MACS 2015 Training Event and Trade Show Program


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MACS has put together the ultimate, total vehicle climate and thermal management, 3-day, live training event with the best instructors in the business.

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Download the program now and get a good look at the great training that is on tap!
Program registration will open in early September.

The 2015 program theme is Meet Me @ MACS-make connections that matter!

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS – Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

 

 

Posted in #1234yf, Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Actuator, actually.


By Paul Weissler, MACS Senior Technical Correspondent

When  an  HVAC  case  electric actuator  fails  and you get a hard code, the fix should be straight- forward: replace the actuator. Ditto if a trouble tree calls for a new actuator. There often is a hesitation to just install the actuator, a fear that maybe the problem is in the harness or the control module. However, if you’ve followed the factory diagnostics without “shortcuts,” and there’s no apparent wiring issue, you have to trust them and get the actuator. And once you’ve bought the actuator, you also have to trust – and use – the factory installation procedure—in the case of General Motors, a choice of two procedures.

First, clear all codes with whatever scan tool you use (or if there’s a factory-listed way with pulling fuses, if you don’t have a suitable scan tool). Turn off the ignition. Replace the part(s) — actuator(s) and/or  module – and reconnect the wiring. Then it’s time to initialize (calibrate if you prefer).

Figure 8
GM HVAC control modules and actuators can be initialized with a scan tool if it has the enabling feature, and the long-used Tech 2 has a Body/HVAC Control Module/Special  Functions/Recalibrate All Motors listing. It’s the GM-preferred method. Codes cleared? Part(s) installed and wiring reconnected? Plug in the scan tool, start the engine and select the motor recalibration listing. Allow the scan tool to go through its routine (don’t touch the HVAC controls during initialization), and then make sure that no codes have returned (or new ones originated).
If you don’t have a scan tool with the enhanced software that includes a motor recalibration feature,  the  alternate  procedure should work  (if  not the  first  time,  repeat).  If  you  used a  scan tool to clear codes, turn off the ignition, and here again, connect any unplugged components, module and actuator included. Remove the HVAC fuse (typically the HVAC/ECAS  or HVAC CTRL,wait 15 seconds or so, then reinstall, start the engine, and allow a minute for the system to initialize. Here again, check for any codes after the calibration routine is over.
It’s important to install and connect the replacement parts and let the module do its thing. Never leave a new actuator out of the HVAC door linkage to “see if it’s working.” The module has to cycle the actuator to find the extremes of its intended travel. If the actuator is just hanging, the module will get fooled, and when you install the actuator it will “hunt.”
GM had a service problem with hunting actuators creating  the  familiar (intermittent)  ticking  noises, on 2004-06 full-size SUVs and pickup trucks, affecting the recirc door (code BO229), left temperature door (code BO414), right temperature door (code BO424) and front mode door (code B3770). The BO codes are generic, so they show up with a generic scan tool. The B3770 requires enhanced data, which the OE (such as Tech 2) and premium aftermarket scan tools display.

Figure 11
There was more to the subject than just the occasional ticking. If the recirc door didn’t close, A/C performance would be poor in hot weather. If either of the temperature doors didn’t move properly, the temperature control on that side would be affected, and if the mode door stuck in the wrong position, well that’s obvious.
The cause in each case was a door operating strategy that was looking for a precise position that the door might not be able to settle into, as commanded by the module, because of the mechanicals of the door, shaft and duct. The fix was new software that widened the tolerances, so the door could readily find an acceptable spot, and no need to replace any of the five-wire actuators. But if you don’t have the reprogramming capability, it is possible to shim a recirc door with foam sealer, so it stops a bit earlier.

However, “it is cut-and-try,” so a jury-rig like that isn’t worth the effort for the possible comeback. If necessary, get a shop with a GM Service Programming System to do the job for you (and keep a list of all the “re-flashes” you send out, so you can determine when/if  it’s worth buying the capability).

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

Posted in Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, Electrical/Electronic, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 tips on the relation of humidity to mobile A/C operation


Humidity should be a major consideration in  A/C performance tests. When humidity is very high, the A/C system expends most of its effort wringing the moisture out of the air. That’s the way it should be as we’re more comfortable at 90 degrees F with 20% relative humidity than at 75 degrees F with 90% humidity. Making the passenger compartment comfortable is what air conditioning is all about. 4.1.1 1. The air holds more humidity at higher ambient temperatures, so relative humidity is closely tied to to temperature. The ability of the air to hold moisture is greater at higher ambient temperatures, so the drying effect is faster. Evaporation is how moisture  gets into the air. For example, as a wet towel dries the moisture evaporates. 2.  An air conditioning system removes moisture from the air that’s the condensate on the evaporator. In doing this, it reverses the process of evaporation by which the moisture got into the air. 3. Evaporation and condensation are accompanied by heat transfer, but it is latent (hidden) heat, which means you won’t see a temperature change with a thermometer. That latent heat transfer  is considerable: 970 BTU for each pound of water. However, its still heat transfer. So, if we’re talking about air conditioning, whatever latent heat is removed to cause condensation obviously lowers the humidity but not the air temperature. 4.  As a result, when an A/C system really is wringing a lot of moisture out of the air, the temperature is not going to drop as much as when the air is relatively dry. That’s okay, because human comfort is determined by a combination of the effects of relative humidity and ambient temperature. In fact, is the relative humidity is very low, any sweat on the body is more likely to evaporate in to the air. Evaporation of sweat produces “evaporative cooling”, a form of cooling that can be just as effective as A/C produced heat transfer. If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information. You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system. Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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Accurate refrigerant charge is essential


No automotive A/C  refrigeration system is completely tight, and cooling performance can  be marginal when the refrigerant charge is not correct. On today’s small capacity systems, that’s just a few ounces. One study showed that just a slightly low charge was enough to cause duct temperature to rise 3 degrees F, and significantly affect lubricant flow through the compressor.

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In that case, the temperature at the A/C registers went up to 49 degrees F at 88 degrees ambient. So you might conclude, “nothing wrong with this system.” NOT TRUE!

Refrigerant top-off should not be considered a professional service procedure. Removing the refrigerant and installing the correct amount is the only way to insure proper cooling performance. Although that requires the service professional  to have a well-maintained refrigerant recovery and recycling machine with an accurate scale, there are no shortcuts when it comes to accurate charge.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

 

Posted in Automotive, Automotive training, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evaporators, out of sight but not out of mind


By Paul Weissler, MACS Senior Technical Correspondent

The evaporator is out of sight, but with A/C  technicians it can’t be out of mind. When you can’t find a leak anywhere else, it’s the part that becomes suspect. By now, experienced technicians know they can’t rely on a vacuum-hold test to indicate anything more than a gross leak in the system. In the “good old days,” checking the evaporator for a small leak came down to slipping a leak detector probe up the evaporator case drain and listening for it to alarm.

There are these noteworthy problems with that technique:
1) the foam rubber seals and adhesives used in the evaporator
cases would cause most leak detectors to false-trigger. The new,
infrared leak detectors that meet SAE J2791 might be much less
likely, but then: (2) reaching, even finding the evaporator case
drains on most cars today is often impossible.

