The following are excerpts from two major emails that were sent in December 2021 to EuroConnex members and participants of the group buy MFactory for the V3 carbon driveshaft.
I have since sourced the authentic "V2" carbon fiber driveshaft from the actual manufacturer. This product was used and loved by over 400 E9X M3 owners.
A 50x units pre-order was filled within 24 hours in January 2022. I intend to make the authentic carbon driveshaft readily available directly from YFCM, and introduce new applications to market.
You can learn more here. Get on the waiting list to stay in the loop.
Michael @ MFactory was nothing more than a private labeling company masquerading as a big corporation all along.
As of January 20th 2022, the V3 is still not a commercially viable product and is still in testing.
The following content was peer reviewed with the other testers before being sent as I wish to avoid for them to suffer the same treatment that I have received from MFactory.
Table of content:
- Backstory to my relationship with MFactory
- Preliminary information of tests of the V3
- Current critical issues with the V3
- MFactory's response to these issues
- How the relationship unraveled
- Backstory to bogus claims of patents
- Discovering the true manufacturer of the famed V2
- My research into YFCM
- My communications with YFCM
- The V1 & V2 development story
- What the V3 actually is
- Can the V3 even be fixed?
- My first hand comparison of V2 vs V3
- The current refund situation
- The probability of wire fraud
- The ultimate culprit: greed.
1: Backstory to my relationship with MFactory
In Fall of 2020, I negotiated a never seen before price of 1050 + shipping for the V2 Carbon Driveshaft. These were pre-EuroConnex days, I was just another guy on forums doing group buys.
The GB terms were set to a free driveshaft for my build if 25 members joined: over 80 of you did in 48 hours.
I asked Michael for further compensation in the form of a 2nd driveshaft as managing these is extremely time intensive, furthermore when issues arise with a very large group of people.
I was shut down and my GB was taken over by Michael and I was left out to dry. I personally bought into that GB myself in January 2021 as the deal I had negotiated was too good to be true.
Turns out it was.
The pandemic caused massive logistics issues and Michael informed me in early 2021 that he wouldn't be able to fulfill orders of V2 and needed to look for a new carbon tube manufacturer.
He suggested he found one that was specialized in golf clubs and was strictly able to do a unidirectional weave similar to an M4, and golf clubs. He was quick to point out the new weave pattern would make for a stronger driveshaft.
Michael chose to develop a new V3 variant, claiming it was using the same self-locking proprietary flange and an improved unidirectional weave.
I decided to help Michael with another GB, along with crafting the messaging for the new V3 variant.
We agreed to a group buy for the V3 at 1349$ + shipping as he suggested a higher MSRP, visibly trying to make up loss profits and cover the additional expenses of developing the V3.
This was in the Spring of 2021.
2: Preliminary information of tests of the V3
The V3 carbon fiber driveshaft was supposedly tested in Q2 2021 by MFactory testers. I was never in contact with these initial testers nor do I know who they are. Michael has not provided any proof of their existence.
The initial V3 deliveries in September were to be deemed production units. I requested Michael to have the 1st DCT driveshaft to be able to document and review the production V3 to reassure current GB participants due to the numerous delays.
The secondary goal was to reinvigorate interest in a product that had been unavailable for over a year.
It was upon providing the UPS tracking number that Michael informed me that I would need to test the driveshaft. I was excited but quite surprised, as Michael knew of my extensive plans to service & overhaul the entire drivetrain & suspension.
I wasn't the ideal tester to provide rapid feedback. He tried to use these delays to deflect blame on myself for the delays in shipping out the driveshaft in numerous posts on M3post.
The first 3x V3 driveshafts were delivered in mid September to myself (DCT), David (MT) and Bogdan (MT). David was identified as a MT tester and Bogdan was a warranty replacement for a CV flange failure on a V2 driveshaft he paid in full in January 2021. Additionally, there was a E46 M3 V3 test driveshaft that was sent to Ray as well.
3: Current critical issues with V3 carbon fiber driveshafts
There are considerable vibrations on all V3 units that have been tested.
