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Dinan Engineering / Bmw Gallery - Immensely disappointed with the Dinan Stage 1 Upgrade for My BMW

Review by Bill1261 on 2013-10-15
Rating: StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
MORGAN HILL / NORWOOD, MA, CALIFORNIA -- I recently purchased a new 2013 BMW 550IX and after researching Dinan's website, DinanCars.Com and speaking to two Authorized Dinan dealers in MA discussing the Stage 1 software upgrade ($2,999) I decided to move forward.

Dinan’s website mentions an incredible increase from 400 HP to 495 HP and an increase in torque from 425 to 573 ft lbs. This sound pretty impressive!

My complaint or review is that my results were DISMAL to say the least. My Dinan upgrade resulted in ONLY an 11 HP increase and ONLY 17 ft lbs of torque. I was not ripped off for my money as it was refunded.

I was however ripped off for all my time and added expense that I will further explain.

I decided to have the upgrade performed at Dinan’s authorized dealer, The BMW Gallery in Norwood after speaking three if not four times with Steven who is the designated technician that does the Dinan Stage 1 upgrade.

He informed me he had done many of these and reiterated the increase from the mfg specs of 400 HP to 495 HP and the torque from 425 to 573ft lbs MANY, MANY times!

When I asked him how I would ever really know what the actual gain was he advised me to go to Kaizen Tuning in Boxborough to have a dyno test to first determine my present HP and torque and then return there for a follow up test AFTER the Dinan upgrade to confirm the incredible increase.

I did exactly as he advised. On Sept. 19th, 2013 I drove one hour to Kaizen and paid $175.00 for a dyno test.

The technicians at Kaizen Tuning explained to me as well as Steven had that the true numbers of HP and TQ would be less than what the manufacturer claims in the specs. The manufacturer uses data of HP and TQ derived with the engine sitting on a “dyno frame” whereas the actual true HP and TQ is at the wheels.

The dyno testing resulted in 336 HP and 350 TQ.

The following day on Friday Sept. 20th I had the Dinan Stage 1 upgrade performed at BMW Gallery in Norwood, Ma. The upgrade or download as they call it took a couple of hours. I might ad Steven again reiterated the claim of an increase of 400 HP to 495 HP and the torque from 425 to 573ft lbs.

The following Tuesday Sept. 24th I now returned to Kaizen Tuning and had the Dyno test again performed to confirm the increases

The results were: 347 HP and 367 TQ. This translates to an increase in power AFTER the DINAN stage 1 of ONLY 11 HP and 17 TQ. Certainly an incredibly dismal increase after all the bro-ha-ha regarding their claims

When I called Steven at Norwood his first reply was Kaizen's graphs were flawed. I also spoke to Scott, Regional sales manager for Kaizen. He also reiterated very strongly the absolute increase In HP and TQ Dinan claims.

Scott, the president of Kaizen Tuning informs me he personally spoke to Steven and stated his dyno results are not flawed. He categorically and unequivocally stands by his results and stated just this on his letter head that I have.

What took place these last 9 days is Steven promising me he'd get back to me and each time not hearing from him I would initiate the call. He finally informed me that either they would refund my purchase 100% or I could bring the car in for TWO days of testing.

This "testing" was described as a boost test. Steven told me the boost was originally at "9" and after the upgrade it should have been 14 or 15. (This data has since been contradicted from a representative of Kaizen in a follow up e-mail)

I again called Scott at Kaizen and he informed me that although not a perfect science each incremental increase in boost should produce 10 more HP. He adamantly stated that if I had gotten that claimed increase in boost it would have reflected on the graphs.

Scott of Kaizen Tuning will not budge nor negotiate his stance that my total power increase was ONLY 11HP and 16 TQ AFTER the Dinan upgrade.

Today I left a message with Steven stating I would be amenable to a boost test or whatever else he needed to do to give me what I had paid for.

I expect to get what Dinan's website, Their regional rep, Scott states as well as Steven of Norwood BMW claims the upgrade will produce.

I did however make it clear he could not have my car for TWO days testing. I was originally told the actual upgrade takes less than 1 hour.

I got a call back from Steven explaining they were refunding my payment 100%.

