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Saturday, 27 June 2015

R-1234yf Refrigerant

R-1234yf Refrigerant For Your Car

Auto makers are slowly moving toward a new refrigerant for automotive air conditioning systems. The new refrigerant is R-1234yf (HFO-1234yf), and it will be phased in slowly over time starting with some 2014 model year vehicles.
R-1234yf has cooling properties that are similar to R-134a, which has been used as an automotive refrigerant since it was introduced back in 1994 to 1995 to replace R-12. R-134a contains no CFCs, which are harmful to the Earth’s protective ozone layer, but it does retain heat well and has a relatively high Global Warming Potential (GWP) rating of 1410.


Automotive refrigerants that leak out of A/C systems contribute very little to the overall global warming problem, only about 0.14% according to scientific estimates. Even so, when you multiply the millions of vehicles that are AC-equipped times even a small amount of refrigerant leakage over time, the numbers can add up. Some would argue that switching to a new refrigerant is unnecessary and will hardly make a dent in climate change. Others argue that it is all a conspiracy by DuPont and Honeywell to monopolize the world automotive refrigerant market by getting regulators to require a new low global warming potential refrigerant. R-1234yf has a GWP rating of 4, which is over 350X less than R-134a!
Politics and conspiracy theories aside, regulations have already been passed in Europe that will require some type of new refrigerant. The Europeans were considering CO2 (R-744) because it has the lowest GWP rating of all: One! But A/C systems that operate using CO2 require extremely high pressures (1,800 to 2,200 PSI versus 300 to 400 PSI for R-134a and R-1234yf) and are much more expensive to manufacture.
The auto makers had agreed on moving ahead with R-1234yf until Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) ran some tests that revealed R-1234yf could ignite under certain special conditions. Based on the test findings, Mercedes and Volkswagen said no to the new refrigerant. R-1234yf is slightly flammable, but according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the new refrigerant is safe for automotive passenger car use. The risk of fire is extremely remote in case of an accident or refrigerant leak into the passenger compartment.
To read the official SAE press release, Click Here.
hfo-1234yf refrigerant cooling performance chart .


R-1234yf has cooling performance that is similar to R-134a but not quite as good. It is about 5 percent less efficient than R-134a. It is not a simple drop-in substitute for R-134a because it requires a slightly larger or more efficient condenser and a more robust leak-resistant evaporator (for safety). R-1234yf also requires a new type of compressor PAG oil, as well as new J2843 certified recovery and recycling equipment designed especially for the new refrigerant. And here’s the punch line: R-1234yf is significantly more expensive than R-134a ($120 per pound versus about $10 per pound).
Other hydrocarbon and hydrocarbon-blend refrigerants (such as propane, butane and others) have also been considered, but would require some type of secondary loop cooling configuration and special safety features to keep the potentially explosive vapors away from the passenger compartment. Many states ban the use of flammable refrigerants in motor vehicles (except for use in refrigerated truck trailer cooling units).


As of this writing, there are no plans to eliminate R-134a as happened to R-12, or to require retrofitting older vehicles or current vehicles that have R-134a A/C systems to the new HFO-1234yf refrigerant. R-134a will remain in production to service existing A/C systems.
R-134a should only be used in R-134a systems, and should NOT be used to top off a R-1234yf system. Likewise, R-1234yf should NOT be used in an older R-134a or R-12 A/C system due to material compatibility and lubrication issues.
R-1234yf A/C systems will have their own unique service fittings (which are different from R-12 and R-134 fittings) to discourage accidental cross-contamination.


Because R-1234yf is slightly flammable, an evaporator that is leaking MUST be replaced with a new unit. The installation of a used evaporator from a salvage vehicle is NOT allowed because there is a chance it might also leak, exposing the vehicle's occupants to potentially flammable vapor mixture.
Professional service equipment for R-1234yf includes a leak check feature built into the recovery and recharging machine. The equipment also includes a refrigerant identifier to make sure the vehicle's A/C system contains R-1234yf and not some other refrigerant.
If your a/C system is leaking, the leak MUST be fixed before the shop will recharge your A/C system with refrigerant.


The first U.S. vehicle to use R-1234yf refrigerant was the 2013 Cadillac XTS. Cadillac also tried R-1234yf in the Cadillac ATS, but stopped only one month into production because of A/C compressor noise and vibration issues. Early production ATS models were recalled and retrofitted back to R-134a (which apparently works fine in an A/C system designed for R-1234yf).
For model year 2014, R-1234yf is used in the Jeep Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Ram 1500, and Dodge Charger, Challenger and Dart. It will also be used in the 2015 Chrysler 200.
Most auto makers are expected to have numerous R-1234yf applications by model year 2017 and beyond. Auto makers receive fuel economy credits for vehicles that are converted to R-1234yf, which helps them achieve the new higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements.

Update February 2015

R-1234yf Vehicle Applications:

Here is a list of late model vehicles sold in North America that are using R-1234yf refrigerant in their air conditioning systems:

BMW i3 Electric
Cadillac XTS (2013 and 2014)
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Spark EV (2014)
Chevrolet Trax
Chrysler 300 (2014)
Dodge Challenger (2014)
, Honda Fit EV (2013 and 2014)
Hyundai Santa Fe & i30
Ford Transit
Infinity Q50
Jeep Cherokee (2014)
Kia Sorento, Optima & Cadenza
Mazda CX-5
Mitsubishi Mirage
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport (2014)
Subaru BRZ, Forrester & Impreza

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