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Air Control Valve Hard to move on Jotul 600 Firelight

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by snowfreak, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    I have a Jotul 600 Firelight woodstove purchased this past July, I am having a difficult time adjusting the air control valve. The adjustment lever is located dead center and moves from side to side to allow more or less air into the firebox. It gets so hard to move that I am in jeopardy of bending the control lever. The lever is hard to move when the stove is cold or up to temp. I took everything apart and found my problem exists soley with the piece of cast iron (air valve) that slides side to side. When this piece is removed the control lever operates freely. This air valve had some imperfections in the cast so I decided to smooth the sides out with a dremel tool. I grinded, sanded, and polished until the sides were slippery to the touch. This made no difference the valve is just as hard to operate. I have a new valve ordered from the dealer under warranty even though this one looks perfect. I asked my dealer if this was a common problem, he said that I was the only one he was aware of. When I ordered the valve he said it should be in this week if Jotul has the valve in stock, that was 2 weeks ago. Curious if they are out of stock because of an on going problem. I have my reservations that this new valve will perform any better than my old one. In the interim I have researched high temp lubricants, dry graphite sprays, and anti-seize compunds. This valve is located inside of the firebox but not exposed directly to the flames or coals. Has anyone ever used a high temp lubricant anywhere on their woodstove? Are there any Jotul owners out there with a similar problem? I think this valve assembly is very similar if not the same on the 400, 500, and 600 Jotuls. If anyone has some suggestions pass them my way.

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  2. BuschLover

    BuschLover New Member

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    I have been burning in a Jotul 600 for the last two months and my lever is very easy to adjust.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The air control on the F400 is among the easiest and smoothest I've used. I like that it stays cool to the touch too. This is a simple mechanism. Perhaps it's not the sliding vent that is flawed, but the track in which it travels? I would examine that carefully. If it would help, I can remove the cover from mine and take a photo of it.
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Its the same mechanism on most Jotuls, and just varies in size based upon the model. Of course, it should be easy to slide, one finger should do it. If you tooled it down to size and it still doesn't work, look to see if anything else is blocking its path, like another piece of leftover cast iron on the stove body itself, etc. I wouldn't use any high temp lubricants... I don't think they'd last at 800 degrees, none of them. Plus, why hack it... its not supposed to use lubricant, just wait for the repair. Also, if lubricant does help you, look to where you applied it for an idea of where there is extra metal. Did you ask the dealerto come to your home for an inspection, or swap the part out from a display model?

    Just thinking aloud... good luck, and let us know what happens.

    -- Mike
  5. koavt

    koavt New Member

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    I have the same problem in my Firelight 600. The air control valve is very easy to move to the left. However moving it back to the right (Max Air) is extremely difficult. Purchased stove two years ago. The dealertold me to take it apart inside the stove and look for any ash or debris that might be impeding movement. Did that and it still is very sticky. Never bothered with the warranty. I just give it a light tap with the tool for the front doors and it then moves easily. Should probably go back to the dealer again and see if a replacement will work more smoothly. From the day the stove was installed this has been a problem. I am not overly impressed with the overall fit and finish. The doors do not seal air tight and can slide a dollar bill through them when sealed shut. Also the hex nut for sealing the doors reaches a point when tightening and then spins freely and I need to repeat this several times when the stove is hot in order to seal the front doors. It just makes you wonder how efficient the burn is. At any rate I think I will bring this up with my dealer again. Just wondering if any one else has had these issues. And I would be interested if when you receive the replacement the problem is corrected.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    koavt, it sounds like the air vent is wedging when in the fully closed position. This should be clearly visible if it is opened up while in the closed position. Sounds like a casting flaw or debris is caught in the vent valve track on the right side.

