R-1234yf at the 2016 PHL Auto Show


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

Over the next several years as vehicle manufacturers refresh older nameplates and begin to introduce new ones, we’re expecting to see more and more platforms change over to the new refrigerant R-1234yf. While many independent service shops won’t likely see these vehicles in their shops for A/C service within the first few years that they’re on the street, they will indeed be performing other services on these cars and light trucks, such as oil changes and tire rotations, along with other periodic maintenance and repairs. Our advice to shop owners and technicians: get to know these new systems now, check them out when they come into your shop, and start drawing comparisons to the R-134a systems you already know. In some cases the changes are only slight, but in many the OEMs are doing things a bit differently and you’ll want to take notice.

Figure 1 - S2770049

Caption 1: Although still filling the A/C system with R-134a, GM is starting to incorporate “yf” parts (such as this suction hose manufactured by MACS member Continental) into several models, including the 2016 Chevrolet Spark. Other parts like compressors may also be “yf rated” as indicated on their markings or labels.

January 29, 2016 was Media Day at the 115th annual Philadelphia Auto Show held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and MACS was there to survey the new models and find out what changes are being implemented with the newest A/C systems. We already know that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has been the first OEM to install yf on a large scale amongst most of its models, and in 2016 they’re continuing to include even more vehicles.

Figure 2 - DSC_0443

Caption 2: Jeep Wrangler is one of the newest FCA vehicles to be filled with the refrigerant HFO-1234yf.

In the 2014 MACS Mobile A/C Update, we reported that FCA started using the substitute in 7 of its products. That number increased to 11 for the 2015 Update, and now it’s even bigger this time around. We counted 18 FCA models with yf at this year’s auto show, and not every vehicle flavor they offer was on display. There were of course a few newcomers, such as the Dodge Durango and Dodge Journey, and we also saw yf in several versions of the Jeep Wrangler for the first time. Another model now being filled with the gas is the Fiat 500, and while we saw yf in the 500X last year (which is built in Italy on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade), this was the first time we saw it in the smallest of their products.

Figure 3 - DSC_0617 2016 Fiat 500e Concept Water Bros

Caption 3: FCA is even installing yf into vehicles you can’t yet (or may not be able to) purchase, such as this 500e “Water Bros” concept car. Nice stripe!

Last year we also saw HFO-1234yf employed in a few of the JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) vehicles, such as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, but the only Jaguar we could find then was the F-Type. This year is a whole other story however, as each of the 14 JLR products on the show floor contained the alternative refrigerant.

Figure 4 - DSC_0517 2016 Jaguar XJL

Caption 4: The 2016 Jaguar XJL is one of the newest JLR products to adopt yf.

Following the Ford press conference, which is the opening event at the Philadelphia Auto Show, I had the opportunity to speak with Rick Woytowich, Ford’s parts and service operations manager for the Philadelphia region. While none of the products they had on display were filled with the refrigerant, Ford does have plans to release its first R-1234yf vehicle later this spring. “The first vehicle that’s coming out in April is the 2017 Escape. However, we are accelerating our whole roll out because in Europe, all 2017 model vehicles have to have it.” Rick went on to explain that we’re mandated to use something other than R-134a by 2021 here in the US, and that in addition to Ford, other manufacturers are also accelerating. “As every new product comes out, or with every new refresh, they’re converting over.”

Rick also mentioned that current systems cannot be retrofitted, meaning you can’t take R-1234yf and install it into older vehicles. “The ones that are R-134a have to stay R-134a.” He further commented that when it comes to performing service in the shop, “Just like we went from R-12 to R-134a, there’s going to be unique fittings and unique equipment that are only compatible with yf.”

Figure 5 - 17FordEscape-Titanium_01_HR (1)

Caption 5: Due out later this spring, the 2017 Escape will be Ford’s first yf production vehicle.

We weren’t allowed to take any pictures under the hood because the vehicle has not yet been officially released, but we were given a sneak peak at the 2016 Cadillac CT6, due out later this year. Unveiled last April at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, it’s being built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant on Cadillac’s exclusive new “Omega Platform” and will be their second ever production vehicle to be filled with the HFO (hydrofluoroolefin) refrigerant. Available A/C systems may involve single or dual evaporators (to accommodate an available quad-zone ATC system), which of course has an effect on the system’s total refrigerant charge amount.

Figure 6 - DSC_9277 2016 Cadillac CT6

Caption 6: The 2016 CT6 is the second Cadillac vehicle being filled with R-1234yf refrigerant.

With over 700 vehicles under one roof, we simply didn’t have enough time to check out every OEM on display. But with a must-see list in hand, we hit the majors including Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, Scion, VW, Kia, Honda, Nissan, Acura, FCA and Volvo, and even had time to check out Subaru, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Lincoln. Unfortunately we missed a few that we did get to see last year, like BMW, Mini, Audi and Infinity. The only manufacturer we saw in “Exotic Alley” was JLR, as we missed Porsche, Buick, Ferrari, Tesla, McLaren and Maserati, most of which were in eyes-only, roped off areas. We also missed show headliners Mercedes, Smart and Lexus, as they were in a completely different hall.

Figure 7 - DSC_0555 Lexus & Mercedes Old Train Shed

Caption 7: Looking down on the Mercedes, Smart and Lexus displays from the second floor of the Grand Hall, otherwise known as the “old train shed” of the former Reading Railroad terminal.

So what’s the bottom line? As we suspected, yf is definitely on the move, although just starting to pick up the pace as we saw it being used by 9 of the 40 brands on display. Below is a list of all the yf vehicles we found in Philadelphia, but we took our list one step further and enumerated the remaining FCA vehicles which are still being filled with R-134a.

GM (General Motors Company LLC):

2016 Cadillac CT6

2016 Cadillac XTS

 

JLR (Jaguar Land Rover Automotive):

2016 Jaguar F-Pace

2016 Jaguar F-Type

2016 Jaguar XE

2016 Jaguar XF

2016 Jaguar XJ

2016 Jaguar XJL

2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE

2016 Land Rover LR4 HSE

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

2016 Land Rover Range Rover HSE

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE

 

TMC (Toyota Motor Corporation):

2016 Toyota Tacoma SR5

2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited

2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4×4 Off-Road

 

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles):

2016 Chrysler 200

2016 Chrysler 300

2016 Dodge Challenger

2016 Dodge Charger

2016 Dodge Dart

2016 Dodge Durango

2016 Dodge Journey

2016 Fiat 500

2016 Fiat 500 Abarth

2016 Fiat 500c Cabrio

2016 Fiat 500e Concept

2016 Fiat 500L

2016 Fiat 500X

2016 Jeep Cherokee

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

2016 Jeep Renegade

2016 Jeep Wrangler

2016 Ram 1500 Big Horn

2016 Ram 1500 Limited

 

FCA Vehicles still using R-134a:

2016 Chrysler Town & Country

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan

2016 Jeep Compass

2016 Jeep Patriot

2016 Ram ProMaster City Wagon

2016 Ram 2500 ProMaster Cargo Van

2016 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

 

Note: Current regulations only permit the use of R-1234yf refrigerant in passenger cars and light duty trucks. Although Ram 2500 Series trucks do not fall into this category, and therefore still use refrigerant 134a, they are included here to complete the list of inspected vehicles.

 

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 seen in your shop? Share it with MACS, and your story may just end up here on the MACS WordPress BLOG! Visit www.macsw.org for more information, and if you’re not yet a member, join today!

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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2 Responses to R-1234yf at the 2016 PHL Auto Show

  1. John says:

    Tell me, Where are Shops BUYING 1234YF ? I have been having LOTS of trouble finding a Supplier

    • Honeywell is advertising it is available at Advance Auto Parts, Carquest, Autozone, Pep Boys and Carquest if you cannot find it in any of those stores please call the MACS office

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