Meet Jay Brown of Nissens North America

Meet MACS member, Jay Brown, general manager of Nissens North America, Inc., located in Grapevine, TX. Nissens, headquartered in Denmark, has been a member of MACS since 2004.

Nissens manufactures radiators, condensers, evaporators, compressors, oil coolers (engine, transmission, power steering), receiver driers, engine/condenser fans, heaters and intercoolers. The company’s business is equally divided between engine cooling systems and HVAC.

Nissens is one of the largest suppliers to the heavy-duty, bus and specialty markets in Europe.

MACS’ emphasis in 2017 is on exploring new vehicle technology, so we asked Jay, as a MACS member and component manufacturer, what concerns he has about electric vehicles, hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles. Jay responded that he does have concerns about “how this new technology will affect replacement rates. New technologies will still require heat exchangers and some type of HVAC system for the passengers. The change will be the value of the heat exchangers and the replacement rates.”

Every business has its challenges, and we asked Jay what he sees as the challenges for Nissens. “Honestly, there are three. One is the value versus the cost of products. Some businesses purchase strictly on price without recognizing the true value they are receiving, which means they do not understand their true costs. The second is training. Even today some businesses refuse to see the value in continuous education. They are stuck with the mindset, I have always done it this way. But that kind of thinking no longer has value. What they did yesterday will not work on tomorrow’s vehicles. And my third concern is a shrinking distribution market. We are seeing more and more consolidation.”

What is Nissens’ most successful strategy? Jay explains: “Nissens’ growth plan remains on track.  The ever-expanding product range has allowed us to maintain our leadership in the European range of vehicles while letting us become specialists in Korean and other makes.”

Nissens has devoted company resources for many years to be involved as a MACS member, exhibitor and sponsor. We asked Jay what he sees as the  payoff for Nissens? “MACS has always been an organization that is at the forefront of training and sharing global regulatory information as our industry changes. We need that advocacy voice in order to be heard and the training to keep our members up to date. The monthly MACS Service Report information we receive allows me to verify what I am learning internally from my product team along with what I am seeing in the field.”


Nissens was an exhibitor at MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show in Anaheim, CA this past February, and we asked about its experience. “Nissens has participated both as an exhibitor and as an attendee over the past 14 years. As an exhibitor, we attend to find new customers, inform existing customers of changes, and the training.  As an attendee, we are there predominantly for the training and social aspect.”

Jay has been in the aftermarket for many years. His advice to his fellow MACS members is to “Recognize your business weaknesses and concentrate on your strengths.”

This article appeared in the March 2017 issue of ACTION Magazine.

Read the whole issue at this link










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MACS AG HVAC clinic in Norfolk, NE

MACS held our first ever agricultural HVAC clinic at MACS member Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE on Friday, March 24 attended by 31 technicians. MACS wants to thank Doug McKibbon of Northeast Community College for his invitation to use their beautiful facility. Many thanks to MACS member Al Mindermann for teaching the class and sharing his expertise.


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Truck heater control valves

By Chris Tyson, MACS heavy duty contributor

We have several Class 8 trucks in our fleet and when temperatures begin to drop outside many of their owners visit our shop for heater-related repairs. That’s exactly what happened when the operator of a 1992 Marmon 57S dropped his truck with a no heat complaint. It was a pretty quick diagnosis too, considering that the temperature knob on the dashboard wouldn’t slide from cold to hot (without the risk of breaking it). It also didn’t take long to feel the heater hoses and find warm coolant on one side of the heater control valve, while the other side was relatively cool. After disconnecting the cable, the dash control moved freely, so we determined a replacement valve should do the trick.

That’s not as easy as it sounds when dealing with a truck this old. Most parts can still be found (especially with the help of some MACS distributor members), but sometimes it takes trial and error to get it right. We looked through catalogs, matched up pictures, ordered a replacement valve and installed it. Now the truck has heat but the dash control is backwards; we get heat when the knob is on cold!


Closer inspection of the valve shows us why. This type of valve is directional, meaning that when the cable pulls up on the pin, water is allowed to flow; however, when the cable pushes down, the flow is cut off. See Figure 1. We need the opposite valve, which closes when the cable is pulled up. It appears they could have set this valve up to be more universal if there was a pin on the other side of the arm and a cable clamp opposite the bolt, but that might not work in other situations. Either way, we’re going to need a new valve.


Caption Figure 1: This heater control valve is universal, but directional.