    Sorry that the fit and finish is not up to snuff for you. Overall, I would say that our stove is very well finished. However, there is a design flaw that I would like to communicate to Jotul if they are listening. When they switched the Castine to a single door they did not add center clips for the large ceramic glass. The glass bows in the the center visibly and does not seal well with the gasket. On the F500 there are center clips. IMHO, the F400 now needs them too.
  7. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

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    Same problem. It seems to stick when going below 1/3 open. From 1/3 to full open doesn't stick at all.
  8. BuschLover

    BuschLover New Member

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    I have been impressed with my 600's fit and finish. I have had no problems in the 2 months I have been using it. One thing that I find interesting is I read about people getting their stove up to 600 and even 700. I struggle to get my stove to 500. I have double checked the magnetic thermometer against an infrared model and it is quite accurate. I suspect my wood. It is good dry red elm. My stove idles most of the time between 350-450. Good luck getting your air control smoothed out.
  9. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    You need dry wood, and good draft. Once you get your secondary going, choke her down and watch the temperatures rise.

    -- Mike
  10. BuschLover

    BuschLover New Member

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    I have excellent draft and my wood is dry. I have seen that secondary burn. Pretty wild to watch. I will try choking her down when I see the secondary burn. Usually I just let her go with the air wide open. Maybe that is why my temp doesn't go any higher. The heat is going out through the chimney? I've had it around 550 tops. That heats the house pretty quick. Thanks for the info.
  11. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    BINGO!
  12. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    Everything else is smooth to the eye. I even took a mirror and flashlight looking for any burrs or imperfections in the cast. I have found lubricants that state they can handle sustanined temps of 2200 degrees, but the stuff is wicked expenseive (200 bucks for a 2 tube minimum) and I'm not spending that kind of money on something I'm not sure will work. I think the high temp lube will work because if I put some WD-40 the assembly slides the way it should but the WD-40 burns off really quick. When the valve gets to a certain spot the entire metal edge contacts the metal track that it runs in. At this point is where the valve becomes almost impossibe to move. I can see the entire edges of the valve and the track and they are free of any defects. If the new valve does not work I'm going to see if the dealer can come out so he doesn't think I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. Maybe I can get him to have Jotul spring for some extreme temp grease?
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like Jotul should pay for the dealerto come out. If there are multiple stoves with this issue it may be a casting flaw that they should know about.

    Update:

    I just took my air control apart. There is the upper vent "sled" (part 104082 on the F400) that slides in the cast "track" beneath it. It would have a hard time binding as there is about 3/32" play all along. So for those whose vent sled is binding can you check to see if there is equal side play at both open and closed positions? If yes, is the "sled" trying to twist sideways and binding that way?
  14. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    Thanks for the photo offer but I had the dealer show me the one on the showroom and it looks the same as mine, including the imperfection on the valve itself. The one on the showroom moved slick as silk though.
  15. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    Mine acts the same way. Moving it from max air to minimum air is difficult but from minimun air to max air is nearly impossible. I really worry that one of these days I'm going to bend the control lever it moves that hard. When I come up with a fix I'll post it here.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Missed your post snowfreak. Here is the F400 vent slide shot. Maybe it will help koavt. The width of the F400 vent slide is 1 19/32", length 6 11/16".

    Attached Files:

  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So, with the cover off, if you manually slide the vent plate does it bind? With the vent plate removed does the lever move smoothly left to right and back?
  18. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    [/quote]So, with the cover off, if you manually slide the vent plate does it bind? With the vent plate removed does the lever move smoothly left to right and back?[/quote]

    With the cover off and moving it manually it still binds, with the vent plate removed the lever operates freely. Its like the cast iron has sticky residue on it, which it does not. Thats why I was thinking of dabbing some high temp grease on the sides. If I center the air valve without the lever and move it manually back and forth its fine. Its when the lever is attached it pushes the entire side of the air valve against the cast iron track and grabs. The lever itself is not the problem, its the way the air valve is designed it pushes against the built in cast iron track. From your pictures my air valve is different. Thanks for taking the time to post your pictures. Too bad the place that sells that high temp grease does not have sample packets ( I already asked) one tube would last forever.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I see now that it's similar, but the F400's is smaller, covering 2 air holes instead of 3. Maybe the additional length is forcing the vent plate to try to track at an angle which is causing it to bind? Just a guess, but perhaps the track may have too much slop allowing the vent plate to twist in the track? With the vent cover off, try placing a flat piece of metal alongside of the vent plate, on the interior edge of the track, so that it narrows the track width by about 1/16 of an inch. A 6" flat metal ruler or a thickness of plastic would do. Then try the air vent valve action to see if it's smoother.

