New EPA rule restricts the sale of HFC refrigerants


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

On September 26th, US EPA finalized two rules that will reduce the projected growth and emissions of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), a class of chemicals that includes the mobile air conditioning refrigerant R-134a, commonly used in many automobiles and light trucks, heavy duty trucks and off-road equipment. MACS first reported about this upcoming rule change earlier in 2016, and as expected it’s now become final.

The rule applicable to mobile A/C affects Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, which extends the ODS (Ozone Depleting Substance) sales restriction to HFCs and other non-exempt substitutes, with the exception of small cans containing two pounds or less of (primarily) HFC-134a for servicing motor vehicle air conditioners. These small cans can continue to be sold without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant leakage. It also applies to other non-ozone depleting substitutes such as R-1234yf, the new HFO that’s quickly becoming the replacement of choice for car and light truck manufacturers around the world due to its lower GWP (global warming potential).

“These two rules demonstrate the United States’ continued leadership in protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are reducing emissions of HFCs that are harmful to the climate system and showing the world that we can do this responsibly and thoughtfully by working with businesses and environmental groups. I’m especially excited that we have taken these actions ahead of next month’s Montreal Protocol negotiations.”

Most of the EPA rules and regulations that apply to technicians working in the mobile air conditioning industry come from Section 609 of the US Clean Air Act of 1990, but there are other sections of that Act that affect our work in the shop each day. One in particular is Section 608, which although commonly thought to affect only HVAC/R technicians (those who work on commercial, industrial and residential A/C units, refrigerators and freezers), also applies to the mobile A/C community because it contains the bulk of EPAs “refrigerant management program.”

figure-1-dsc_2121

Beginning on January 1, 2018 technicians will need to show their Section 609 Certification card if they want to purchase mobile A/C refrigerants, including R-12, R-134a and R-1234yf.

So what do these changes mean to mobile A/C technicians, shops and shop owners? Probably the biggest is that technicians will need to be certified under Section 609 through a program like MACS if they are going to purchase refrigerant. Prior to this rulemaking, a MACS certification was only required for purchases of CFC refrigerants like R-12, but on January 1, 2018, you’ll also need one if you want to buy R-134a or the new HFO refrigerant, R-1234yf.

The other change that’s coming to mobile A/C is going to affect the consumer side more so than the professional technician, and that’s with those small cans of refrigerant sold by auto parts stores and other big box retailers. As long as those cans contain less than 2 pounds of refrigerant, it will be legal to purchase them without a Section 609 credential, but they’ll still need a self-sealing valve. This is something new to technicians and car owners in most of the US, but not in California. The Golden State has been using self-sealing cans since 2010 when CARB (the California Air Resources Board) first required their use. Based on the NPD Automotive Aftermarket Industry Monitor, 2008, approximately 14 million small cans are sold each year.

figure-2-s2020168

With the exception of California, small cans of refrigerant are sold without self-sealing valves in the US. This new EPA rule changes that, requiring the use of self-sealing cans across the country. It doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2018, but we expect to see the new cans in stores by next summer (2017).

More information about these and other EPA rules and regulations can be found on their www.epa.gov website.

Visit the MACS website www.macsw.org where you can learn how to become certified by MACS under Section 609 of the US Clean Air Act. While you’re there, you can download a copy of the MACS study manual.

Keeping in touch with MACS keeps you in touch with the world of mobile A/C! If you’re a mobile A/C technician or shop owner and you’re not yet a MACS member, what are you waiting for? Visit our website www.macsw.org for more information and to join MACS and become a member today!macs


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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

Supercool unveils MACS 2017 official training event T-shirt design


 

One of the most coveted give away items every year at MACS annual training event is the official event T-shirt sponsored by Supercool. The Supercool team has sponsored the official T-shirt since 2004 and they put a lot of time and creativity into the design each year narrowing it down to several designs before choosing just the right one.

supercool-shirt-2017

Since the MACS 2017 Training Event venue is located on the West Coast at the Anaheim, CA Marriott this February 15-18 the Supercool creative staff got in touch with the good vibrations of California when they created this unique T-shirt, Phil Eggen, vice president sales and marketing  of Supercool explains, “With this design we wanted to c
atch that fun, colorful California feeling of the beach, surfing, sun, palm trees and wind in your hair and at the same time also convey our air conditioning message.  Al2017tetsmailercovermost like capturing the feeling of a Beach Boys song on the back of your shirt. The Beach Boys are still cool and so is Supercool!”

Every technician who attends MACS Trade Show on Friday, February 18 at the Anaheim Marriott and visits Supercool at booth 204 will receive this collectible t-shirt.

Registration for MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show is open now at MACS website or call 215-631-7020 x 0. View the complete MACS 2017 Training Event Program.


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

Posted in MACS Training Event, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ford A/C provides more than just cool air


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Over the years Ford has been at the forefront of automotive engineering and design, and not just in the styling and horsepower departments but with air conditioning, too. Back in the 1950’s they came out with the first mixed air heater, and it was in the 1970’s that they developed the spring lock connector, widely used in fuel and A/C lines. Now they’re onto a new innovation, which may one day bring cool fresh water to the dashboard in your new car or truck.

And you never know where the spark for such innovation will come from either. In this case, Ford engineer Doug Martin came up with the idea after reading about a billboard in Lima, Peru that condenses water out of the air and provides a source of drinking water for the local residents who didn’t otherwise have access to clean water. So he thought of a way to do something like that with cars.

His innovation collects the A/C condensate that normally drops off the bottom of the car after it drips from the evaporator. He then filters the water and pumps it to a faucet in the passenger compartment for drinking.

Doug Martin, On-the-Go H20 Innovator

Ford engineer Doug Martin poses in a Ford C-Max with his water spout invention which provides filtered water for vehicle passengers, sourced from reclaimed condensate water from the vehicle’s air conditioning evaporator.

Martin developed the system with his colleague John Rollinger and sees it as a big benefit in developing countries where there is a shortage of clean water. Even in places where they do have access to water, but it’s not so clean, an adapter kit for Ford’s system can filter outside water and clean it for drinking.

On-the-Go H2O System

Mounted at the vehicle’s center console cup holder, this faucet provides clean drinking water recycled from the A/C evaporator’s condensate drip.

On-the-Go H2O System

Simply press the faucet’s dispensing button to release cool, clean, recycled drinking water directly into your cup. Who wouldn’t love to have a water fountain in their car?

Maybe one day Mo Rocca will pick up this story and put it on The Henry Ford’s “Innovation Nation,” the Saturday morning show on CBS that showcases present-day change makers from all over the world who are creating solutions to real needs. Check out their website at https://www.thehenryford.org/explore/innovation-nation/ for more information about the show!

More information about Ford and their “Further with Ford” news program can be found on Ford’s media website at this address: https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/09/12/further-with-ford.html

Check out Ford’s “On-the-Go H2O” video on the MACS YouTube channel by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzRIt-ggvpQ

Do you know about a unique A/C innovation in use in your car or truck? Why not share it with MACS and the greater mobile A/C community? Visit www.macsw.org and drop us a line to let us know about it!


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

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

GM’s first Chinese-built crossover at Buick dealers now


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

During a trip earlier this month to Bergey’s Buick GMC in Franconia Township (Souderton), PA, MACS was fortunate enough to be shown their newest Robinair R/R/R machine for use with R-1234yf refrigerant as well as the new 2017 GMC Acadia which uses the HFO in its A/C system. You can read all about it at this link: https://macsworldwide.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/gmc-hits-the-road-with-r-1234yf/

While we were there, we stopped by the new car showroom to check out the other GMC and Buick models they had on display, and it was just our luck that they happened to have a very special new car parked out front that was just driven off of the transport truck. That’s where we saw our first GM vehicle that was built in China and being sold in the United States. It was the all-new 2016 Buick Envision.

