View Full Version : Water cooled condenser leak.
03-05-2010, 02:53 PM
Have a marine shell and tube condenser, only 4 years old,,clean as brand new. Found a suspected leak in it after removing the heads and spotting brass plugs in one tube. This condenser is immaculate! Put 250 psi of nitrogen pressure in it and found the plug on one end of the tube is foaming. Suggested replacing condenser, customer is taking it under consideration. 15 ton, R-22 industrial flaker. Has anyone ever had any luck repairing these? I've seen them plugged before and have never seen the plugs leak. I think the reason this one is leaking, is because the plug wasn't driven in square to the plate. Maybe tilted a little? Hate to see this thing go to scrap, but also don't need a leaker,,,,,,,,
03-05-2010, 07:11 PM
If it's leaking past the plug and not past the roll, carefully drill out the plug, face the tube down to the end sheet, clean it up good and put in a 2 piece plug with some Loctite 277, 087, or 086. You'll have to pull the refrigerant to ensure a good seal (my opinion). May want to do both ends while you're at it. If it's leaking at the roll, you may be able to reroll that end, but that's iffy. May need to replace the tube (and check for tube bore damage while it's out).
03-05-2010, 08:51 PM
I've never tried a repair on a condenser. I do have extra two piece plugs that the customer got from his maint. men. I wonder if they used any sealant. I'd bet not. Yes both ends of the tube are plugged. Maybe I'll experiment with this one after I replace it. Also wonder how much capacity you lose by plugging one tube.
03-05-2010, 11:12 PM
You can plug 10% of any given pass in a heat exchanger (good rule of thumb). Make sure that if a 2 piece was used originally that the tube was faced. If not, the roll may have been broken - especially on a condenser with a thin end sheet. That's why I suggested to look closely at where the leak is showing before deciding what to do. It can easily show as coming from around the plug when it's actually a roll issue, especially when it's showing around the shoulder of the plug.
03-05-2010, 11:26 PM
Standard Refer M/N MES 1500 like I said it looks brand new. Bet it hasn't seen 150 hours of service. It really looks like it is leaking around the plug. Would expect the tubes and sheet are fully the same thickness as when it was built Explain to me what facing the tube, down to the end sheet means. I think I know, but like I said, other than a few cleanings and some epoxy work, I've never dealt with one of these. Normally I just replace them. This one tho, is repairable, I think and will be in my junk pile as the owner has decided a new one is best. Would like to repair it and find a fisherman that needs a 15 ton condenser. It was built in 2006.
03-06-2010, 08:50 AM
When the tubes are installed new, there is a small amount of protrusion from each end, or all from one end, past the tube end sheet. Some mfrs "face" the tubes off - use a tool (called a facing tool, that chucks in a drill) that cuts the protrusion down to where the end of the tube and the flat of the end sheet are on the same plane - and some do not. Any time a 2 piece plug is used, it's best to face the tube if not already done, because a 2 piece expands radially. To accomplish that expansion, the shoulder of the plug has to sit against a surface that won't give when you drive the pin. If the tube isn't faced, the shoulder of the plug will sometimes collapse the tube protrusion and start loosening the rolled area of the tube in the end sheet.
03-06-2010, 09:18 PM
Makes sense. Near as I can tell, this one wasn't faced, the surrounding tubes aren't. I think they just drove in the plugs. These guys are supposedly the in house refer men for a large fish company here, and are supposed to be really talented. When this ice maker showed up at the cannery that purchased it from them,the cannery asked me to come down and help "hook it up." I found 17 minor leaks in the system, but never discovered the condenser leak until it had run for a couple of weeks. I'm not real impressed by their other "repairs," so would suspect that they just did a quick fix sort of thing, and kicked it out the door. They also gave the cannery owner a handful of extra plugs for the condenser. This was done after I found the leak. I haven't had an opportunity to talk with these guys as the cannery owner is dealing with them, but as time goes on the plot is thickening.
03-06-2010, 09:32 PM
the in house refer men for a large fish company here, and are supposed to be really talented.
Most in house guys are REALLY SPECIAL, at least around in my area
03-06-2010, 10:31 PM
Yeah,,,that's my take on things too. They usually have pretty easy jobs, and a lot of security, because they know the equipment in their facility, and not much else.
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