The MT variant has vibrations in the 70 to 100mph range. To be clear, I define vibrations as something that can be felt through the throttle pedal, and even violently shaking the entire vehicle. These symptoms were reported by Bogdan, David and Ray.
Bogdan had the install performed by Bavarian Autohouse in Oregon, the owner has a supercharged M3 equipped with an earlier version of the carbon driveshaft. Ray & David's driveshafts were also installed by professional BMW mechanics. My driveshaft was installed with the support of a BMW tech during my suspension and drivetrain overhaul.
The DCT variant has vibrations in the 115-125 mph range. They appeared on my 2nd test drive and haven't disappeared since. The vibrations are felt throughout the entire car.
It appears these issues may have been known by Michael beforehand, as during our conversations he specifically asked to look for vibrations at 124 mph.
The V3 was removed on Bogdan and Ray's car. With the OEM put back in - there were no vibrations.
2.1 Communication of issues
I first communicated my issues to Michael on November 25th. His response was that it was a resonance and it was normal. I stressed that I felt vibrations on the throttle pedal and it was beyond humming noises or resonance.
I received further feedback from Bodgan and David on the 26th. Bogdan communicated what he felt were unsafe vibrations at 70mph and he didn't wish to take it at any higher speeds. David's vibrations were now at 100mph and were described as driving on a rough road.
On November 26th, I reached out to Michael to press my concerns that all known V3s that were installed had vibration problems to better understand how he planned to address these issues, and where they may come from.
I was further concerned as Michael had told me he had already shipped out 20x driveshafts to GB participants with the knowledge of our issues.
This is when things started going South.
4: MFactory & Michael's response to these issues
I will be paraphrasing Michael's responses here as some are insulting to initial testers and M3 owners that are in these group buys.
If some of you have doubts on things that may have really been said, feel free to contact me and I will provide excerpts of my discussions with Michael.
- But you approved it?
- Michael suggested I had already approved the driveshaft in an attempt to shift blame. I immediately pointed out I had already told him about vibrations and referred to my messages stating so.
- It's the installer's fault, look at the instructions
- Michael suggested Bogdan's issues were due to his mechanics not following instructions and he didn't know what to answer him.
- I asked whether the instructions had changed from the previous V1 and V2 variants.
- Michael specified there were no instructions provided on V1 and V2.
- I suggested initiating a problem solving discussion with the mechanic directly.
- Bogdan was unwilling to pay for further labor charges as he felt it wasn't his responsibility.
- Michael suggested the mechanics's words meant nothing if he was unwilling to do anything about it.
- It isn't a balancing problem
- Bodgan provided pictures of the driveshaft and immediately pointed out there were much more balancing weights used than his previous V2.
- Michael suggested no two wheels were balanced the same and offered to check Bodgan's driveshaft on the balancing machine again. If it checked out, there would be nothing he could do.
- Michael further pressed the angle that this wasn't an OEM product and anybody expecting such should rethink their purchase.
- I voiced further concerns that these products had been marketed with the highlight that MFactory was an OEM subcontractor. He was quick to backtrack and say Toyota uses these on race cars and he didn't make anything for regular street cars.
- That response rattled my confidence and I asked point blank whether that was his planned response should issues arise.
- Michael's response was rattling: "my response will depend on the response of the customer"
- If you want service, pay retail.
- Michael was further quick to point out that he wouldn't ever pay for labor charges and further pointed finger at installers, suggesting he had just as many issues with the V1 and V2.
- Michael made the point that customers expecting support after sales should pay full retail and shipping instead. He expects customers to put in efforts and that he isn't offering a service, but rather an aftermarket "race" part.
- A small stone chip can cause failure, and that's not my problem.
- The extremely concerning comment from Michael was the suggestion that "just a small stone chip can cause the driveshaft to fail" and "that's not our problem, but we still get the blame".
- He further pointed to installers not reading the instructions. Keep in mind these previously didn't exist for V1 and V2. He admitted to building the V3 instructions from the V1 and V2 feedback, there is nothing new that installers didn't know about.
