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Old 05-23-2022, 09:07 PM   #1
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GB Europe 54 Refrigerator System

Hi there,

We have Gurnert / Seafrost refrigeration system on our 2001 Grand Banks Europa 54. We purchased the boat last spring and the refrigeration system worked ok. We are not pleased with the small fridge units and the previous owner admitted that the freezer could not keep ice cream frozen. We lived with it last season.

Last weekend we commissioned the boat and the refrigeration system compressor did not kick on. We have water flowing and the fan on - cooling the heat exchanger but no cold freon.

It appears the combination condenser/evaporator was replaced within the last several years.

We really want to replace the fridges with something that is simple to maintain and more effective to use. The cold plate isnít for us. We have generators and will soon have solar panels. We are moving aboard for the foreseeable future and need a simple reliable refrigeration system.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks - JimL
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Old 05-23-2022, 09:35 PM   #2
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I had a similar built in reefer and freezer and it was plagued with tubing leaks.
I ended up removing the old 120VAC compressor and installing an Isotherm unit.
It was an air cooled condenser type that ran on 12-24VDC and was very efficient.

What sold me and may work for you was the ability to retain the classic exterior.
I did have to drill a good size hole to install the tubing and temperature sensor.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:36 AM   #3
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We had the same cold plate system in our GB52- two refrigerators and one freezer. I suspect you have a small leak and will need to top off your refrigerant. Any competent A/C person can do that. When working, these systems are great if you anchor out a lot. Requires only 1 hour of operation to hold temperatures up to two days.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:44 AM   #4
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Other side of the country, but the good folks at Sure Marine in Seattle area my be helpful. They are dealers for both Isotherm (Webasto) and Vitrifrigo, a hybrid system with keel-cooler style heat exchanger for efficiency. Vitrifrigo is modular so you have more options for the evaporator plate. If you decide on a standard air-cooled Isotherm unit, Defender in your neck of the woods is also a dealer. Also notable is Vitrifrigo also has holding plate units if you change your mind.

https://www.suremarineservice.com/Ga...Cooling-Units/

Good luck.
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:05 AM   #5
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JimL, if you are coming to Ft Lauderdale, call ahead and see if Beard marine can build you a fridge system. They built the one on my N46. I did have to crawl inside the box to replace the box fan. It worked perfectly after that. 12vt. LOL Never thought I could fit in the box. I accidentally ended up totally in the box and then worried about getting out. Turned out it was easier to get out of the box.
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:53 AM   #6
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Go to my blog, grandbankschoices, and you will see our removal and install. Any questions PM me and I will shoot you my phone number.

The Grunert system is a good system but just archaic. It takes lots of power and barely freezes.

I gutted ours and installed Vitrifrigo components. Took a weekend to remove and install, cost about $1k each for frig and freezers.

Runs off 12vdc, is in lazarette tucked out of way. Very little power consumption, not noticeable.

Had freezer down to -16, fridge stays at 34. Totally changes the way we use the boat. Only run Gen set for a/c now.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:01 AM   #7
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Also, two GBs have replaced their units with stainless drawers.

They actually look really nice. You do have less room though. Cost is significantly more, mostly same components as Vitrifrigo.

I might be able to get some pictures.

The Grunert box is stainless, then set in a fiberglass tub and foam is poured around it. Then screwed into cabinet frame from inside then cabinet built around it. Major surgery.

If you go this route I would like your doors and a stainless tray or two.
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:21 AM   #8
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Thanks all, sounds like we have options. The first order of business it to check the charging of the system!

JimL
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Old 05-29-2022, 10:14 AM   #9
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On my 1996 GB there was a control box near the compressor. On the top we’re two 20amp fuses. When I had a similar problem (twice) the culprit was one of those fuses. Check them out, you might have a simple fix.
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Old 05-31-2022, 08:51 PM   #10
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I hated the fact that the Grunert system didnít work unless on generator or shore power. I also loved/kept the look of the OEM system in the salon. I removed my Grunert compressor skid and replaced it with two CoolBlue marine system (one for the fridge, one for the freezer). They run off 12V, barely use power, no cooling water required (or keel cooler). Itís a little pricey, but bulletproof with outstanding technical support.
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Old 05-31-2022, 08:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the recommendations based on experience. The jury is still out to lunch. I'll let you know how we resolve this.

Thanks again, JimL
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Old 05-31-2022, 09:58 PM   #12
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+1 (2, 3, 4?) on junking the holding plate system and installing new 12 volt units based on Danfoss compressors. We had a 42 GB with two boxes, and the factory Grunert compressor with holding plates. Terrible performance and the entire town of Nanaimo would go dim from the start-up current. We installed two Waeco CoolMatic compressors, plate evaporator in one box for a fridge, and a finned evaporator with a small fan in the other for a freezer. Worked fantastic, power consumption was less than 10% of the holding plate set up, also weighed +/- 100 pounds less. Best boat project we ever did! Ice cream hard as a rock...
Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2022, 06:49 PM   #13
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City: Crockers Boat Yard, New London, CT
Vessel Name: Lemon Drops
Vessel Model: 2001 Grand Banks Europa 52
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Thanks everyone. Looks like we have options.The system is now charged and working much better than last year. We start living aboard her 7/1. We expect to make the switch over to something more manageable over the winter while we are in the South.

I checked the fridge door gasket and they should be replaced. Does anyone know where to acquire the seal and how to replace it? Please see the links below for pics.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/98ca5pu2em...05_c.jpeg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/60qcne58w5...05_c.jpeg?dl=0

Thanks, JimL
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