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non-sealer a/c additives

mhamilton on Fri October 12, 2007 10:16 PM User is offlineView users profile

Just curious, has anyone seen what kind of damage the "seal conditioners" and "performance booster" additives do in a system? I'm guessing they just take up space from good oil. I've seen at auto stores like Advance they have a DIY a/c recharge video playing in the store, using their brand of R134 with all kinds of miracles in the can.

iceman2555 on Fri October 12, 2007 10:28 PM User is offlineView users profile

By 'seal conditioners' it is assumed that the subject is not the advertised 'stop leaks'....and performance enhancers.
Can not say that any specific failures can be contributed to use of either of these lack of lubricant is another issue completely...but....have seen those that used the 'magic cooler in a can' stuff and not seen compressor go south because of it. Sealers or conditioners.....those that are to swell orings to stop leaks....the down side of these is the amount of swelling that occurs and how to stop it once it begins....if it swells a line oring....will it not do the same to a compressor gut pack oring....or shaft seal....????
Over the years have seen some serious cases of oring swelling.....orifice tube orings the size of a #8 hose fitting.....or were my glasses fogged with all the refrigerant blow off....naw..the darn thing was that big.....!!!!
Of course, I'm just an old fashioned A/C tech.....heck...Free Cell is a challenge to my computer skills....but....the only chemicals that should be in an A/C system are the correct amount and type of refrigerant and lubricants.....just my well as most HVAC engineers one talks with......if the darn thing leaks....simply repair the leak.....

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson

Edited: Fri October 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM by iceman2555

TRB on Fri October 12, 2007 11:54 PM User is offlineView users profile

It should also be noted many oil companies are now putting their version of oil enhancers in their product. So dropping $30.00 on a product you can get in a $10.00 bottle of oil does not make sense to me.


When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you:

Edited: Sat October 13, 2007 at 12:51 PM by TRB

mhamilton on Sat October 13, 2007 12:40 PM User is offlineView users profile

Iceman, Tim, thank you very much for the replies.

Any idea what those additives to "boost a/c performance" actually are? I've heard of those claims from the blended and HC refrigerants, not sure what could be added to 134.

2POINTautO on Sun October 14, 2007 10:39 PM User is offlineView users profile

I have not heard of an identifier that can identify all additives and sealers, this is one reason some technicians only service with virgin gas and they charge extra to the customer so that all of their used gas can be destroyed, they may credit you for the gas removed butthey areovercharging for the virgin gas to compensate.

Other shops that dont follow the rules and use cheap substitutes are just buying time. And yet other good shops who test, identify and recycle do the best they can and offer as good of a warantee as they can, if any at all.

Then there is the DIY in a can, just doesnt make sense to me, sorry, the DIYer can Top Off all they like, but to what end, a leaky system, a system that should never be touched by another professional shop again due to sealants being used. If you are a DIY then mark your system as such and be fair to the next shop that gets to work on your system or when you sell it, so that next shop will know whats going on, PLEASE.

Prices of servicing is on the increase due to issues like these, just get it done correctly the first time and get it done by someone who warantees their work. I understand that may only be one year but how long will a can of fix last or how dangerous is a can of HC, forget freon, some put in pure propane.

Give all the dirty details
and dont forget the LO & HI pressures
Year, Make & Model would be nice too

HECAT on Tue October 16, 2007 9:18 AM User is offline

Originally posted by: mhamilton

Any idea what those additives to "boost a/c performance" actually are?

Legitimate and proven chemical lubricant enhancers aside, mostly just fancy words on a label to increase the WOW factor and entice you to buy.


HECAT: You support the Forum when you consider for your a/c parts.


NickD on Tue October 16, 2007 10:06 AM User is offline

FTC used to keep products like this off the shelves, the reason they don't do it today is that is part of big government that was dispensed with. Up to each of us to sue the manufacturer for bad products. Same with our state energy price regulation agency, entire agency is gone. Reason, if you are not happy with the rates from your natural gas, electrical, phone, or cable company, just shop around and find another one.

HECAT on Tue October 16, 2007 11:26 AM User is offline

Many people still believe "if they put it in print, it must be true" and this was somewhat true years ago when all you had to do was complain to the FTC and they would investigate and make the manufacturer "prove or remove" their advertising or labelling claims. But since the deregulation of the FTC this is no longer true. As you pointed out, today it is up to the consumer or competitor to sue the manufacturer and prove the claims to be false in court. BUYER BEWARE!


HECAT: You support the Forum when you consider for your a/c parts.


Test Specimen on Wed October 17, 2007 1:51 PM User is offline

Originally posted by: mhamilton
Iceman, Tim, thank you very much for the replies.

Any idea what those additives to "boost a/c performance" actually are? I've heard of those claims from the blended and HC refrigerants, not sure what could be added to 134.

I see no one actually answered your question, which is not a surprise because very few people know what is actually used in refrigeration lubricants.

The performance enhancement additives come in several flavors. Lubricity additives decrease friction and wear in the compressor, and can improve the performance of the system by causing less power to be used turning the compressor. There are also system cleaner additives that help remove deposits from the inside tubing of heat exchangers and bring the heat transfer performance of the system back closer to where it was when it left the factory.

Both of these effects are relatively small in a normally operating system, and would give single digit improvement percentages in performance. A product claiming 40% improved cooling performance should be looked at carefully, as there is very little possibility that that much performance was left on the table by the OEM that designed the system.

The seal swellers and seal conditioners make sure the o-rings do not compression set and lose their flexibility as they are prone to do over time as the elastomer ages due to heat. They won't improve the performance of the system directly, except to the extent they prevent loss of refrigerant so the system does not run undercharged.

Additives to promote chemical stability are also sometimes used to prevent the lubricant from degrading due to heat and trapped air in the system. This also may reduce the amount of deposits in the heat exchangers so there would be no loss of performance.

Overuse of additives can be harmful to the system. My personal opinion is to use the lowest amount of the least agressive additive available to solve the problem you are trying to fix. Using too much of an aggressive additive can cause chemical stability problems. Sometimes you may find that the use of a 'hot' antiwear additive that makes the compressor look really good in wear testing (chlorinated parraffins for example), means you have to add a metal passivating additive to make sure the additive does not attack metal in other parts of the system where it is not needed. The metal passivating additive may have other side effects you now have to deal with as well. The KISS advice is relevant.

The most popular OEM DEC PAG uses additives to promote lubricity and stability, so these types of materials are normally already found in the system. They do get depleted over time, but not before the normal end of the system life.

ice-n-tropics on Thu October 18, 2007 3:33 PM User is offline

Test Specimen/Lube Prof,
Probably a popular DEC PAG from Daphne/Apollo (10 cSt @ 100 C) such as in Scroll compressors (with anodized Al rubbing against 356 softer Al) is in the running for the most popular lube. Also, does a good job with hypo eutectic Al pistons rubbing against hyper eutectic Al bores and with steel roller bearings. It is my favorite for:
1) High lubricity lube.
2) Stability with moisture present at high temp.
3) Retention of lube properties even after 10 to 20% of the additives have attached to various surfaces.
4) Miscibility with R-134a over a wide range of temps.
5) Avoidance of Cu plating in the presence of Cl for retrofit.
6) Avoiding oil traps or thick boundary layers in heat exchangers and keeping the crankcase lube level at optimum level without a high OCR.

Problem is that it costs 50% more than DOW SECs.

Wonder if GM's high viscosity DOW SEC PAGs propensity to form thick layers inside evap tubes is the way that ICE 32 manages to substantiate their performance claims?
Old IV guy

Isentropic Efficiency=Ratio of Theoretical Compression Energy/Actual Energy. How To Air Condition Your Hot Rod

NickD on Fri October 19, 2007 7:10 AM User is offline

I ain't no oil whiz, but do wonder if some oils claim to clean surfaces, where does that debris go? Just follow standard practice in replacing or adding oil with the realization that an AC system doesn't last very long if the oil leaks out. And it does leak out, either sooner or later, too bad they don't have dipsticks. But your system does let you know when it runs near dry, compressor seizes up, stalls the belt, and you kind of hear a very loud squeal. A guy has to stay on top of that and at times, can generate a lot more sweat by earning the money and replacing it, then just by rolling down the window.

mhamilton on Fri October 19, 2007 7:53 PM User is offlineView users profile

Thank you, Test Specimen, for the great info. I was interested to know what could be in those cans to allow them to advertise "improved ac performance"... and I'm sure as you said offer only marginal gains (as Hecat previously said was just advertising fluff).

Just a note, I would never use an additive or sealer in my ac systems. I came to ackits before I rebuilt my ac, and learned how to do it the right way. Was just interested to know what kind of "magic" was actually in these wonder products.

Thanks again,

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