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  1. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
    Hello, I need opinions from any experienced VC Vigilant owners (or former owners). There is a VC Vigilant on ebay right now. The picture of the nameplate on the back of the stove that is in the ad is stamped with 1980 so I am assuming the stove was made in 1980. I've been splitting and stacking wood all summer with an eye towards buying a stove by the end of the year. I have a 1200 sq. ft. 2 story house about 25 mikes south of Philadelphia, PA. The house was built in 1933, wall insulation is ok but I did have new doors and windows installed about 5 years ago.

    I plan on installing what ever stove I buy (been leaning towards an NC13) in front of and partially into the fireplace. The fireplace is in the living room and I'm hoping to heat with wood on weekends and possibly full time as I learn more.

    I'd like to tear this stove down and rebuild it and then sand blast and paint it.

    Anyway, the Vigilant is 20 years old, needs painting and probably a rebuild. Here are my questions:

    - are parts for this stove available?
    - what would be the approximate cost of the parts for a rebuild?
    - is a rebuild of this stove too much for a novice like me?
    - and, assuming I can and do rebuild the stove, would the stove heat the lower level of my home?
    - I have about 2 1/2 cords of ash, poplar and mulberry that has been split and stacked since April.

    Any information that anyone could share about this stove would be greatly appreciated. I know it is not a real effecient stove, not as effecient as a new Englander NC13. I like the look of it however.

    Thanks again for any information anyone could share.

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  2. ROBERT F

    ROBERT F Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    547
    Loc:
    CENTRAL COLORADO
    You'll be money and days ahead with the nc-13. but you said you like the look of the v.c. Get the 13 for now, and find the stove you really want when you have more time and experience.
  3. Sparkster

    Sparkster New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    I just rebuilt my Vigilant this month. Mine has the 1977 fireback, but all of the internal castings have birthmarks from the spring of 1983. So it's of the same vintage.
    Check it carefully for damage. What I've seen on others is cracked bottoms and firebacks, and warped doors. If you find any of these, I'd give it a pass.
    Mine needed no parts except for gaskets, furnace cement, and new threaded rods that hold the corners together. These were all generic parts available locally.
    The work is not difficult, but very dirty. The one specialized tool that I found very helpful, was an air powered needle scaler for cleaning the old furnace cement out of the channels. (cheap and worth it at Harbor Freight)
    One pitfall is breaking the threaded rods off. Even with overnight penetrating oil and some heat, I still managed to break one of the rods. No big deal, re-drill and tap.
    The difference in burning the rebuilt stove is dramatic. Way more consistent. Controllable, even with a full load of cardboard boxes. The Vigilant is one of the good old stoves, with beautiful, crisp castings. It can achieve a clean secondary burn with good burning practices, and I would not hesitate to buy one if the price is right.
  4. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
    Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    The current price is very attractive, I may go for it!
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA

    By 'attractive' I hope you mean it isn't over $400.
  6. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
    Is the flue 8" or 6"?
  7. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
    No, it's just south of 300.
  8. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
    Yep, enamel. Spray paint does not work on enamel.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA
  12. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    224
    Loc:
    Western CT
    I would still go with the NC13. I believe Lowes has em on sale and it is easy to find another 10% coupon. Buy the stove and use it for a couple of years. If you want something more fancy or different then you will have no problem selling it for half of what you paid for it. Projects sound fun but life usually takes over and it will be cold in a couple of weeks.

    PS. One of my neighboors has an early 80's VC and loves it. He would give you the oppossite advice.
  13. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    7,607
    Loc:
    Doylestown, PA

    Didn't completely read through the email until now. This stove is not worth the time and cost to rebuild it. you are far better off taking the money you would spend on the rebuild, parts, sandblasting, and paint and buy a better stove.

    If you don't like the look of the Englander than do some searching on craigslist. Use searchtempest.com to search a wider area and you will see a bunch of stove options.
  14. 800camp

    800camp Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Northern Del. - Mid-Atlantic
    Great feedback, thanks guys. I didn't think of the enamel paint.
  15. Sparkster

    Sparkster New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    It's an 8" oval flue, (5 X10), top or back exhaust.

    Browning BLR, 308
  16. Fullsue

    Fullsue New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    I have a blue enamel vc vigilant that has a warped fire back . I would like to get the kit to fix this but it looks like it comes with black sides only. Am I not looking at it right? Any help would be much appreciated.

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