Zeemax ruins E34 M5 3

So my first blog around cars isn’t going to be the best – but they’ll be more positive going forward. I’m not a fan of bashing brands, but when I read through this thread I was amazed at what I read.

I’m apart of a fast growing, respected BMW group in South Africa called BMW Fanatics. If you like BMW’s – go register!


Right, down to business.

I’m a massive fan of the M5 range. Personally, I own an E39 M5 and loving it.

This M5, in particular, is (or should I say was) immaculate. The owner decided to have some work done at Zeemax. Not too long ago, a good friend of mine took his E36 M3 there – and had the clutch fitted the wrong way around.

Enough muttering from my side, here’s what happened to an E34 M5 at Zeemax:

To put it mildly I am a rather frustrated and angry client of Zeemax’s. I have hinted a number of times on the forum to the 2 1/2 years my car has sat at Zeemax getting its turbo project completed. I received this vehicle back 2 weeks ago for run in and to say the workmanship leaves a lot to be desired is an enormous understatement.

This vehicle was sent to Zeemax with a very specific project brief.
1. Repair a list of small niggles with the car
2. Turbo the motor with the following:
a. Low Compression Forged Internals
b. Longer Duration Cam
c. High flow manifold and down pipes
d. Upgraded fuel supply and injectors
e. Front mounted intercooler
f. Front to back exhaust
g. ECU
The performance outcome i was looking for was as follows:
1. 0-100 sub 5sec
2. 1/4 mile late 12’s to early 13’s
3. good reliable allround performer
4. daily driveable

Below is the email I sent to Zeemax post my findings and too date I have received NO response, my calls are ignored and have absolutely no chance of a return call.


To be quiet honest I cannot believe that I am in the position I am in with the un-adulterated mess I find in my possession.

Over the last 2 days I have taken some time to inspect the work done by yourselves on the M5 and to say I am horrified would be putting it mildly.

The list of issues includes but is not limited to:

Propshaft coupling damaged by poor installation
Turbo connected to exhaust manifold with no gasket and a layer of gasket maker
Turbo oil line (hard as apposed to flex) connect to the block with metal putty
Massive exhaust manifold leaks
Substandard silicone pipe on the intercooler disguised with duct tape
Substandard injectors, fuel rail and fuel regulator that cannot possibly fuel the motor
No heat shielding on the intercooler piping resulting in massive inlet temps once the motor has reached operating temp
Major oil leaks on the sump and on the bellhousing
The MAF is maxing out in possible signal provision and the resultant refactoring of the data by the piggyback is leaning out the motor dangerously
The compression across the 6 cylinders is inconsistent
The cams are acting like long duration cams and look to be creating an overfueled idle.

Further, significant damage was done to the vehicle while in your possession:


All four door cards badly water damaged and require recovering with leather.
Front seats badly damaged and leather permanently marked
Dash inserts removed, improperly reinstalled and damaged
Rear seat leather cut


Wheels scratched and emblems destroyed by the elements
Major scratches on the body around the areas where your techs worked
Bonnet and boot struts swapped for faulty items
Front bumper moulding around the intercooler questionable at best.

The results of all of this is that I once had a pristine example of a e34 M5. I now have a very tatty undriveable version of an e34 m5. What you were contracted to do was deliver on a project. The objectives of the project were very clearly defined. What I have is neither a completed project nor a delivery on the requirements of the project. The running of this motor at full boost would have resulted in a massively leaned out motor that would have resulted in an irreparable damage.

To put it mildly the workmanship and care demonstrated for my property is atrocious. I have engaged an alternative service provider to quote on the repair of these issues. My initial guesstimate is that there is in excess of R70k worth of work to be completed.

I am not prepared to give Zeemax another chance to do more damage to my property. I expect a refund from yourselves for the extremely poor workmanship demonstrated and I expect a contribution from yourselves to the expense of repairing the damage done to the vehicle while in your care. I further expect an formal reply by the close of business tomorrow.

I leave you with the choice being yours. I implore you to remedy this situation as presented.

Nick Cunningham-Moorat

This is what the car looked like when i bought her almost 3 years ago.


Below are some photos of the damage created or caused by Zeemax to this vehicle.

The intercooler fitted with old silicone piping and covered with duct tape to hide

Turbo oil return connected to the block with metal putty

Turbo connected to downpipe with “gasket maker”

Prop shaft coupling over tightened

PowerSteering leak after motor re-install


You can follow the thread on BMWFanatics.co.za or add your comments on this work, or your experiences with Zeemax to the comments below.


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About Jeff

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  • Max

    Poor workmanship.

  • Chuky

    Hi Jeff,
    Just wondering about this as zeemax does sounds like a shocking company to work with and would agree they shouldn’t be in business. However there some points I would like to point out. 1. why has the car been at this garage for 2.5 years? I mean wouldnt you smell a rat when it takes this long for a turbo? From the post it sounds like he “all of a sudden” finding out that his car is ruined. Sounds a bit fishy to me and I think there some things the owner should be responsibly for. 2. His requirements are a little big, he didn’t mention how much he paying for all this but to have a race car, be daily drivable and reliable…. if the top garages in the world struggle with that not sure a back road garage in Africa going to crack it.

  • Hey Chucky,
    Thanks for popping in 🙂

    Most of the points have been answered in the thread if you want to go through almost 8 pages now 🙂
    Leaving the car there for 2.5 years is the owners thing, it’s his car. I’d assume he has other cars that he uses for a daily drive – so time isn’t really a factor.
    End of the day, he’s the paying customer for the turbo conversion – so Zeemax are the ones who should have taken responsibility on this.

    The requirements aren’t big at all. Which top garage would battle with this kind of conversion? There are 1/4 mile drag monsters that eat up tarmac in under 10 seconds that are very much road legal to drive around and be a comfortable daily drive.

    BMW themselves claim that most of their M cars have “split personalities” Mine for example, I can drop off the folks at the airport taking it nice and easy and go straight to the track and it turns into an absolute hooligan. So yes, it’s very possible and is done very often. After all, it’s a turbo conversion – not complicated to get done by a reputable garage.