View Full Version : 56' Hatteras,1981, refrigerator replacement

07-19-2006, 06:50 PM
We have a 1981 56' Hatteras Motor Yacht. Our galley refrigerator has passed away. ( 33'' wide by approx. 26'' deep)

I think someone else probably has had this problem--what have you done. I can't imagine getting any standard refrigerator down those steps.

Any advice would be appreciated.


07-19-2006, 09:06 PM
Check frequently asked questions section of forum. Mikp996 just installed one and has all the info there. Ron

07-21-2006, 07:04 AM
One piece of advice I'd offer before replacing the fridge is to have a tech take a look and see if it can be repaired in place. We did that last year with the "old" fridge (new in '97). Turned out there was a leak in a portion of the coolant line that was not accessable so it could not be repaired. The tech recharged the unit and it ran for a year. I would have gladly had the fridge fixed as opposed to putting in a new one, even if the cost had approached the price of the replacement.

I've been on one 56 Hatt and, as I recall, the layout down to the galley was pretty much the same as the 53. However, since the 56 has more beam, the passage may be wider so there may be more room to get a fridge up/down the stairs.

I have to admit that once the clearance issues were resolved, it wasn't all that hard. Current refrigerators are basically junk which is an advantage because they don't weigh anything. And, unfortunately, they don't last long either. They have become throw-away items like almost everything else. (Oops, there's the Luddite in me - sorry).

As someone else pointed out the MOST CRITICAL thing to do is MEASURE the available installation space AND the passageway space. Then measure again, then have someone else measure it, then check their measurements. Finally, measure it once more!

Find a fridge (or several) on the internet that will fit in the dimensions noted - remember that for moving, you will probably need to remove the doors so you will want to look at that dimension (doors removed) as well. Nearly anyplace you search for fridges will have all the needed dimensions posted. If the clearance specs between the published fridge measurements and the avaialble passage/installation is tight,find the fridge(s) in a local store and measure them.

I learned that current fridges - Energy Star models (WOO HOO!) - are a bit larger than models made just a few years ago. THis is so they could fit more insulation. So don't assume that the fridge in the boat at the moment can be replaced by an identical sized new model. It probably doesn't exist. As an example, a "Counter depth" fridge in 1997 (our old one) was over an inch shorter than a current model. This was critical because that inch made it too tall to fit until we removed the (non-removeable) wheels.

Speaking of Energy Star - I don't get it. The new fridge works fine but if you shut the power off for even an hour, ice cream will soften. As Shania Twain would say, "That don't impress me much!"

Maybe she's a Luddite too.

Good Luck - email me if you have any questions I could help with.

07-21-2006, 09:28 AM
Thanks MikeP996 We tried the repair route. That did not last too long. Now we will do the replacement. Hopefully as successfully as you.

07-21-2006, 02:52 PM
On my 1981 56' you can just barely make out where they cut out a hole out on the deck just forward from the pilot house wind screen and then re-glassed it afterwards to drop in the GE fridge that is currently in my galley.

The companion way down to the galley on the 56' I believe is the same as the 53'. The extra beam is all in the galley cupboards. None extra in the access ways.

07-21-2006, 10:24 PM
We replaced our refrigerator last year and I will say It was a real B---h. We first cut the old one up with a saw-saw. We did purchase a fridge to replace it. I think we got it at sears. I would have to look up the model and stuff, but we had to take the doors off and every screw that we could without anything falling out. We did lift it over the aft deck and brought it though the main salon and down the stairs. In the process we had to take off the rail going down to the galley and the trim to the electrical panel going down to the galley on the starboard side. In haste we did loose a few pieces of trim on the ceiling and the one long piece going down stairs.

Good luck, but I would not even think about cutting a big hole in the boat just to get the fridge in.

Our 56 in a 1983 in St. Louis
Hatteras wannabe

07-23-2006, 09:48 AM
Luckily I didn't have to think about it. One of my criteria for purchasing a Hatteras was that the galley had to have been remodeled already prior to my purchase. I'd read too many threads about the challenges associated with replacing the fridge.

Not that I won't ever have the problem. Just that I won't have the problem any time soon.

07-23-2006, 09:44 PM
Not that I won't ever have the problem. Just that I won't have the problem any time soon.

Hopefully you will never have to replace it, but look at MikeP996. I think his last fridge only lasted a few years. The real problem is not getting it down there. I did that with the help of only one guy. The problem is finding one that will meet the dimension specs to actually sit in the original hole.