According to James Pollino, new car sales manager at their GMC Buick store, Bergey’s has sold quite a few of the new Envisions, in fact more than their original dealer allotment of 12. The only one they had on the lot that day was a white 2016 Envision AWD Premium model that was originally sent to a dealership in Smithtown, NY, but was then traded to Bergey’s to meet customer demands.

dsc_0238-figure-1

The only two Chinese-built vehicles currently being sold in the US are the Volvo S60 and this Buick Envision.  A careful look at the VIN instantly gives it away.

dsc_0270-figure-2

The only other times we’ve seen an “L” in that first “Country Code” VIN position is on certain imported trailers (usually sold as trailer kits-in-a-box) at various big box stores and other tool retailers.

Pollino says these first few shipments of the small luxury SUV will be 2016 models. He expects to receive 2017 models later on this year, perhaps sometime in October. “We have more ‘16s on the way, but should start seeing the ‘17s this fall.”

dsc_0253-figure-3

Service port caps are considered to be the primary seal of a vehicle’s service port.  Helping to make that seal tight, o-rings like this one on the Envision are installed inside service port caps, as is seen with other GM models, but take note: the service port itself is a threaded design, which means it can be removed from the A/C line with the correct size socket.  Why would they use this type of removable service port? it’s quite a convenient feature to have during service or repair when you need to change out the port due to damaged internal Schrader valve threads. We’re not exactly sure why they used them here, but it’s likely in preparation for the model’s eventual changeover to R-1234yf refrigerant.  Threaded service ports make it easy for vehicle manufacturers to switch refrigerants in the middle of a production run.  They simply have to stop using R-134a service ports and start using the ones for R-1234yf, while also switching to different refrigerant oil and likely a different TXV as well.

Envision is being built on GM’s D2XX/D2UX platform. Introduced in August 2012, it’s shared with other GM models such as the 2015 Opel Astra and Buick Verano, as well as the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. Its Chinese name is “Ang Ke Wei” (昂科威) and has been selling there since late 2014. It’s being built by SAIC-GM (Shanghai GM) at their Dong Yue Foundry in Yantai, Shandong Province, China.

dsc_0234-figure-4

Current models of Envision being sold in the US are 2016s and are still being filled with R-134a refrigerant at the factory during assembly.  2017 models should start arriving here in the fall, and we’re curious to find out if they’ll use the new refrigerant at that time.  This system takes 0.600 kilograms, or 1.325 pounds (21.164 ounces).  You might wonder why the label is spec’d out in the metric “kg” scale, and it all has to do with that little “J639” that’s printed on the label.  The SAE J639 Standard provides for many of the basic “rules” that A/C system manufacturers must follow when designing and building their systems, and listing the refrigerant charge spec in kg is one of them. Manufacturers are allowed to include converted measurements as well for technician convenience, but expect to see kg listed in the first position on almost all vehicles.

dsc_0267-figure-5

The only other vehicle manufacturer in the US to print “CHINA” as their final assembly point is Volvo with their S60 Inscription model which is made in their factory at Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Buick’s Envision is the first GM vehicle to be imported into the US from China.

dsc_0242-figure-6

Buick includes their tri-zone automatic climate control system (RPO Code CJ4) as standard equipment in the new Envision. It provides individual climate settings for the driver, front passenger and rear seat occupants, while also being able to operate in “SYNC” (Synchronized Temperature) mode as well. Pressing SYNC will “link” the front passenger and rear climate temperature settings to match the driver’s settings.

2017tetsmailercover

More information about Bergey’s Buick GMC can be found on their www.bergeysbuickgmc.com website. You can also find out more about the 2016 Buick Envision by visiting www.buick.com and clicking on Envision.

Don’t forget to make your plans to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade show in Southern California at the Marriott in Anaheim on February 15-18, 2017. Visit www.macsw.org for more information or call MACS at 215-631-7020. We look forward to seeing you there!


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

Posted in #1234yf, Automotive, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antique air by Denso, circa 1973


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Regular readers of the MACS WordPress BLOG know that we’ve been out and about lately, hunting down those vehicles that are new to the streets with R-1234yf refrigerant. Our travels this week brought us to Peruzzi Toyota of Hatfield, PA, where we ran across this ground-up restoration of a 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser, otherwise known as the “FJ40,” “J40,” or simply “FJ.” It was sitting in the spotlight position at the corner of the showroom, and on this bright and sunny first day of fall, we couldn’t help but stop to check it out.

DSC_0189 (Figure 1).JPG

This 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser has been completely restored from the ground up, as reflected in the $40,000 asking price.  Check out this link (http://www.peruzzi.com/used-Philadelphia-1973-TOYOTA-fi40-Base-FJ40140787) to learn more on Peruzzi’s website.

DSC_1818 (Figure 2).JPG

Sales Consultant John Rivera helped us open the hood, and pointed out a few of the details on this antique Land Cruiser.  Engine compartment ventilation is incorportated directly into the hood, evidenced by the grilles on either side.

Being an A/C guy, one of the first things I did was stick my head through the open driver’s side window to look and see what type of climate control system (if any) this antique MPV (multipurpose passenger vehicle) may or may not have. I wasn’t really expecting to see an A/C system (which it doesn’t have), but I was happy to see the original Nippondenso air handling unit is still in place and in quite good shape. In fact, this is a great example of how early ventilation systems were designed, and of how heat was supplied to the passenger compartment. Our photos show this unit integrates a heater core (you can even see the heater hoses extending from the side of the case), which supply the hot engine coolant to keep the passengers warm.

DSC_0168 (Figure 3).JPG

Many technicians are familiar with Nippondesnso’s “white ink stamp,” indicating the model number, manufacturer and operating voltage, along with that tagline which reads “Made in Japan.”  We’re most familiar with seeing it on Toyota components from the 1980s and ’90s, and it’s interesting to find out that it was being used as far back as 1972.

DSC_0170 (Figure 4).JPG

Cabin heating and ventilation was not an engineering priority back in the day, and while some did come with vents that operated off the ram air, many vehicles simply didn’t come with any type of system, let alone factory installed air conditioning.  Consider too that a number of Land Cruisers may have been sold in warmer climates where a heating system just wasn’t necessary.  It’s difficult to tell for sure, but this system was most likely a dealer installed add-on, supplied through the dealer’s Toyota parts department from Nippondenso.

Much of the air flow in cars and trucks from this time period came in the form of vent windows (aka “butterfly windows”) on the driver and passenger side doors. Opening these windows and angling them to the desired position would provide a slight or strong supply of outside air into the passenger compartment, and while not necessarily heated or cooled (other than from the change in air pressure), did provide air movement to clear the cabin of stale air.

DSC_0175 (Figure 5).JPG

These three control knobs installed in the dashboard indicated fan, fresh and warm.  Truly a classic!

DSC_0180 (Figure 6).JPG

The mechanical slide control lever on the heater box has positions for vent, heat and defroster.  It doesn’t get any simpler than this!

h8e0794-figure-7

Toyota built the original Land Cruiser FJs between 1960 and 1984, although production did continue through 2001 for the Brazilian and South American markets.  Later they redesigned it and brought it back as the FJ Cruiser from 2006 through 2014 here in the US, although overseas sales continue with right hand drive models.

More information about Peruzzi Toyota can be found on their www.peruzzi.com website. You can also find out more about the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser by visiting www.toyota.com/fjcruiser

DENSO is a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components for major automakers. You can learn more at their corporate website www.globaldenso.com, or at http://www.densocorp-na.com for information about their North American operations.

 

A long time Member of MACS, DENSO Products and Services Americas (DPAM) is an automotive components sales and distribution company supplying parts for original equipment service dealers and for the independent aftermarket service centers and retailers. Visit their www.densoautoparts.com website where you can look up parts by vehicle year make and model or by individual part numbers, and get more information about DENSO auto parts, including their full line of A/C products. You can also download their latest catalogs and installation guides.

websitebanner

 

MACS is heading to Southern California for their upcoming 2017 MACS Training Event and Trade Show, being held February 15-18, 2017 at the Marriott hotel in Anaheim. Visit www.macsw.org to get the details, and don’t forget to stop by the Denso Auto Parts booth while you’re at the Trade Show on Friday, February 17th. We look forward to seeing you there!


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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

More in common with an IT specialist


By Andy Fiffick

“Today’s technician has more in common with an IT specialist than he or she does with wrench turners of old.”

That observation by Peter Meier, director of training for Motor Age, seems particularly appropriate to me. In his column in the July 2016 issue of the journal he observed: “Today, the computing power of individual modules on a car rivals that of the laptop you use in the shop or at home. Instead of one module, there are dozens of modules on the car, making up multiple networks that control everything from engine management to how cool the cabin stays.”

dsc_0047

Pete’s right, of course, and MACS gears its information and training for the vehicle climate and thermal management landscape as it exists today and will evo2016ac_09digitallve tomorrow.

I invite you to closely examine the educational and training program MACS has developed for its annual training event, scheduled Feb. 16 through 18 in Anaheim, California. We’ve
included the full program in this issue of ACTION.

MACS is fortunate to have the support of the leading technical specialists and trainers in the country. Their support makes it possible to pack a total of more than 30 hours of information, education and training into this three-day event, including a full day of training in Spanish.

Training sessions will focus on advanced diagnostic techniques, telematics and the expanding role of automotive refrigerant systems in supporting vehicle operation, as well as service and repair efficiency and accuracy. There will be two full days of training specific to both auto and light truck, and two days of training on heavy duty trucks, off-road and other specialty vehicles. Sandwiched between the training days is the opportunity to engage one-on-one with the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers, and examine the latest tools and equipment at the MACS trade show.

In addition to technical training, important insight will be offered on climate control and thermal management of alternate fuel vehicles, penetration in the fleet of R-1234yf refrigerant, regulatory developments and other factors and trends that will impact our businesses into the future.

websitebanner

As business people, we know that in addition to having the tools and expertise to serve our customers, there is another essential component to our success, and that revolves around our sales and marketing efforts. Just as the technical side of our business becomes more complex each day, so does the business side of our business. Having an online presence for our customers, understanding and making the most of social media, and all of the challenges of the digital age must be addressed to ensure our success.

With the latter in mind, MACS has implemented a new feature for 2017. We will provide free marketing and advertising consultations on the trade show floor on Friday, and will also conduct a panel discussion on marketing and management at lunch on Saturday during the training event.

After reviewing the enclosed program, you’ll want to attend the MACS annual event in 2017. It will be good for your business!


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at http://www.macsw.org

Posted in ACtion Magazine, Automotive, Automotive training, MACS Training Event, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GMC hits the road with R-1234yf


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

It was during the general session meeting on Thursday morning at MACS 2016 Trade Show in Orlando that we first learned about GM’s intention to add several new vehicles to their lineup this year which use HFO-1234yf as an air conditioning refrigerant, and sure enough this summer we’re seeing quite a few on dealer lots. Earlier this month we stopped by at Bergey’s Buick GMC to check out their new R/R/R machine, and also learned more about the redesigned 2017 Acadia, the first GMC vehicle to be filled with the new refrigerant.

dsc_0180-figure-1

MACS had the opportunity to check out the new 2017 GMC Acadia at Bergey’s Buick GMC on September 6th.  Built on GM’s C1xx crossover platform, it’s shared with Cadillac for their 2017 XT5 (Crossover Touring 5).  GMC started selling the Acadia in 2006, and this version is their second generation crossover, which has been available since May 2016.

dsc_0049-figure-2

Standing with their new R-1234yf A/C machine is Andy Bednarczyk, service manager at Bergey’s Buick GMC in Franconia Township (Souderton), PA.

“We’ve had the new machine for a few weeks now, but no one’s had to use it yet,” remarked Scott Sowka, service technician at Bergey’s Buick GMC. “The new yf Acadias just arrived this summer, and in fact this one was just built in August!”

dsc_0087-figure-3

Sowka had this 2017 Acadia in the shop for a PDI service (pre-delivery inspection), giving MACS the chance to take a closer look.  At first glance, much of the A/C system looks similar to last year’s R-134a models, with the exception of the service ports, caps and A/C label. And while we didn’t measure it, the new condenser looks HUGE as compared with previous models.

dsc_0052-figure-4

The redesigned 2017 GMC Acadia is the brand’s first to use the new R-1234yf refrigerant in a production vehicle.  Loaded with symbols, this A/C label (otherwise known as the “639 Label”) packs a lot of information into a small space, including the required refrigerant charge for these SUVs when built with either front-only or front and rear evaporators.  The label gets its moniker from the SAE J639 Standard which requires its use.

GM sources its A/C compressors from various manufacturers, and for the 2017 GMC Acadia they’re using a variable displacement model made by Denso. But there’s something unique on this compressor’s label that we’ve only just begun to see recently, and that’s a smiley face! Sure, we know the guys at Denso are quite helpful and friendly, but we thought there has to be something more to this cheerful icon than just trying to brighten a technician’s day. MACS spoke with Denso’s Brett Grover, one of the technical training specialists at DPAM and an A/C instructor at MACS training events, who explained that this happy image is a requirement specific to GM, which they use to signify compatibility with R-1234yf refrigerant.

dsc_0146-2017-gmc-acadia-compressor-label-figure-5

Powering the 2017 Acadia’s A/C system, GM uses Denso’s 7SAS18H compressor, a 7 cylinder, variable displacement type that uses an electromagnetic clutch and displaces 180cc’s per revolution.  Note the smiley face on the compressor label, a mark unique to GM which indicates compatibility with yf refrigerant.

In keeping with their sales and service agreement, GM dealers are required to provide certain essential tools and service equipment for their technicians to properly diagnose and service their vehicles. When it comes to these new “yf cars,” one of the required tools is part number GE-50300. If it looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s an unmarked Robinair AC1234-6 machine. It doesn’t directly carry the Robinair brand on the outside, but turn on the power and you’ll see Robinair’s stylized name on several menu screens.

dsc_0041-figure-6

Robinair R/R/R machines are manufactured by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions at their factory in Owatonna, Minnesota.  We’ve seen them specially branded for certain car manufacturers before (check out the Toyota Tacoma R-1234yf blog at this link: https://macsworldwide.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/toyota-delivers-their-first-r-1234yf-vehicles-to-dealers/ ), but in this case its special branding is hidden in the machine’s own model number.  GE-50300-A is a giveaway that this is an SPX/Kent-Moore (now OTC/Bosch) tool, as it follows their long standing, alpha numeric tool numbering sequence and is in line with previous model # GE-48800, which is the SAE J2788 machine for use with R-134a refrigerant.  Kent-Moore is a name well known to GM service technicians, as it’s historically been the GM special service tool manufacturer.

dsc_1133-figure-7

The GE-50300-A refrigerant recovery, recycling and recharging station, certified to meet SAE Standard J2843, is designed to be used only with R-1234yf refrigerant.  This particular unit includes a built-in SAE J2927 refrigerant identifier, required as part of the J2843 Standard.

More information about Bergey’s Buick GMC can be found on their www.bergeysbuickgmc.com website. You can also find out more about the 2017 GMC Acadia by visiting www.gmc.com and clicking on ACADIA.

Robinair’s website www.robinair.com has more information about their R-1234yf shop equipment, but you can also see them at the 2017 MACS Training Event & Trade Show, being held February 15-18, 2017 at the Marriott hotel in Anaheim, California. Visit www.macsw.org to get the details!


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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

Posted in #1234yf, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A small Δ in airflow = A BIG impact on A/C performance


By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training

Proper air flow across the heat exchangers in an air conditioning system is key to its being able to transfer heat efficiently. Problems with air flow can be caused by slow turning or inoperable fans, dirt and debris build up on evaporators, condensers and radiators, as well as missing or damaged foam insulation. It can also be caused by problems with air dams, scoops and fins. Poor airflow is a common undiagnosed cause of original compressor failure and comebacks following an A/C repair job.

figure-036-s2240063-tesla-grille

Testing and inspecting these components for visual signs of blockage and damage should be one of the first steps taken when diagnosing A/C or engine cooling system performance issues. Reduced airflow through the condenser or radiator can result in premature compressor failure, poor A/C performance and engine/transmission overheating. Poor A/C performance after compressor replacement may not be associated with an airflow issue, especially when no obvious signs of engine overheating are evident. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of the system should be performed.