    Keep at it. Something like this would drive me nuts.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    As a lubricant, you might try graphite. It should be very heat tolerant. Cheap and easy to get too. It's in most automotive dept. for sticky door locks.
  21. quinn

    quinn New Member

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    Hey Snowfreak,

    I have the same stove with the same problem. I also had the dealer get me new air levers and sliders and it made no difference. What I ended up doing is applying high temp grease to the slider and this works for a couple months before the grease wears off. I have read on this website about the 500 having the same problem and that Jotul was making new levers and, I think, sliders for that stove. Some also posted that applying graphite worked well. When this batch of high temp grease wears off I will put on some graphite. What have you done to alleviate the problem?
  22. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Our 2 winter old Oslo had the same air lever problem, sticking only going from closed to open. It is used hard for 100% heat.

    I tried some grinding which helped very little. Powered graphite has worked on the bottom of the slide---it now operates as it should. I also very carefully bent the control rod up very slighltly after heating it and holding it with two sets of vise grips.

    There was a simple solution here online---search for it. Something about using a temporary washer under the control rod to bend it while tightening the assembly.

    Also: be careful fully closing the lever beyond the lip inside the "cat box". It can jump that stop if pushed too hard. You can see this when it's open.

    The Oslo has been a good heater so far except for the front door design spilling ashes out when opened. Bad engineering. We load from the side door. The company is responsive with any problems.
  23. BotetourtSteve

    BotetourtSteve Member

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    Don't know how to attach links, so just posting an answer for SPED's viewing pleasure.

    And for what it is worth, my dam- new 600's handle is sticking in the exact same position that everyone else reports. Right now, a little bit of good old fashioned jiggling back and forth usually allows it to move on to the right, but as SPED has suggested, while I like the heat mine is producing and the burn times, I must say that I too am disappointed in quality control for an outfit that has been in business for 155 years, especially after dropping that kind of money.

    In regards to the sticking handle, mine did not do it the first couple of weeks but has started doing it this week. I hope it does not get worse. Don't know if it is coincidence or not, but it seems to be sticking at the position it is normally set at for burning (1/4 open).
  24. SPED

    SPED New Member

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    Thanks Steve, it seems mine was a little sticky a couple days ago going to the right and now I seriously think I can feel that sucker bending when I really push on it. What a pain, I'm gonna call the dealer first thing tomorrow, this thread may come in handy too if they say they never heard of the problem, as of right now it's shut down.
  25. quinn

    quinn New Member

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    I also have the 600 with the same slider problem. My stove is 4 years old and I do what was mentioned earlier on the thread - apply high temp grease every couple months or so. If any of you find that Jotul has replacement parts for the 600, please post it would ya? I have read that there are 500 replacements available with no mention of the 600. I also have the 400 and the design on the smaller stove is much, much more effective. First of all, the lever operates through a range of about 30 degrees (15 degrees from each side of center). Whereas the 600 lever being bent the way it is operates to about 40 degrees to the right of center. Then, when you try to close the air supply the lever pushes the slider against the rail and it binds. Second, the hole in the front door on the 600 for the lever is on the fire box side of the slider with allows air to flow directly into the firebox. On the 400, the hole in the front of the stove for the lever comes in on the air supply side of the slide thus separating the hole from the firebox and giving much more effective air control. I hope in the future that the 400 design is used on the 600.

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