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I think my vigilant is in trouble! Crack discovered!

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Ducky, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    My back plate on the inside of the stove seems to be warped, as well as cracked... Can I braze the crack?

    Second question, the warpage seems to have a deflection of 3/8" at the bottom on the right side of the crack, the crack is about 1/4"-1/2" long comming up from the bottom.

    Third... The deflection at the top where the main flu "flap" , at the bottom where the 'hinge' goes through, is 3/4" wide in the middle and 1/2" on bothe ends.

    Pictures of the top down with the lid open would be appreciated.

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  2. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    I have a two piece back plate.

    How easy is it to remove? And where do I get the parts?

    If I have to tear down the whole stove, I'll just buy another one on cl

    How safe is the stove to use?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  3. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    can you snap a picture?
  4. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Get a new upper and lower fireback from woodmanspartsplus.com. Tell them that Graham the Stoveman sent you. Remove the pipe, then remove the bolt in the upper right corner of the fireback. This will free up the damper retainer. Next, workthe damper to the right and then out. The fire backs will lift out, though may require some persuasion warped as they are.

    Look for a rebuild manual on this site. No, the stove doesn'y have to come apart.

    Good luck!!

    G
  5. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    Well I don't have $500 :( to spend on a new fireback.... Ugh!


    It took 2 hours to get the damper handle off after removing the set screw. PB blaster and a propane torch. Got the handle almost red hot then wiggled it free with vice grips.

    To get the damper up and out, I ended up cutting half an 1/8" off the end of the rod so the damper would clear the outer wall. Came out pretty easy

    I found a T shaped piece of steel in there, which I also took out... Then cleaned it all out...

    Closed it up tight then took the air compressor to the hard to reach areas.


    There was an absolutely TON of ash in the baffle area, I'd say probably 2-3 gallons worth of ash!

    Along with...

    Some lead (from me)
    Stones (?)
    And pieces of cast iron (?). Small. Some slivers of cast iron too...

    The rocks, almost look like pieces of fire brick....
    The crack is about 1" long coming up from the bottom.... And the fireback will absolutely not budge! Not even a hair...
  6. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    I also have a piece of tin, on the left side in the back... When standing behind the stove looking at it, it's opposite of the thermostate, seems to be rivetted on... What's this for?
  7. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey man, you don't need $500.00 worth of fireback kit, just the upper and lower fireback pieces. Like $150.00 together!

    Riveted on label had U.L. testing info. and other stuff like that at one time. Worn off I guess...
  8. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    I'm watching cl for a stove..... After looking at pics of other stoves, my firebacks has been warped for years!

    Another vigilant of course! I love this stove! I have finally begun to understand how she works, I don't want to start over!

    I am monitoring the crack, and spoke to a friend who is a pro welder who agreed to braze the crack for me....
  9. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    you'll probably spend more for a stove than to buy the parts and put them in by hundreds
  10. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    You can do whatever, but the problem with that fireback isn't the fact that it's cracked. It's the fact that it's warped. Because the damper sits on top of the fireback, it will sooner or later be affected by the warped fireback. You'll notice that it won't close when hot, or it pops itself open when hot, or maybe sticks shut and won't reopen till the stove is cold again. Brazing won't help that at all.

    The parts you need are: upper fireback 130-4120 andlower fireback 130-4135. Price for both is $125.00 at woodmanspartsplus.com plus shipping of course.

    Another stove may come with another set of problems, I'd stay with the devil I know. And I KNOW the devil, believe me.

    Good luck whatever you do and happy heating!!!
    webbie likes this.
  11. smokebeard

    smokebeard New Member

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    Hello all, new to the forum. I'm the 3rd owner of the stove. I've discovered a crack on my fireback as well, starting as you'd expect from the radius of the air intake at the lower right, crossing most of the way across the fireback, moving up towards the upper left corner. I never run in horizontal mode, should I worry about this?
  12. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Nope. If you never close the damper, the fireback hardly matters. I assume you can control the stove temp. OK?
  13. smokebeard

    smokebeard New Member

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    It never really gets up above 500F griddle temp. What's odd is that the position of the primary and secondary air (thermostat or little teardrop thingy) make no obvious difference. The one thing that has changed the running of the stove has been cleaning out the ash down to the ridges and replacing it with sand. Now the stove burns hotter but for shorter time. There's a leak around 1 of the doors, I can see a little firelight peeking out if I look at the stove in the dark. it's kind of like a car stuck in 1 gear.
  14. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Smokebeard, you say you don't ever burn in horizontal mode. Do you burn with the doors wide open all the time? If so, no, the thermo/flap and teardrop inlet are going to have little effect as you're getting all the air you need from the open doors. If you are burning vertical in an airtight stove, those auxiliary air intakes, especially the thermo/flap, will have an effect. If you burning vertical only in a stove with a lot of air leaks, they won't matter much.
  15. smokebeard

    smokebeard New Member

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    I might be mixing my terms. I run the stove with the doors closed, but the damper open. It's my understanding that in this mode the air is drawn in from the thermostatically controlled port in the back left, entering the inside of the stove at the lower right. When you close the damper, smoke exits the 5 small holes in the back, mixing with fresh air and reigniting?

    While we're on the subject of cracks and leaks, is it normal for the stove to creak a bit as it gets hotter? Since I've cleaned it I've noticed it heats up faster, and will sort of creak, I assume thermal expansion.
  16. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Smoke beard, To get what you're trying to do, the damper handle should be pointing down and the doors closed. That would be horizontal burn.
    If the damper handle is pointing toward the front of the stove you're in vertical mode, which is good for getting a fire going but otherwise just lets heat go straight up the chimney.
  17. smokebeard

    smokebeard New Member

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    Ok thanks - the first time I tried it I got wisps of smoke out from around the griddle, but I think that was before I cleaned the whole thing out, the internal air holes were all clogged up.
  18. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    You should be good to go. If you keep getting smoke out of the griddle top you might want to replace the gasket.
  19. smokebeard

    smokebeard New Member

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    Thanks again - and are the creaks ok as the thing heats up?
  20. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Creaks, snaps, crackles and pops are all part of the experience. (Sounds like my back! ). From the stove and the flue as they expand and contract due to temp fluctuations.
  21. Ducky

    Ducky Member

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    I understand the reasoning with that... But my stove is hammered!

    Aside from the fireback....

    The wood retainer in the front, it's a removable piece, well one of the posts broke off long ago...
    Both doors are warped
    The handle is broke. I use a steel rod, pried up under the ande that is jammed against a steel bolt I installed in the concrete floor (once in place not even god him self could open those doors)
    The hinge pieces on the griddle are gone, long before I had the stove
    Legs? What legs? Mine sits on cinder blocks stacked 2 high...

    Like I said, hammered. Vigilantes are cheap around here, in spring I can eplace mine for less than $300
  22. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    sounds like craigslist is calling
  23. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Yep, game over...

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