Author Topic: Kollmann Marine Products Refrigeration System  (Read 3896 times)


  • Guest
Kollmann Marine Products Refrigeration System
« on: March 22, 2014, 03:15:47 pm »
I thought Id drop you a note to let you know a little about the Kollmann Marine Products refrigeration system on my 1988 Pacific Seacraft 34, Irish Eyes.
We bought the boat in 2004.  It had both 125v and engine drive refrigeration systems; each had an evaporator coil in a single holding plate.  The ice box had been divided into fridge and freezer sections with both the holding plate and the engine drive system freeze blast coil in the freezer side.

Although the air cooled 125v condensing unit was a bit rusty, it was working when we bought the boat.  It did lose its R-12 charge a year or two ago, but a friend had a decades old can of R-12 in his garage, and I recharged the system and replaced the service caps which seems to have fixed the leak.  It continues to work, and we use it when we have dockside electricity.

The sea water cooled engine drive unit was a mess when we bought the boat, but with the help of your two books and the advice you gave me on this site, I put it back in commission.  I replaced the missing compressor and mounting bracket, replaced the automotive a/c hoses with copper tubing, installed new hoses to and from the compressor, replaced the expansion valve, replaced the dryer and receiver, added a sight glass, did a bit of cleaning, replaced the freeze blast fan, and recharged the system with R-134a.  The books and your kind advice were the greatest of help as I had no experience with refrigeration equipment before beginning the work.
We have had only two maintenance issues with the engine drive system.  The holding plate developed a leak due to corrosion at its bottom welded seam.  You suggested repairing it in place with JB Weld.  I did, and it has been fine since.  The aluminum end on the suction hose at the compressor cracked in half three years ago while we were cruising.  I tried to remove the broken stub from the compressor, but it was galled in place, and in trying to remove it I broke the suction nozzle off the compressor.  I did not have my vacuum pump and gauges with me, but because everything was common automotive equipment, it was no problem to find someone to fix the system.  He fabricated a new hose, replaced the back of the compressor, added a half ounce of oil, then vacuumed and recharged the system.  It was just three days from broken to fixed.

Ive made one improvement in the engine drive system.  I spread thermally conductive silver paste between the expansion valve sensing bulb and the copper tubing leaving the holding plate, wrapped them in copper foil, tied everything tightly together with copper wire, and covered it with foam insulation.  That made the expansion valve catch more quickly at system start up and let me open the expansion valve adjusting screw a bit more without running frost back to the compressor.

I have done a little work in the ice box.   Following advice from your books, I added an inch of foam to the top where it was easy to do.  I put a light and a circulating fan in the fridge side of the box.  I put a fan with a thermostat control between the freezer and fridge sides to better control the fridge temperature.

We are on our seventh trip to the Bahamas from our home port in North Carolina.  By running the engine for an hour or so a day we keep frozen meat for a month, make a tray of ice a day, and keep the beer cold.  If it were not for the refrigeration, we would not be making the trips.

The beauty of your refrigeration systems is that everything - every part, every piece - is either standard automotive or standard refrigeration equipment.  Everything is readily available.  Everything is easily repaired.  It is all simple and it all works.

Thank you for building the system, for writing the books, and for giving me advice from time to time.

Bill Murdoch
"Irish Eyes"
George Town, Bahamas


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Kollmann Marine Products Refrigeration System
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 08:40:28 pm »
Mr. Kollmann, I need to send you another thank you note, so here it goes� 

We still own Irish Eyes, a 1988 Pacific Seacraft 34 with a Kollmanm Marine Products refrigeration system; one with both an engine drive system and a 125V system both freezing a propylene glycol filled cold plate in the freezer with a spillover to the cooler side of the box.  The best thing about the system is that it works.  It keeps frozen things frozen and cold things cold.  It can freeze 20 pounds of fresh caught dolphin fish meat rock hard and keep it that way.  It keeps beer cold, and frozen food frozen.  It has served us well on ten, yes 10, six month trips from North Carolina to the Bahamas (  The next best thing about the system is that it is repairable; a novel in thing these days of throw away item.  And, the very next best thing about the system is your pair of books which have taught me to repair it myself.

This year in Miami the clutch coil on the compressor burned up while we were waiting on good weather to cross over to Bimini.  I then managed to break the shaft seal on the compressor when I was removing the drive pulley destroying the compressor.  I asked a refrigeration technician to replace the compressor, but after waiting ten days for him to arrive I decided to do it myself.  On the internet I bought a new compressor and a vacuum pump.  At Advance in Miami Beach I bought a gauge set and refrigerant.  Moving to Crandon Park Marina for electricity I replaced the compressor, swapped the filter/dryer for the spare I carry, evacuated the system overnight, and recharged it in the morning replacing the amount of oil I thought I lost.  For 24 hours work (much of which I spent sleeping) and $650, the engine drive system was working again.  During the time the engine drive system was down, we kept the freezer and fridge cold with the 125V system powered of the boat�s inverter, so we lost no food.  Your books gave me the knowledge and confidence to pull all this off and make this year�s trip to the Bahamas a success.


Bill Murdoch