- Michal further stated that "cruising usually does increase the chance of things to vibrate more"
- Test it at 180mph!
- Michael initially told testers to keep it safe in their testing regimen, and have fun.
- It was later suggested by Michael to David, MT tester, that he performs a redline 6th gear acceleration test to look for vibrations. Safety visibly wasn't a concern anymore.
5: How the relationship unraveled between Michael and EuroConnex
On November 27th, I was made aware of comments Michael made on M3post suggesting he hadn't screwed me out on the first group buy and that I wouldn't run a 2nd group buy if he did.
I messaged him asking to avoid stirring the pot and simply delete that message. I wasn't looking to argue - but he was, as has been common in various discussions in the last year.
I pressed that our relationship was tense considering the 100% defect rate he currently had on V3s.
I advised that his lacklustre responses the day before weren't indicative of someone admitting or anticipating the scenario of all driveshafts being defective.
I further reminded him that my loyalty was to M3 owners and not to him; I wouldn't tag along for the ride if things went South. What mattered to me was transparency and to have a quality product delivered to all of you.
That ticked him off and he asked me to pay for the defective driveshaft in full and refund any payments he may have made in the past.
I told him that was a major red flag to me - yet I had anticipated it that I'd be left out to dry, again.
That triggered him; he quit our group chat, blocked me on WhatsApp and immediately started smearing EuroConnex and myself to members in emails and on M3post.
Reads like a high school feud eh?
He was hiding something.
6: Backstory to claims of proprietary flange, and carbon tube manufacturing
It has long been public that MFactory does not manufacture its carbon tubes and subcontracted the production to suppliers that manufactured to OEM standards.
This is standard practice in the industry - nothing wrong up to now.
In 2016, Michael made these claims regarding the carbon tube manufacturers.
"There are only 2 [manufacturers] in Taiwan that makes the driveshaft tubes for the aftermarket performance industry. They only make the carbon part of the driveshaft, and they are both very good at it (and both products look identical, because they use the same type of machines)."
He also specifically mentioned this critical piece of information regarding the flanges.
"However, they outsource the manufacturing of the flanges/joints, and this is where the issues lay. [...] Although our carbon tubes are sourced from one of the above companies, the difference is we make our own flanges/joints in-house as we are that one company, and as we are offering our own branded driveshaft, no competitor has access to our flanges/joints"
This is critical to what now appears to be at minimum false advertising by MFactory.
7: Discovering the V2 manufacturer
In September 2021, I was made aware by a EuroConnex member of a company called YCFM.
They appeared to manufacture carbon fiber driveshafts in Taiwan. They claimed they had duly registered and published patents in the US, EU, TW, JP and CN.
I communicated this finding to Michael Yip at MFactory.
He alluded to this being very similar to the J-Fiber / V1 saga back in 2014-2015 when carbon driveshafts first made an appearance on the market but had mission critical issues. He claimed this was the same chief engineer as J-Fiber.
He claimed it was strictly his former V2 carbon tube manufacturer trying to do its own thing. He specifically highlighted that very few companies could actually manufacture the flange with the proprietary locking mechanism MFactory had developed.
This piece of information is critical to the story.
More info on J-Fiber later on.
8: My research into the V2 carbon tube manufacturer
I have since been in direct contact with this manufacturer, doing due diligence on who they were and what was their relationship with Michael & MFactory. They provided me with patent certifications.
I was in touch with a fellow EuroConnex member: he is a lawyer working in International Intellectual Property law. Upon reviewing the patent documentation that was provided by YFCM, we were able to track down the patents in various registries.
They were legitimate, and fully published. They were filed in December 2015. This date is critical to the story.
I have the complete PDF documentation of the US and EU patents and they are available here.
9: My communications with YFCM
I have since been in discussions with YFCM to bring clarity to their relationship with MFactory, Michael Yip and YCW engineering, along with finding solutions to get us the product we all actually want: the V2.
I have provided detailed pictures of the V3 along with claims Michael made regarding the proprietary self locking mechanism.
