do any extended testing but you insisted on taking delivery anyway. You later contacted AJ complaining of hesitation on acceleration and a diagnostic report showing a failed 02 sensor. You were told NOT to drive the car at all until you could install gauges to monitor fuel delivery / AFR's which you did not do. You decided to continue driving the car anyway despite AJ's instructions up to speeds 180 mph according to your email. Your motor failed after you were warned to not drive it. I’m not surprised the motor gave out considering you most likely had a fuel delivery issue like a failed pump pickup or fuel pressure regulator and maybe a bad 02 sensor with continued high load use.

        We told you before the motor blew to send the car in for inspection and you refused. You said you wanted to do it local. After your motor failed Hans told you over the phone last week to get the motor inspected locally then and follow up so we could see what could be done. You just emailed AJ and Hans yesterday with the results. Why would you make a post saying no one has followed up with you when we just got your email this weekend and we offered to help you out before the motor ever failed?

        This is a very good reminder as to why we tell customers to NOT modify our products and run more boost than designed and to follow our instructions at all times. Hopefully customers who currently are doing so or are considering doing so will learn from your mistake and not run more boost than we design the kit to run.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Sounds like a combination of poor ownership and ESS releasing an unfinished product into a customer's hands. I feel like I confidently say that if AA, Evolve or Gintani (especially Gintani after the bad rep they've unfairly gotten) had a customer's car that wasn't 100%, that they wouldn't release into their hands specifically for these reasons.


        What I did find very interesting is that Roman is saying that ESS does not offer the VT3 to the public (but we've got Izzy & Drew on the forums, Zim was getting his ready when he was banned) and that there is no product support (but there's at least 3 confirmed customers with VT3 E9x M3s).
      1. AlexQuattro's Avatar
        AlexQuattro -
        It's obvious his head gasket failed.

        What I don't understand is why he kept driving it while waiting for the fuel pressure regulator (400 miles).

        When he first started having problems while testing and brought it to the dealer, they must not have checked the plugs or they would have seen the two tips were melted. Some debris from the plugs could have caused the scoring/scuffing on the cylinders. He didn't help his case.

        Looks like changing the plugs and going full throttle didn't produce the miracle he wanted Click here to enlarge
      1. AlexQuattro's Avatar
        AlexQuattro -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Sounds like a combination of poor ownership and ESS releasing an unfinished product into a customer's hands.
        This exactly. They should not have sent the car back to him before being done all the testing and the dude doesn't seem to have a lot of common sense.
      1. Irishace's Avatar
        Irishace -
        In the end, its always the customer's fault......
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        AJ (ESS) comments

        Again, just to make this 100% clear: There is a very good reason we set the maximum boost pressure the way we do in the various kit stages. We do not leave massive amounts of safe power on the table as some people seem to think. If you increase boost over our standard settings, there will be a much greater risk of failure as Sergei has demonstrated. The fact that the bolt-on 625 kit ran for 67.000 miles with a massively overboosting 92mm pulley is actually much longer than expected.

        When Sergei was getting ready for the Moscow unlimited 1 mile race on his second engine he asked me what I thought of running the 650 crank/92mm SC combo, and I specifically told him that he may get through the race but that the engine will with very high probability be damaged in a short period of time. The stock S65 simply can not take 11-12 PSI. He made his race, and the car ran for another week or two before caving in -as expected. The cost of a new engine is the price he chose to pay to run 4PSI overboost at his event.

        When it comes to the VT3, it is critical that fuel delivery is monitored at all times. If any part of the new stand-alone, high capacity fuel system fails the engine will be damaged in a matter of seconds at high load. In Sergei's case with a brand new VT3 prototype setup being installed, I told him that I strongly recommend leaving the car with us for 6-8 weeks after assembly to properly test it in various conditions. He did not have time for this and forced us to deliver the car 1 day after assembly with only a few dyno pulls and a short road test in 35F, wet roads conditions on it's back. He then chose to ignore my specific instructions on not operating the car hard without O2 monitoring equipment installed. I specifically recommended the EAS gauge setup. He chose to ignore all warnings, and he denied to send us the car back when he experienced high load acceleration hesitations and a primary O2 sensor on bank 2 error code. Instead he kept driving the car without any monitoring equipment until the engine eventually had massive failure due to fuel starvation combined with high load operation.

        We received the email of the engine condition yesterday from Sergei, and my initial plan was to simply have the car sent back to us in Norway as previously instructed and sleeve the block/install new pistons and go through the entire fuel system/O2 sensor system again to find the error that most likely has developed during his 2000 miles of use as the car operated and dynoed correctly before we delivered it. This is a relatively quick and easy fix that does not cost very much, however we do not and we never will give any kind of warranty on high-boost custom setups as the chance of failure is very high unless the driver is attentive and has proper measurement gauges installed. The VT3 is a race setup, and it should only be used by people who are aware of it's risks and high chance of long term problems due to the massive power delivery and the complex nature of the system. Sergei was informed over and over again of these risks, both on overboosting his previous VT2 kits as well as on the prototype VT3 setup.

        Sergei's VT3 engine build, boost and software is identical to Drew's setup. The only difference that keeps Drew's still running strong is the awareness of the driver when operating such a complex and delicate beast. If an O2 sensor goes bad, back off it! If one of the fuel pumps stops working correctly, back off it! Follow these simple rules and the VT3 will live for a long time as Drew has demonstrated.
      1. M5 253's Avatar
        M5 253 -
        If the customer indeed "forced" ESS to return the car by threatening legal action or whatever...I don't see a problem. The customer failed to follow direct instructions. I would, however, like to hear the customers response.
      1. fastgti69's Avatar
        fastgti69 -
        Besides the third blown engine that might have been the customers fault. Why did the other 2 engines blow?? Sounds like bad tuning. Which completely looks like it from all that detonation, those pitons looked like it has rock chips... Horrible
      1. M5 253's Avatar
        M5 253 -
        ESS stated that the customer overboosted the engines for an extended time.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Lol. Seems ess is having a tough time keeping up with all their lies, I mean stories, I mean products they sell and dont sell/specs
      1. Dixchen's Avatar
        Dixchen -
        This is what happens when you keep racing 1000 whp gtr's...so much for the s65 potential...big revs big boost equals kaboom!!! There is just no excuses for detonation...
      1. bigdnno98's Avatar
        bigdnno98 -
        the problem sounds like its a canned tune for 8psi and the customer is upping the boost with no way to tune for it. More boost and the same fuel=lean AFR and detonation. WTF did he think was going to happen?
      1. George Smooth's Avatar
        George Smooth -
        When upping the boost yourself and you still got to go to a dealer to do a diagnostic test it spells a recipe for disaster. You should at least have the basic on board tools to tell that something is not wrong after the first hesitation of any sort.

        As a matter of interest on my Dashdaq device I have both bank AFR, rail pressure and short term fuel trims on constantly.
      1. Ging's Avatar
        Ging -
        This is not the first Vt3 to blow up user name M33 motor melted plugs and blew too.