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Air damper issue on Jotul Firelight 600 still unresolved after warranty replacement of air damper ar

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bj20, Mar 1, 2009.

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  1. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    I bought a new 2008 Jotul firelight 600 and right out of the crate its air damper would get hung up on the low end. Of the 11 notches for the air damper it would span from 1 1/2 (closed) to 9 full open. There was about 1 1/2 notches of play or slop when going in the opposite direction. Example, If it was full closed on 1 1/2 and I went to open it, it wouldn't pick up tension until the 3rd notch and then would be under tension all the way to the 9 notch. Going down from 9 it would pick up tension at 7 1/2 etc. My problem was that between the closed position and just under halfway, it would get stuck and I would half to use the end of the handle from the front door to tap the air damper up or down in this section of the notches. Of course it is the most important part to dial in your burn. So every morning or in the middle of the night I would wake up the wife or baby by tapping on my air damper lever to adjust the stove. Yes I burn 24 X 7 all winter long and it is a real pain for the kind of money I paid for this stove.

    Well low and behold I find the problem was addressed on this site and there was a warranty replacement for the sticking air damper arm with a different bend in it. So one month ago I contacted the place I bought it from and explained to them what I had read on here. They were clueless and looked into the problem until they had their Eureka! moment ( they only do this for a living you know.) Well fast forward one month when winters almost over and the part finally comes in. Jotul, I'm told only makes these parts when there are enough orders pending. Not something they keep on hand, no, that would make too much sense.

    The guy who they send out to do the install tells my wife he has never replaced one before, (another vote of confidence!) Anyway, now that it has been replaced it is more jacked up then ever. I think the only graphite the installer knows about comes in the form of a fishing pole! The lever still sticks but not quite as bad. I am able to force it by hand but it is still getting stuck. Get this, now I have a different problem. Fully closed is now notch 4 and wide open is 10. Slop or play has increased from 1 1/2 notches on the old part to 4 full notches. When going from the closed position (notch 4) to open it doesn't pick up any tension (i.e. move the damper at all until notch 8 and then it goes two more notches to 10 and that's it. Going down from fully open at 10 nothing happens until I hit notch 7 when I pick up the slop and actually move the damper to 6 where it gets stuck and i have to force it to close at 4. Going up it doesn't stick. I don't think it is closing all the way since the fire isn't really snuffed out like it used to at full close. The Installer said it was closing all the way when he put it in (said he could hear it closing). I'm not convinced it's closing all the way or if it is even opening as much as it used to. Clearly this new part does not move the damper as much as the old one did and it is now very difficult to adjust the air on the stove as there are really only 5 settings (open,closed and, 7,8,9). As it stands now, I would rather have my old part back, at least I had better control of over the air on my stove.

    Questions,

    Anyone out there that had their damper replaced and had it act like mine?
    How do you tell if its opening or closing all the way?
    Does anyone know what is happening here, if so how do you fix it?

    Why won't Jotul talk directly with their customers? They say talk to the people who sold it to you. Way to stand behind their $4000 dollar stove! The people I bought it from are clueless.

    Sorry so long. Thanks for your time!

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  2. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    make sure the air lever is on the center of the bolt it has fixed all of the ones we have done
  3. caseyr77

    caseyr77 New Member

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    Yes Jotu ldid have some problems with some of the stoves out there, the Oslo and the Firelight had some issues with the Air Control. The Firelight and the Oslo take different Air Control Levers so make sure that the right one got installed. Jotul made a different lever for both of these stoves for the ones that give problems.
    I work on these stoves everyday and Jotul's fix for them does work if the Air Control Lever is installed correctly and if it's the correct one. The Air Control Lever needs to be in the middle or higher on the bolt. I have also found sometimes there is some cement on the bolt that causes the Lever to not move easily.
    I'm not sure what your talking about with the notches as there isn't any notches on this system. Your Air Control lever goes thru the Cast Iron and the other end of the Air Control Lever simply sits in between 2 knubs on a cast iron plate that slides back and fourth.
    You souldn't need to spray and lubricant on this as even graphite will atract mopre crude to this area and make it work even harder.
    Double check where the Air Control sits on the bolt make sure it's up high enough on the bolt and make sure nothing in the threads on the bolt. Sometimes I take the bolt out and thread it thru the Air Control Lever a few times to clean out the threads. And also make sure your have the upgrade lever for the firelight and not for the oslo. They look somewhat simuiliar.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Casey and stoveguy, thanks for the good suggestion. This comes up often enough that it would be great to have some photos illustrating the correct way to install the control lever. If that's a hassle I'd be happy to work with you on illustrating the correct way, though I don't have a stove in front of me and will need a rough sketch.
  5. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    I have experienced the same problem as bj20's. I have the new control lever and I've tried to adjust mine from med to high on the bolt with no success. I have also noticed that the notches (Seashell pattern on the bottom of adjust lever) are not the same as the old lever. If I place the new lever in the same setting as the old one it allows more air in. Not a huge problem but it takes some getting used to if you had the old style lever. For the past two years I now use a small wooden hammer to adjust the lever. I don't force it I just give it gentle taps. I burn 24/7 and have always had this problem. I tried wd-40, high temp grease, polishing the sides of the cast iron slide, replacing the cast iron slide, replacing the control lever 3 times including the new and improved one, making sure no burs are present anywhere in the slide path, making sure no cement was present on bolt or slide channel, replacing the stove. Its come down to a toy hammer from one of my son's play sets. Bj honest to goodness if you can't find a fix try a small wooden hammer. Its light enough not to bend the lever and the wood has not damaged my enamel paint yet and I doubt it will. Try not to laugh its the best fix to date. Here's a picture of the new and improved lever does your look like this too?

