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Cracked VC Vigilant fireback

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by barnman, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. barnman

    barnman New Member

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    I have a Vermont Castings Vigilant (1977) that has a single piece Fireback. It has a small cracks in the Fireback. Its about 6 inches long without much of a gap beween the crack. Does this crack effect the performance of the stove. It appears that there are vent holes below and a large 6 inch notch that all seems to vent out the back firebox. Brian

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  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    This is common on the Vigilant. If the crack is tight there should be no problems with the performance. The "notch" you mention is the secondary burn chamber and yes it vents to the baffles behind the fireback. The holes are your primary air. I would just keep an eye on the crack. My old Vigilant had one that ran from the reburn chamber left towards the primary air holes. Like I said, as long as it remains tight you should be fine.

    The one piece fireback is not made any longer, but there is a two piece fireback available. It comes in a kit with new side panels for the stove, although I believe some people have made modifications to make the two piece fit.

    Great stove you have there. I miss mine every so often.

    Good luck!
  3. barnman

    barnman New Member

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    Thanks Master! I'll install and see how the performance is on the Vigilant. I currently have a Defiant and its very warm in our house! Barnman
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Grew up with a defiant in the house- my father is still burning it after all these years.....was located about 10' from my bed (I was in the old family room in the basement). I can appreciate the warmth of which you speak.

    So I take it you are replacing the Defiant with the Vigilant. You will be happy with the Vig- still a big heater- was heating most of my 2300 living space from the unfinished basement with mine. Moved up to a new, bigger F600 just this year- have to say it throws more heat than the Vigilant, but those old stoves are fun to run.
  5. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    It's true the crack doesn't matter much, the thing to watch for is irregularities in the damper. As the crack gets worse and the fireback becomes warped, it eventually will keep the damper from operating properly. It may not close once the stove heats up, or may pop itself open as the stove gets hot, or other wierdness. Until then, you're probably good. To have it completely refurbished is about $700.00, about half that is the parts kit. you end up with a like new stove though. Could be a good summer project...
  6. barnman

    barnman New Member

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    Thanks for your input. I was actually planning on rebuilding this stove. But with the crack fireback i am concerned about taking apart and rebuilding it with the cracked fireback. I am going to try to located an original fireback. Does anyone know a dealer that might have a one piece fireback? I suppose they are hard to find second hand.

    Barnman
  7. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Pretty much impossible, as all the old 1 pc. fb.'s are like yours. Don't fear the new style, it's actually easierto deal with. Or bring it to me, I'll do it!
  8. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Yup, I agree pretty much impossible to find.

    The kits for the two piece fireback come with everything you need.

    Good luck!
  9. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    Drilling a small hole at each end of the crack will also prevent it from growing longer and wider.
  10. barnman

    barnman New Member

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    I am looking to replace the gaskets in the door and was wondering what size i needed. I tried 1/4 and it seemed tight. Do i need 3/16/? Brian
  11. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    5/16, actually. An odd size used only by VC I think.
  12. CowboyUpPride

    CowboyUpPride New Member

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    With cracks in the back of stoves, especially if they aren't in sight, couldn't you grind the crack a little then weld both side of the crack and for a cosmetic purposes grind down the outside weld and repaint?
    jakeyboy likes this.
  13. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Be aware that the crack is not such a big deal, and doesn't represent a huge loss in performance. The real issue USUALLY becomes the warping of the fireback, and how it affects the operation of the damper. You could do all that welding and grinding, and it would look sweet! You'd still have the warped iron in there,and still face the potential damper stuff, which as I said before, often manifests as the stove heats up. Damper may be OK when cold, not close when hot. Or pop open as the stove continues to heat up, etc. Best to replace fireback. It's 30 or so years old! Maybe get another 30 after the repair! Not so bad, eh?
  14. CowboyUpPride

    CowboyUpPride New Member

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    Good point about the warping potential.
  15. spolleypt

    spolleypt Member

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    woodstove crack.jpg
    My stove has a cracked fireback, bottom left to center along the ridge. My damper appears to be broken because it didn't close when stove heated up. (Don't know if adjusted proper though) I thought I should order a new thermostat coil. Could someone explain how to best set the thermostat for proper performance, and how to tell if fireback is warped?
    Thanks
  16. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    The damper is operated by hand, so I assume you're asking about the thermostat not closing the flap as the stove heats up. It's unlikely that there's anything wrong with the coil itself. Sometimes, especially when the stove has been moved, the chain connecting the thermostat adjustment lever to the flap becomes reversed. This prevents the thermostat from operating properly because as the stove heats, the coil works as intended but does not allow the chain to slacken because it's backwards.

    Warpage is usually quite evident, but you can also use a straightedge to check by placing it both horizontally and vertically against the fireback. The photo suggests not so much a crack as the loss of stove cement from the lower seam.

    When you start a fire, the thermostat/flap should be wide open. Gradually use the lever to adjust it as the stove reaches the operating temperature you want.
  17. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i'm running my defiant right now with a crack the size of texas from top to bottom. it runs no different in updraft mode (damper open) but when i close the damper it still runs ok even secondary works, but because of the size of the crack i get lots of smoke even tho i have a good secondary fire running. i originally had a hair line crack about 6 inches long, but when i took apart the stove to rebuild, it broke more when i was putting it together then after i fired it i heard a big bang like something shifted thats when it split in two.
  18. marco nunes

    marco nunes New Member

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    defiant you seem to be a technical guy when it comes to the vigilant stoves ,let me know if this idea is crazy or may work .I am mechanic by trade so i like taking things apart and putting them back together .I was able to find a rebuild manual from the forums and a bunch of other valuable info I have two vigilant stoves one has a one piece fire back that's cracked the other I picked up for spare parts has a two piece fire back .now hears my question I now priced out the rebuild kit and but cant justify spending that on an older stove ,now thinking like auto guy can I use the right and left ends on my parts stove and just purchace the upper and lower fire back ??? . I have cross referaced both parts diagrams all the other parts listed like the cover plates a /b look like the same part numbers ,don't know about the damper if I would stay with the one with the one piece back.one other informational point both vigilants were manufactured in 82. thanks for your time any info would be greatly appreciated

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