Download the November/December 2014 ACtion magazine


2014_11ACcoverDownload the November/December 2014 issue of MACS ACTION magazine to your desktop or mobile device.

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

Smart phone car repair


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

You will probably agree that computers and the internet have had a huge impact on the way we work when it comes to vehicle repair. I know for myself and the shops I’ve worked in, that for several years now, we’ve gone to a computer the first time we need to look up some spec, find some wiring diagram, or nowadays even when we need to order parts. The days of running to the shop library are pretty much gone, and quickly fading are the days of calling your parts guy to get pricing and availability. All one needs now is a laptop and an internet connection, and you can find pretty much anything.

DSC_2215

A few years ago I was working at a small shop. You know the kind: a family-run shop that’s been there for ages, a place where everyone in the community knows the proprietors on a first name basis and vice versa. They did have a computer, but no one there knew how to use it, and of course they didn’t have an internet connection. Customer invoices were still being written up by hand on those small “service tickets,” and payment was only accepted by personal check from very well-known customers; all others pay cash (no credit cards). There was actually a pretty big collection of those large, five-inch-bound service books, but the most recent ones had “1994 Edition” stamped on the sides. Needless to say, when I needed to find information about a vehicle I was working on, I had relatively few choices close at hand. I could ask someone else in the shop and hope they knew, or maybe call up my parts guy and see if they had the specs readily available and would take the time out to help. Otherwise, I would keep a daily list of the things I needed to look up, and take it home to check online at night. I would sometimes spend several hours researching repair information at home, printing out diagrams, instructions, and wiring schematics that might be helpful. Sometimes I hit the nail on the head, went in to work the next day, and was able to repair the vehicle quickly and correctly. Other times, though, I would find that the configuration was actually “that other type” I didn’t count on. It was frustrating to say the least, but the worst part was that it really slowed down my productivity because if I couldn’t find something out right away, I had to put the vehicle back together, off the lift, and back outside until I could figure it out. I could move on to another vehicle, but there was a lot of lost time going through the motions.

In the summer of 2011 I bought my first android phone, but didn’t consider it an information tool until one day when I needed the oil viscosity for some import car. No one in the shop was exactly sure, the books we had were way outdated. So, I thought I would try using the Google search function on my phone. Sure enough, there were several hits, and while not all were correct, figuring on the average and adding my experience I found the right one.

If you subscribe to the MACS Motor online A/C & Cooling System Specs Library, you can use your android phone to access the data. MACS members can purchase a one-year subscription for $30 and non-members will pay $50; hey, why aren’t you a MACS member? You’ll have to zoom in if it’s a small screen, but it’s quick, easy to find, and most important, ACCURATE! You can find it right on our homepage at www.macsw.org

Author’s Note: What creative methods do you use to find the service information you need? Drop me a line and let me know!

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

Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Honeywell and DuPont regarding cooperation on new refrigerant used in car air conditioning systems


The European Commission has informed Honeywell International Inc. (Honeywell) and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) of its preliminary view that the cooperation they entered into in 2010, based on several agreements on the production of a new refrigerant for use in car air-conditioning systems (R-1234yf), may have limited its availability and technical development, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The sending of a statement of objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.

In 2006, the EU adopted new standards on air conditioning systems in motor vehicles with the aim of reducing harmful emissions and combating global warming (Directive 2006/40/EC or MAC Directive). R-1234yf is currently the only commercially available refrigerant with a sufficiently low global warming potential (GWP) to comply with the requirements of the MAC Directive. The Commission has concerns that a series of agreements concluded between Honeywell and DuPont in 2010 may have hindered competition on the market for R-1234yf. These agreements relate notably to production arrangements and the development of production processes.

Honeywell and DuPont are the only two suppliers of R-1234yf to carmakers. The Commission’s provisional finding is that the cooperation between Honeywell and DuPont on production of R-1234yf has reduced their decision-making independence and resulted in restrictive effects on competition. These effects include a limitation of the available quantities of the new refrigerant that would have otherwise been brought to the market, as well as a limitation of related technical development. In the specific circumstances of the case, this behaviour may infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 53 of the EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement that prohibit anticompetitive agreements.

Background

The MAC Directive requires the use of refrigerants with a GWP below 150 in all new car models sold in the EU as of 1 January 2011, and in all new cars as of 1 January 2017. In December 2011, the Commission opened formal proceedings into the development of the new refrigerant R-1234yf (see IP/11/1560). In today’s statement of objections, the Commission pursues this investigation regarding the production cooperation between Honeywell and DuPont but not on Honeywell’s conduct during the evaluation of R-1234yf between 2007 and 2009.

Article 101 TFEU prohibits anti-competitive agreements and restrictive business practices which may affect trade between EU Member States. The implementation of this provision is defined in the Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation No 1/2003) which can be applied by the Commission and by the national competition authorities.

A statement of objections is a formal step in Commission investigations into suspected violations of EU antitrust rules. The Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressees can examine the documents in the Commission’s investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing to present their comments on the case before representatives of the Commission and national competition authorities.

If, after the parties have exercised their rights of defence, the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.

For more information, you may consult the Commission’s public case register on the competition website under the case number 39822.

Posted in #1234yf | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot advice for heater diagnosis


When a cold winter, produces a lot of no-heat complaints. And with the struggling economy, the word we hear from most shops is that customers are not willing to spend
for extras. So what’s a conscientious shop looking to pay its bills to do? Hopefully it’s learning how to run a year round marketing program that keeps the shop from slowing
to a crawl even through tough times.

Some repair shops focus on just getting the job out by doing the minimum,with the least amount of shop labor. Well, unless you are very careful, trying to do the minimum can lead to a lot of comebacks, and jobs that made very little money in the first place, turn to losers.

Sure, when there are cars waiting for service parked all over the place, some shops opt for diagnostic shortcuts –which translates to “replace all the possibly bad parts and
expect the problem to go away.” These types of jobs are typically given to young technicians whose wrench skills are better than their diagnostic abilities.

IMG_4359

But now? Winter is coming and good temperature control from the heating system also will be a factor in A/C performance as the weather eventually gets warmer.
Let us recommend the approach that we prefer even in more prosperous times: more diagnosis. A lot of the time, extra diagnosis will go faster than throwing parts at a
problem, so you end up with more net dollars (who said installing a new water pump is a quick job). And if your diagnostic approach is thoughtful, it should take less time
than jumping around.

You can learn a lot simply with temperature readings from an infrared thermometer, although they usually read somewhat lower than the reading from the engine’s coolant temperature sensor. And you often can get a rough idea of water pump condition by squeezing the upper radiator hose and waiting for the feel of
pressure when the thermostat opens.

Most important is to get a diagnostic result in which you have enough confidence to also make the motorist more confident. So even if the ticket estimate is a bit more than
he really wanted to spend, he’ll often say yes because he’ll be thinking, “this is it” – but only if you can say, “this is it.”

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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool things can come in small packages


MACS member Gordon Marks of Marks Air in Tampa, FL shares some photos from a recent A/C job. A Cushman vehicle that is used by a local golf course maintenance team and since they are working in Florida, the occupant wants to stay cool.

DSC05554

DSC05556
Gordon tells us this is one of the smallest compressors he’s ever worked on.
Do you have a job you want to share? Email us at macsworldwide@macsw.org

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 #off road vehicles, Automotive, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is that a smartkey in your pocket? An important tip


Nissan encountered the “smartkey” issue with its Juke sporty crossover, and with all the smartkeys in use, and just so many suppliers, it’s certainly is possible across other makes—no one can tell you it can’t happen (and we have heard anecdotal reports on other cars): the customer drove the car into the shop, left the key with you, and now it won’t start. The cause: you have smartkeys from other cars in your pocket, and one is sending a false signal to the vehicle electronics, which “thinks” that maybe someone is trying to start the wrong car, perhaps even a thief.

IMG_4318
Many of us have encountered a situation where we think we’ve arrived at our car in a parking lot, and we get into the wrong car (or we can’t get into what we think is our car). But the intelligent key miscommunications on unlocked cars are another matter, and the Juke is an example that says they do happen, as unlikely as some software engineer who’s written the rolling code for one of these keys may think it is.

So hanging up all the keys on a pegboard and taking just the one for the car you’re going to work on should become a work habit  (and maybe don’t forget the smartkey for your own car in the process).

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, Electrical/Electronic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is lithium ion gaining popularity for EV applications?


Certainly, it isn’t because of low-cost. Lithium ion (Li-ion) is much more expensive than the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery technology it is replacing. However, both specific energy and energy density of a lithium-ion battery pack is much greater than NiMH, saving weight and space in automotive applications. These considerations are not trivial in today’s world, as motorists clamor for more room in the car, and weight reduction is equated with increased fuel economy.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

There are a number of different types of lithium ion batteries being used in current EVs and PHEVs. The major difference between them is the materials used to construct the cell’s positive electrode. Higher energy cells (such as those used in consumer electronics) use lithium cobalt oxide and tend to be intolerant to overcharging and other abuse. When these cells overheat, the electrode releases oxygen into a flammable organic electrolyte, which can lead to thermal runaway. If you’ve ever witnessed a laptop computer fire, this is likely what caused it.