    Attached Files:

  6. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    that is not the right lever for the 600 from the looks of the pick
  7. caseyr77

    caseyr77 New Member

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    Does the place you bought the stove from have a service department?
  8. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    Thank you all for your posts. My wife said that it does not look like the one in the pic. Which from the follow up post, looks to be the wrong one. I have not seen mine yet and will take it apart the first chance I get. The notches I was referring to is indeed the seashell pattern on the front lip of the stove. I will verify the levers mounted location on the bolt. I can say that it is high enough so that it does not rub on the front lip of the stove (seashell pattern of notches).

    Can anyone tell me if they have that much play or slop on the air control lever. Mine will move 4 notches in either direction before moving the damper on the inside. This in more than double the play of the old part. My main concern now is how difficult it is to adjust the proper amount of air. The sticking problem is secondary. Too much play in the lever to manage my air effectively.

    Could someone post a picture of the proper part for the 600 so I can verify that it is the right one.

    This site is really awesome, I can't believe the amount of posts in such a short time.

    Thanks again
  9. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    Caseyr77, It is a fireplace chain store that sells Jotul, Hearthstone and Vermont Castings. All are independently owned and operated so I can't get help from another location. They have a service guy who came out to do the warranty replacement and said he never had to fix an air damper arm before so I was his first. As far as a service department goes, well if you call it that? They sell, install and service what they sell. They Just don't seem to have nearly the knowledge base you guys on this forum have.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    bj20, can you post a picture of the control arm on your stove and maybe one of the assembly in place with the doghouse cover off?
  11. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    [/quote]

    that is not the right lever for the 600 from the looks of the pick[/quote]

    Maybe the picture is not doing the new control lever justice. The old one had a distinct 45 degree bend in it. This new one is much more rounded. From what I understand the old one would get caught on that sharp bend. Before I was able to get a factory distributed chrome plated lever the place where I bought the stove was sent a template to make the old ones look like the new design. This new one matches what my old one looked like after they used the template. It has a much different look than the original. Side by side you could really see the difference.
  12. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    BJ unless they have released another new lever in the last two months this is the right one. Where the red circle is where the sharp bend used to be on the old style. If you have a sharp bend there its the old style. Mine fully closes at 1 1/2 notches and full open is 8 1/2 notches (seashell marks) it starts to move the slide immediately. There is no play before it starts to open
    or close. It sounds like the installer does not have your adjustment lever between the two
    uprights on the sliding damper, or its the wrong part in there. This part I took a picture of is an extra that I have, the one currently in my 600 looks identical to it. Hope this helps you.

    Attached Files:

  13. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    Thank you snowfreak. I really appreciate your taking the time to post that pic and info. I definitely have something wrong in mine. I'll take it apart and see what's going on in there and post the results.
  14. quinn

    quinn New Member

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    I have the F600 and had the same sticky-lever problem. After replacing the old lever with the new one last winter it has worked fine with no sticking since. Strange how several of us have had such different results with the new levers. It definitely makes me wonder about Jotul.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Makes me wonder about some Jotul dealers and service people. Seems to be confusion on the new part and how to install it correctly.
  16. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    FWIW, Jotul outsourced these levers &
    it was the subcontractor who screwed
    up the original production run...
    If you get the right lever, it'll work correctly.
    I'll call our Jotul rep today to see if I
    can get a pic & directions for the install
    & post it to this forum...
  17. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    I contacted my dealer "A Cozy Fireplace":( and told him that my stove wasn't getting full air, wasn't closing all the way, there was a bunch of slop/ play in the lever, had a reduced range of motion and was still sticking. Their response... He suposedly talked to the tech at Jotul who actually designed the new lever. He claims the new lever is supposed to have a reduced range of motion to prevent it from sticking. He claimed the reason I had reduced air was because of a creosote buildup. He assured me his installer had installed the new lever correctly. Yeah right! Creosote buildup overnight that coincides with his guy putting in the new part. Now what he should have said is, Hey let me send someone out there to check it again as something must be wrong.

    So I called and talked to Jotul Tech support myself and here are the facts.
    The Oslo and the 600 have the same air lever. the difference is that the Oslo comes with an additional part(s) for the air kit. The lever does not work in the Oslo without also changing the air kit but the lever itself is the same.

    A few years ago something changed in the manufacture of the 600 that has never been Identified which causes the sticking problem. They have created the work around with this new designed lever. The new lever will work as long as you get one from a batch that is in spec. The problem is that from time to time a batch comes in that does not meet spec and therefore does not work properly. Jotul is sending me the correct lever even though I think I did get the correct one.

    The tech told me to remove the air cover and check that the lever is between the 2 nubs. It wasn't as you can see. Full open was actually less than half open. The reason for the slop was because it wasn't between the nubs. I took it apart and installed the lever correctly and now it works just fine. very little play, full range of motion etc. I posted pics to show how it was and the new part.

    Notice when I had the stove full open the slide was less than half way open. Pic 2 What they called a correct install. Pic 3 full open & Pic 4 full close. Plus pics of the new part.

    Attached Files:

  18. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    Follow up with a Pic of the lever installed correctly. I will verify that the parts are the same when UPS delivers my additional new lever from Jotul.

    Attached Files:

  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Unbelievable! Thanks for posting the pictures bj20. You don't need a college degree to see how it was intended to be installed an work. It looks like if one has the correct lever, it's a simple thing to check for proper positioning. Sorry you had to go through such a run around, but it's good to hear that the stove is now working as designed.
  20. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    Since replacing my lever I've had increased 'play' and seemingly slower start ups. So... thanks to the photos I'll let the stove cool and check in the dog house. I installed it myself so I know the lever was between the nubs, but possibly jumped? Not to hijack but if someone who had their Oslo lever replaced can remember.... had a moment when switching out that I thought I might of swapped the new plate for the old. So the question would be, was your replacment plate like the one pictured above with offset nubs or were they side by side? In a perfect world we could get the Jotul tech on line for a tutorial. Unfortunately my dealer is 1 1/2 hours away and will not come out to service. (I knew this when I bought the stove)
    I have a phone # for Jotul and theres a serial # on the plate- but it does seem hard to get to a tech. Stove has been pretty much fine otherwise.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    While you have the doghouse off, vacuum out the air passages. Sometimes ash can get in there.
  22. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    the service tech must not have taken the dog house off when they put the new lever on it can be done that way but not the best way to do it. to make it clear the oslo uses the same lever but it needs a diffrent air slide plate other wise the f 600 lever will not work.
  23. TreeCo

    TreeCo Member

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    We are in our third season with our F600. It has been stuck a few times the first year, less the second year but none this year. I wonder if it's worn a little and now fits into place.

    Ours use to stick when the stove was at high temperature but now it seems fine. I would use a pair of pliers to wiggle and move it back when it was getting stuck.
  24. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    I purchased a 2008 F600 and ran into the same problem about a month into the burning season. It was not a big deal on my stove, because though the lever was wanting to cam itself between the two horns on the plate, I could easily still manipulate it by using less effort or tapping lightly. My dealer actually had hard time getting a replacement arm; at the time Jotul was claiming quite a long wait for the part. In the end the dealer ended up giving me a replacement off of an F600 they had in the showroom. It is a slightly different shape, and I find that it tends to do the same thing, but in different spots. I just tap in lightly with the end of a finger if it has resistance, and it works fine.

    I like the simplicity of the air intake system on this stove, and it will be perfection when they get the production bugs on these arms sorted out. For me it is a very minor issue on what is otherwise a fantastic stove.
  25. bj20

    bj20 New Member

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    I received my extra lever from Jotul and it is the same as the one the pictured above. This is different from the one pictured in snow freaks post.
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