Thus my complaint is not that I have been swindled or ripped off, but that I spent a monumental amount of time and energy on this Dinan upgrade. Although I have now gotten a complete refund I cannot recoup the 3 hours I originally spent at the dealership, the 8 hours + in traveling and waiting at Kaizen Tuning and the expense of the two dyno tests that unequivocally prove nothing but the incredibly dismal results of the Dinan Upgrade performed at the BMW Gallery In Norwood, Ma.

It was a very far stretch from the claims made on Dinan's website and reiterated by all the representatives associated with this.

My complaint is this entire project was a waste of my time and energy and seriously makes me question the claims Dinan makes regarding increases in HP & Torque.

The Dinan website is VERY careful not to make any claims of MINIMUM increases in horsepower or torque.
Instead the “language” on their website is:
"The results of Dinan’s tuning are nothing short of breathtaking, with the added boost and related re-calibration producing a maximum output of 495 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 573 lb-ft torque at 3500 rpm.”

Obviously this is to protect them from any false claims or advertising but everybody you’ll speak to will “parrot” the maximum claim. MY INCREASE WAS ONLY 11 HP & 17 TQ.

I might add here following this entire episode I e-mailed Dinan using a fake name Rich asking questions about the Stage 1 upgrade as I wanted a documented e-mail regarding their claims. This is what I got back from Jeff.

First off, my apologies for not getting back to you initially. It wasn’t my intention to drop the ball, so that’s my fault. There’s just two of us here at our factory answering all the sales calls and handling emails from consumers and our dealers, so sometimes things get a little hectic. Again – sorry.
So – on to the turbo boost levels for the F10 550i. The stock 550i runs approximately 9.5psi. Our Stage 1 software ups that to around 12psi, whereas Stage 2 turns it up to roughly 14psi.
Stage 1 brings you to 495hp at 573lb-ft of torque. Stage 2 brings that to 501/580. Though on the surface it appears to be only a minor peak gain as compared to Stage 1, the overall power curves are much more impressive here. We’ve substantially increased power in 1st and 2nd gears over Stage 1, and the results are immediately apparent. So if you’re considering adding our software, I’d suggest going straight to Stage 2, as that’s the best bang for the buck. Let me know if that suffices!

Western Regional Sales, Dinan Engineering

This e-mail concurs what everybody associated with Dinan and their authorized dealers claim Although Dinan “covers their butt” with their website statement I believe it is REASONABLE TO EXPECT more than just an 11HP increase and more than just 17 ft lbs increase in TQ. Certainly these numbers are incredibly less than their touted “maximum” increase of 95 HP and 148 ft lbs of torque. I’m left to wonder how many past or present customers will just believe all the hype, pay for this Stage 1 upgrade and just assume they got what they paid for without verifying it the way I did.

I would advise ANYONE that is considering dropping 3K for the Dinan upgrade to first have a dyno test done and repeat this process after your upgrade. If you're going to spend 3K you might as well pay for two dyno tests to give you the comfort level that you got what you paid for. Lastly make sure you use your credit card so you can get in touch with your bank for a refund if your results are as dismal as mine. I used my Amex and never doubted I would get my money back. Perhaps BMW Gallery and possibly with a discussion with Dinan decided it would be in their best interest to just make me “go away” and give me a refund.

I love my new 550IX and was really looking forward to this Dinan upgrade.
I am now,
Disappointed in Quincy, Ma
Bill Mullen
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2013-10-16
Posted by ok4now on 2013-10-16:
Interesting post Bill. You have a high end BMW that you want to make faster with the Dinan upgrade. Sounds like you did your homework. The dyno tests proved that they ripped you off. Good for you catching them with this fraud.

You sound like a serious car guy looking for the ultimate ride. As much as you love your BMW you'll need to step up for the ultimate performance. No upgrades necessary. If you want the best and have the cash here it is. The Porsche 911 Turbo. It's not cheap but compared to a Ferrari it's a steal with better performance. This is where the big boys play.
Posted by FoDaddy19 on 2013-10-16:
If your car was rated for 400 HP at the flywheel, and put down 336 at the wheels that's only a 16% driveline loss. On an AWD car, that's incredible. A little too incredible if you ask me. I suspect BMW is underating the 4.4L twin turbo in this car. Assuming a more realisitc 20% driveline loss, you should be seeing about 410 HP on a chassis dyno if the upgrades lived up to the claims. Something is definately amiss here. I would speculate that the turbochargers aren't producing the 12 pounds of boost that they are supposed to, this could be attributed to a software glitch in the Dinan tune.

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