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GMC hits the road with R-1234yf

By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

It was during the general session meeting on Thursday morning at MACS 2016 Trade Show in Orlando that we first learned about GM’s intention to add several new vehicles to their lineup this year which use HFO-1234yf as an air conditioning refrigerant, and sure enough this summer we’re seeing quite a few on dealer lots. Earlier this month we stopped by at Bergey’s Buick GMC to check out their new R/R/R machine, and also learned more about the redesigned 2017 Acadia, the first GMC vehicle to be filled with the new refrigerant.


MACS had the opportunity to check out the new 2017 GMC Acadia at Bergey’s Buick GMC on September 6th.  Built on GM’s C1xx crossover platform, it’s shared with Cadillac for their 2017 XT5 (Crossover Touring 5).  GMC started selling the Acadia in 2006, and this version is their second generation crossover, which has been available since May 2016.


Standing with their new R-1234yf A/C machine is Andy Bednarczyk, service manager at Bergey’s Buick GMC in Franconia Township (Souderton), PA.

“We’ve had the new machine for a few weeks now, but no one’s had to use it yet,” remarked Scott Sowka, service technician at Bergey’s Buick GMC. “The new yf Acadias just arrived this summer, and in fact this one was just built in August!”


Sowka had this 2017 Acadia in the shop for a PDI service (pre-delivery inspection), giving MACS the chance to take a closer look.  At first glance, much of the A/C system looks similar to last year’s R-134a models, with the exception of the service ports, caps and A/C label. And while we didn’t measure it, the new condenser looks HUGE as compared with previous models.


The redesigned 2017 GMC Acadia is the brand’s first to use the new R-1234yf refrigerant in a production vehicle.  Loaded with symbols, this A/C label (otherwise known as the “639 Label”) packs a lot of information into a small space, including the required refrigerant charge for these SUVs when built with either front-only or front and rear evaporators.  The label gets its moniker from the SAE J639 Standard which requires its use.

GM sources its A/C compressors from various manufacturers, and for the 2017 GMC Acadia they’re using a variable displacement model made by Denso. But there’s something unique on this compressor’s label that we’ve only just begun to see recently, and that’s a smiley face! Sure, we know the guys at Denso are quite helpful and friendly, but we thought there has to be something more to this cheerful icon than just trying to brighten a technician’s day. MACS spoke with Denso’s Brett Grover, one of the technical training specialists at DPAM and an A/C instructor at MACS training events, who explained that this happy image is a requirement specific to GM, which they use to signify compatibility with R-1234yf refrigerant.


Powering the 2017 Acadia’s A/C system, GM uses Denso’s 7SAS18H compressor, a 7 cylinder, variable displacement type that uses an electromagnetic clutch and displaces 180cc’s per revolution.  Note the smiley face on the compressor label, a mark unique to GM which indicates compatibility with yf refrigerant.

In keeping with their sales and service agreement, GM dealers are required to provide certain essential tools and service equipment for their technicians to properly diagnose and service their vehicles. When it comes to these new “yf cars,” one of the required tools is part number GE-50300. If it looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s an unmarked Robinair AC1234-6 machine. It doesn’t directly carry the Robinair brand on the outside, but turn on the power and you’ll see Robinair’s stylized name on several menu screens.


Robinair R/R/R machines are manufactured by Bosch Automotive Service Solutions at their factory in Owatonna, Minnesota.  We’ve seen them specially branded for certain car manufacturers before (check out the Toyota Tacoma R-1234yf blog at this link: ), but in this case its special branding is hidden in the machine’s own model number.  GE-50300-A is a giveaway that this is an SPX/Kent-Moore (now OTC/Bosch) tool, as it follows their long standing, alpha numeric tool numbering sequence and is in line with previous model # GE-48800, which is the SAE J2788 machine for use with R-134a refrigerant.  Kent-Moore is a name well known to GM service technicians, as it’s historically been the GM special service tool manufacturer.


The GE-50300-A refrigerant recovery, recycling and recharging station, certified to meet SAE Standard J2843, is designed to be used only with R-1234yf refrigerant.  This particular unit includes a built-in SAE J2927 refrigerant identifier, required as part of the J2843 Standard.

More information about Bergey’s Buick GMC can be found on their website. You can also find out more about the 2017 GMC Acadia by visiting and clicking on ACADIA.

Robinair’s website has more information about their R-1234yf shop equipment, but you can also see them at the 2017 MACS Training Event & Trade Show, being held February 15-18, 2017 at the Marriott hotel in Anaheim, California. Visit to get the details!

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