 


 

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

Become a member and receive a monthly 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 MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

 

Posted in MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The latest on R-1234yf from MACS member Honeywell


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Manager of Service Training

Rick Winick, Business Director, leads the Honeywell Fluorine Products Automotive Refrigerants segment. Rick and his team work to ensure global automotive OEM and aftermarket customers can turn to Honeywell as their long-term supplier to meet their need for near drop-in, low-global-warming-potential (LGWP) refrigerants. Under Rick’s direction, the Automotive Refrigerants team collaborates with customers throughout the implementation process—from beginning to end—to be certain the refrigerants Honeywell develops can be easily and economically adapted by global customers, allowing vehicle and equipment manufacturers to meet current and future environmental regulations.

MACS recently had another opportunity to ask Honeywell a few questions, and we’re sharing the conversation with our members. I asked Rick about the ongoing rollout of R-1234yf refrigerant, and what’s going on with regulations and Heavy Duty A/C.

 

DSC_0291

  1. MACS: Are small cans of R-1234yf being manufactured and/or sold at this time? Has a submission been made / approved by US EPA regarding a unique fitting for small cans of R-1234yf?

Honeywell: No, small cans have not yet been approved by the EPA. Specifically, a SNAP application needs to be submitted and approved.

 

  1. MACS: When produced, will small cans of R-1234yf be equipped with self-sealing valves?

Honeywell: The EPA has addressed this as a part of the proposed Section 608 modifications. We believe that any application for the small cans should be aligned with the EPA’s requirements and will work to ensure Solstice yf complies with those requirements, while providing optimal performance for customers.

 

  1. MACS: What is Honeywell’s position regarding EPA’s proposed rule to extend the ODS sales restriction to include all mobile A/C refrigerants?

 

Honeywell: Honeywell supports efforts to reduce emissions of all refrigerants through training and proper services practices.

 

  1. MACS: What special considerations must be made by shops regarding the storage of a single cylinder of R-1234yf refrigerant?

 

Honeywell: NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association) has recommended practices for storing flammable compressed gases. Local regulations generally adopt the NFPA recommended practices. Some, however, may implement more stringent standards. All businesses storing or handling R-1234yf should consult a local regulatory expert on facility design and acceptable practices related to the occupancy class limitations for their operations and businesses.

 

  1. MACS: Are there any further considerations necessary for the storage of more than one cylinder, such as a special storage cabinet?

 

Honeywell: The regulations are not generally related to the number of cylinders but rather the total volume stored in a specific area of the building. The total volume stored dictates the occupancy classification and the requirements. NFPA standards should be referenced along with local building codes.

 

  1. MACS: What concerns, if any, are associated with using R-134a in a vehicle originally designed to use R-1234yf? For example, what would happen if R-134a was used to “top off” a vehicle which already contains R-1234yf?

 

Honeywell: Vehicles and their A/C systems are optimized and validated with a specific refrigerant. Filling a system with a refrigerant different from the original can lead to a sub-optimal cooling performance, as well as potential incompatibilities with the materials, as the refrigerant/oil combination is optimized around the material system selected. Additionally, replacing a low-GWP refrigerant with a higher-GWP alternative is considered by the EPA to be tampering with an emissions control device and is in violation of the Clean Air Act. We strongly recommend that technicians and vehicle owners follow the refrigerant servicing recommendations listed in their vehicle owner’s manual.

 

  1. MACS: What progress has been made regarding the use of R-1234yf in medium-duty trucks (Classes 2b and 3)?Has EPA finalized their proposed rule regarding medium duty trucks?

 

Honeywell: The risk assessment evaluated for light duty vehicles is being expanded for use in the medium-duty truck classes 2b and 3. The rule is not yet finalized, but is being discussed by the EPA and has reached the comment phase. The EPA is optimistic that a regulation/CAFE credit system can be reached by the end of 2016.

 

  1. MACS: Going forward, are there any plans to approve the use of R-1234yf in larger vehicles (Class 4 and up)?

 

Honeywell: The use of R-1234yf in heavy duty vehicles is assumed to be the next phase after classes 2b and 3. Due to their different HVAC architectures and larger refrigerant charge sizes, however, this will require a new risk assessment to gauge the risk of R-1234yf in everyday use, consistent with the risk assessment conducted for light duty vehicles.

 

  1. MACS: Has Canada finalized their R-1234yf regulations?

Honeywell: In terms of environmental regulations, yes, yf is approved for import, sale and usage in Canada.

 

  1. MACS: Apparently hydrocarbon refrigerants are legal to sell in many parts of Canada. What if someone there decided to replace R-1234yf with a hydrocarbon refrigerant? Is that legal in Canada?

 

Honeywell: There are no specific laws regarding replacing one refrigerant with another. It is illegal to mix—or top off—two or more refrigerants in one system. In addition to the legal implications, this is a safety issue. Vehicles and their air conditioning systems are optimized and validated with a specific refrigerant. Filling a system with a refrigerant different from how it was originally filled can lead to a sub-optimal cooling performance. In addition, there could be incompatibilities with the materials, as the refrigerant/oil combination is optimized around the material system that was selected. Plus, there is the increased risk of using a more flammable hydrocarbon in a system that was designed for a mildly flammable A2L refrigerant.

 

  1. MACS: We’ve seen several vehicle models during the past few years with A/C hoses indicating compatibility with both R-134a and R-1234yf. Are major changes in hose design or construction required to make these hoses compatible with R-1234yf?

 

Honeywell: SAE standards are in place that require A/C hose manufacturers to validate their hoses for the intended refrigerant(s) and they must be marked to indicate which refrigerant(s) were used. Some hoses might meet validation standards for more than one refrigerant. One of the major differences between hoses for R-134a and hoses for R-1234yf are the charging ports. SAE standards dictate that the charge port fittings be different and unique for the different refrigerants.

 

  1. MACS: Are there concerns about technicians misinterpreting these hose markings to mean that these A/C systems can be filled with either R-134a or R-1234yf?

 

Honeywell: Each vehicle is clearly marked with an under-hood sticker showing refrigerant and oil has been used. The SAE implemented this standard years ago, requiring OEMs to place an easily visible sticker under the hood, listing the refrigerant required in the vehicle. It should be obvious to anyone repairing the A/C system which refrigerant should be used in the vehicle. Hose standards or markings are not currently—nor have they historically been—the indication used by technicians to determine the refrigerant used in the vehicle. In addition the charge ports in the vehicle are designed to be used with either one refrigerant or the other (1234yf or 134a). Hose markings are not a way to determine which refrigerant to use with the system.

 

Note: Keep in touch with MACS at www.macsw.org to stay on top of the ever-changing world of mobile A/C!

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

Insufficient A/C performance at idle


On some 2013 Chevrolet Sparks, the air conditioning duct temperature may be 10°F (5.6°C) warmer at idle, but is sufficient while driving .

 

Verify that the A/C pressures are within specifications at idle according to the A/C Performance Chart in the appropriate Service Information. See Figure 16. If A/C pressures and duct temperatures are not within specifications, perform the following:

figure-015-2015_3msrfigure6

  1. Verify the proper refrigerant level is in the A/C the system: 0.94 lbs (430 grams). If the refrigerant level is low, add GM-approved A/C dye to vehicles built before January 29, 2013, recharge the system to specification, evaluate, and perform an electronic and black light leak detection test. A/C dye began being added during assembly of the Spark at the plant on January 29, 2013.
  2. If pressures at idle and slightly above (increased by 200 RPM) are the within 10 PSI (69 kPa) of each other, do not attempt any repairs or replace any parts at this time. GM Engineering is working on a repair to address this condition.
  3. If the pressures are not within normal specifications at idle but become normal slightly above idle (for example, at idle the low side pressure is higher than normal, i.e. 60 PSI (414 kPa) at 72°F (22°C), and then when the engine RPM is raised higher, i.e. 1500 RPM, the low pressure drops to within spec, i.e. 40 PSI (276 kPa), this indicates an internal compressor seal condition and the A/C compressor will require replacement.If you are a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!Become a member and receive a monthly 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.

  4. Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.
  5. Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

    The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

Posted in Automotive, Automotive Aftermarket, Hybrid, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment