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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Saltwater in refer system?

    Hi all, thanks for looking!
    I just bought a new (to me) commercial salmon troller. This boat came with a very simple engine-driven refer unit - but the previous owner says it has always leaked, and it's not been in service for a few years now.
    A Sanden 508 compressor pumps the refrigerant via a 3/8 tube into a seawater cooled condenser, from there to the THX, then 1/2 stainless tubing (approx. 60-80') inside the insulated fishbox that's full of seawater, and then back to the compressor in 1/2" tubing. (for expediency of this post, I'm omitting data on all other peripheral items)
    Old owner says he could never chase down the leak, so my first suspect is the condenser - because the sniffer won't detect a leak inside the boat if the refrigerant escapes overboard via the cooling water.
    I have no problems replacing the condenser - the system has zero pressure now, all the refrigerant that could have vented into the atmosphere has done so years ago...
    And I have refer guys who can help me start the system back up later - but nobody has saltwater experience. How do you determine if seawater has entered the system, and what to do then?
    I'd hate to throw good money after bad & replace hundreds of Dollars worth of parts & then have everything break down a couple hours later.....
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,576
    I would start by disassembling the condenser ans see what it looks like inside, then go from there of course ohming your compressor and a full inspection of that too would be a good start.IMO.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    Yeah, but it's not a tube-in-shell condenser, the thing looks more like a radiator. I don't think it was really made for marine use - never seen one like this on a boat before.
    Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,576
    A picture would help but I would say that is where your problem is, now you have to worry about all the contamination in your system.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    DFW Texas
    Posts
    47
    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 04-04-2013 at 08:32 PM. Reason: non AOP member

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    I found a bottle of R-409A on the boat, so I assume that's what the system was charged with when it was charged....
    I will post a couple pics later.
    Years ago, my refer guy and I built a very similar system and charged it with 134A - it worked beautifully for as log as I owned the boat. What's the compatibility between the 2 refrigerants? Do they use the same oil? Should I stick with - or am I stuck with - the 409A after the repairs?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4
    The only place where saltwater touches anything is in the condenser. The engine heat keeps the entire engine room dry as a bone. The only other item exposed to the elements is the THX on the back deck - I probably should have that replaced anyways.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,576
    You have to research the compressor to find out what refrigerant is compatable with it then you can decide which one to go with after you change the oil etc.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    DFW Texas
    Posts
    47
    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 04-04-2013 at 08:33 PM. Reason: non AOP member

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,395
    tinmanintx

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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