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Looking in to Refrigerant identifiers now. Why, because it's recommended on here. I've called the local Ford, Chrysler and GM dealerships, none of them use a refrigerant identifier. Called the two independent shops that do A/C work, ditto (one even told me he's not certified to do the work, doesn't recovery any Freon will only top off R-134a). The GM dealer told me they lost one of their early RRR machine from being plugged up with sealer (just guessing from the days when cars were in the crossover years), but haven't had any trouble from their current RRR machine.
I understand the want for an identifier what with all the kits containing a recharge and sealer all in one sold at the parts stores and Wal-Mart, etc. I was curious about the identifiers themselves. At ACKits they have a high dollar mini ID, and a higher dollar identifier. The Mini ID gives a pass if the R134a is 95% pure or greater, so a person doesn't really know if what is being recovered 95% R134 and 5 % R12 or something else. The higher dollar units give a % of everything detected (least R134/R12). I was reading older posts where a supposed R12 system had been recharged with R134 (unbeknownst to the customer) and later found that he had 97% 134 and less than 2% r12.
I guess my thought is, with the cheaper identifier, your worst case scenario on a pass is spreading around 5% contamination, so this is acceptable? Are shops that actually use identiers and/or sealer detectors charging a set charge for this or covering it up in the evac and recharge/recovery?
I see that companies sell dedicated recovery machines for contaminated refrigerants, so that it doesn't go in to their RRR machines. This contaminated refrigerant cannot be reclaimed, what does a person do with it? How is it properly disposed of?
Lastly, if I recover Freon from a vehicle in to my recovery tank, lets say its a brand new tank with a vacuum pulled on it. I weigh the tank, tare and recover the refrigerant. This is to determine how much refrigerant was in the vehicle. Now I want to put that refrigerant back in that same vehicle, and then top it off with new refrigerant. How much am I actually going to get back out of that recovery tank? If I had an identifier and it passed prior to the recovery I am assuming that at worst case there would be 5% contamination now in this new tank, and even after putting it back in the vehicle there would be 'some' residuals left in the tank. Since recharging the A/C is only relying on the A/C system to intake from the recovery tank, I figured it would recoup all the Freon that the recovery machine removed from the vehicle system and put in to the tank. Is this correct?
The fact that you will apparently be the only one in town using a refrigerant identifier is really, really, really pathetic actually, but simply drives home the fact of how crucial it is for YOU to have one -- very possible that many incoming vehicles will be contaminated. The exception is the mechanic who only tops up (though I don't understand why one would only "dabble" like that) - I can see why someone wouldn't invest in an identifier if they're not doing recovery. I'm just a DIY'er, and I picked one up (Robinair 16900 series), primarily out of concern when working on other people's vehicles. Up until then, I'd been pretty careful (or so I thought) about recovering into my R134a and R12 recovery tanks. I discovered some cross contamination of R134a in my R12 tank, most likely from my friends R12 system that likely contained R134a. Very painful to find this out, but was glad to know.
As for how it gets rolled into the cost of doing business, that's up to you. A separate line item charge or included in the basic service charge for looking at a system I'd think. I don't see a problem with either approach.
If you had a tough time finding shops that use a refrigerant identifier, I can almost guarantee that NONE use a sealer identifier. Before I started doing my own work about 7 years ago, I called about 6 shops near me. All of them used a refrigerant identifier, but none used sealer identifier, and only one of them was even familiar with it's existence.
For an a/c repair shop, if a customer tells you there is sealer in the system, that completely changes how you approach the vehicle diagnostics, does it not? If yes, then why are you relying on a customer to TELL you about it, when there's reasonable means to detect it? Keep in mind they may be unaware of it (put in by a previous owner).
Edited: Sat June 28, 2014 at 2:44 AM by webbch
I'm sorry, I lol'd at the last post asking about being certified (licensed) for A/C work. When I last called the local GM dealer about their techniques/routines (I've been long time friends with the entire management group out there, 30+ years), the service manager says 'hey speaking of A/C work, you're supposed to be certified to do this. How do you get certified, we have two guys that probably ought to be certified'. I told him how I did, through the ASE website, then walked him through the process over the phone. It's 15 bucks for the quiz and honestly, you would need to review the course work prior to taking the quiz online. It's like the driver's license renewal used to be in Kansas where they send you the test and booklet before you need to renew (they've since done away with that and don't require any re-test just money...) The quiz, for every question, there is a review button that opens up the appropriate section of the review material and you could simply glean over the review to find the answer. Unaware of this, I had read the entire course work material.
webbch, I didn't bother to ask about sealer testing as I figured the same. I will say that the Chrysler dealer said they were told the machine they had was supposed to analyze the refrigerant and stop the process if not correct. I don't know how long equipment has been around to analyze refrigerant at shop level, but it came across as their machine was the first R134 RRR machine they had purchased back when things were coming out new with R134 (93/94 era). I was surprised to learn that the Chrysler dealer did have the newer R1234YF machine, but no Freon. So that makes them and the local GM dealer with the machine, and now the GM dealer has the refrigerant for it. The Ford dealer, or at least the service manager hadn't ever heard of R1234YF, as when I called about getting a new Cadillac charged back up, he laughed and said their R12 machine broke years ago and they never replaced it....
If one is a true DIY'er, they wouldn't need to be licensed, whatever can be purchased without one can be used without one.
I retired from Ford Motor, at the plant I worked at they used the state license of one electrician to do all new construction work. That changed and the state required all that performed the work to be licensed. Ford paid for the classes but the older people close to retiring, they didn't take the classes as they would be gone before the deadline date unless they planned to do side work after retiring.
They are still fighting in Europe over the required use of R1234YF, the stories can be read online.
Edited: Sat June 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM by wptski
Favors for friends, so no, I'm not being paid for the work. I do have my 609 certification, but it's a bit of a joke as crracer pointed out how easy it is to get, and means next to nothing other than you know to use the "search for" function in some online training manual. I did have to show the certificate to pick up an old tank of R12 a few years back, but that's about it. I say DIY'er because I don't do it for a living.
Edited: Sat June 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM by webbch
Got my identifier/analyzer. Picked up the Robinair 16009 DiscovR, appears to simply be a rebadged Nuetronics mini ID. Mastercool has a model exactly like it as well, just that the Robinair I found for just under 500.00. Upon receiving it, I had to go through the fault code clearing process three times just to get it to work, but have since used it on 5 good systems, all passed, and on empty system, which of course fails. None of the systems, except for the empty system gave and excess air inidicator. Also checked my virgin Dupont tank and my recovery tank, both passed, apparently I'm not letting too much air in the recovery tank, which is what I was aiming for.
I did pull a vacuum on everything, tried to make sure all valves were closed before any hoses were disconnected.
I wonder what that device thinks is a excessive amount of air?
Funny, I've always meant to look up what the instructions are for the A/C Pro charging setup they sell at auto parts stores. I finally did and there's nothing in their procedure to remove air from the charging hose.
I emailed Neutronics asking about the "excess air" amount and got the following reply.
The excess air light comes on when greater than 20% of the sample the identifier sees is air. This can occur when there is very little refrigerant in the system or when the flow restrictor on the hose near the coupler has become clogged and requires replacement.
Neutronics Refrigerant Analysis
Wow! I didn't think that it would be that high to trigger the light.
Yeah, I wouldn't have thought it to be that high as well. I wasn't concerned about the too much air indicator considering about the only thing the manual tells you is if it is coming on, you probably need to replace the filter.
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