They were extremely quick to respond.
YFCM was the actual manufacturer of the complete V2 carbon fiber driveshaft. They are privately labeled to Michael under the YCW Engineering brand using a consignment distribution arrangement.
YFCM developed, patented and managed the manufacturing of their patented flange, along with manufacturing the carbon tube with Toray pre-preg carbon filament. They distinctively use a yellow braided carbon filament to easily identify the tubes.
They also took care of shipping to individual customers from Taiwan. Michael did not handle anything in the process, nor provided any flanges, nor stocked any product.
They corroborated the findings that the V3 product offered by Michael was manufactured by a bicycle carbon tube manufacturer who didn't have the necessary high speed balancing equipment to test for the RPMs our cars experience.
The V3 carbon tubes are made with a rolling and pasting method as is used of golf clubs instead of the winding method of YFCM.
They also further clarified they did not manufacture or license their technology for Michael to use on the V3.
In short, they had nothing to do with it.
I ordered 2x test units in December 2021 to review: 1x MT 6spd was sent to a previous V3 tester and 1x DCT 7spd unit was sent to me.
10. What the V3 actually is
It was upon validating these findings that I went back to inspect the V3 flange.
We got hustled.
10.1 The flange design
The V3 flange does not appear to feature the locking mechanism.
Michael confirmed in an email to all participants that he used the unpatented V1 flange for the V3 - contrary to what he advertised in the Spring of 2021.
As of today, Michael continues to make the claim he uses the self locking proprietary mechanism on the flanges in the initial post Group Buy thread on M3post here
Below is a V1 example.
This flange was previously used by J-Fiber and had notorious ungluing carbon tube failures.
Below is an example of that failure.
It is now finally true that Michael is part of the flange manufacturing of the V3. He has not provided any patents whatsoever nor did he ever mention a new flange design would be used for the V3.
10.2 Balancing Issues
Michael recently made the claim the carbon tube of the V3 was "extremely difficult to balance" here and they required additional weights.
He also mentioned the 1st batch had severe misalignment issues on the tubes that caused vibrations.
This was never mentioned to any testers nor the first 20x that were shipped.
11. The V1 and V2 development backstory
To better understand the consequences of this, we need to look back at the V1 introduced by J-Fiber and MFactory in 2015.
The initial V1 driveshafts had issues on a case by case basis with shafts coming unglued due to the rotational force applied on the shaft within the flanges.
Remember when the patent for the self locking mechanism was filed by YFCM? December 2015.
In 2016, Michael introduced the V2 and touted its proprietary self-locking flange to eliminate ungluing issues. It was manufactured and patented by MFactory, allegedly.
We now know this is entirely false.
The V2 still proved to be a great product, with low defective rates, and few vibration issues reported by the community.
12. My first hand comparison of MFactory's V3 versus YFCM's Authentic V2
After I received my DCT YFCM V2 driveshaft in January 2022, I took many pictures and started comparing them with my V3.
I chatted with a few V2 owners and they all confirmed this was the same thing. The product that had been used to great successes by 400 + M3 V8 owners.
The machining and overall craftsmanship is light years ahead of the MFactory V3 carbon fiber driveshaft.
Overall, it appears evident this is a mature product that has seen many revisions compared to the Alpha development stage of the V3.
- No balancing weights
- There are no glued balancing weights anywhere on the V2. The only protruding piece is a rivet on the CV flange side.
- The V2 carbon work is a work of art
- It's evident the winding method of YFCM is much more researched than the pasting method of the golf club tubing of the V3.
- The yellow filament, the puzzle-like weave shape in some sections, and how it all comes together is further evidence this is a thoroughly engineered product.
- Extensively engineered flange
- The self-locking mechanism of the flange is immediately understood when you see it in person. The carbon tube locks under the machined flange and is sealed off.
- The flange is visibly further machined for what I assume is to reduce weight at the furthest edge of the flange. This helps reduce the initial moment of inertia, improving drivetrain efficiencies.