Figure 1
The other popular method: trace dye in the condensate. The technician puts a paper towel on the floor under the evaporator drains area, runs the A/C  and checks the conden-
sate-wetted towel with an ultraviolet light. This is reasonably effective if there’s a large enough leak and no buildup of airborne fibrous debris on the evaporator core face. Otherwise the dye will be absorbed by the debris. The time for enough oiled dye
to wick through the debris and mix with the condensate that drains to the ground could be a lot longer than most motorists are willing to tolerate in a hot spell.
Or another: remove an access cover for an evaporator fin sensor, and probe the evaporator core face with an electronic leak detector or a borescope (such as one with an external display which provides a relatively large viewing area). If there’s no suitable access cover, some technicians have had success carefully drilling a large enough access hole for a leak detector probe, then sealing it with a plastic cap when they’re done. In some cases, it may be possible to work the detector probe through the A/C register duct to get close enough to the evaporator core. But that is unlikely to find a small leak.
If the evaporator has seeped some oil, or there’s oily dye on the core face, that may be visible with the borescope, particularly if it has a UV light and the system contains dye.
Because of the difficulty of replacing an evaporator on most cars, extra effort to confirm an evaporator leak is invariably worthwhile. If the evaporator core is loaded with debris, using a disinfecting cleaner to remove it could help with diagnosis. However, it does add significantly to initial cost, and that makes it a hard sell as a purely diagnostic aid.
So if there’s no visible dye in the condensate, but the evaporator still is suspect, working the leak detector probe around the core face is the alternative.
And if you find there is no evaporator leak, you’ll be a lot hap- pier as a result. We know a lot of technicians who decided the problem “had to be the evaporator,” spent hours on an R&R, and then had to go back to Square One.
One of the often-missed locations is where the expansion valve mounts to the firewall. It’s not particularly visible, so a dye trace on the underside will be just about impossible to see. However, you should be able to work the electronic leak detector probe into the area and listen.
However, even testing for the possibility of leakage at the evaporator valve joint may be out of sight or access. On an increasing percentage of systems with expansion valves, the valve is built on the evaporator inlet, inside the evaporator case.

The expansion valve itself, and its connection to the evaporator are also potential leakers. So if you’re probing inside the evaporator case, you should try to get the probe as close as possible to where the expansion valve is located. Those systems also have refrigerant line joints right at the firewall, so don’t forget them.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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Keep a thermometer in your vent


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Lots of people have all kinds of stuff that they keep in their cars all the time. Typical items include CDs, pens, tissues, tools, coins, registration, insurance, repair papers, sunglasses, etc. But there’s one thing that I keep in all my cars (and, grudgingly, those of my friends and family) for use as an HVAC diagnostic tool: a good ole kitchen thermometer.

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After all, one of the best ways to know if something isn’t working correctly is to know how it should be working when all is well. Therefore, I recommend keeping one of those inexpensive analog thermometers in your car or truck’s center vent, so that you can keep an eye on what temperature the air is when it’s blowing out at you.S1560151 Figure 2

And I mean keep it there all the time, not just when you’re doing diagnostic work. That way, you can see what temperature the outlet air is during the spring, summer, fall and winter. I think you’ll be surprised by what you see!

This past winter, I gave all the MACS staffers one of these instruments to put in their dash vents on the way home from work, and let me know the hottest temp reading they could achieve with the fan and temperature knobs at their highest settings. Here are a few of the results from that test:

2010 Jeep Patriot                             160°F

1998 Jeep Cherokee                       120°F

2012 Hyundai S                                  150°F

2004 Chevy Malibu Maxx              140°F

1999 VW Jetta                                   160°F

2011 Nissan Altima                          155°F

 

Obviously there was a problem with that Jeep Cherokee, and I’ll let you know that a partially clogged heater core was to blame. What was interesting to note is that the air still felt like it was hot enough coming out of the Cherokee, though certainly not like the Patriot.

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Go the extra step and splurge on this more expensive thermometer model. For around $10, this digital one can read temperatures between -40°F and +302°F.

Try this for yourself, and let me know your results! Send your hottest and coldest readings to: steve@macsw.org for posting in a future blog. Thanks!

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

Posted in Automotive, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1964 Jeep FC-150 Climate Control


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Recently I have come upon some very interesting older vehicles, mostly thanks to Brad over at Spanial’s Service Center in Hatfield, PA (a MACS member shop). Usually when I check out any vehicle, be it new or old, I’m always looking for an A/C angle that I can use to write about for one of my blogs, columns or articles. This one in particular I did not think would be very useful, since it doesn’t have air conditioning installed. But, after much thought, I considered that even this old truck has a story to tell. Sure, there’s no compressor, but does that mean there’s no climate control system? Heck no! It might not have an air conditioning system the way we think of it today, but this vehicle does have a great, very early example of a manufacturer’s attempt at controlling the temperature inside a vehicle’s cabin area. Besides, this little truck is just way too cool to pass up writing about in my blog (especially being a Jeep enthusiast myself)!

DSC_2492 Figure 1

Figure 1: Writing all of the neat features of this truck would take up many pages of a book, but just looking at this picture says a thousand words. The Jeep Forward Control was built from 1956 to 1964, and was designed by Brooks Stevens, who is also credited as the originator of those “robin’s egg blue” color schemes popular during the period. (Photo Credit: Kevin Coshin)

Keep in mind, this truck was originally marketed towards people who wanted a fully capable, four wheel drive utility truck, primarily for use in off road situations. Target customers would have been those such as farmers, construction workers, home builders, concrete and paving contractors, materials delivery, military, municipal governments, etc. At that time, air conditioning was being installed in vehicles both as an aftermarket accessory and as an option from the factory. However, it was a luxury, not a necessity, and particularly not a factory option available for this Jeep. Also, “back in the day”, most people were not so concerned with paying extra for expensive, seemingly unnecessary options on their work vehicles. I guess people were just more frugal back then. Even so, the approximately $3,500 price tag was reasonable, considering the capability and utility you got in return.

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Figure 2: The smallest of the Forward Cab series of Jeep trucks, the FC-150 was manufactured as a four wheel drive cab over truck that could be built with many different configurations, including a rear power takeoff (PTO). (Photo Credit: Kevin Coshin)

There is actually quite a following of these antique Jeeps, and a quick Google search will bring up a few very interesting websites with lots of information about them. One guy in particular has quite a bit on his website www.jeepfc150.com, where he has uploaded many photos and videos of his own FC as well as others. In fact, there’s a neat “Map of known Jeep FCs” page which shows the location (and sometimes a photo) of where they’re located. If you have one of these collector’s items, you may want to consider adding it to the list!

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Figure 3: Located directly behind the tell-tale seven slotted grille, the louvers of the outside air intake vent can be seen. (Photo Credit: Steve Schaeber)

Sure, this climate control system is rudimentary. But what really do you need? Sure, the comfort and convenience of today’s modern automatic HVAC systems are superb comparatively, but when you’re out on the farm all day, you’re not spending your time in the truck; you’re out working. At least it’s got heat to keep you warm during those cold winters!

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Figure 4: One of the simplest climate control units I’ve ever seen, this center mounted assembly fits under the dashboard between the driver and passenger footwells. (Photo Credit: Steve Schaeber)

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Figure 5: Three knobs allow for operation of the fan, defroster and heat controls. (Photo Credit: Steve Schaeber)

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

 

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Hyundai installing dual-refrigerant compressor


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

My uncle Joe recently purchased a 2014 Hyundai Sonata to use as his commuter car for getting back and forth to work. When he brought it over to my house, naturally one of the first things I wanted to check out was the A/C system.

After giving the car a good walk around and checking out the interior controls the next thing I did was open the hood.

Figure 1 IMG_20140627_121628

I went right after that J639 label to see what refrigerant was being used in this sedan; looks like it’s still R-134a.

Figure 2 IMG_20140627_121741

I didn’t stop my investigation there. I still wanted to check out the hard parts of the A/C system. In particular, I wanted to see if Hyundai was in fact installing any “yf” type components into their vehicles yet, or if they were still using the standard R-134a parts. Besides the line-in-line heat exchanger, the compressor caught my eye next. Looks like the HCC compressor they’re using is compatible with both R-134a and R-1234yf.

Figure 3 IMG_20140627_121823

 

I’m looking forward to checking out the next new vehicle that comes along!

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

 

Posted in Automotive, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in your bay?


Are your service bays seeing more mobile A/C repairs on a wide variety of  vehicles these days? Maybe something like this group of car and trucks seen in a MACS member shop on the same day?

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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

Posted in Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restricted air flow


MACS member Gordon Marks of Marks Air Inc. in Tampa, Florida sees a lot of business in his bays this time of year. He shared these two photos of a job where the customer was complaining about restricted air flow in his 2005 Ford truck, the evaporator was full of the type of leaves  (live oak) you see in the picture and was also leaking.

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Restricted air flow indeed. Happy summer everyone and let’s keep those A/C systems running. If you have an unusual job or are working on something interesting let us know e-mail steve@macsw.org

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

 

 

Posted in Automotive, Automotive training, Mobile Air Conditioning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment