WARNING !!! Don't use Duracool in your TDI

Racer007

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Feb 14, 2005
Location
NC
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I have a 2001 VW Golf GLS TDI. The air conditioning always worked great even in above 90 degree temperatures and the system never needed recharging up to August, 2007 when I installed Duracool 12a. The reason I installed the Duracool was based on the information on their website www.duracool.com. Their claims to be very environmental friendly and much more efficient (35%) by using much less refrigerant (60% less) than 134a and the potential to offer much less wear and tear on the compressor was very inviting. In the interest of upgrading my car’s air conditioning alone I had the 134a totally removed from my car and the Duracool 12a installed per the manufacturers instructions. This was a HUGE MISTAKE!!!

The car’s air conditioning worked great for about two weeks time so the proper amount was installed correctly with no leaks. In two weeks time the car was not cooling well at all and over a weeks time it went from a little cooling to none at all. I had the car checked for the leak and found a hole had developed in the Low Pressure Suction Hose. So after spending over $100 in product and labor to install the Duracool 12a I was looking at a bill of at least $600 to repair the system. I suspected the Duracool because I had never had any previous air conditioning problems before. My mechanic said there was a chance it was just due to normal wear and tear since I had no other experience with this product. I had no money to repair the car and even contemplated selling it.

Due to the growing increase in fuel prices I kept the car and had it repaired on August 1st 2008 for over $600 for parts and labor. Sadly I reinstalled the Duracool 12a and their AC Oil Chill and System Seal product to lubricate the compressor and seal any other future leaks as claimed on their website. I used the car right away for a 2 week road trip and the air conditioning worked great again showing proper installation and no leaks after installation. By the 20th of August I noticed the car was not cooling as well but was still better than ambient. Over the next week the problem got much worse. I went to my mechanic on September 2nd to read the PSI in the car and the reading was 22 PSI versus the 42 PSI at full charge. When the mechanic removed the vacuum hose from the High Pressure Valve it stuck open discharging the refrigerant into the air with its very distinct propane smell. He was unable to get the valve to totally seal and is still leaking now days later. He told me he has never seen this before in a car in over 25 years of A/C work. His conclusion was the same as mine that there are way too many coincidences now and that the Duracool is eating my car’s air conditioning system away as there is obviously another hole and the seal on the High Pressure Valve was eaten away now too. This makes two times new leaks have developed after installing the Duracool 12a in my car. There is no way this gas can be harmless to the environment if it is eating the insides of my car’s A/C system!

I called the company to talk about filing a warranty claim as their website proudly proclaims the following “Are the DURACOOL® products guaranteed?
Yes. DURACOOL® Refrigerants Inc. guarantees in writing that the DURACOOL® products will perform as an efficient refrigerant, and will not harm any air conditioning or refrigeration components and equipment.” The man who answered the phone claimed he was the “Owner the President” told me “BULLS**T” when I told him the experience I had just in the manner I have written about here. He refused to discuss my problem and was more intent on telling me that my “BULLS**T” meant nothing to him and that as I was in the States there was nothing I could do about it and he closed the conversation by saying “cased closed” and “F@@K YOU!!” as he slammed the phone down. So I am looking at another several hundred dollar repair bill as the High Suction Line is well over $200 alone and I have not even had the other leak or leaks located yet as I cannot afford the repair any way. I don’t know about any one else but the $700 I have already spent is not exactly petty change let alone what I am looking at to repair the new damage done.

The Duracool representative has a good point that being in Canada there is little I can afford to do legally as the cost would be prohibitive pursuing this across the Canadian border in addition to the cost I have already incurred and have yet to incur to get my car’s air conditioning working again. I am writing warn my fellow TDI ers to stay away from this product as it can and most likely will hurt your car and the company will not deal with you and stand behind their proclaimed guarantee.
 

dieseldorf

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 11, 2000
Location
MA
TDI
ex- 1996 wagon, ex-2000 Jetta
I don't know why anyone would experiment with a mickey mouse product like this.

I hope you can restore your car to normal operation without spending huge $$$.
 

bluesmoker

Veteran Member
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Jun 7, 2006
Location
Maple Ridge, B.C.
TDI
2004 pd 5 speed tip
a sad lesson to learn

when in doubt follow the manufacturer's recommendations for fluids, coolant, engine oil etc

sorry to hear that Duracool wont stand for their product
 

TDICADDGUY

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Location
Blaine, MN
TDI
2000 New Beetle GLS
Generally speaking, I wouldnt take a chance with any of these "products" that claim to be an easy fix-all solution. Do it once, fix it right. Especially in a car like these.

That said, we've (my dad and I) have used products like Duracool in farm equipment with decent results. Keep in mind this is decades old (70's era) farm equipment that were originally designed for R12. For an old system that is prone to leaks switching to 134a can be expensive. But R12 is impossible to come by and is very expensive which is what made these propane refrigerants a cost-effective band-aid for equipment that is used for a few months out of the year. We are gradually getting rid of this refrigerant though and converting over to 134a. The fact that these products are primarily propane is a potential hazard. Would not want a major leak to develop near sources of heat and spark (like an engine.)

134a is cheap, easy to come by, works great and is the proper refrigerant to be using. Dont be swayed by false promises of being good for the environment and other nonsense.
 

mtltdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2003
Location
Canada
TDI
2003 Golf GLS, Indigo Blue
Maybe this is why they produce Systemseal as well.

Thnks for the heads up on a crappy product.
 

40X40

Experienced
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Location
Kansas City area, MO
TDI
2013 Passat SEL Premium
Am I to understand that you REMOVED the coolant from a WORKING system and put some wondercrap in your car instead?


:eek:

Say it ain't so.

:eek:
Bill
 

Racer007

Veteran Member
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Feb 14, 2005
Location
NC
TDI
NA
Sorry to say I did. I first got the idea on some positive posts here about 2 years ago talking positively about using Duracool in their TDIs. There was never any follow up on those experiences and now I can see why. So I thought I would put this out there and try and spare others the foolish move I made and to get the word out as to what a stand up company Duracool is. Lesson learned :(
 

Gearhead51

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Location
Suwanee (Atlanta), GA
TDI
2000 Jetta
I work in the industry as a manufacturer's rep for a recovery, recycling, recharge company, and I cannot stress enough that only R134a, approved OEM grade oils, and nothing else be used. No sealant, no miracle cure, nothing. Sure, some of this stuff might work in somebody's car, and as a rep, I've heard "I've been using XXX for years and never had a problem," but you don't want the first problem to be yours. I'm sorry you've had this problem. I would also recommend a full flush with a HeCat style unit or a refridgerant flush due to contamination. I'm not affiliated with HeCat, but I do know that many LARGE oem suppliers believe in their products, and the small cans that most techs use don't put enough product through the system to get a true flush.

As a fellow TDI'er, if you want to drive to Atlanta, I'll recharge your car and help you repair this damage, but you must promise to never do it again. I despise snake oil remedys.
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
I have been using HC blends for over 20 years now in all types of systems , 30 years of working refrigeration systems . From farm equipment , freezers , industrial ac to cars . I'm trained and certified in industrial , car and home systems charging and I was told nothing of charging HC blends in college , nothing useful . I learned to use them in the west working on tractors and other farm equipment .


I'm Sorry for your trouble and I've never used Duracool . But I have used other HC brands and they do work many times better than HFC-134a when used correctly . And @ as low as 1/3rd the head pressure of HFCs . I suspect that hose was already on the verge of failure before you switched . It wouldn't be possible , it isn't possible without a system over charge or clogged up dryer receiver to cause a hose failure of a perfect hose . The operating pressures of HC blends is just too low on the high side and the low side . I've seen HC blend systems survive a condenser fan failure without blowing a hose , not possible with CFCs or HFCs .

Just opening up the system for a short period of time can lead to failures of multiple part or a hose like you experienced . Just removing the misced oil & pressurized refrigerant is more than enough to cause a weakened by age hose to fail on recharge . I've seen it happen many times . Most people/shops will not work on older ac systems without multiple parts replacement $$$$$ due to above facts . It just isn't possible to warranty the work otherwise .

And HC blends are not as simple as charging with CFCs or HFCs . In fact there is no such thing as a simple refrigerant charge . Every type of refrigerant must be treated differently while charging to charge a system properly . AC system recharging without the introduction of a different type of refrigerant is complicated enough that I wouldn't suggest a novice try it . Throw in HC blends that have nowhere near the same charge rate cool rate bleed down pressures or quantity forget about it .

Again I'm sorry for your problem but unless you over charged to extreme there is no way an HC blend caused your failure .

I've charged many A1 , A2 , B2 , B4 & A4 ac systems with HC blends without issue yet . But then again I have 20 years of experience so do know exactly what I'm doing when I switch a system over .
 

Mach1

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
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Location
Spicewood, Tx.
TDI
05.5 Jetta 5 spd, 06 Jetta DE DSG, 04 F250 6L, 2000 F250 7.3L
These fly-by-night places are using pressurized Propnae in a can, VERY, VERY Dangerous...

You are very lucky you didn't get taken out..

There are 100's of videos on YOU TUBE showing explosions from the pane..


Consider yourself a lucky man!!!
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
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Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
Mach1 said:
These fly-by-night places are using pressurized Propnae in a can, VERY, VERY Dangerous...

You are very lucky you didn't get taken out..

There are 100's of videos on YOU TUBE showing explosions from the pane..


Consider yourself a lucky man!!!
For all those that were not listening , HC Blends are not the same as using propane . :rolleyes:

This is more of the crap that was put out there during the fight over the switch over in the late 80s away from CFCs . Pressurized misced with oil HFCs are far more flammable they burn at less than half the temp than HC blends . While HFCs are inert unpressurized when pressurized & misced with oil HFCs burn at half the temp ~600* F of HC blends pressurized or not . HC blends burn only at temps above 1,300 * F .

By the way HC blends are 100 % legal under federal law drop in replacements for CFCs & HFCs . The so called danger of using HC Blends is complete hogwash put out there by competitors that wanted to block their auto use .

There isn't one single documented case of a fire ever related to HC blend use , but plenty of made up story's . There is a manufacturer of HC blends in Australia that has offered $1,000,000 to anyone that can come up with a real case of a fire caused by HC Blends use . Coke has a program of using HC Blends in their vending machines , to use less energy .

I really wish those bogus story's of the dangers of the use on HC blends would go away already ............ they are safe :) & they do work far better than HFCs .
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
Mach1 said:
These fly-by-night places are using pressurized Propane in a can, VERY, VERY Dangerous...

You are very lucky you didn't get taken out..

There are 100's of videos on YOU TUBE showing explosions from the pane..


Consider yourself a lucky man!!!
By the way there is farm equipment all over the west , Texas included safely using HC blends as replacement for CFCs .
 

Racer007

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Location
NC
TDI
NA
Thanks for the idea. I filed complaints with the EPA, Federal Trade Commision, and the NHTSA to get their products banned here in the states and with the North Carolina's Attorney General's office to try and get some reimbursement and add this state to the 19 others where Duracool is banned already. Hoping for the best but fear the worst. Just thought I would try and save people here the grief and don't even think about using Duracool if any one looks it up here.
 

Gearhead51

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Location
Suwanee (Atlanta), GA
TDI
2000 Jetta
Rotarykid,

I was told recently that Coke was using ammonia refrigeration. My source could be wrong, but he claimed to be in maintenance there.

My bias against "drop ins" is strictly from a manufacturer's standpoint. We will not warranty any machine that has traces of any non-approved refrigerant. Like I said, there are guys that have used them and not had problems, but on my end, we see all of the bad cases in warranty claims, etc.
 

chrisk1500

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Location
Saskatchewan
TDI
Jetta TDI
I use Duracool successfully in all of my machines that have had AC leaks and have not had any problems...

95 Chev 1500 6.5 TD
97 Chev 1500 6.5 TD
80 Versatile 555 (Farm tractor)
75 Case 1370 (Farm tractor)
75 Case 1070 (Farm tractor)
86? International 1460 (combine)

I have a hard time believing that the product caused the problem....just my 2 cents!
 
Last edited:

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Location
Springfield, VA
TDI
‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
*cough*

If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!

Sorry you learned that the hard way.
 

JettaJake

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2002
Location
CT TDI Corral
TDI
'03 GLS 5spd
I would say you are likely SOL with getting anything out of Duracool. Failure to document the condition of your 8 year old hoses prior to use of the allegedly miscreant product (ya I know, why would you?) leaves you with purely circimstantial evidence and, I am afraid, no case. Next!

An auto AC system is a bit like Mother Nature; it's not nice to fool with.

Where did you learn Duracool is banned in 19 states?! Banned in what regard, what for and how long? Just curious.

jj
 

Racer007

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Location
NC
TDI
NA
Where did you learn Duracool is banned in 19 states?! Banned in what regard, what for and how long? Just curious.

http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/refrigerants/hc12alng.html

Is it legal to replace HFC-134a in a motor vehicle with hydrocarbon refrigerants such as DURACOOL 12a® and HC-12a®?

The following 19 states ban the use of flammable refrigerants such as HC-12a® and DURACOOL 12a® in motor vehicle air conditioning, regardless of the original refrigerant: Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
 

Zero10

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2004
Location
Calgary, AB
TDI
05 Golf TDI PD, Tiptronic
Here's your problem:

Sadly I reinstalled the Duracool 12a and their AC Oil Chill and System Seal product to lubricate the compressor and seal any other future leaks as claimed on their website.


The sealant is moisture activated, it is designed to seal holes in metal pipes and other hoses/fittings (unless I am thinking of a different product) and should harden immediately at any point refrigerant is escaping from the system. This stuff is also HORRIBLE if your system is ever left open, since it can cause damage all over the place.

Here is the text from their web site regarding this product:
Duracool® SystemSeal™
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]Designed to repair minor leaks in the evaporator, condenser, gaskets, "0" rings, connecting fittings and metal lines. Duracool® SystemSeal™ was designed to eliminate costly repairs in the form of replacement parts and expensive service labor. Duracool® DuraDry™ may be used safely in most air-conditioning systems. (Duracool 12a®, Duracool 22a®, Duracool 502a®, CFC-12, R-134a, R-22, and R-502.)




The 4 ounce container contains a sufficient amount of Duracool® SystemSeal™ to seal leaks in a 2 lb. to 5 lb. A/C System.
If leaks does not empty the system within 24 hours Duracool® SystemSeal™ will usually seal the system with one can. Two or more applications may be necessary if leaks persist.
[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]
[/FONT]
Many different companies make similar products and they are all a bad idea. Duracool itself isn't the problem, it is a refrigerant (a rather good one, but I still prefer Red Tek), the problem is the system sealer.

I don't know what you should do now, since you will have that stuff all through the system and if the hoses have been opened and air was let in, then it could have hardened just about anywhere. Expansion valve should be replaced along with receiver/dryer as a bare minimum.
 

cdiamond

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2000
Location
Destin, Florida, USA
I don't have a horse in this race as I've never even heard of the stuff, but I'm willing to bet that the Duracool did not directly cause your problem. I think mucking around with your system when it was operating ok caused the problems.

You have a problem with "cause & effect". You need to remember the old country saying: "Just because lunch follows breakfast does not mean that breakfast causes lunch".
 

12MPGHWY

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Location
el California
TDI
none
Just out of curiousness is it possible to use regular old R12 in a system designed for R134A?

What would be required, an oil that is compatible with both r12 and pag residue (is there such a thing?), and to fully flush the system of existing refrigerant.


I have dozens of 1LB cans of R12, but I fully understand that r12 is not compatible with PAG.
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
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1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
Gearhead51 said:
Rotarykid,

I was told recently that Coke was using ammonia refrigeration. My source could be wrong, but he claimed to be in maintenance there.

My bias against "drop ins" is strictly from a manufacturer's standpoint. We will not warranty any machine that has traces of any non-approved refrigerant. Like I said, there are guys that have used them and not had problems, but on my end, we see all of the bad cases in warranty claims, etc.
I knew nothing of these things until I came out west . There I learned all the ins & outs of using the stuff . Charging with HCs is quite a bit different than CFCs & HFCs . Only after years of using them and learning would I use them and guarantee the work . The charge weights & volumes are different , quite a bit different . Someone using HFC instructions without ac training could easily mess up the system leading failures .

And by the way the term "Drop In" is very misleading to a novice . What that really means is you aren't required to change oil , seals or hoses . But just as is always required the dryer receiver must be changed to get a good operating system .

To the starter of this thread , again I'm sorry for your trouble but Duracool didn't cause your failure . You did by opening up the AC to moisture & air system .

AC Parts do fail on a 8 years old car especially after a service , your hose was probably made 8 years ago . 8 year old hoses do fail !!!..........But rant and rave on to all that will listen then you will be right back where you started .

HC blends are safe and they work well if you know how to use them ...............................
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
12MPGHWY said:
Just out of curiousness is it possible to use regular old R12 in a system designed for R134A?

What would be required, an oil that is compatible with both r12 and pag residue (is there such a thing?), and to fully flush the system of existing refrigerant.


I have dozens of 1LB cans of R12, but I fully understand that r12 is not compatible with PAG.
It would work but the bleed down pressures would be wrong and any left over PAG could gunk up and clog up the system .
 

Ol'Rattler

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Jul 3, 2007
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PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
Another gem from the EPA site:

If you plan to change a car from HFC-134a to a hydrocarbon refrigerant such as HC-12a® and DURACOOL 12a®, you should consider that auto manufacturers have stated that changing the refrigerant in new vehicles designed for use with HFC-134a will void the warranty and may damage the system. If the air conditioner on a new car or truck is not working, consult a qualified mechanic or your dealer.

I couln't imagine using anything other than what a modern system had in it origanally. I would think that changing from R134A to anything else could be like using power steering fluid in you brake system......................
 

rotarykid

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Location
Piedmont of N.C. & the plains of Colorado
TDI
1997 Passat TDI White,99.5 Blue Jetta TDI
Ol'Rattler said:
Another gem from the EPA site:

If you plan to change a car from HFC-134a to a hydrocarbon refrigerant such as HC-12a® and DURACOOL 12a®, you should consider that auto manufacturers have stated that changing the refrigerant in new vehicles designed for use with HFC-134a will void the warranty and may damage the system. If the air conditioner on a new car or truck is not working, consult a qualified mechanic or your dealer.

I couldn't imagine using anything other than what a modern system had in it originally. I would think that changing from R134A to anything else could be like using power steering fluid in you brake system......................
All it would take is a ride in identical cars one filled with HC blends and the other that HFC crap and your mind will be changed . The difference is unbelievable , as in you wouldn't believe how much colder the HC blend filled system is . A good comparison is night & day .

On our systems , VWs you have to add a cold temp cut off switch to prevent freeze up when you switch to an HC Blend . If you don't do this you end up with air coming out of the vents in the mid 10s * F range . In fact 15-18 * F in 90-95 * F ambient is not outside of the normal range without a cutoff switch .

Same car with HFCs can hardly break 40 * F @ 90-95 * F ambient . VW leaves off a cold temp cutoff switch because it isn't possible to reach freezing with an HFC charge .

So with the HC blend charge and a cutoff switch the ac system only has to operate about 30-50 % of the time once the car is cooled off .

The volume of refrigerant required in a system charge of the stuff I use is much lower with HC blends than with the HFC charge .

6 oz can of Red Tek 12a HC blend = 16 oz of HFC -134a

6 oz can of Red Tek 12a HC blend = 18 oz of CFC -12
 

Mach1

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Location
Spicewood, Tx.
TDI
05.5 Jetta 5 spd, 06 Jetta DE DSG, 04 F250 6L, 2000 F250 7.3L
Rotary, if you dont think propane is used as a propellant, how do you explain all the fires, explosions, warnings..even the OP explained he smelled pane..

Its been done, its dangerous and I have seen it myself, and experienced it..

I no longer use any of these additives, as NO one knowns exactly whats in them...

It gets R12 or R134 only..

Just because you say it isn't happening, doesn't mean its not done..Its being done and its happening right now, all over, bootleg refrigerant is a huge dollar market.
 

Mach1

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Location
Spicewood, Tx.
TDI
05.5 Jetta 5 spd, 06 Jetta DE DSG, 04 F250 6L, 2000 F250 7.3L
Here it is from wiki...

Use of highly purified liquified propane gas as a refrigerant is gaining favor, especially in systems designed for R-12, R-22 or R-134a. Moreover, propane is nontoxic. An odorant, such as ethyl mercaptan, can be added in trace amounts to alert persons of system leaks.
 

Mach1

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Location
Spicewood, Tx.
TDI
05.5 Jetta 5 spd, 06 Jetta DE DSG, 04 F250 6L, 2000 F250 7.3L
Heres another blurb about using propane in ac systems..


[FONT=Arial,Helv,Helvetica][SIZE=-1]The primary HCFC-22 replacement in the US residential a/c market is hydrofluorocarbon 410A (HFC-410A). Hydrocarbons, such as propane, are also possible choices but their inherent flammability and associated risk mitigation cost are issues for use in residences.[/SIZE][/FONT]
 
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