- The new anodized finish of the flange is a really nice touch, and further separates it from the pack as a quality product.
- Optimized weight reduction
- YFCM Authentic V2 uses a smaller diameter tube and a weight optimized machined flange.
- By reducing the diameter of the tube, and machining weight off the flange at out outmost radius, weight is reduced on the YFCM V2 versus the Mfactory V3 in critical areas.
- The YFCM product in MT variant comes in at 11 pounds. To this day, no weights have been published for the V3 by any owners.
13. Can the V3 actually be fixed, and will it be a safe product long term?
It is my personal opinion that MFactory has extremely low probabilities to deliver a V3 driveshaft that will ever be equivalent in quality to the V2.
If the product ever ends up being balanced properly, it is a conservative conjecture to claim the ungluing risks are much higher - compromising the safety of anyone who owns that product.
Considering the vibration ranges of the DCT driveshaft at 120mph on my very own M3, I do not wish a driveshaft failure on anyone at these speeds.
As of December 2021, he currently does not have an identified DCT tester, that was me. He also has yet to provide a replacement unit to the E9X M3 (David) and E46 M3 (Ray) testers. He also has not yet provided a replacement for the warranty claim on the V2 by Bogdan.
In addition, M. Lee of YFCM Composites has informed me the carbon tube manufacturer for MFactory has reached out to him to help in balancing the V3 tubes.
As of January 25th 2021, they are no commercially available V3 from Mfactory.
14. The current refund situation
As the recent events rapidly evolved, Michael went into crisis mode.
He continued making statements that were erroneous and deceitful to the community, while smearing my personal name in the process and suggesting you should take every comment I make with a grain of salt as I don't have the latest from other testers, and I am just sour grapes.
In an attempt to control messaging, he is having messages frequently deleted on M3Post.com here that point out the gaps in his reasoning.
BimmerPost is tacitly supporting the behaviours of Michael Yip as he continues to pay his advertising bills.
Members of M3post praise Michael for his transparency, yet remain unaware of the existence of this blogpost as BimmerPost has banned the EuroConnex URL from being shared by members of M3post.
15. The probability of wire fraud
Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of members that informed me of their refund requests are being given the run-around, saying it will take up to 4 weeks.
Michael mentioned several times deposits were not funding R&D and were put in a separate account.
This appears to be false.
Michael mentioned in heated discussions that he had to commit to 2x the amount of carbon tubes due to the delays in getting this product to market - in order to keep competitors out of the market.
Where did these funds come from?
He has now opened the GB again and offers "transfer spots" to anyone wishing to wait for the V3, yet makes the claim he will not offer these driveshafts anymore, well - maybe at 1899$.
You are all currently outside the 180 day window for a PayPal dispute, and some CC issuers will not offer chargeback options if the product was never delivered.
If you have or will ask for a refund, I highly recommend you require Michael to commit to a firm date.
If anyone that requests a refund does not receive it within the prescribed timeframe, I encourage you to file a wire fraud complaint with your federal law enforcement agency.
16. The ultimate culprit
Michael was persisting in deflecting my objections regarding shipping out 20x driveshafts without a thorough testing regimen.
His deflections and attempts to work himself out of warranty replacements by putting the responsibility on installers and the approval of the V3 on testers further emboldens my perspective that he knew all along he would never be able to make it work.
He tried to reframe expectations.
It is my conjecture that Michael unfortunately made a very bad business & personal decision to be opaque in his dealing with these manufacturers.
He didn't anticipate we'd find YFCM.
Yet the timeline is clear - this isn't a one time, unfortunate business decision.
This is standard operating procedures for Michael Yip to falsely advertise products and make deceitful claims regarding their development, while finger pointing to everybody else but himself.
In various discussions with business clients of MFactory, further issues were raised in regards to Michael's LSD and drivetrain catalog being private labeled from other manufacturers.
You now have all the information you need to make an educated decision on whether you will stick to the V3, abandon the carbon driveshaft project from your build list, or move to the alternative solutions in the works.
My energy will now be focused on the positive solutions to this saga.