Refrigeration Questions?

Aug 7, 2015
Oday 34 previous, O’Day 40 current Annapolis
My 1983 vintage refer, in my O'34 to no one's surprise appeared completely dead when I purchased the boat last year. However, lo & behold, the pressure gages still show that the system has a lot of gas in it. Question is what to do with it? Can I pull the compressor & toss it w/o the gas escaping, don't want to pollute the rest of the atmosphere? Can the compressor units be re-built? Are there any reasonable solutions other than to simply junk it, as spending a grand to have cold beer 15-20 times a year seems like money better spent on ice (and more beer)?
Comments always appreciated.

Lou / Annapolis
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Hauling ice gets tiresome and messy. I did it for a week last month when we got to the boat before a long trip and the fridge wasn't working. I traced it down to a rotten electronic module. For less than $250 we're back up and running.

Do your homework, read Richard Kollman's excellent website, and you may find out that most of what you have is just fine. Richard says that 99% of refrigeration problems are electrical.

Do a search on Adler Barbour under my name and find out what I did to solve my issue.

Good luck. Ice sucks unless your fridge is making it and you're putting it in your favorite beverage.


Jun 19, 2013
C&C 30 Elk Rapids
if you decide to junk, you may also be able to sell, for those willing to repair per Stu's links.
Feb 8, 2014
Columbia 36 Muskegon
Most refer units come as separate compressor and evaporator units, mix and match as needed. The connections between them have self sealing valves so only the tiniest bit of refrigerant escapes when you crack the fittings. So don't worry about that.
As said above most failures are in the control box. The compressor itself rarely goes bad, and if the system is holding pressure there's nothing else it can be except the thermostat. You could try jumpering the t stat wires and see if that works, that would be the cheapest thing that could fail.
Sep 23, 2009
O'Day 34-At Last Rock Hall, Md
When ever mine stops working it's always the largest guage wire going into the compressor unit coming loose. I think that it is the top and a black wire. Part of the problem is that the small connestors used do not come in a large enough gauge for that one wire. I had to remove a few strands of copper for it to fit when I replaced the connector. I have limited knowledge but if you have fully charged coolant I can only think of a bad fuse, connections or thermostat as the cause. If all that is ok, might be worth the cost to have a pro look at it before replacement.