This is where details really matter because there are a multitude of valve variations. Some valves are manually controlled, and the operator has to physically get out of the cab to open or close a valve (or valves) in the engine compartment any time they require heat. Others, such as this Marmon are cable operated, while still others are controlled by vacuum or even electric motors. Then there’s the configuration of the valve itself which is dependent on how it’s mounted and where it’s located under the hood. You can get “T” valves, 90° valves (in ↰, ↱, ↲, ↳, ↴, ↵, and other orientations), offset valves where the inlet position is higher or lower than the outlet (rather than being directly inline), various sized ports (such as ¾” inlet and ⅝” outlet), and even valves with differing degrees of cable-to-valve-orientation offset. These details seem small, but are necessary to coordinate heater valve operation with the operator’s dashboard controls.


Our driver will have to live with this arrangement until the new valve arrives. In the meantime, details like these need to be shared with other technicians to help them avoid making the same mistakes. That’s part of what makes a MACS membership so important! Do you have a similar story?

Do what I did and send it to and share your experience with the MACS community. You’ll be glad you did!

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Mind the cap!

By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of Service Training

Radiator caps play an important role in engine cooling systems, sometimes more important than you may think. It might appear they are simply an access point to open and close the system (and keep coolant inside), but actually, they work hard behind the scenes to help regulate system pressure (and temperature, too). Some also meter coolant to an overflow bottle to maintain fill level.

Most engine cooling systems are closed systems, meaning that once they are filled and the cap is on, they are effectively sealed off from the outside. As engine temperature increases from a cold start, the temperature (and pressure of the coolant within this closed system) also increases. Normally the system regulates temperature somewhere around 195°F. However, during a normal drive cycle, engine load increases and decreases as driving conditions change. Sometimes load is low, such as when idling or cruising along a straight and level road. Other times it’s high, while driving uphill, towing a trailer, or during stop-and-go city traffic. These variations make the engine work harder to meet demand.


This is  when the radiator cap shines, allowing the system to build pressure (usually up to around 15 psi) so coolant temperature can increase without boiling. In fact, for each psi of pressure that is added to the system, the boiling point of coolant is increased by about 3°F. Therefore, at a working pressure of around 15 psi, the boiling point of coolant is about 267°F (boiling point of water 212°F + 45°F = 267°F). It’s because of this increase in pressure that the cooling system is able to function without boiling over.


As pressure reaches the rating listed on the cap, a valve within the cap opens slightly, allowing excess pressure (and coolant) to bleed off into an overflow tank. Also, if there’s any air bubbles in the system, they too will bleed off as they reach the cap. If the cap vent fails, excess coolant pressure could cause a hose to burst, connection to break or worse, a radiator or heater core could rupture. Consequently, as the system cools back down, temperature and pressure decrease, and a slight vacuum is created in the system. The radiator cap goes to work here, as well; it has a vacuum valve that opens, allowing excess coolant in the overflow to be sucked back into the radiator. If this vacuum valve fails, a hose may collapse or worse, the radiator itself could fail.


Radiator caps are tested using a pressure tester and specific adapter. Pressure should be able to build up to the cap’s

rating without decay. A cap not able to hold pressure (or one that quickly bleeds off) should be replaced. Also be sure to inspect gaskets and sealing surfaces. Vehicles with a bad radiator cap may not overheat at idle yet may quickly overheat under load or highway driving conditions.

Two SAE Standards apply to radiator caps: SAE J164, “Radiator Caps and Filler Necks,” details nominal size, dimensions and pressure ratings of various caps, and; SAE J151, “Pressure Relief for Cooling System,” describes how a radiator cap should be opened in order to safely release pressure from the system while also requiring pressure rating information on the cap.

Learn more about MACS at

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Going electric

By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training

One of my favorite childhood toys was an electric race track set, but more fun than playing with it was taking apart the little cars to see what made them work. There wasn’t much to them, a plastic body and frame, a small electric motor with two wires leading to braided copper wire brushes that made contact with the rails as a plastic pin guided it along the track. In principle my toy functioned a lot like many regional rail train systems do, although on a much smaller scale.

Since then I’ve been intrigued by the idea of electric transport, particularly as I learned about GM’s EV1 back in the 90s.  No need to buy gasoline, no emissions while driving, instant, throw-you-back-in-the-seat torque – and –  you can plug it in at home to recharge overnight. Like many others I was unhappy when GM ended the program, but it’s relatively short range and long recharge time made it impractical for most drivers who not only commute to work, school and activities during the week, but also like to go away on weekend trips that could be a few hundred miles or more. So unless you want to have two vehicles, an electric for around town and a gas car for long trips, you’re probably going to opt for gas.

Many of the EVs being sold today, such as Nissan’s Leaf or Ford’s Focus Electric have pretty much picked up where the EV1 left off, and while they’ve done quite a bit to improve technology and raise awareness, these cars still provide a limited range of about 100 miles. For some this is plenty, like MACS Member Brad Spanial, whose shop uses a BMW i3 as a parts runner and courtesy vehicle. “I use a regular 120-volt plug to charge it at night.  Zero to full takes 16 ½ hours. The Exxon next to the shop has a 220-volt charger, and 0 to full takes 3.75 hours.” Brad’s i3 does have the range extender, but it rarely runs since he only drives about 50 miles each day.

I’m curious to see what happens over the next year or so. GM is poised to launch the Bolt EV any day now, and once it is out I’ll stop by Bergey Chevrolet to check it out. At $37,500, GM claims it can go 238 miles, which puts it within what I reason to be useful range. Considering there are times when I need to drive upstate or down the shore (which are each about 100 miles away), this car should be fine, if I can find a place to recharge along the way.

Tesla is also on track to deliver the first Model 3 sedans later this year, and while they too are expected to deliver 200+ miles of range for $35,000, it’s going to have Autopilot, an exciting feature for someone like me who enjoys going on long trips but doesn’t like the monotony of highway driving (anyone who’s driven I-76 from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh knows what I mean).

Note: Follow MACS on our WordPress BLOG to see the Chevy Bolt when it comes out. We’ll also check out the A/C system and report our findings at

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MACS 2017 Spring Mobile A/C Training Clinics

MACS has many mobile A/C training clinics scheduled throughout North America and we are adding more everyday!

Please click here to see the full schedule of clinics and register to attend today!

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

To join MACS visit our Membership page

You can E-mail us at .

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.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at


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Radiator service and repair in March ACTION magazine


Your engine’s cooling system has an enormous job to do. In fact not just one job, but many jobs shared amongst several other systems. Its main purpose is to absorb excess heat generated by the engine, cool the transmission fluid on automatic transmissions and on certain applications, cool the engine oil as well. And when it’s not operating properly, it can leave your customer stranded with a hot engine under the hood, and a driver who’s hot under the collar. Read the whole article.

Download the whole issue

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R-1234yf at the 2017 PHL Auto Show

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

MACS has been keeping up with the roll-out of R-1234yf refrigerant for several years now, and as expected the 2017 model year has extended HFO’s reach into several more models and with more manufacturers than ever before. The last Friday in January was Media Day at the Philadelphia Auto Show, and MACS was there to check out the new models, open 100+ hoods, and see what the OEMs are doing with their A/C systems. We were not surprised to see more vehicles using the new refrigerant, but we really didn’t expect to see as many as we did. I myself thought there would be some increased expansion within a few vehicle lines, but we found it in close to half of the vehicles we saw on the floor! In fact, after talking to a few other people who also track yf’s expansion, we calculated recent surveys at about 48%.


Cadillac became the first US brand to use R-1234yf back in 2012, and now we’ve seen it in almost all of their models. Six Cadillacs were on display at the Pennsylvania Convention Center last month, and each one was filled with yf. But since they sell 11 models and we didn’t see them all at this particular time, we won’t blanket them as all using yf until we’re absolutely sure.

There were several newcomers bringing yf to the show, including brands like Subaru, Kia, Chevy and Buick. So far Subaru has only changed over their flagship Legacy sedan and Outback wagon, while Kia is using it in the Optima and Sportage. We also checked out FCA and as expected almost every vehicle on display uses yf. Not surprising, considering they changed over most products during the 2015 model year. But there are still a few holdovers like Caravan and Patriot, expected to be phased out of production soon.

As for the GM brands, technicians know that when a change is made to one specific model, changes to their sisters are not far off. For example, MACS reported back in August about GMC putting yf in the Acadia, and now we’re also seeing it in the Cadillac XT5 (See Figure 1). Same goes for the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, which both use yf along with the Canyon and Colorado. Also, while we know the ’17 Malibu uses yf and we suspect the Buick Regal does too, we’ll hold off on making that call until it’s been confirmed.


Many of the GM sister cars will change over to use yf at the same time, since they’re being built on the same platforms and come off of the same assembly lines. Examples include the Chevy Silverado 1500 / GMC Sierra 1500 (shown here), and Chevy Colorado / GMC Canyon pickup trucks.

All but a few Honda vehicles are using yf, and that likely has to do with their refresh schedule. Those vehicles that have already been changed over are also on new platforms or on to their next generation (like the Gen2 Ridgeline). So while HR-V and Odyssey have yet to be changed, we expect that they’re next on the list, and maybe we’ll see them using yf at next year’s show.

Although we were told back in 2015 that two of their vehicles would be using yf in the 2016 model year, we’ve only seen Toyota using it in the Tacoma pickup thus far. But inside sources tell MACS that a Lexus model is slated to get it next, and we’ll just have to wait for its introduction due sometime this spring.

dsc_0199-figure-3Ford already came out with their first yf vehicle last spring when they started sending 2017 Escapes to US dealers, but this year we saw them expand use of the gas into three more vehicles, the Focus, Fusion Energi, and their best-selling F-150 pickup truck.


We also saw what we think will be the first Volkswagen to use R-1234yf in the US, and that’s the 2018 VW Atlas R-Line. This prototype was on display in Philadelphia, and while there was no J639 label to be found (there was actually no labeling on this particular vehicle, not even in the door jambs), the shape of the service ports are a dead giveaway that it uses yf.

Here’s the complete list of vehicles we saw at the 2017 PHL Auto Show:

2017       Acura                    All use R-134a

2017       Buick                     Cascadia (made by Opel in Germany, uses R-134a)

2017       Buick                     LaCrosse Premium AWD

2017       Cadillac                 ATS-V

2017       Cadillac                 CTS-V

2017       Cadillac                 CT6

2017       Cadillac                 Escalade

2017       Cadillac                 XT5

2017       Cadillac                 XTS

2017       Chevrolet            Bolt EV (uses R-1234yf and POE oil)

2017       Chevrolet            Camaro RS

2017       Chevrolet            Colorado LT Diesel

2017       Chevrolet            Express 2500 HD Work Van (8,600 GVWR uses R-134a)

2017       Chevrolet            Malibu

2017       Chevrolet            Silverado HD 2500 (10,000 GVWR uses R-134a)

2017       Chevrolet            Silverado 1500 Z71, LTZ (7,200 GVWR uses R-1234yf)

2017       Chevrolet            Spark

2017       Chevrolet            Suburban 4WD

2017       Chevrolet            Tahoe LT

2017       Chevrolet            Traverse (R-134a)

2017       Dodge                   Grand Caravan (still uses R-134a)

2017       Ford                       Escape

2017       Ford                       F-150

2017       Ford                       F-150 Raptor (R-134a)

2016       Ford                       Fiesta (R-134a)

2017       Ford                       Focus

2017       Ford                       Fusion Energi (both use yf, but gas uses PAG oil and HEV uses POE oil)

2017       Ford                       Transit Connect (R-134a)

2017       GMC                      Canyon SLT

2017       GMC                      Sierra 1500 4WD SLT, Z71

2017       GMC                      Yukon XL, Denali

2017       Honda                   Civic

2017       Honda                   CR-V

2017       Honda                   HR-V (R-134a)

2017       Honda                   Odyssey (R-134a)

2017       Honda                   Pilot

2017       Honda                   Ridgeline

2017       Infinity                  All use R-134a

2017       Jaguar                   All use R-1234yf

2017       Jeep                      Cherokee

2017       Jeep                      Grand Cherokee

2017       Jeep                      Renegade

2017       Jeep                      Wrangler

2017       Kia                          Cadenza Premium (uses yf and tether straps)

2017       Kia                          Optima LX, FE

2017       Kia                          Rio (R-134a)

2017       Kia                          Sportage SX AWD

2017       Land Rover         All use R-1234yf

2017       Lincoln                  MKZ (both use yf, but gas uses PAG oil and HEV uses POE oil)

2017       Mazda                  All use R-134a

2017       Mitsubishi           All use R-134a

2017       Nissan                   All use R-134a

2017       Porsche                Cayenne GTS (R-134a)

2017       Subaru                  BRZ (R-134a)

2017       Subaru                  Crosstrek (R-134a)

2017       Subaru                  Impreza (R-134a)

2017       Subaru                  Legacy

2017       Subaru                  Outback

2017       Subaru                  WRX (R-134a)

2017       Toyota                  Tacoma

2017       VW                         All use R-134a

2018       VW                         Atlas (looks like it will use R-1234yf based on service ports, but the vehicle we saw had no label)


Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all vehicles listed above use R-1234yf refrigerant.


Have you been to your local auto show to check out the new models? Have you noticed something extraordinary about an A/C system you’ve recently worked on? Share your story with MACS, and it may just end up here on the MACS WordPress BLOG! Visit for more information, and if you’re not yet a member, join today!


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MACS takes California by storm – literally!

f12017tetsMACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show in Anaheim, CA was a splashing success! 950 attendees enjoyed training, social events and commerce through what was mostly a beautiful week in Southern California. They also weathered a historic, record breaking storm on Friday, February 17th during the Trade Show.


“MACS had not been to California in many years for an annual training event and we were very pleased with attendance which included many new faces from the West Coast,” commented Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and chief operating officer.


MACS honored outstanding members, both veteran and up-and-coming, by naming four new Mobile A/C Industry Pioneers and three new Mobile A/C Young Ambassadors. Honored with the Pioneer award were Jim Hittman of Badger Refrigeration, Eau Claire, WI, Marc McDermott of MEI Corporation, Atlanta, GA, John Miller of The Air Shop, Santa Ana, CA and Dan Spurgeon of CAT, Mossville, IL. These Pioneers were honored for a lifetime of industry achievements.


Honored with the MACS Young Ambassador Award were Jesse Azqueta of TSI Supercool, Lake Worth, FL, Melanie Gann of Four Seasons, Lewisville, TX and Tim Iezzi of Iezzi’s Auto Service, Reading, PA. These three outstanding MACS members go above and beyond to promote MACS in the mobile A/C industry.img_7493

To learn more about MACS Worldwide visit our website at The MACS 2018 Training Event and Trade Show, will take place February 14-17 at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

Since 1981, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide has been the advocate for service and repair owners, distributors, manufacturers and educators making their living in the total vehicle climate and thermal management industry.

MACS Worldwide empowers members to grow their businesses and delivers tangible member benefits through industry advocacy with government regulators and by providing accurate, unbiased training information, training products, training curriculum and money-saving affinity member services. MACS has assisted more than 1-million technicians to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment.



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Alternative fuel vehicle service


By Andy Fiffick, MACS Chairman/CEO and Owner Rad Air Complete Car Care

I come from a Ford family. My Dad retired from Ford in 1989, I have two brothers still employed there, and I worked at the company  for ten years in many roles, including production supervisor.

This history helps explain my interest in the Ford Escape hybrid. I placed my order for one in 2003, even though they weren’t available until 2005. However, my captivation  went deeper than brand loyalty. I recognized that, as an owner-operator of an automotive service and repair business, alternative propulsion vehicles were part of my future.

As soon as I got my Escape, I sought training in safety procedures and other unique aspects of the vehicle. This training continues on an annual basis to keep me and my technicians at each of our 12 locations up to speed.

A ballpark estimate of the cost of training and additional tools and equipment, per facility, is about $5,000.

In Cleveland, and likely in most regions, other than the West Coast, hybrid service is a slow growing market segment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In fact, the ROI for this service niche can be quite good.

With GM on track to release the 238-mile range all electric Chevy Bolt any day now, and Tesla taking thousands of orders for their Model 3 in concert with the construction of a $1 billion lithium ion battery factory in Nevada and the popularity of Nissan’s Leaf among others, it’s clear that a consumer level, daily driver all electric car that meets the needs of 90 percent of drivers is basically here now.

Although we are making inroads, we are still held back by the availability of good replacement drive batteries. Replacement batteries make up about 50 percent of the hybrid jobs that come in the door, even though batteries exhibit significant longevity. The vehicles we see needing replacements are 8 to 10 years old, and have racked up 100,000, 150,000 or more miles.

When it comes to HVAC service and repair, the hybrids we’ve seen so far are not radically different from other vehicles that come into our shops, with the exception of electric compressors versus belt driven, and different oils, but that may change. Check out Hybrid and Battery Electric A/C on page XX in this issue for a broader view.


One of our 2017 Training Event speakers, Bruce Biven, high tech curriculum developer for Toyota, notes: “We recently started developing the new model presentations for the 2017 Prius Prime. The system is capable of producing heat without starting the engine at temperatures as low as 14° F.  This new heat pump system is very different from a conventional climate control system and I think the folks attending the conference will be interested in learning how it works.”

I’ll be in the front row for this one. I hope to see you there!


View the complete MACS 2017 Training Event Program

Register now for MACS 2017 Training Event at 215-631-7020 x 0  or click here!

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