Heavy duty truck and off-road training digest

By Dr. Alex Moultanovsky

The MACS session began with Dan Spurgeon of CAT who introduced the new Track-Type Tractor D6. Dan pointed out that the D6 is equipped with a completely new design HVAC system called Conditioner Group, which is mounted outside the cab. This Group is a combined heat and A/C system built as a compact, low profile box, with improved reliability, high performance, reduced service time and optimized to meet A/C, heating, defrosting and sound level targets. Condenser group, part of Conditioner Group, is easily removable (when required) as a single unit. Mr. Spurgeon explained that condenser fans are reversible and they, as well as the blower, are brushless. Speed of fans is adjustable based on ambient and heat load.

Next, the speaker presented the 120 Motor Grader. Its Conditioner Group is also mounted outside on the back of the cab (in the previous version the system was located under seat). Benefits of this group are very similar to the D6 machine group. However, he noted that the motor grader’s air ducting system, which is very complicated, provides excellent air distribution to the cab. These two, as well as most other CAT HVAC systems, have common software, and typically for such control systems in different machines, are very similar. They can control everything: blower speed, fans, compressor, condenser fans, variety of sensors, etc.
The second part of the CAT presentation was on selection of an alternate refrigerant for off-highway machines. Spurgeon pointed out that the Paris climate agreement (specifically for R-1234yf refrigerant) was adopted by EU and 120 other countries, including the U.S., Canada and Australia. He advised the audience that CAT completed the R-1234yf technical and manufacturing solution; system design is in process and the dealer network isn’t started yet. He concluded that new CAT R-1234yf machines will be available within the near future.


Leo Chernyavsky of CNH covered cab pressurization and CNH machine service updates. Most of CNH equipment operates in a very dusty environment, indicating that very important issues are cab sealing, air filtration and cab pressurization. Leo pointed out that the operator’s comfort zone lies between 50pa and 200pa with fresh air about 43m3/hr. Pressurization requires appropriate cab sealing and fresh air delivery, as well as a pressure relief method and control method. He said that the cab leakage curve always must be between min/max acceptable cabin pressure.

(Read more…)

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Cars with a different gas (R-415B)

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Some Chinese vehicles are being shipped to South America with a different type of refrigerant gas than what most technicians are used to seeing. In this case it’s a blend refrigerant called R-415B.

Sightings of vehicles with this refrigerant were first reported to MACS early in 2017 by members in Montevideo, the capital and largest city of Uruguay, South America’s second smallest country.

20170208_162912Marketed in Uruguay as the “Glory”, this 7-passenger, unibody MPV is manufactured by Dongfeng Xiaokang Automobile Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of DFM (Dongfeng Motor Corporation) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

20170208_162759 - CopyUnderhood vehicle information label shows it’s powered by the Chongqing Xiaokang 109-horsepower, 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

20170208_162752R-415B is an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) zeotropic blend refrigerant, consisting of 25% R-22 and 75% R-152a. It is a Class-II ODS (Ozone Depleting Substance) with an ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) of 0.013, and as such is controlled under the Montreal Protocol.

It also has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of 550, meaning it’s 550 times “more of a global warming gas” than CO2 (Carbon Dioxide).

So far we don’t know much about the system, and we haven’t been able to connect a refrigerant identifier to verify the refrigerant’s composition. We also don’t know about the exact type of compressor oil that they’re using, which is a big question among local technicians. They also want to know if any other vehicles or brands are using R-415B refrigerant, but to date we haven’t heard of any others.

We’ve also been asked if the R-22 component will attack the hoses and seals, but without knowing the specific suppliers and components that are involved, we simply don’t know to whom these questions should be asked. Too many variables are in play, like:

  • What type of hoses are being used?
  • How are they constructed?
  • What is the oil type?
  • How does it interact with the refrigerant?
  • What material was used to make the seals?
  • Who manufactured the compressor?

But we did find out that the service port connectors are the same type as those used for R-134aand without the proper service equipment (and a supplier for the gas), it’s likely that R-134a will be used as a replacement when necessary.

Technicians should use caution when servicing these systems however, as the R-152a component is flammable.

Please contact MACS at info@macsw.org if you have any questions, or if you have any technical information about this system that you’d like to share with the Society. Thanks!

About MACS Worldwide, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society:

Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for total vehicle climate and thermal management.

Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 1 million service technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for Section 609 certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused, as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. It is a mission we have been fulfilling for our growing global membership and the industry in the following ways:

  • Providing accurate, unbiased technical training, and compliance programs for the mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry.
  • Providing a forum for exchange of trade information on a regional, national and international basis.
  • Facilitating business between all segments of the industry.
  • Providing tangible value for members, such as product marketing, promotion and money-saving affinity programs.
  • Disseminating legislative, regulatory and trade information (including data, current developments and training materials).
  • Providing information on legislative and regulatory initiatives that affect the industry and advocate for the industry to legislative bodies.

MACS represents a growing global membership, and is affiliated with MACPartners (EU) and Vehicle Air Conditioning Specialists of Australia (VASA)

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MACS to Sponsor Automotive Software & Electronics Boot Camp with Dr. Mark Quarto

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide is pleased to sponsor the Automotive Software and Electronics Boot Camp with Dr. Mark Quarto Quarto in partnership with FutureTech Auto at the MACS training center in Lansdale, PA September 16-20, 2019.

Top auto repair shops need to learn relevant new skills related to electronics, computer software writing, and coding to tackle today and tomorrow’s repair jobs.


The automotive industry has transitioned most automotive systems into the space of advanced electrical, electronics, and software controls.  Additionally, hybrid/electric propulsion and ADAS technologies are requiring technicians to become creative and skilled in non-mechanical aspects of the vehicle.  Even modern HVAC systems have experienced advances in power electronics with the use of high voltage electric heating, air conditioning, and heat pump components.


Dr. Quarto has addressed the need for higher level electronics training for technicians by creating the Automotive Software and Electronics Boot Camp, an intense five-day training opportunity that will allow students to go back to their jobs having learned the following:


  • Know differences and specific functions of software, firmware, and hardware systems.
  • Learn fundamental knowledge and skills to build microcontroller-based control applications and hardware interface tools that can be used for monitoring, analyzing and/or diagnosing most automotive systems.
  • Learn how to use electronic devices such as diodes, transistors, op-amps, opto-isolators, voltage translators, logic ICs etc. to create diagnostic & testing tools with hands-on projects.
  • How electronic devices can be used to augment vehicle circuits and the scan tool for testing or diagnosing system faults.
  • Create and build signal conditioning tools to interface vehicle systems with a microcontroller by using hands-on projects.
  • How to write software programs to perform specific diagnostic and testing routines that can be used with/without a scan tool.
  • How to code software programs to command a microcontroller to perform functions to monitor, control, or test circuits.
  • Learn how to create microcontroller systems that can be built for use with a scan tool or on-board vehicle system to manipulate systems operation for the purposes of circuit analysis and diagnostics without the need for purchasing expensive test tools.

To register for this exclusive program visit https://www.futuretechauto.com/macsbootcamp.html or call 360-207-7770

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Are you ready for A/C season?

Reviewing the fundamentals: Pressures

We started out with a brief review of A/C system pressure testing order to build up to the major point of the class which was the effect of variable displacement compressor solenoids on temperature and pressure testing. Typical pressure readings for the following conditions reviewed were;

  • Low Charge / Leak
  • Over Charged
  • Ice in System
  • Blockage in System
  • Compressor Fault

Are you ready for A/C season? Download the MACS ACTION April 2019 Issue

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Do you know how to find coolant leaks?

Finding Coolant Leaks

Some days, around this time of year, it feels like all we do is chase down coolant leaks. Maybe that has something to do with weather patterns and large swings in ambient temperature. It may also relate to how well customers take care of their vehicles, how often they take them in for service, or the replacement parts they use. Regardless of the reason, such repairs must be made, and finding out the cause needs to happen quickly and accurately. Read this article. Download the entire magazine.

Posted in #1234yf, #off road vehicles, ACtion Magazine, Automotive, Hybrid, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Conversation with Ward Atkinson on A/C history & GM

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

In this video (see link below), MACS technical advisor Ward Atkinson discusses the early days of mobile A/C development, and some of his experiences while working at GM (specifically the Chevrolet Division of General Motors) during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He also talks about the development and testing of various system designs and components, such as CCOTs (cycling clutch orifice tubes), TXV (thermal expansion valves), STV (suction throttling valves), POA (pilot operated absolute pressure) valves and series reheat systems. Ward also talks about his first involvement with MACS, our founder Simon Oulouhojian, the Montreal Protocol, replacing R-12 with R-134a, the Ozone Layer and the US EPA Environmental Protection Agency.


Ward started his career at General Motors in the spring of 1952 when he was hired by Chevrolet Engineering to work on the first front-mounted air conditioning system, then destined for the new 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. He spent the next 30 years working on A/C and engine cooling at GM before retiring in 1981. He then founded Sun Test Engineering, where he consulted with many of our industry’s largest and most well-known OE and Tier 1 manufacturers, working with them to improve their component and system designs, and overall A/C system performance (with the ultimate goal of providing the vehicle owner / operator with the best heating and cooling performance at the best price.

