Norcold icebox and Espar heater issues


Junior Member
I have this “new”boat to me, 38-200, and of course bunch of stuff to do... love the boat :). Heater, fridge and hot water tank. Heater is a Espar D3l that works good but after a while there is some smoke in the cabin and believe a cleaning would be adequate but can’t find maintenance kit. Should I replace or?
The fridge is Norcold with a compressor in the lazarette space. The compressor works all the time and no cold seems to be generated. It’s a pretty old one,should I replace or? Hot water tank ...I think I got that one.
Thank you :)

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Our boat came with the Norcold compressor, which lasted 15 years, then began to lose ability to keep everything cold. I replaced it with the same Norcold, figuring 15 years is pretty good. That was 10 years ago, and it's still working perfectly.
Some people say you can recharge them, but the company doesn't support this, and I haven't found a fridge tech who will do it.
Also, ensure the temp dial is set correctly, and check if there is any cold feeling on the plate on the ice box.


Junior Member
Thanks Frank! Sounds like I’ll try to do a new compressor. You just unscrew the lines at the old compressor and screw the line back to the new one with no need to reload the Freon or something, right?

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
Espar D3l
You may wish to pull it out and have it serviced. If you're getting diesel smoke in the cabin it's a safety issue and you may have an obstruction or leak you need to contend with. My boat had an Espar and it worked well - just keep extra glow plugs on hand if/when it fails when you're out somewhere using it...very easy to change.



Junior Member
Thanks Sean! I am having problem getting someone to service it as it is too old and supposedly no parts are available. May have to replace the unit though I could try to do it myself but not sure about the maintenance parts I would need to replace like gaskets and ?

I found many extra glow plugs new in the box on the boat :)

Thanks again!