Amazingly I ran into a cruiser here in the San Blas who is a refrigeration
technician. And, had all the equipment
needed to perform the work (including filter/driers, vacuum pump, torch, etc...).
Here is what was done.
There was a small filer/drier installed in the system at the compressor
, as the liquid left the compressor on the way to the keel
cooler. His feeling was to remove it as if it is full of moisture, it will only cause issues again.
So, he removed this filter, replaced with a new one as I needed the same length that was cut out by removing the old filter anyway.
Also added a new filter/drier on the liquid side about 10" before the capillary tube.
So now there are 2 filter/driers, basically inline. One before the keel cooler, and one after. A bit overkill maybe, but the filters are cheap
, and he could do the braising onsite in a matter of minutes.
We replaced the 3 o-rings from the quick-connect fittings.
Attached vacuum pump, heated evaporator to 100F and ran vacuum for 4 hours. Based on the noise
in the pump made it seemed that there was moisture in the system as the pump sounded much more "regular" as it ran about 2 hours.
Filled with R134a, and has been running for 4 days so far. Was a bit overfilled at first, but seems to all be correct now after monitoring and slowly releasing a bit at a time. Only time will tell, but I am hopeful since it did seem the vacuum pump was dealing with moisture for a while, and then was not as the 4 hours reached the end.
He said a lot of the same things as stated here. Specifically around changing the o-rings about every 5 years. He suggested removing them and just braising the system together, but I declined as I like the convenience, even though I now know a bit of maintenance
should be done every 5 years or so.
Once its been running for a while I will be more confident, but it seems OK so far.
As far as the Keel Cooler is concerned, I cleaned it up a bit and seems like it must be some small amount of salt
weeping through. Next haul out
will re-bed, but does not appear to be a big deal, or related to fridge issues.