Ward also spent more than 60 years working with the SAE ICCSC (Interior Climate Control Standards Committee, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers “Defroster Committee”), where he helped write sections of FMVSS103 (the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard # 103 for windshield defrosting and defogging systems), acted as Chairman for a number of years, and has written many technical articles for both MACS and SAE. He is still active in the industry, and continues to work as technical adviser to MACS Worldwide, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society. Ward was honored for his many years of service by SAE in 2014 and as an “Industry Pioneer” by MACS in 2003.

During the MACS 2016 Training Event and Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, Ward sat down with MACS’ Steve Schaeber to record the following video.

Here’s a link to watch the video on MACS YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO_425JcMdQ

And if you like the video, Please SUBSCRIBE. Thanks!

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Possible new EPA regulation coming in 2019

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Manager of Service Training

Those of you who have been following MACS WordPress BLOG know that much has taken place regarding refrigerant regulations in the last few years. Our recent saga started back in 2015 when the US EPA issued Rule # 20. Following that rule (in fact, the very next day) refrigerant manufacturers Mexican and Arkema sued the EPA over its requirement to stop using R-134a in new vehicle production beginning with MY2021. They thought the rule was unfair because the only practical alternative OEM car makers had was to switch over and use the new R-1234yf refrigerant, subject to many patents preventing them from making it.


The way they went about the court case was to say that EPA did not have the authority to regulate HFCs because the original clean air act only specified CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances. Since Congress never gave EPA authority over these global warming gases (as is proposed by the recent Paris accord and Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol, which Congress has not yet ratified), EPA is not allowed to regulate them.


Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh and two others agreed with Mexichem and Arkema, effectively throwing out that part of Rule # 20 back in August of 2017. Since then there has been appeals, with the most recent going to the US Supreme Court. However, as Kavanaugh is now an Associate Justice, the highest court declined to hear the appeal making the lower court’s rule stand.


In the meantime, EPA issued Rule # 21 in September 2017, which gave us our current refrigerant regulations (the purchase restriction) among others such as self-sealing cans. The rule primarily affected Section 608 and was widely supported by industry, so nobody’s thought it would become an issue.


And it hasn’t really, except that EPA is now reconsidering some of those regulations. Although we primarily live in the 609 world here with respect to mobile A/C, we are still affected by what happens with 608 (which includes EPA’s refrigerant management program, under which it regulates the purchase all refrigerants).

This brings us up to date with what’s been going on. But the story’s not over yet.


Back in September of this year, EPA issued a proposed rule (Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes). In it they plan to revisit regulations pertaining to HFCs and other substitute refrigerants. Most of these would have the biggest effect on technicians and companies who work in the commercial / residential / industrial refrigeration markets, such as those technicians who service rooftop air conditioners on office buildings, warehouses, and residential home central air conditioning units.


However, there is one line in the proposed rule which could affect those who work in mobile A/C. The line simply says, “EPA is also taking comment on whether, in connection with the proposed changes to the legal interpretation, the 2016 Rule’s extension of subpart F refrigerant management requirements to such substitute refrigerants should be rescinded in full.” That’s a mouthful, but basically it means that EPA is considering whether it should rollback the rule requiring technician certification to purchase mobile A/C refrigerants (like R-134a and R-1234yf), along with the requirement for small can manufacturers to install self-sealing valves in those cans.


Should EPA decide to move forward with this rule, anyone would be allowed to purchase mobile A/C refrigerant (with the exception of R-12 which is statutory under the original clean air act).


And while it would also rescind the self-sealing valves, we don’t expect to see them go away. Can makers spent huge sums of money changing over their production lines to manufacture self-sealing cans, and market prices have already adjusted to the change.


So, at the time of this writing (December 2018), we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. We expect to hear some news from EPA early next year, perhaps during the Industry Update on February 22 at the MACS 2019 Training Event and Trade Show in Anaheim, California. Either way, stay tuned to MACS’ website www.macsw.org and the MACS WordPress BLOG for updates on this issue.


Posted in #1234yf, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Made in America?

By Keith Leonard, Esquire

The United States and Mexico reached a trade agreement in August of this year. This deal has been publicized as a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the trade agreement that took effect on January 1, 1994 among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Under NAFTA, by 2008, tariffs were eliminated progressively, and all duties and quantitative restrictions, with the exception for certain agricultural products traded with Canada, were also eliminated. In mid-September, Mexico indicated it is inclined to go ahead with such a bilateral trade pact even if no agreement can be reached with Canada.

In May 2017, the United States Trade Representative informed Congress that the President intended to negotiate with Canada and Mexico with respect to (the) NAFTA. Though, as of the writing of this column, no significant new trade deal has been reached with Canada, nor is there a new trade deal with Mexico. Bear in mind that the largest importer of motor vehicles into the United States is Canada, and the fastest growing major importer of motor vehicles in 2017 was Mexico. Also keep in mind that, as of the first quarter of this year, foreign motor vehicle manufacturers were projected to have made more cars and trucks in the United States than General Motors, Ford and all other U.S. companies. Foreign manufacturers of motor vehicles currently have some twenty-one assembly plants in Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Texas.

The foregoing elimination of tariffs under NAFTA was only for products that met specific requirements to qualify as being made in North America. Under current NAFTA rules, in order to qualify for duty-free treatment, 62.5 percent of the content of a vehicle has to be from the NAFTA countries. According to the information released by the United States Trade Representative in its fact sheet about the deal with Mexico, that percentage is being raised to seventy-five percent. Thus, it will be more difficult for an automobile to qualify for a zero tariff if not made in North America.

The trade deal further provides that some 40-45 percent of an automobile’s content has to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour, in order to ensure American producers of automobiles and their workers are better able to compete on an even playing field; labor costs cannot be so substantially dissimilar as to draw manufacturing out of the United States. The United States and Mexico have also agreed to stronger rules of origin than those under both NAFTA 1.0 and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including regulations for cars, automobile parts, and other industrial products. The NAFTA Rules of Origin are used to determine whether goods originate in one of the three NAFTA territories (United States, Canada, or Mexico). Goods qualify as originating in those territories if the goods are “wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the parties.” Thus, goods cannot qualify simply by passing through Canada, Mexico, or the United States or by undergoing only minor operations in one of those NAFTA territories.

Similarly, reports suggest there is a provision that would allow the United States to charge tariffs above the normal 2.5 percent tariff rate (which applies to countries that do not have a trade agreement with the United States) for any new auto factories built in Mexico. In an interview in mid-September, Mexico’s finance minister indicated that Mexico has insulated its auto industry against any such U.S. tariff increase by signing a side agreement that “locked in” the current low 2.5 per cent tariff rate.


American-made vehicles are also largely insulated from tariffs, but what qualifies a vehicle as American made? Under the American-made index created by cars.com, assembly in the United States is a critical component of eligibility to be an American-made vehicle. The five major factors used to determine the economic impact of a given model are assembly location, domestic-parts content as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, engine sourcing, transmission sourcing and factory jobs provided by each automaker’s American plants. Another index compiled by American University’s School of Business uses the following seven criteria — profit margin, labor, research and development, inventory, engine, transmission, and body, chassis, and electrical components. So, is your decision to buy a certain vehicle affected by its economic impact on America and its workers, or some other factor(s)?

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Technician training yields competitive edge

Marriott Ananheim_LAXAH

“Current technologies for thermal management systems are changing and becoming ever more complex,” explained Peter Bradley in his presentation at MACS 2018 Training Event and Trade Show titled, Future Trends in Thermal Management Systems. Bradley, head of technical service for Behr Hella, then added, “With manufacturers implementing different proprietary systems to achieve the same result, service professionals will have to deal with increasing complexity that will vary from automaker to automaker.
“On the one hand, traditional components are being modified to add complexity that allows them to do something different,” continued Bradley. “On the other, entirely new components we haven’t seen before are being developed and integrated into mobile A/C systems to add increased functionality. Repair shops need to evaluate how they will adapt to these changes, and look to getting the right training and equipment to properly diagnose and service the inbound technologies,” Bradley stressed.
The speaker’s message: “Diagnostics, service and repair will get ever more complex. If you want the competitive edge in your market, the onus is on you to begin preparing now to stay ahead of the technology curve.”
To help give technicians a competitive edge, the 2019 MACS Training Event and Trade Show scheduled for Anaheim, CA, Feb. 21 – 23, is offering 25 industry experts and a total of 35 hours of high-level training for the automotive thermal management system professional. Following are details of the training that will be available.

Thursday, Feb. 21
Passenger car / light truck
Stop/Start Technologies – Engine Shutdown and its Impact on the Climate Control System
Peter Orlando • Carquest Technical Institute
A vehicle slows to a stop and the engine shuts down. The interior warms immediately and the consumer is complaining about this behavior. Is this normal, or is there something truly wrong with the vehicle? Did you know that A/C climate control is one of the main inputs for vehicles equipped with Stop/Start technology? Slight adjustments to climate control settings can impact the Stop/Start frequency and passenger cabin comfort. Having a thorough understanding of how the climate control system effects the operation of the Stop/Start system is essential to profitable service and repairs.

Service Tips and Pattern Failures
Peter McArdle • Four Seasons
Here are just some of the insider insights we will cover in this class on service tips and pattern failures: Importance of condenser airflow in A/C diagnostics • Thermal expansion valve testing • Neat tips for frustration-free dye and electronic small leak detection • The compressor is new, the system is charged and the clutch is engaged, yet high and low side pressures are almost the same. How can this be? • Understanding compressor slugging and how to avoid it • Avoid a comeback: perform an oil audit and understand why the system really failed • Dual evaporator system quick tips • Is the condenser restricted – how can you tell?

Posted in Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive training, MACS Member, MACS Training Event, Mobile Air Conditioning, Training | Leave a comment

Meet Jeff Schultz of Schrader Pacific

By Marion J Posen, MACS VP member relations and marketing

Everyone knows the Schrader valve; it’s been around since 1893, and has been used in A/C systems since we haven’t had to open the car windows to stay cool. But few people are aware of the technology and manufacturing complexity used to make these simple little valves. Meet MACS member, Jeff Schultz, the product engineer for Schrader A/C valves. Jeff is the senior product engineer at Schrader in Altavista, Virginia. Jeff, who has been at Schrader for 28-years, helped develop the family of Schrader A/C valves. Jeff is responsible for a variety of engineering improvements in the function and durability of these valves and enhancing their quality.
Jeff explains, “Schrader is, as of September 2018, a part of Pacific Industries. Schrader has been the largest producer of A/C charge and service valves in North America. Pacific Industries has a similar market share of A/C valves in Asia. The combined Schrader Pacific is now the dominant global producer of A/C valves, and so will bring a new level of technological development and technical support to the industry.”
The Schrader U.S. lineup of A/C valves is the broadest in the industry. Schrader produces every style of A/C valve used in the world. Each valve design is engineered, and is produced, for a specific application. These valves, almost 150 million of them a year, will continue to be made right here in the USA, in central Virginia. The production system is highly automated, and includes multiple automated quality checks, including a leak test of every valve to assure that all Schrader valves meet the most stringent original equipment (OE) quality standards.

Jeff Schultz gives MACS Steve Schaeber a tour of Schrader’s plant.

Recently, Jeff gave a plant tour to MACS manager of service training, Steve Schaeber. Steve witnessed the processes used to make the various cores. Jeff showed Steve how the valve components are machined, in specialized, high speed, precision machining centers, some producing as many as 22 million pieces per year. Following thorough washing and nickel plating on some parts in the Schrader plating facility, the components are brought to the valve assembly area. During the assembly operation, which produces two valve cores a second, each valve is subjected to multiple quality checks for dimensions and assembly integrity. Every valve is leak tested ensuring when the (end user) technician pulls a valve out of the box he can be confident it will not need to be replaced again. Schrader produces these A/C valves for the OE vehicle market, but all valves including those for the aftermarket, are made to the same exacting standards.
Jeff started his employment at Schrader in 1991. Jeff had assignments in manufacturing, engineering and quality, as well as product engineering. Jeff helped implement new valve designs supporting the transition from R-12 to R-134a. In addition to his responsibilities at Schrader, Jeff has been active with the SAE Committees responsible for drafting the Standards for A/C systems, helping to assure the valves function effectively in the system. Now, with the transition to R-1234yf, and development of possible R-152a and R-744 systems, A/C valves continue evolving to meet new system needs. Jeff splits his time between the production floor, the test lab and customer meetings. It’s not unusual to find Jeff collaborating with the vehicle engineering team, or the line suppliers, or at one of the vehicle assembly plants assisting with vehicle charging or other build concerns. The current transition to R-1234yf has brought a number of new requirements: higher operating temperatures, new refrigerant oils, and increased system integrity. While the changes to the valves aren’t obvious, there have been a number of new improvements implemented and countless laboratory hours spent in testing to assure that Schrader valves will meet every challenge.
MACS’ importance gains increasingly as A/C systems continue to become more complex, and more differentiated among different refrigerants. As a member of MACS for over 25 years, Schrader has recognized the critical role MACS plays in bringing essential product and system information to the aftermarket service industry. Schrader recognizes that MACS is our best means of talking to the people who use our valves, and know the service issues. We learn from MACS service technicians, and, in turn, we try to provide educational materials through MACS to help educate the industry about the valves.
If you are coming to MACS 2019 Training Event and Trade Show, February 21-23, 2019 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, California, be sure to visit Jeff and his team in the Schrader booth.

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