There is ongoing development taking place on lithium ion electrodes that are more stable, but this generally results in a less powerful battery. For instance, the Chevrolet Volt has used a lithium manganese spinel based electrode which is less energetic but much more manageable than its cobalt oxide cousin. GM has now licensed nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) technology from the Argonne National Laboratory that further improves the Volt’s battery performance at every level. The combination of improved battery chemistry and more effective thermal management makes HV battery packs progressively safer and longer-lived for the EVs of the future.

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 training, Electrical/Electronic, Mobile Air Conditioning | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. fuel economy reaches all-time high


New vehicles achieved an all-time-high fuel economy in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency announced. Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg)  — a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years. The average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 grams per mile in model year 2013.

DSC_2640

EPA’s annual “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2014” report tracks average fuel economy of new cars and SUVs sold in the United States. The report also ranks automakers’ achievements in model year 2013.

Some additional top-line findings from the report:
•    The recent fuel economy improvement is a result of automakers’ rapid adoption of more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers, and advanced transmissions.
•    Mazda vehicles averaged the highest fuel economy and lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
•    Nissan achieved the greatest improvement in average fuel economy and greenhouse gas reductions.
•    SUVs achieved the greatest improvement in all classes of new personal vehicles.
“Today’s announcement points to the greatness of American ingenuity and the strength of our auto industry. Our report shows that today’s vehicles are saving Americans money at the pump while emitting fewer greenhouse gasses. We are thrilled to see that manufacturers continue to innovate and are bringing technologies to improve fuel economy online even faster than anticipated,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Consumers now have many more choices when shopping for vehicles with higher fuel economy and lower emissions compared to just five years ago. These choices reflect both a more diverse range of technology packages on conventional gasoline vehicles as well as more advanced technology and alternative-fueled vehicles.”

EPA and the Department of Transportation have implemented standards projected to double fuel economy by 2025 and cut vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half.
DSC_2648

These standards are driving new vehicle technology including innovations in mobile A/C systems.

The EPA estimates these standards will save American families more than $8,000 in fuel costs per vehicle by 2025. Throughout the duration of the program, Americans will save $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, use 12 billion fewer barrels of oil, and in 2025, reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day.

The new report is at: http://epa.gov/otaq/fetrends.htm

Posted in Automotive, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That relay really stinks!


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Here’s a situation where your nose can be the best tool in your box. A fellow technician was diagnosing a “high hi-side” issue on a Pontiac Sunfire, when he asked me for some advice. I explained that one of the most common causes of “high hi-side” pressures is due to condenser air flow issues. That being said, it’s not like there’s only one thing that can affect how air flows across a condenser. There are actually quite a few reasons why air flow may be impeded, causing elevated high side pressure. For example, there can be dirt or debris actually clogging the passageways, or sometimes even a plastic shopping bag could get sucked up onto the condenser inlet. That would really block the flow of air, likely causing the engine coolant temperature to increase as well. Perhaps those rubber or plastic air shrouds are not in the correct position to properly direct air towards the heat exchangers. Many times they are even missing, perhaps damaged or thought unnecessary by a previous technician. But as is usually the case, suspect something with the operation of the fan itself.

Figure 1 - vlcsnap-2014-10-08-10h23m49s85 High Hi-Side due to Blocked Condenser

Figure 1: A tell tale sign of condenser air flow problems, low side pressure will look normal while high side pressure will be much higher than usual.

In this particular case, it was mostly luck that helped me find the problem. It appeared that the cooling fan was not spinning fast enough, but it was hard to tell for sure. I happened to be standing out along the driver’s side front fender, so I crouched down to gaze at the fan. The cover was off of the under hood fuse / relay center at the time, when my nose got a bit close to the bank of relays. When breathing in, I noticed a “burnt electric” smell, which immediately reminded me of all those relays I had replaced in the past. I went over to the work bench and grabbed an old relay of the same type (they’re always handy to keep around). I swapped it out with the fan relay, and voilà! It began spinning noticeably faster than before. Upon further inspection of the disassembled relay, I found the corroded contacts, likely offering resistance enough to slow down the fan and reduce the volume of air passing over the condenser. With a new relay, that fan was blowing strong, and the high side pressure came back down to about 160psi.

Figure 2 - S1600036

Figure 2: Burned relay contacts can provide enough resistance to slow down a fan motor.

Ever have a “dumb luck” moment that saved the day in your shop? Send an e-mail to steve@macsw.org and let me know!

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 Aftermarket, Automotive training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just the facts about Section 609 Certification and refrigerant handling in MVACS


pressurereading

We are always surprised when we receive phone calls from automotive service personnel who have no idea what Section 609 Certification is all about and that there are indeed federally mandated regulations for refrigerant recovery and recycling.

The United States Environmental Protection agency maintains and updates web pages that present summaries of all of the pertinent information.

Check out http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/justfax.html to educate yourself and your shop personnel on what you need to know to comply with federal regulations.

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, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment