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Why the switch to R1234yf?

You may be able to guess that R1234yf is an AC refridgerant intended for use in automobiles. American car makers are making a switch to the refridgerant, but they do not have to. You may be thinking “why would the manufacture switch to a refridgerant that is more expensive than R134A, is less efficicent than R134A, and requires extra equipment on the vehicle to approximate R134A performance”? The answer is the manufacture will recieve credits for using R134A that can be used to help his CAFE rating.Using R1234yf credits to improve your CAFE can be seen as desperate but their are circumstances where it makes sense.

There are no mass production facilities for R1234yf currently in existance, but that will change. We can all find comfort in knowing that China is gearing up (with the help of Honneywell) to give the world it’s new auto AC refridgerant.

I have provided just a small bit of information about R1234yf. If you like that cold air blowing on you and at times want to know why the repair bill is so high, do a bit of reading on R1234yf and come to your own conclusions.

Looks like almost a drop-in replacement for R134a that’s slightly less efficient. The only benefit at all if I’m reading it right is maybe slightly reduced pressures in the system, and maybe a little less needed.

I have no idea if it’s any better “for the environment” than R134a, but it seems like any gains would be marginal if at all in fuel economy, and the costs and wastes in scaling up of production would probably wipe out a lot of the gains, especially since this is likely to be another interim refrigerant until something better comes along.

As long as you can still buy R134a, it looks like you could almost swap one for the other, as long as you evacuate the system first. They even use the same oil. You might need a new TXV or oriface tube depending on the system. But I fail to see the point of this boondoggle.

All R1234yf systems will need an internal heat exchanger to match R134A performance and because of the flamability factor present with R1234yf, evaporators will be built to higher specs.Having the gas from a leaking evaporator set off by a cigarette would be pretty exciting.

Hopefully by the time I need a new vehicle, they’ll have come out with something better. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, since China is currently the major provider of lower cost home air conditioning systems being sold at big box stores, it makes perfect sense for them to corner the market on a new type of refrigerant that requires them to charge more for.

Since most American companies are doing their best to either run themselves out of business, or are trying to make their products seem like Premier products in comparison to the lower quality entry level equipment most manufacturers purchase from their Chinese providers, this is going to do nothing but help cement China’s stranglehold on yet another industry.

China is trying its best to monopolize every available market.
Walmart gave them the initial access to our country’s wallets, and now they are taking over. Can’t really fault them for doing what every other country wishes it could do.


Why on Earth would they want to use a flammable refrigerant that is more expensive to obtain? One would think the added danger factor to not only the people servicing these systems, but also the owner of the vehicle would prevent the use of such a product. Butane has been considered as a possible refrigerant, but has always been nixed because it’s flammable. This still doesn’t stop some rednecks from charging their system with the stuff, posing a rather serious threat to anyone else who works on the vehicle in the future, and their refrigerant handling equipment.

Some quick basic research answers your questions and compeltely contradicts most of the previous answers.

R1234yf has a much lower greenhouse factor that R134 (over times less!). It has a 400 times shorter atmospheric life. In short, it has no negative environmental effects, unlike R134. Also, it is LESS flamamble than its counterparts, don’t know where these contradictory claims came from. Cars and repair shops will see a seamless transition, with complete compatibility. Production facilities have already come on line with more this year.

Do you have access to this months “Motor” magazine? the magazine picks a subject each month and reports on it, this months subject is the refridgerant switch. It is mentioned that evaporators will have to be constructed to a higher standard due to the flamability of the refridgerant. No one is disputing that the product is “greener”.

Since by EPA regulation(able to be recovered and recycled) and in order to prevent a mixing of refridgerants there will be new (or better said, different) fittings and couplings required,the SAE standards for a RRR machine have not been finalized but it is looking like an entire new machine for servicing R-1234yf cars.The flamibility aspect is described as low but the CARB has proposed a ban on the sale of small containers of R1234yf due to its flamibility. Also due to the flamibility aspect of R1234yf evaporators must be made to a new SAE spec (J2842). R1234yf also carries an extra cost aspect. The “deep wholesale” price is listed at 9 to 10 times of R134A. Since the product is not as efficient as R134A cars must be equipped with the heat exchanger so as that there is no performance degradation. As it sits now there is nothing to prohibit a car from being retro-fitted back into a R134A car (perhaps some shops will do this to save money on accident repairs). I remember how hard it was to get R134A accepted by mechanics and shop owners and it was mandated (so much about lost performance), all of these facts are going to lead to a higher cost in regards to AC work,I wonder how this switch will happen without a mandate.Try and get the article and pull out some points that smooth the transition a bit (like less R1234yf is required to cool a car due to refinements in AC system mechanicals).

I’ll look for it. Always good to keep a perspective that industry mags are often slanted against change.
Here’s a great technical piece. Note that they confirm, despite the classification as flammible, it is very difficult to ignite, and is not a risk. The environmental benefits alone offset any cost increases, at least many of us feel that way:“r1234yf”

It is a logical fallacy to discount the data simply because you do not like the source. Motor magazine is simply reporting on what the SAE and the CARB have done or intend to do. Needing new couplings,fittings,and most likely RRR machines are not facts Motor magazine made up,these rules came from the EPA. The lower performance of R1234yf and the need for a heat exchanger are technical facts, again not something made up by Motor Magazine. This article was not in the “po-ed” section of the magazine.

The environmental benefits alone offset any cost increases, at least many of us feel that way:

Wait: I thought we switched from R12 and to R134 because it’s “environmentally friendly.” Now they’re saying it’s not?

It is not that R134 is so good but that R12 was so bad.You must buy into the entire hole in the ozone (which has closed for some reason)thing and things will start making a bit of sense. Strange one of the products initaly being considered to replace R134A (I think it had a name of “744”) was based on carbon dioxide.I can check this. It is very hard to seperate the idealogical driven side from the technicaly driven side with this part of the automobile.If Motor Magazine does have a slant to how it is reporting it would be “what’s a guy to do when they keep moving the goal posts”.

Bottom line = FOLLOW THE MONEY

You must buy into the entire hole in the ozone(which has closed for some reason)

No it hasn’t. Not only has it NOT closed…but they are now seeing a new hole open up on the North Pole.

The problem is we must depend on what others tells us about the situation, no way to verify. If there was not so much money (that is money to be made)involved, I would be more likely to believe more reports simply because of the name of where they came from that is attached to them.

Best answer because it is the truth, mcphix. And as far as the ozone layer goes, it fluctuates open to close and back all the time, acc to scientists on TV.

The problem is we must depend on what others tells us about the situation, no way to verify.

So you must believe the Earth is Flat…since there’s no way you can verify it.

The problem comes when these natural fluctuations are assigned a man made cause and then a man made fix is applied to something that occurs naturaly (in regards to the ozone getting bigger one year then getting smaller the next). Some want to claim that it is the reduction of the use of greenhouse gasses that should get the credit for the reduction. The only part of the situation I am comfortable with is that change occurs naturaly and sometimes that change is not beneficial to humans.

Actually, if you follow the yellow brick road you find out R12’s patent was expiring.