by Jacques Gordon
Most new cars coming off the assembly line today have R-134a running through their air conditionering veins. However, there are several models in Europe and a few here in North America that use R-1234yf, and soon there will be more. How do you tell what’s in there? There’s a sticker under the hood, somewhere right up front, that tells you which refrigerant was used in the factory fill, and it also tells you how much. That sticker is part of SAE Standard J639, which provides safety and design standards for automotive air conditioning refrigerant systems. Originally written in 1953, the Standard has been updated several times over the years. The underhood sticker was added in the early 1980s, and you can learn more about it here.
Today there are about 40 models designed to use R-1234yf, but most are still being filled at the factory with R-134a. Obviously the same components are used in both systems, but that doesn’t mean either system can be filled with the other refrigerant in the service bay. Although R-1234yf systems use all the same components and even the same lubricants as R-134a systems, the calibration for the expansion device (orifice tube or expansion valve) is different. There is also one additional component in the R-1234yf system, the Internal Heat Exchanger. This new component improves efficiency and reduces the amount of refrigerant needed to make cold air. You can learn more here.
We would like to provide a short list of manufacturers using R-1234yf refrigerant in Europe and North America, but things are changing too fast and the list would be incomplete, especially since there will be many more over the next few weeks as the 2014 models come out. So, if in doubt, just look for the J639 sticker under the hood. If the sticker is missing, you can find refrigerant type and quantity information in the members section of the MACS Worldwide website here
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!
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, http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.
You can E-mail us at email@example.com . 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.
The 34th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Power Up will take place January 16-18 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans.