2018 MACS Service Information Survey


The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) was organized to serve the mobile air conditioning industry. MACS’ charter and mission are communication and education. To achieve these goals, the Society has developed training programs and coordinated information between the air conditioning system manufacturers, governmental bodies and the service sector.

In an effort to better understand the current servicing profiles which are being encountered in the field, we are requesting the support of service facilities by responding to a survey which is now active at this link http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07efqjb8gnjmqdv2qx/start
. Each shop can help by contributing information about their own service experience, thereby providing that overview of general service operations on the two refrigerants.

 

There are several million R-1234yf mobile A/C systems on the road. However, R-1234yf systems may be requiring minimal servicing and may well still be serviced primarily by the OEM dealerships. To provide a better understanding of the impact of the two major refrigerants being encountered in the service industry, some survey questions are separated for each refrigerant to determine if there are any different servicing trends.

 

We understand that this survey is asking for a lot of information.  As this industry is experiencing major changes, information collected through this survey may well help shop owners understand where the future of this industry is moving and help inform their decisions regarding future business activities.

Every survey participant will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card.

 

Please watch for this survey being distributed by email on Wednesday, October 3 and respond.

Should you not receive an email survey and wish to participate, request a survey email at macsworldwide@macsw.org

 

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.

 

To learn more about MACS Worldwide visit our website at http://www.macsw.org

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823d RED HORSE


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

I think I stumbled upon one of the best days to travel by air: Labor Day. Short lines at security, and on the plane I even had the row to myself! In all the years I’ve been flying out of PHL, I’ve never done so on this most revered of American holidays. But this time I gladly made an exception, as I was asked to teach a two-day Mobile A/C “boot camp” of classes for the US Air Force. It was at Hurlburt Field, a rather large base located just off the Gulf Coast in the Florida panhandle, about an hour east of Pensacola.

Specifically, I taught our Mobile A/C Best Practices and Section 609 Certification classes for the men and women of the 823d RED HORSE Squadron, or Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers. This squadron is one of only four active-duty units of its kind in the Air Force. Highly mobile and self-sufficient, their special skills are honed through construction projects for the Air Force, Department of Defense and civilian community.

The group I worked with are those who service and maintain the heavy equipment on base. Machines such as Volvo and CAT excavators, Bobcat T250s, cranes, dump trucks, and even Polaris Rangers, Elgin sweepers and Ford F-250s (painted that deep Air Force royal blue). There were seven gigantic drive-thru bays in the shop where we worked, one of which had a 100,000 lb. parallelogram 8-leg drive-on lift recessed into the floor. Now that’s a heavy lifter!

You may also know that September is hurricane season, and on the day I arrived a tropical storm had just crossed southern Florida which was expected to develop into a hurricane.

In fact, about half way through our first day of classes, base Commanders decided to shut down certain operations (including ours) to enable those who live off base to return to their homes and communities in preparation for Tropical Storm Gordon (some of the storm’s highest winds and heaviest rainfall passed right over Fort Walton Beach and Hurlburt Field). Their strategy allows a safer commute for their Airmen, many of whom also assist with local search and rescue operations.

When classes ended I spent some time touring around the Hurlburt Memorial Air Park on base. I’m a history buff, so for me it’s neat to see first hand the planes and helicopters used to defend our country. An A-26 and B-25 from WWII, and an AC-119, HH-3E and T-28 from Vietnam were among those on the field.

But probably the most striking to me was seeing some of the aircraft used in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. It’s strange to think that those battles, which seem to be recent, have taken place so long ago that their aircraft have already been retired in favor of newer, more technologically advanced equipment (the MH-53 Pave Low, retired 2008 and AC-130, retired 2014).

Oh, and about that storm? It never did develop into a hurricane, but we did get lots of rain and wind. But it’s what the storm left behind at the beach and in the sky as it passed that left me in awe. Streaks of clouds, a rumbling surf, and a beautiful pallet of colors that were simply amazing!

Note: Learn more about MACS Worldwide, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society, by visiting our website at www.macsw.org for more information. 

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Escalating trade war


By Keith Leonard, Esquire

The current administration has already imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, sparking retaliatory tariffs imposed by multiple countries against goods imported from the United States. The tariffs imposed by the United States were couched as being done in the interest of protecting national security. The administration has now threatened to impose tariffs on automobiles from countries within the European Union (EU). While cars from Mexico and Canada would be particularly hard hit by any such tariffs imposed on cars imported from those countries, the next two countries that exported the largest amount (in terms of US dollars) of passenger cars and light vehicles to the United States in 2017 were Japan and Germany.

National security has again been at the forefront of the rationale for the imposition of tariffs on cars from the EU, with President Trump asserting that the EU was “as bad” as China when it comes to the way European countries trade with the United States. A Section 232 investigation is done under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine the effect of imports on the country’s national security. The expressed rationale supporting national security concerns is to see whether imports are eroding American industry to the point where they threaten the country’s “internal economy,” including the development of “cutting-edge technologies” and the preservation of a skilled workforce. That statutory authority was the basis for a public hearing before the Commerce Department on July 19, 2018, to assist the Department in determining whether imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts threaten to impair national security and if so, to then recommend remedies.
The early effects of the escalating trade war are already being seen. Some businesses, including equipment maker Caterpillar, have been able to pass along the increased costs of production to its customers due to strong product demand. However, other American companies, such as Tyson Foods, have announced a decrease in its profit forecasts due to lower meat prices arising from retaliatory duties on exports of United States beef and pork products.

The tariffs being threatened against cars from the EU have brought the automotive industry even farther into the fray. In May of this year, the American Automotive Policy Council issued a statement in which it urged the President to reconsider the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. That statement read in part: “The imposition of tariffs on our trading partners in the EU, Canada and Mexico will undermine the global competitiveness of the US auto industry and invites retaliation from our trading partners.”

To put things in perspective, passenger vehicle imports are America’s leading import and the largest category of motor vehicle parts (primarily the chassis of vehicles) is the sixth largest import sector. At the same time, passenger vehicle exports are the nation’s third-leading export and parts rank number four. The European Commission has said it will impose levies on nearly $300 billion of U.S. exports to the EU if the Trump Administration proceeds with imposing 20% tariffs on automotive industry imports on national security grounds. In such an event, about $350 billion in trade will be subjected to such tariffs (not taking into account the earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum). Moreover, 2018 is projected to be the first year that foreign manufacturers make more vehicles in the United States than domestic manufacturers.

In a mid-July article in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that “Auto makers, parts suppliers and dealers are joining forces to push back against the Trump administration’s proposal to apply tariffs of up to 25% on vehicles and components imported into the U.S., contending the administration’s trade policy will backfire and lead to higher prices and lost jobs.” Earlier in July, General Motors similarly warned against such tariffs on EU cars, saying it would raise the prices of its vehicles by thousands of dollars, undermine its competitiveness and lead to job losses in the United States.

Automakers have warned that the tariffs on car imports would raise prices of imported vehicles by up to $6,000 per car and also lift prices of locally made cars. Consider that EU-owned car companies have plants in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, all of which are strongly Republican states. Thus, the tariffs’ issue has political implications beyond any espoused trade protectionism.

Remember that laws are constantly changing and are often not uniform throughout the United States. Do not place unqualified reliance on the information in this article. Always contact legal counsel for detailed advice.
If you have a particular issue, law or problem you would like to see addressed in a future column, please contact me at KLeonard@LeonardSciolla.com.

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There’s no place like AGCO!


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Although the underlying principles behind what makes mobile A/C work are the same regardless of whether you’re working on a pickup truck, a tractor or the family van, there are differences that make working on agricultural equipment unique and, therefore, special training is required.

That’s exactly what attendees got at the 2018 MACS / AGCO HD and off-road equipment best practices clinic, held on Friday, April 6, 2018 at AGCO’s technical training facility in Hesston, Kansas (Figure 1). Twenty-four technicians attended the class taught by Sherwood Wheeler, AGCO’s supervisor of dealer technical support. Sherwood has been a MACS member for 11 years and is a regular presenter at the annual MACS Training Event in the heavy duty / off-road sessions.

CLICK HERE to read more…

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Do you know your HVAC components?


 

The first part of any good under-hood inspection should include a label check. The labels below provide us with refrigerant charge specifications to correlate to the OE specifications found in service information. Notice the specifications for the R-1234yf charge capacity on the label match the service information specification. If this vehicle was sent from a collision shop, and we needed to perform an A/C service, but the specifications label was missing due to the accident, we’d have to look it up anyway. The fact that we have two areas to search for the specifications is to our advantage. If they didn’t match we would have some “Soul” searching to do (TSB’s, Preliminary Inspection Bulletins, etc.). Remember this is a later model car with a brand new refrigerant in it from the factory. As we’ve seen in the past, the factory adjusts charge amounts if there are In-service performance complaints.

Read the whole story

Download the September October 2018 Issue

 

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The Shop Down Below


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Back in July I attended IMPACon18, the annual conference of the International Motor Press Association, of which I’m a member. This year it was hosted by Volvo at their newest dealership, Volvo Cars of Manhattan. Located in NYC’s dynamic Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, and not too far from Midtown (think Broadway, Times Square and the Theatre District), their showroom and offices take up only part of the first floor of an enormous 71 story skyscraper.

Volvo Cars of Manhattan is located on the ground floor of sky, a 71-story high rise luxury apartment building in NYC.

Not only is there an entire car dealer inside this building (including parts and service), there’s also an art gallery, an athletic club, offices, restaurants, and even a sky deck with two swimming pools! Residents of the 1,175 luxury apartments enjoy on-site valet parking, complementary daily breakfast, a full-service spa and of course, a 24-hour doorman. But only those living in the 83 penthouses on the top five floors get access to a luxury, chauffeured Volvo XC90 house-car service, including massage seats and beverage options with Orrefors Swedish crystal champagne flutes. Not bad for $5,500 a month!

See the production of the Orrefors Crystal Eye for Volvo Cars

But let’s get back to the dealership. Sure, most of us are working in aftermarket shops, but many of us have also spent our time working for one of the big dealers, too. But I think not many have worked in a shop quite like this one.

When I asked to see the service department, I was guided to an elevator to go down two floors to the sub-basement level. There, I met the manager and writer, who showed me around their enormous shop.

The shop takes up the entire basement, accessed from a double wide automatic door along West 43rd Street. It contains 300,000 square feet of floor space, 21 bays, plus the parts department, a few delivery prep and detailing bays, and even new car storage is down there too. We must have seen forty new cars with their plastics still on!

Along the ramp on the way down to service, there’s an inspection station similar to the kind used in New Jersey when they used to do safety inspections there. It looks similar to a dyno, but this one tests for steering, brakes and suspension issues, one axle at a time. The idea is that the customer or technician can drive the vehicle in, stop for inspection, and get a quick idea of service work that might be needed.

Volvo of Manhattan Service Dept

Looking out from the basement, towards the 43rd St entrance of Volvo of Manhattan’s Service Department. On left about half way up, the inspection station is mounted to the ramp.

Of course, I had to see what they do for air conditioning service too, and was not surprised to find they had no R-1234yf machines just yet. Also, no one I asked had any information about upcoming system changes. No big surprise there either, since the last few surveys I conducted shows Volvo hasn’t yet switched here in the US, although I suspect there may be one for 2019.

Seeing an underground service department was cool, and I’m sure the guys down there love the cool shop temperatures during summertime. But for me, I still like being able to look outside, even if just for a moment. And while it may be tough at times to work in a smaller shop, imagine driving around concrete pillars in a basement with lots of blind corners. For me, I’ll stay upstairs!

Are you involved with mobile A/C service? Are you a member of MACS? If not, you should be! Check out our website MACS Worldwide to learn more about how MACS membership can benefit you and your shop.

Please post your questions and comments below, and thanks for stopping by! You can also send an email to steve@macsw.org and let us know your thoughts. Thanks!

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Time counts!


By Angie Kilbourne

Despite the awesome features available on social media, it can be a time sink — whether as part of a business’ marketing program or as a consumer. And even if you are doing it right, social media marketing can consume a lot of time. So what can a business do to speed up the process and become more time-efficient? After all, you have other important things to do, right?

Cap It!
“Nobody has time to engage on all of the networks they should or would like to be on,” explains Julie Graff, brand engagement strategist for Pole Position Marketing. The only real reason to be on a social network is because your audience is there, and you believe you can engage with them there, adds Graff. But, it is important to decide in advance how much time you or your staff is going to allocate to social media.
First, determine where your current and target customers are: Is it Facebook? Is it Instagram? Just as you want to know the best daytime phone number and messaging service to reach them, ask which social media platforms they use frequently. This will help whittle down the number of social media platforms, and keep you and your staff focused on where your customers are engaged. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE)

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Installation and modification of A/C systems for US and imported vehicles


By Ward Atkinson

Members have requested information regarding requirements that apply to vehicles produced by OEM vehicle manufacturers, commercial upfitters and independent A/C repair or service facilities that install or modify mobile A/C systems.
All A/C refrigerants listed as acceptable, including R-134a and R-1234yf, are subject to use conditions requiring labeling and the use of unique fittings. EPA is requiring the same use conditions for R-1234yf in newly manufactured medium duty passenger vehicles, HD pickup trucks and complete HD vans as it mandates in newly manufactured cars and light duty trucks.

A/C systems designed to use R-1234yf must meet the requirements of SAE J639, Safety Standards for Motor Vehicle Refrigerant Vapor Compression Systems. This document sets safety standards that include unique fittings; a warning label indicating the refrigerant’s identity and notification that it is a mildly flammable refrigerant (class A2L); and requirements for engineering design strategies that include a high-pressure compressor cutoff switch and location of pressure relief devices.

Designing the refrigerant circuit and connections to avoid refrigerant seeping into the passenger cabin ensures it is unlikely to enter the passenger cabin if there is a leak. Keeping refrigerant out of the passenger cabin minimizes the possibility there would be sufficient levels of refrigerant to reach flammable concentrations or hydrogen fluoride (HF) would be formed and transported where passengers might be exposed.
(CLICK HERE FOR MORE)

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Leaks under vacuum


By Steve Schaeber

A s OEMs continue improving their systems, technicians are seeing leaks more often attributed to the valve core located down inside the service port fitting, either on the high or low side of the system. Most of these leaks are discovered while the system is charged and under pressure, but that’s not the only time they can be found.
We recently worked on an F-650 bucket ……
CLICK HERE

 

 

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Tariffs a threat to auto repair industry


July 6, 2018 (Lansdale, PA) Today, 25 percent tariffs went into effect on a list of Chinese goods, and many MACS members have voiced concerns about the impact the tariffs will have on all sectors of our industry.

In the May issue of MACS ACtion™, Keith Leonard, MACS’ general counsel warned that tariffs were “a two-edged sword.”

On July 2, the Auto Care Association issued a press release detailing what it called the “unintended consequences that may ensue by imposing tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.” In its release the Auto Care Association cited an economic study by John Dunham and Associates, “which found that a 25 percent tariff on imported auto parts could cause a reduction of 17,800 jobs in the auto parts manufacturing sector, resulting in $1.4 billion in lost wages. The study further predicts that 6,800 jobs would be lost by vehicle repair shops and an additional 85,200 jobs in the auto care wholesale and retail segment due to lower demand. These are mostly small family-owned businesses that would suffer severe economic harm should a 25 percent tariff be levied on autos and auto parts.”

The complete Auto Care Association press release: https://www.autocare.org

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 1.2-million technicians to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment.

To learn more about MACS Worldwide visit our website at http://www.macsw.org. The MACS 2019 Training Event and Trade Show, A/Ccess will take place February 21-23 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA. A current calendar of all regional training can be found on the training page of MACS website at www.macsw.org.

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