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Get ready for R-1234yf

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Get ready for R-1234yf

As more automotive manufacturers transition to using R-1234yf refrigerant, the need to update technicians’ training and the equipment in your shop is imminent.

Automakers are making the switch from R-134a to R-1234yf in order to meet growing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of air conditioning systems, and improve vehicle emissions standards. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society Worldwide (MACS) says “automakers can receive emissions credits for using environmentally friendly refrigerants, meaning aftermarket technicians will begin to see an increase in vehicles using R-1234yf.

“The number of vehicles using R-1234yf is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years as the refrigerant replaces the current industry standard R134a.”

As part of the switch, MACS, along with Robinair, a Bosch Automotive Service Solutions brand, is offering a free test preparation webinar on Section 609 for the training and certification of 100 technicians. The webinar is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on May 6, 2015, and will last about 90 minutes. Technicians can become Section 609 certified to work on vehicles using the refrigerant when they take, turn in and pass the written test provided. Technicians can register for the training at www.macsw.org.

The other adjustment comes in updated equipment

Robinair’s AC1234-6 ACS machine recovers, recycles and recharges air conditioning systems that use the new R-1234yf refrigerant. Robinair says its machine is fully automatic and comes with an integrated refrigerant identifier that samples the coolant before it’s recovered. It identifies leaks, charges within a half-ounce and shows how much oil was removed from the system during service. The AC1234-6 automatically checks for air accumulating in the tank and refills the tank as needed and meets all the requirements of SAE J2843.

Mahle Service Solutions, a division of Mahle Aftermarket Inc., offers the ArcticPro equipment line, which it says is approved and recommended by several vehicle manufacturers. Different models offer the choice of an integrated or external refrigerant identifier. The ArcticPro features a self-test function and quick service vacuum pumps to fill and drain oil. The machine also has the capability to set up a customized database. The ArcticPro complies with the SAE J2843, and at the 2015 MACS Worldwide Trade Show, it was named the “best use of technology” by a panel of automotive media members.

Protecting the new R-1234yf refrigerant from contaminants is the priority for products from AirSept Inc. In marketing those products, Frank Walker points to the higher cost of the new coolant compared to its predecessor, R-134a, saying it can cost up to 30 times more, and thus protecting every drop is critical.

The AirSept refrigerant canister filter helps service providers protect their supplies. The filter fits between the refrigerant tank and fill hose that connects to the machine. It traps debris as it flows out of the cylinder and stops it from contaminating a shop’s existing tanks and equipment. It works with R-1234yf, as well as other refrigerants and is available with half-inch ACME or quarter-inch SAE Flare fittings on any 30-pound cylinder or equipment tank.

The AirSept dual automatic recycle guard stops contaminants from a customer’s vehicle and air conditioning system from spoiling a shop’s refrigerant supply during the recovery process. And the AirSept Click Lock security system warns technicians if an air conditioning system has been opened since the last time the repair shop serviced it. It snaps over any fitting and can’t be opened without causing visible damage to the cap. Each lock features a unique serial number which technicians can track with past repair orders.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. is producing a new lubricant to be used in conjunction with R-1234yf. The Idemitsu Double End Cap polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oil is a synthetic lubricant which closes the carbon chain, preventing the oil from reacting with nearby molecules and is thus more stable, Idemitsu says, than other open-ended or single-capped lubricants.

It protects the compressor, prevents corrosion inside the system and won’t react to form harmful acids.

The company cites an analysis of DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc. compressor warranty claims from 2012 which showed that in 24% of cases, the incorrect PAG oil was used.   ■

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