GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

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Thread: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

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    GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant from Honeywell, DuPont
    Automotive News
    January 5, 2012
    by David Sedgwick

    General Motors is sticking with its decision to introduce a new, more environmentally safe refrigerant in its vehicles despite claims by Daimler that it may cause fires in an accident.

    A GM executive said GM conducted additional crash tests plus computer simulations after the German automaker raised questions about the refrigerant HFO-1234yf.

    In August, Daimler engineers simulated a crash test and found that a mix of refrigerant and oil from the compressor could be ignited by the hot surface of the engine, creating a toxic gas.

    But Curt Vincent, GM's engineering manager for new refrigerants, disputes Daimler's claims.

    "We did crash tests, computer simulations and thermal analysis and did not observe any safety problems at all," Vincent told Automotive News, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, in a phone interview. "Many [researchers] have tried to repeat Daimler's findings, but no one has come forward with anything that would indicate any concern."

    Vincent made his remarks even as Daimler and Volkswagen postponed their use of the refrigerant.

    GM already uses the chemical in the Cadillac XTS and in the European version of the Chevrolet Malibu. Over the next five years or so, GM will convert most of its models sold in North America to the new refrigerant, Vincent said.

    Full article at link.

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Nobody wants to change over to the stuff yet probably because it costs $$$$ to change vehicles over to follow.

    Or...maybe Daimler is butt-hurt that GM launched a new technology before them...


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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    I don't think it's a rush to use new technology for bragging rights, but for CAFE reasons. I think I read that there's a CAFE incentive to use the new refrigerant.
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    If anyone can engineer their way out of a problem its GM. Just look at VOLTEC, Pushrods to Alpha, to name a few.

    Even BAS will one day be the envy of the industry. Watch.

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by TruckMan View Post
    I don't think it's a rush to use new technology for bragging rights, but for CAFE reasons. I think I read that there's a CAFE incentive to use the new refrigerant.
    That's very likely. LCCP results of HFO-1234yf are generally quite favorable compared to R134a. Among other things, HFO-1234yf allows for more efficient internal heat exchanger designs in automotive aircon units.
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    If Diamler and VW are correct and GM is wrong, can you imagine the lawsuit if there is a fire and people are seriously hurt or killed? They can't plead ignorance and will have to rely on their own tests. How would a jury react to something done by a company with strong ties to the government that is using a product encouraged and partially paid for by the government? Juries don't always act on the facts alone but on emotion.

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    If Diamler and VW are correct and GM is wrong, can you imagine the lawsuit if there is a fire and people are seriously hurt or killed? They can't plead ignorance and will have to rely on their own tests. How would a jury react to something done by a company with strong ties to the government that is using a product encouraged and partially paid for by the government? Juries don't always act on the facts alone but on emotion.
    It's not the fire that's the issue - it's the fumes from combustion of the combination of the refrigerant and the compressor oil. I don't know what the issue is because as soon as the refrigerant hits the atmosphere it gasifies and dissipates. Besides there is a far more combustible fluid running around the engine compartment.
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by newdude View Post
    Nobody wants to change over to the stuff yet probably because it costs $$$$ to change vehicles over to follow.

    Or...maybe Daimler is butt-hurt that GM launched a new technology before them...


    Or...maybe Daimler is correct...

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Daimler knows all about fires.

    They did the best they could to burn Chrysler into the ground to prop up their balance sheet.

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunid Racks View Post
    Daimler knows all about fires.

    They did the best they could to burn Chrysler into the ground to prop up their balance sheet.


    Literally and figuratively! Nice one Hunid Racks...
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by krusshall View Post
    It's not the fire that's the issue - it's the fumes from combustion of the combination of the refrigerant and the compressor oil. I don't know what the issue is because as soon as the refrigerant hits the atmosphere it gasifies and dissipates. Besides there is a far more combustible fluid running around the engine compartment.


    The explosion limit range for HFO-1234yf (aka Opteon YF and 2,3,3,3-Tetrafluoropropene) is pretty narrow: between 6.2% and 12.3% concentration in air at 70 °F.

    Here's the Material Safety Data Sheet for HFO-1234yf
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by krusshall View Post
    It's not the fire that's the issue - it's the fumes from combustion of the combination of the refrigerant and the compressor oil. I don't know what the issue is because as soon as the refrigerant hits the atmosphere it gasifies and dissipates. Besides there is a far more combustible fluid running around the engine compartment.
    Whatever it is it couldn't be worse than CO2 emissions!

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    If Diamler and VW are correct and GM is wrong, can you imagine the lawsuit if there is a fire and people are seriously hurt or killed? They can't plead ignorance and will have to rely on their own tests. How would a jury react to something done by a company with strong ties to the government that is using a product encouraged and partially paid for by the government? Juries don't always act on the facts alone but on emotion.
    The wording of the article is partly responsible for this misconception as it implies negligence.

    Daimler and VW are electing not to use HFO-1234yf. They aren't the watchdogs responsible for determining it's safety for use in vehicles by GM or any of the other manufacturers.

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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    Quote Originally Posted by krusshall View Post
    It's not the fire that's the issue - it's the fumes from combustion of the combination of the refrigerant and the compressor oil. I don't know what the issue is because as soon as the refrigerant hits the atmosphere it gasifies and dissipates. Besides there is a far more combustible fluid running around the engine compartment.
    I think the issue is the potential combustion byproduct of hydrogen floride per roy219's Material Safety Data Sheet for HFO-1234yf

    If I am not mistaken hydrogen floride, when exposed to high humidity or water, can convert to hydrofloric acid vapor which is capable of etching glass, metals, skin, lungs ... almost any and every thing.

    It may not occur often, but when it does ... the damage is probably very high to any thing exposed to the vapor, including people.


    Diamler/VW discovered this after burning refrigerent etched a crash test vehicle windshield. They simply reported their findings and are responding as they feel is in their and their potential customers' best interest.

    Certainly other OEMs do not have to agree.
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    Re: GM, defying Daimler's fire concerns, sticks with new refrigerant

    We've been working on site with it for several years. It sounds worse than it really is. Hell, Freon 12 off gassed phosgene(mustard gas) when burned and when I worked as an automotive service tech,we used to use flame fired leak detectors to find leaks in systems. You'd watch for a color change in the flame.

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