You may or may not be familiar with the German company Wurth GmbH. Among other things, they make a variety of automotive products, car care chemicals and sprays, and a variety of shop equipment. Some recent Internet wandering landed me on their page for the company’s new HFO-1234yf RRR unit.
The device itself is nice enough, well-made with computerized everything and it is even compliant with SAE J2788 and J2099. However, in this case the machine itself isn’t the story but a link on their “Coolius 1234iQ” page is.
Wurth has a “Questions about the Refrigerant” page – updated last month – that discusses the state of play in Europe. Some of the info is revealing, and they even provide reasons that readers don’t need to buy a new machine right now. Remember, they’re only talking about Europe. Here’s a look:
(The term “type approval” refers to the government process approving an all-new car prior to production.)
There is currently a great insecurity among authorized dealers, independent workshops, body shops and manufacturers of air conditioning service units concerning the date from which the new refrigerant R-1234yf will actually be used in new vehicle series.
—Which is the position of the vehicle manufacturers?
• Ford will not use the new refrigerant R-1234yf in vehicles built before 2012.
• The new VW Golf 7 already has its type approval and will still be introduced onto the market with the old refrigerant R-134a.
• With its new A-Class, Mercedes will presumably be the first manufacturer to license a new type in October 2011 that uses the new refrigerant. Delivery of the first cars is expected to start in the 1st quarter of 2012.
• Toyota has postponed a new type approval until 2012.
• General Motors will start to use the new refrigerant in some of its models in 2013.
• The new refrigerant may be used in hybrid vehicles because its rechargeable batteries are classified as parts that are merely transported and thus do not count as part of the passenger compartment air conditioning.
• Air conditioning service units for OEM have to be certified by TÜV Rhineland. [German DOT, –ed.]
—What is the position of the legislature?
Each [service] unit must be equipped with a fan. The evacuation into the exhaust gas extraction [system] with a corresponding adapter is currently not specified by all manufacturers.
The exhaust fan runs for 30 seconds each time before the unit is put into operation to blow it free of potential leaked refrigerant inside the unit’s body housing. Closed working spaces must be ventilated accordingly:
• ASA has established a working committee on the climate issue in order to achieve the implementation
of common standards for the manufacturers of air conditioning service units.
• The latest information on the new refrigerant has been released by the German Association of Motor Trades (ZDK) and will be forwarded to the workshops.
•The introduction of the new refrigerant will necessitate a gas sampling (refrigerant analysis or identifier) to secure identification of the refrigerant. It will be performed either by means of a separate analytical device or by one that is integrated into the new unit. If the refrigerant is found to be contaminated, the vehicle must be evacuated by a special evacuation device and the contaminated refrigerant must be filled into a recycling bottle and disposed of.
— VDA standard upon the certification: Most vehicle manufacturers will presumably introduce new type approvals in 2012 and thus will not introduce the new refrigerant R-1234yf until then. Currently, the use of refrigerant R-1234yf is mandatory for the European market only.
• The transitional period for the current refrigerant R-134a for new model ranges until 2017, afterwards new vehicles must be filled with the new refrigerant R-1234yf.
• It is expected that even after 2020 there will still be a high number of vehicles with air conditioning systems that use refrigerant R-134a, [and] the purchase of a new air conditioning service unit with R-134a is thus still reasonable.
— No CO2
In the future, manufacturers will not, as originally planned, work with the liquid refrigerant R-744 (CO2).
— New POE compressor oil
Air conditioning compressors in electric vehicles and many hybrid vehicles are powered by an electric motor. The electric motor is situated inside the compressor and has direct contact to refrigerant and compressor oil. For this reason POE oil must be used. Customary PAG oil destroys the isolation of the compressor motor.
Wurth GmbH has decided in favour of the development of separate air conditioning service unit for refrigerant R-1234yf and against a combined unit for the following reasons:
• Very large, bulky body housing.
• Very expensive because it combines two devices in one housing.
• Only one service can be carried out at a time. Either for R-134a or R-1234yf.
• If one circuit fails due to a defect it puts the whole unit out of order.
• Most customers possess a unit for R-134a already – double investment costs!
Arguments for customers who are already receiving offers for new units:
• Currently, there are only very few units on the market and thus the customer has no real choice.
• The customer cannot compare any prices yet.
• As yet, there are no vehicles on the market using the new refrigerant R-1234yf.
• The new refrigerant is not yet available.
• A new unit cannot be used straight away as no suitable vehicles are available yet!
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.
You can E-mail us at email@example.com or visit http://bit.ly/cf7az8 to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit http://bit.ly/9FxwTh to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.