Active Autowerks Supercharger: Is it worth it?


New Member
S. Oregon USA
As promised, here is the thread you've all been waiting for.

First a side trip down memory lane:

AA's official representative on the Internet, as well as AA's unofficial representative JMWeb and other vested interests, (example; TaZaM3) have initiated unjustified personal insults, spread lies and deception .... while calling me an Immature Lying Troll (omar all 3, jmweb and tazam3 obviously concur) n the M3Forum.

Assorted AA Trolls (you know who you are, so if the shoe fits) have seen fit to also initiate personal insults.

So far the AA camp have offered denials, unsubstantiated accusations, unsupported and/or unexplained allegations of misconduct on my part, one case of outright slander (jmweb calling honest businesses "chop shops"), a thinly veiled threat of bodily harm (from tazam3), the aforementioned personal insults and attempts to deceive thru innuendo and assorted distortions.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot ... AA's other response to my posts was to offer a "free" AA hat giveaway (15 hats?). ;-)

None of the AA supporters have offered cogent argument in refutation of my assertions. Why? Because they have none to offer!

How can they refute .... in no particular order:

Written notes.
Phone records.
Digital recordings.
AA's own manuals.
Unimpeachable eyewitnesses.
Info found on AA's own website.
Posts on this site and other websites.

That's a large body of evidence. Some of it from AA's own reps and supporters!

It has been pointed out to me that the haphazard spread of posts can be confusing for those who want to access true and accurate information relating to how Active Autowerks conduct themselves, the true nature of their Supercharger kits and the true nature of AA's tech support.

I concur. The AA controversy deserves it's own thread in the E46 M3 forum where all of the info can be easily found and examined and then:

You Decide!

I didn't begin posting about AA with the intent of upsetting anyone. I didn't intend this situation to develop into an adversarial relationship between AA and myself.

In fact, when the usual misguided souls...

(those who equate a criticism of their equipment w/a criticism of their .... ahem ..... other equipment <w>)

...offered insults in lieu of the reasoned argument they lacked .... I did not blame AA for their behavior.

Even when Jerry (who works with AA; ergo, he has a vested interest) lied .... I still did not hold it against AA. And I still had hopes that AA would get in touch with me and offer assistance.

But Omar preferred to call me a liar .... along with other insulting content in his posts. That teed me off.

He took notice and instead of apologizing, he did as he has done in the past and continued his personal attacks.

He did pause at one point to offer his "assistance," in a snide manner. Then he immediately followed that post with another Hate filled diatribe.

Then he proceeded to call me a Troll, as well as immature. Ergo: My references to being called "Immature Lying Troll."

So much for any CREDIBLE offer of assistance from AA.

IMHO, AA offers of "assistance" have been attempts to deceive us all into thinking that the shills and vested interests were trying to be reasonable.

The sheer gall of these individuals would be unbelievable if it were not for their own posts showing them to be liars and hypocrites.

Please keep in mind that after Omar's vicious personal attacks I wouldn't want to do business w/AA regardless of whether or not they offered to negotiate with me.

Yes, now I am pissed!

Omar had ample opportunity to apologize. AA's principals have known of Omar's similar egregious conduct in the past. And are well aware of what is happening now. The Hughs allow it and I can only surmise .... condone it.

And there are other reasons why I wouldn't think it wise to accept ANY forthcoming offers of assistance from AA.

Read on and those reasons shall be revealed.

As this thread progresses I shall offer quotes w/appropriate citations, along w/other references so that you may seek independent confirmation and then:

You Decide!

Of course I admit that I tossed a few so called, "insults" right back at the above named parties.

All of them were justified!

All of them were in direct response to lies, etc.

All of my so called "insults" were either calling them shills, liars and/or cheats. And always with justification.


Never did I threaten anyone with bodily harm.

Never did I threaten to take unlawful action.

And at no time during this ordeal have I asked website admin to chastise, censor or intervene on my behalf in any way.

OTOH, I'm quite sure that AA have put pressure on website admin to have me censored in some manner.

But that would be, IMHO, a grievous error. I have not uttered terroristic threats and made actionable slanderous posts as have AA's vested interests (once again i speak of tazam3 & jmweb, respectively). Their posts, not mine, may put the site at some (small methinks) measure of risk.

My posts serve to inform. And carry ample verification.

AA can only accuse me of slander. But it's not actionable. Why? Because the truth is an unbeatable defense to such a charge.

As for the implied threat of reporting me for extortion, restraint of trade, or whatever other fantasies were going thru Omar's mind when he wrote: "Management wants to know if we should be contacting the local authorities or federal ones for that matter." Hogwash!

In fact i'd welcome investigation. I have nothing to hide. OTOH, methinks AA have a great deal to hide.

AA: Be careful what you wish for. <chuckle>

I submit to you, my fellow forum members ... site admin know that I am posting truthful information. Along with some strongly supported inferences. Plus a few reasonable opinions that are clearly shown to be mere opinion and do not constitute actionable offenses.

Nor can my, so called, "attacks" on AA and it's representatives be justifiably called personal attacks.

Impeaching vested interests is a time honored tradition .... When Warranted!!!

Consider the evidence that I will present to you (it will be limited to some extent by the possibility of litigation, ie; I have not entirely ruled out suing AA).

Consider AA's replies.

If they're foolish enough to reply when they lack cogent argument (heck, they've done it repeatedly already <shrug>.

Then after you've separated the wheat from the chaff: You Decide!

In 2004 after having my 03 SMG M3 Cab's motor replaced twice due to claimed rod bearing failures I began looking at more powerful SMG equipped vehicles as an alternative to BMWs. I found nothing which suited my criteria at the time.

I decided to purchase an 05 ZCP SMG M3 after doing extensive research on FI and NA upgrades for SMG BMWs.

Personally chatting w/AA reps on the phone, reading posts from AA reps (among others) on the Net and finding no negative commentary to speak of from end users, were the main reasons I chose an Active Autowerks Supercharger for my late model SMG M3.

AA had given me a reference to an installer in Washington state who does do business with AA. The gent I spoke with seemed (imho) to be annoyed with the entire situation (i have since learned that AA were STILL recommending this same shop). I apologized for bothering them and moved on.

Knowing the good folks @ Autohaus Bayern, a shop with an outstanding reputation who had maintained my 03 in an exemplary manner, I had A/B assist me with the purchase and perform the install.

And thus began a journey into grief, anger and despair. A path cushioned with my misspent thousands of dollars and littered with AA's deceit, empty promises, and outright lies.

If I knew then what I know now .... I would have run from AA like the Devil's hounds where on my tail!

First, I had A/B install a full Super Sprint exhaust system. With ceramic coated headers, race cats and twin race mufflers. Then I had A/B order directly from AA and at my behest, an AA SC kit for my car. Including an under-hood mounted Water/Alcohol injection kit.

AA sent us a trunk mounted W/A injection kit. I then learned that AA did not have, do not have and had no intention of supplying us with .... an under-hood mounted kit.

When I tried to return the W/A kit and exchange it .... AA set the pattern for what I found to be AA's SOPs when a customer has a problem:

First, they tried to blame us for the error. Claiming that we had mistakenly ordered a trunk mount kit.

When it was pointed out to AA that we had proof they made the error .... they then tried to talk me into keeping the kit by claiming that the trunk mount was a much better system.

When that failed .... they simply said that they didn't have any more under-hood kits, would not make any in the future and that we could return the trunk mount for a hefty 20% "restocking" fee.

It was obvious that AA were becoming upset w/me and realizing that if I pressed the issue AA might not be cooperative in the future, I decided to keep the trunk mount kit and make do.

Perhaps I should have realized that I'd been handed some clues? Well, hindsight is 20/20, isn't it dear friends?

BTW: I have since learned to my full satisfaction that AA had NO intention of providing me an under-hood W/A injection kit in the first place.

So, TTBOMK, here are the SOPs which AA live by:

1) Lie & Sell. First they tell you whatever AA think will result in a sale. Even if they have to lie to you.
Then they send you whatever AA feel like sending you. Even if it won't suit your clearly stated purposes.
2) Blame the Customer. If you complain; the first thing they do is blame YOU.
3) Deny & Lie. If that fails; they try to talk you into keeping the products.
4) Pressure the Customer. If that fails; they place an unjust financial burden on you.

But what if you continue to complain and demand that AA take responsibility for their actions? What is SOP #5? That's the $64K question. It will be answered as our ride w/AA continues .

We proceed w/the install and A/B soon find that the 10hr (average) install time AA claimed for the SC kit was not even close to the truth. To A/B's credit they did not charge me for many, many hours of extra time.

Please keep in mind that the TOTAL install includes troubleshooting the SC kit.

Upon initial install, A/B found that the blower as delivered was defective. AA sent us a new blower and w/o any further ado (or changes of any kind) the car now made considerably more power than OEM.

Eureka we're approaching the Finish line! ..... NOT! Not even close. <argh>

After initial install was complete; the engine would overheat (even under mild driving conditions) if we used the air conditioner. Example: Steady throttle, 70mph in top gear, ambient temp app 72 degrees. Red zone in a few of minutes, or so.

The harder one drives the car. The sooner the engine overheats.

As we later found out; even w/the AC turned off under track conditions after about two laps of 9 or 10/10ths driving .... the engine would overheat.

The only way to bring temps back out of the Red Zone and back to normal was to turn on the heater and slow down.

Trust me BoyzNGals it's no fun sitting in an M3 w/the heater turned on full blast during the summer.

The overheating problem made the car unusable for "Track Days" or anytime one needed AC.

But that's not the only bump in the road .... there was a huge surge in the powerband at app 4200RPM. It was so abrupt and hard that it could cause a spin if one was cornering when hitting 4200RPM. Heck, it was annoying at ALL times.

And there's still more .... the car shifted much slower than OEM. Ie; S6 mode felt like S4, or so.

But that's not all BoyzNGals .... you get all of this plus .... A car which only makes 345 RWHP with a full, high flow, exhaust system!

What A Deal AA Make You. Act Now. Right Now!!! Yee Haw!

For a one time price of $9400.00 plus the possibility of months of grief and tens of thousands of dollars more .... at best you'll wind up w/an SMG M3 which shifts slower than OEM and makes far less than the claimed 360RWHP.

Interestingly enough, JMWeb writes that we can only expect about 350RWHP.

These kind of contradictions exist everywhere. We'll examine the contradictions in detail as folks respond and the thread grows.

To be continued in part 2...




New Member
S. Oregon USA
Active Autowerks Supercharger part 2.

...Continued from part 1.

Now we hit the traffic circle in our journey. And round and round we go .... where we'll stop .... nobody knows.

Over the next few months we tried to everything we could think of:
Repeated long distance calls to AA by A/B and Pacific Motorsports.
Consultations w/Rasmussen BMW who had experience w/AA SC kits.
Dyno runs and adjustments galore w/a forum member presiding who has an impeccable rep on the M3Forum.

I was never charged for ANY of this by either A/B or R/BMW, or the "forum member."

During the months of troubleshooting the following steps where taken by your fave ronin:

Long distance calls to AA and other experts around the country and personal chats with Rasmussen's Pete Perez.

A trip to Rasmussen BMW for code clearing and resetting adaptations with the latest GT1 software.

Three trips to Eugene BMW for code clearing and resetting adaptations with the latest GT1 software.

I spent hundreds of dollars on the above mentioned troubleshooting.

Suffered missed track days which also cost hundreds more $.

Suffered loss of utility because my car was barely usable .... if at al.

During the above "steps," AA's reps remained polite and returned calls in a timely manner for the most part.

The only bad moments were:
A) When I spoke w/an unidentified woman and asked for Karl (i think it was christina). In reply to her query, I said calmly and w/o rancor that my car was STILL not working right and that I needed to talk to Karl about it. She was quite rude but put me through to Karl.
B) When I posted on the M3forum some of my probs in a mild manner and calm tone Omar (AA's official rep on the Net), launched a personal attack. I chatted w/him on the phone and decided to cease posting and to continue being kind and patient w/what was becoming a frustrating experience. But it was obvious that Karl was a hostile individual and I resolved not to have anything more to do him from that point on.

Those two experiences were more clues for the clueless. <sigh>

As I waited for resolution, I realized that the REQUIRED high performance clutch should be installed or risk destroying the OEM assemblies. At this point I was offered an excellent opportunity to help UUC test their new Cerametallic Clutch and LWT Flywheel kit.

Pacific Motorsports had two mechanics (David and Mike) who had maintained my 03 SMG M3 Cab. Plus they had an alignment machine and welding on the premises.

Neither A/B nor R/BMW could do the all of the work I needed done in-house, so I chose P/M. Plus (i thought) a fresh new set of mechanics might come up w/something new.

We ran into new problems.

Mainly, the car would hunt for idle and often stall.

More phone calls to AA, Rob @ UUC, Bill @ Discovery Automotive, Pete @ R/BMW and so on.

AA's Barry and Mike had INSISTED that we remove the AA kit's "black box" and OEM screen from the Mass Air assembly. We gently reminded AA that the car did not exhibit the probs prior to the Clutch & FW install and therefore it wouldn't seem the right thing to do.

AA replied that we MUST remove said items because they had checked our records and that we had "updated" software which no longer required those parts.

AA claimed that once we replaced the parts and reset the SMG per OEM specs that the car would run just fine.

We reluctantly did as we were told. And we tried numerous SMG resets and several different custom slave cylinder rod lengths per AA's and UUC's instructions.

AA's instructions caused more probs!

The symptoms were exacerbated!

Now, do NOT even think that we blame UUC or anyone ELSE other than AA for the above mentioned probs.

At this point it became clear that we could not fully test the UUC parts .... (sorry Rob, we really tried our best) so I ordered an UUC organic clutch and thought that I would try to continue testing the UUC parts once the car was running as AA promised us that it would!

During this portion of the ordeal I mentioned, ONCE AGAIN, that AA had improperly set the redline on my ECU to 7900 RPM and that AA reps had made it perfectly clear to me that a 7600 RPM redline was REQUIRED or my warranty might be voided by AA.

Joseph (first sales rep), Omar and now Phil Calloway had followed SOPs:
#1) AA flashed my ECU to a 7900RPM redline. Conveniently for AA, if we had damaged our motor, AA would be have been able to refuse warranty service.
#2) AA tried to blame us for the improperly flashed ECU. But I prevailed .... only because we had irrefutable evidence that it was AA's error.
#3) AA tried to talk me into keeping the 7900RPM redline. But I pointed to to them that I didn't want to void AA's warranty.
#4) Although we had proved that the fault lay w/AA, they demanded that I pay for H.I.S to AA. And if I wanted a three business day turn around, I would also have to pay AA's return H.I.S. costs.

I graciously complied.

The reflash had no discernible effect! Other than to change the redline to what it should have been in the first place.

Finally, at my wit's end .... at home w/a car that I could not use and track day season in Oregon over .... I decided to give Discovery Automotive a try.

Bill of D/A had (rightfully, imho) said that the first step would be to re-install the OEM tranny parts and then start over by fully examining the original install.

Bill was confident, as I am, that if the AA SC kit can be made to work to my original specs, which AA had PROMISED me would be the case .... D/A could do it.

But D/A were very busy and I would have to wait. Ie; a Bentley and a Diablo were ahead of me. <humor alert> Well, I can understand the Diablo being .... uhm, ahead .... but a Bentley? <end humor alert>

Hmmm, come to think of it the way my car's running .... a determined bicyclist could stay ahead of me. <sigh>

In order to expedite matters I took the car to Eugene BMW and had them re-install the OEM parts. But that's another long story to be explored in a different thread.

Where I now sit is aptly described by that old poem which begins: "Here I sit broken hearted. Paid a dime to..."

I now wait for D/A. If they cannot fit me in, in a timely manner, then the car goes back to A/B for one last attempt to get it running right.

If my car can be made to run smoothly w/AA's kit (AA promised me, among other things, that it would be "like driving and M3 with a big V8") it will still not be "like OEM." Because according to AA's unofficial rep on the Internet .... JMWeb .... there is no fix for the "slow shifting" problem.

And there is never likely to be one w/AA's kit as designed.

So at best .... i'll have a slow shifting M3 that only makes 345RWHP?

That's definitely NOT what I was promised by AA!

At this point i'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to the following; Brandon, Darby, Steve of A/B and of all of those who assisted A/B during the install and subsequent troubleshooting (example; Pete of R/BMW).

I'd also like to thank:

Rob of UUC for selflessly giving of his time and hard earned experience and for giving me a first look at what promises to be THE Clutch & LTW Flywheel kit.

And i'd like to thank Discovery Automotive's Sean & Bill for spending hours on the phone w/me w/o knowing that I would ever spend one red cent w/them.

As for AA .... Thanks for Nothing!

<warning; sarcasm ahead, please drive carefully>

Wait I should thank AA:
Thanks for leading me down the "garden path."
Thanks for lying to me.
Thanks for using deceptive sales tactics.
Thanks for selling me products and services that are incompatible with my needs and NOT what I ordered.
Thanks for coercing me into making changes that made matters worse.
Thanks for costing me at LEAST $18K in expenses. And perhaps more as the journey comes to an end (hopefully soon, one way or another).
Thanks for refusing to honor your contract with me and instead demanding that I ship my car to AA at my cost and risk (IOW: SOP #4) or AA will no longer be willing to help me (as if they'd done other than help themselves to my cash).

Finally, <phew> thanks for promising the Moon when you only sell Floridian "swamp land."

Oh, wait AA .... you did give me the "moon" after all. Didn't you? And the finger as well. Gee .... THANKS AA!

<end sarcasm, thx for visiting and come back soon>

Now for SOP #5:

To the peanut gallery: You didn't think that i'd forgotten about SOP #5, did ya? <chuckle>

SOP #5 is what AA do when someone complains in a public forum:

#5) AA unjustly initiate personal attacks and incite others to do likewise.

I guess there is something else I should "thank AA" for:
Slandering my good name and my well earned rep for honesty and fair play and slandering the great folks who've persevered with me during this terrible experience .... by calling Autohaus Bayern, Pacific Motorsports and Rasmussen BMW .... "CHOP SHOPS."

I wonder if JMWeb will call Discovery Automotive a "chop shop" if they are also unable to get the AA kit operating properly and/or if D/A agree that the kit is defective/deficient.

In closing .... dear friends before you decide to buy an AA Supercharger kit for your late model SMG M3 .... first, do as I did and exercise due diligence. Do your research. Examine the info available and ask questions. Don't take my word for it. Investigate AA!

Ask AA why they INITIATE personal attacks. Do reputable companies ever resort to gross personal insults .... even if they were somehow insulted first (which they weren't in my case)?
Ask AA why they resort to empty rhetoric, denials and unsupported accusations instead of simply refuting my assertions.
Ask AA why they refer to "satisfied" customers but avoid like the freaking plague the facts surrounding those, so called, "satisfied" customers:

I) The most vociferous claims of satisfaction come for AA's own reps and vested interests (like TaZaM3).
II) Other strong claims of satisfaction come from those who have received special favors from AA. And certainly expect more of the same.
III) All of those who have claimed satisfaction have made some kind of modifications to the AA kit as delivered (inclusive of kit related car mods).

Now, ask AA why they haven't posted ONE instance of a late model SMG M3 that's operating as AA promised me their kit would. (Not one such car! NONE!)

Then ask AA why they refer to their kit as being "complete," "simple for any competent mechanic to install" and "like ... OEM." Even JMWeb admits that the kit needs more parts than AA tell us and admits that the kit will never be as smooth and shift as fast as OEM.

Specially ask AA why they don't sue me for slander. <chuckle>

AA might continue to develop the kit. <shrug> Perhaps, some day, it'll work like they promised me it would. The question I ask YOU, dear reader, is this:

If AA claim in the future that they've solved the problems inherent in their SC kit (like they claim that the buggy software which caused idle hunting and stalling is now fixed) would you believe them?

And if the answer is "Yes," then I ask; would you trust AA to honor their contract w/u if something does go wrong?

It's YOUR car. It's YOUR money. It's YOUR decision.

You Decide!

If the only result of my attempts to inform the public and hold AA accountable for their actions is that AA change their sales tactics (example; cease misrepresenting their kit and fully inform consumers) and stick to their agreements .... I will consider my time well spent.

Thx for reading this long post.


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